You’d think by now I’d be used to having people call me a liar, but somehow it’s still upsetting me. Of course, they don’t actually use that word, but it’s the same message anyway.
Yesterday I got the official word that my claim for long term disability insurance was denied. According to them, there’s nothing in my record to suggest that I can’t work at my old job. Maybe they want a blood test to prove fatigue? Great, invent one and I’ll happily take it! Otherwise, fuck off.
When the symptoms first began I was a kid, and some people suggested that I was making it up to get attention. Then there were others who believed that I really thought I was in pain, but that the pain wasn’t real, so they suggested I see a psychologist. That was only barely an improvement, but at least they believed that I meant it.
Over the years I have had to plead my case to many people. If I had something easily recognizable and definitely diagnosable, like cancer, there wouldn’t be an issue. People would offer sympathy and would try to help. If I’d been in a car crash, with the accompanying photos and x-rays and whatnot, they wouldn’t question it. But I have invisible illnesses, hard to define, hard to diagnose, with symptoms that vary from person to person, and that vary for a given person from day to day. So the easiest thing? Say it’s not real and enjoy living in denial. That’s great for them, but it doesn’t do me a damn bit of good.
To add insult to injury, every time I have to plead my case, I have to focus even more on the most negative thing in my life. It isn’t enough that I have to live with this shit, think about it constantly, rearrange my life for it repeatedly, and give up my dreams for it, apparently it’s also necessary that I relive the worst of it just to convince some asshole that they really must pay me the money that they owe me. Signing up for the insurance policy and paying the premiums guarantees a right to file a claim; it doesn’t for a second mean that the claim will be approved. So how do I prove that I was so exhausted when I stopped working, I had to take a break and lie down to rest in the middle of getting dressed each morning?
I realized a few weeks ago that the claim would probably be denied, and mentally I was ready for it, but I guess that emotionally I hadn’t prepared. Mentally I figured out what I would need to do to appeal the decision. Emotionally, I didn’t realize how strongly I would react to being called a liar again. Again. Always, over and over, year after year, decade after decade, people would rather believe that I’m lying or confused than believe the truth: that this could just as easily happen to them, too.
Of course in this case, it’s probably just as much about the money.