Friday, October 4, 2013

Protest, scream, demand an end to this pointless SHUTDOWN

I've lit up my facebook page enough to light a fire, but I need to vent here. Honestly, I don't know if the Affordable Healthcare laws will work. I've been arguing and debating that it will work, but that's primarily because no one else will. We hear from the fading Tea Party on television every night, but we don't hear enough from reasonable compassionate adults from either party so i scream from every online mountain top I can. If I knew of a protest, I would be first in line.

The experiment already began. The conservative Republican's had 42, now 43 chances to repeal "Obama Care" and failed. But, now it's here. Previously uninsured professionals and regular citizens alike are signing up in droves. They're crashing websites because of the volume of people rushing to buy this new alternative healthcare. You can't take away what people already have. Your best bet is to get back to legislating and try to work on the fiscal responsibilities and repercussions. Fine tune it. Fine tune everything. Balance the budget through responsible efficient budget cuts. Do all of those things, but stop the shutdown. Avoid the October 17th default. The game has ended. Get off the field and play another day.

In case this is the first time you have found my blog, let me give you a quick recap of my personal relationship to this US Government Shutdown. Before my dad, the filmmaker, professor and artist Paul J. Sharits, committed suicide in 1993 I had only worked at two companies in ten years. My resume was stellar. I had been promoted throughout the years from forklift driver to General Manager of Operations, third in line to the crown, of a rapidly expanding company. It was already large when I got there, but it started exploding with growth after I took my first position as a warehouse manager with them. Ten years of near perfect employment history.

After my dad died I went back to college and graduated sum cum laude with nearly perfect grades. I slid through my first graduate program and then I started to lose the rapidly emerging company that I led and co-founded. The pressure sparked my first near death manic depressive episode. I was hospitalized into three different mental facilities that summer. I worked at perhaps ten different auto dealerships and other non-related jobs and I earned my master's in education and instructional design in 2005. By July 2007 I was too worn out and sick to continue so I left the workforce intending on returning when I felt better. By November 2007 I was hospitalized for everything from mono to leukemia.

In January 2008 I went psychotic and had another major bipolar episode and spent the entire month of January in a protective mental health facility while they tried to pull me back into reality. My wires got crossed. We lost everything. Our beautiful dream house.. We were at the mercy of our families. They came through and held us together. They gave us shelter.

If you hired me from 2001 to 2007 you would have probably gotten a stellar ambitious employee. You would relax and feel good. Then I might call in sick a few days. I didn't have a cold. I was really unable to leave my room, my house, because of the sudden rush of depression. Then maybe I would come back. I would start arguing or ignoring the staff creating some hard feelings. The situation would spread until I became a liability; not the charmed one you thought you hired. I might become so manic that I might try to take over the company. No one could possibly be as good or as smart as me. Then I might have miss a month or more while I spent some time in the "hospital." Then I would need to work half days because I needed to attend outpatient therapy classes. You fire me. It's inevitable.

Being manic depressive or bipolar doesn't diminish my intellectual abilities, it just makes me impossible to work for or with. So all of my psychiatrists, therapists, state appointed psychiatrist, and a State appointed Judge agrees that I could no longer be in the workforce. At one time I was a great businessman and student and now I stood before the court with head down low and my stomach even lower as I said, "Thank you your Honor."

How did this happen? I don't know. But my grandmother, one of her siblings, my uncle and my dad all committed suicide before their 51st birthday. I turn 49 in March. I feel the illness getting worse. I do have the best possible medical and mental healthcare that money can buy and I still fluctuate, but not as badly as I would if I were off medication.

Manic depression illness is not behavioral; it's chemical and it will never go away. We might create better medications, but we will never "find a cure" or pray it away. Its insulting to even say that.  

So the social security mental health disability was approved or "awarded" in writing on July 17, 2013. I was supposed to get an award letter telling me how much disability money I would get each month in 60 days or less. 60 days passed and I called. They said they were working on it and I still haven't received that letter. Once I get the letter it can be 30 to 60 days before the benefits start to kick in.

Now, with the shutdown, my application or award, whatever you want to call it, is sitting quietly on somebodies desk gathering dust while the shutdown continues. If you figure out how hard it is to catch up with backlogged work, one can figure that for every day furloughed there will be one week to get caught up. So far my award has been backed up over a month and counting.

I really don't care what side you're on; I want the shutdown to stop. Get Americans back to work. Don't even come close to defaulting the country for the first time in our history.

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