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21 Year Old Disabled Casey Seeks Grant Money For A Normal Life

by Casey Bennett
(Tuscaloosa, AL, USA)

Me [2006]

Me [2006]

I'm Casey Bennett, and this is my story.

Ever since I was eleven, I have had trouble with disassociating, depression, anxiety, insomnia, and self-harm.

For years, up until I was nineteen, I thought everybody was going through the same things, but just put a better face up than I did.

Through a long course of events, many years, and multiple suicide attempts, I came to finally realize that not everybody was like me.

Living, for everyone else, just seemed to be so effortless, while I was left exerting all of my energy to just make it to the next day.

I didn't have anything left when it came to social interactions, or work, or relationships.

So, while in my second year of college at the University of Alabama, I finally sought help of a counselor, for the first time in my life.

After a short time, though, and a failed medication attempt, I ended up suicidal, so my family and my counselor had me medically withdrawn from my university and taken back home to Birmingham, Alabama, where my family could keep an eye on me.

When my girlfriend of almost two years broke up with me, though, weeks later, directly because of my situation, I ended up trying to commit suicide again, but my mother caught me before I could do any serious damage.

After that, I was taken to a psychiatric hospital in Georgia, where I stayed for thirteen days in the "intensive observation" unit.

Towards the end, and as I was transferred to a residential treatment facility nearby, though, I began having hallucinations and delusions (I was even positive that I had superpowers for a couple of days…).

I saw things such as wood grain flowing, grass growing out of the ground, a full-bodied hallucination of my mother, and a creature coming out of the mirror in my room in the middle of the night.

Eventually, though, with the help of anti-psychotics and therapy, the hallucinations subsided, and I seemed to improve. So my insurance company pulled me out as soon as they could, and I was moved back home.

Fast-forward past the months at home, a failed attempt at a waiter-assistant job, the loss of friends due to the social stigma of just getting out of the psychiatric institution, and I was finally moving back to my college town, this past May, ready to try again.

But things have steadily worsened since. The summer was devastating, with zero friends and in-town support. I took a neuropsychological assessment about a month ago, that was supposed to help, but it just muddied the waters.

I have a diagnosis, currently, of "Mixed Personality Disorder, with Avoidant, Passive-Aggressive, Borderline, and Paranoid features," as well as a handful of other things, scattered throughout the different axes.

So here I am now, twenty-one years old, trying to make it in a world that cares very little about those with mental illness.

At this point in my life, with the increasing stress of class work, as well as simply trying to survive each day, I cannot work. I am unable to do that, to make money for myself and support my education.

I have no one to turn to, except for counselors and psychiatrists, because everyone is scared off by my story, by the scars on my arms and the marks on my chest (I branded "LOST" into my own chest during an episode of disassociating about a month and a half ago -- I don't remember even doing it).

I heard about government disability advantages, though, and thought I would explore it. I need help wherever I can get it.

I don't honestly know if anything will result from this, but I'm trying to hope.

So that's my story -- the curtailed version, at least.

Thank you, whoever you are, for reading it.

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Apr 04, 2012
Not Alone
by: Andi

Hi Casey. I'm Andi. I'm not sure when you wrote this, so I may have missed the boat by a few years for all I know, but I just thought I'd reach out to you and let you know you're not alone out there. I'm 22, schizophrenic, and unable to hold a job OR go to school. I doubt any attempt at getting disability benefits would be fruitful for me considering I haven't seen a psychiatrist in a few years and that's what they go on. I will try to make it however I can. I'm hopeful that when my boyfriend and I have a place, we can at least get food stamps to help us, since he's the only one working. I'm sorry you're in this situation Casey, but it's not hopeless.

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