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Dear Wendy

Time to reconsider future?

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This topic contains 19 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by avatar skullerymaid 6 days, 18 hours ago.

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  • #696466 Reply
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    MichaelF

    I worked in the IT field for approximately 20 years before I had a serious workplace accident. After the accident and the aftermath that ensued, I developed severe bipolar disorder and became disabled. I have been going back to school to get college degrees in the attempt to rehabilitate. While academically I have been quite successful, I haven’t been doing so well in most other areas.

    When stress levels rose up, I would tend to sweat heavily, get confused and easily irritated. I would then start to panic and make huge mistakes; things that I wouldn’t have done in the past. It has gotten to the point that I have had to walk away from “jobs” I have assigned myself because I couldn’t do them anymore. Things I used to enjoy are things that I can no longer handle doing anymore. 🙁

    School has been easy for me. I have been working in IT for 20 years and naturally have been studying in IT. I have been on the honor role the whole time in school – 3.86 on 4.0 scale for Associate, 3.92 for Bachelor and 4.0 so far in process for a Masters of IT. I know I am doing so well in the academic side because of my experience plus I always have done well in academic environments. I rarely studied when in school and to be honest, I am not working hard at all except a rare occasion now.

    I am not ready to return to work; I would either break down or get fired quite quickly if I did try to go back. That is based upon what I have noticed about myself plus what my wife has seen and told me about. I am about out of financial aid (and loans are near maxed) so going on to another degree is pretty much out of the question.

    I am considering asking my Doctor if he would consider signing off on the paperwork to cancel out my student loans once I finish my degree. That would only be done if it is out of the question that I am not ready to return to work. If he won’t, I will go the Income Based Repayment route. My payments would be $0 a month because Social Security Disability is not counted as income when it comes to things such as that and my wife is unemployed too.

    I know that I could and would pay off my loans without a problem if I was able to return to work. My income level before the accident, etc was such that I was in the top 5% of Americans. Unfortunately, all my monies that I saved during that time were used up while out of work and paying for the things that occurred “in the aftermath” of the injury.

    Where should I go? Should I rethink working in IT and go somewhere else? If I should go somewhere else, where? My entire experience in life has been IT, making pizzas for Domino’s over 20 years ago and delivering them. I do not know much other than that.

    I know that this is most likely an unanswerable question in the current form. I am just hopeful some comments on here will be enough to churn my brain to such an extent that I can find an answer.

    #696468 Reply
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    Janelle

    Just a thought. Since academics are something you enjoy and excel at maybe your knowdge could be transferred into teaching what you know in some capacity. Perhaps you feel comfortable in that environment.

    #696471 Reply
    Skyblossom
    Skyblossom
    Participant

    Could you service computers and troubleshoot for people. My son does IT and helps people when they run into problems. There is a lot of demand for people who know how to take a computer and make it work again. Would you be comfortable making housecalls or remoting in to their computer?

    #696473 Reply
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    Sunshine Brite

    Is that a new program that doctors can sign off? I have had others without an income that still owe significant student loan debt due to disability and that has not been able to be forgiven. It’s one of the toughest types of debt to be erased but you can try the income based as well to see if that’s an option.

    #696475 Reply
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    Kate
    Keymaster

    It seems to me that your doctor wouldn’t / shouldn’t sign off on that unless he or she deems you actually incapable of working for income. Otherwise how is that ethical? If the doctor signs off on that and you find a way to make money without paying a penny of your student loans, I can’t say I approve of that.

    It doesn’t sound like you can handle a workplace. Could you handle remote IT or help desk kind of stuff? Could you work at Best Buy as a Blueshirt? Or are you going to panic and sweat and mess up no matter the environment, because it’s the tasks and deadlines you can’t handle (that seems unlikely since you can handle school assignments).

    Would you be giving up your disability benefits if you worked at all?

    #696480 Reply
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    Kate
    Keymaster

    If you can’t work right now and can live on disability, you could go on Volunteermatch.com and look at volunteer opportunities that use your skills, to build yourself back up…

    #696495 Reply
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    Ruby Thursday

    I’m not aware of a loan forgiveness program that allows you to discharge your student loans due to a disability. I recommend you research your options further before making any decisions.

    #696496 Reply
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    Ron

    The percentage of income still exists. It matters whether this is a private loan or a govt loan.

    Your whole life has been IT. If you are having mental difficulty and frustration with IT work, I think learning a new field will be tougher. Perhaps slowly increase your frustration tolerance/ability to focus and try an IT job/gig that lets you work from home, at your own pace, like piece work, without demanding deadlines.

    It sounds like you must have suffered a head injury. Can your doctor give you any reasonable indication on progress from here?

    #696497 Reply
    Copa
    Copa
    Participant

    It’s really, really hard to have your student loans forgiven, even if you are disabled. You basically have to prove that your condition won’t have improved enough for you to work even years from now. And even if the doctor signs off,
    he’s not the one making that call (I imagine it’s the U.S. Dept of Ed or a similar entity). I once read an article about a guy with a condition that made him go blind. He stopped working. His loans were not forgiven because, basically, he couldn’t prove what the future had in store for him.

    It sounds like what you need is a low-stress job so that you avoid the unpleasant symptoms you described. Are there any IT-related jobs that fit this bill?

    #696499 Reply
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    MichaelF

    Total and Permanent Disability Discharge is the program that I refer. It is for someone that has been disabled for 60+ months (I qualify) and if their disability could last another 60+ months without Significant Gainful Activity. Here are the qualifications for the program that I will meet:
    You can submit certification from a physician that you are totally and permanently disabled. Your physician must certify that you are unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of a medically determinable physical or mental impairment that

    Can be expected to result in death,
    Has lasted for a continuous period of not less than 60 months, or
    Can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 60 months.

    I REALLY want to pay the loans back and such. I just know that I cannot work at present without going back into the hospital. I have been hospitalized 3 times for this hell my brain causes me and should have been hospitalized a couple of other times outside the US but my wife didn’t want me to be for various reasons.

    Why can’t I work in the jobs? I just have to have a slight bit of stress and I am off into quicksand. I cannot teach because when I have tried it (as a rehabilitation), if I find someone that doesn’t understand the way I am teaching something, I take a step back and try it another way and if that doesn’t work, I begin to panic, etc.

    To give you an idea of how bad it is, when I work on my own computers to “test” me, I give myself a job with a 1 hour deadline. It is something I could usually handle in 15 minutes in the past. Almost every time I fail at the task and often throw something or start screaming, etc. I just cannot handle the stress.

    Remote work would do the same thing – I start freaking out about the clock and it derails me into the quicksand.

    For those that are thinking I am trying to milk the system, please note I worked in the Industry for 20+ years earning an income in the top 5% of earners. My tax dollars are paid in and so is my Social Security. I hear a lot of people saying that I am gaming the system but I am not. I just cannot handle anything anymore.

    What do you call it when someone cannot fix a computer that they “sabotaged” on purpose a few days before and wants to either throw the system through a window after a little bit of frustration, think about killing themselves because they cannot get it to work or walk away, crawl in bed and spend the next 5 days there because they cannot solve anything? That someone is me but I have also done other things that would not be acceptable in a workplace environment.

    #696503 Reply
    TaraMonster
    TaraMonster
    Participant

    It sounds like your injury was a TBI? My mother became permanently mentally ill in the early 1990’s due to this as well; although her injury is different as it displays as schizoaffective disorder. If your condition is as you described, permanent disability might be your best bet. The severity of this type of disability is not well understood by many people. To this day I have family members who don’t understand why my mother can’t just bag groceries or something. I think it’s admirable that you are trying to find a way to work in spite of this. Perhaps volunteering, as Kate suggested?

    #696504 Reply
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    Fyodor

    I am very sorry that you are struggling with this. Have you considered whether you might have more success with a different doctor/treatment regimen?

    There are bipolar support groups all over the country.

    http://www.dbsalliance.org/site/PageServer?pagename=peer_support_group_locator

    While I think the people here are happy to offer their two cents you might get more useful advice from people who have encountered similar struggles.

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