Disability Help For Bipolar Dane To Have More Fulfilling Autonomous Life
by Dane Cook
(Vancouver, Washington, USA)
Reflecting on past, present and future
My name is Dane Michael Cook and I am 23 years of age. I grew up in the city of Vancouver and have lived my entire life inside of Washington State.
I'm very disconnected from my parents and have no family of my own, though I am very fond of my maternal grandparents.
My parents were very disinterested in me in general and viewed me as little more than a problem, so much of my development was through interaction with my grandparents instead.
While I am very distant or entirely out of contact with all family members aside from the two of them, I feel they have been more than what I've needed in the area of family support.
I do not have children of my own, as I question my own aptitude for being a parent, although someday I would like to be a father.
I was diagnosed with Bipolar 1 at a young age. Even when in preschool I struggled with emotional and behavioral difficulties, especially around other children and authority figures.
I was believed to have ADHD, and later believed to have OCD with ODD. These diagnoses were later ruled incorrect. I was relabeled as Manic-Depressive and later redefined as Bipolar 1.
Throughout my childhood I suffered from intense mood swings that were entirely unprovoked from my environment. I could be perfectly happy and overfilled with the joy, and instantly I could fall into a downward spiral of deep sadness and despair.
In addition to the extreme mania and severe depressive episodes typical to Bipolar Disorder, I also suffered a third major shift in emotion: extreme anger and resentment. These waves of overpowering emotions led to struggles in life, even in my youth.
My mania is so overpowering that as a child I thought I was Superman. I would believe myself invulnerable and leap off the landing at home thinking I would be unharmed.
It's currently an overpowering surge of confidence, a tireless, almost inexhaustible source of energy, a feeling of being indestructible and utterly inconsequential to any of my actions.
The depression was severe as a child as well. It was to the point of planning suicide, writing spiteful hate-filled notes of blame to individual family members and an actual attempt as a teenager.
Today my feelings haven't changed much. I've learned to withhold what I have to say and do my research and/or planning privately to avoid confrontation.
The explosive feelings of rage often led to acts of extreme aggression and intense violence up until I was 17. Now, I will typically damage my own property when like this in place of an actual person.
Financially, I've always been unable to support myself. The only reason I'm not homeless is due to having a roommate who is never home to split the cost with and having grandparents who are currently willing to pay my portion of the rent.
Aside from this, I receive $120 from DSHS for regular expenses per month and $189 in food assistance that is always just barely able to last.
By the first week of the month, the $120 is gone on my phone bill, extra food, and usually one or two items I need replaced (shirt, shoes, socks, hygiene products, laundry detergent, so on).
By the last week of the month, my cupboards are bare and I'm forced to either borrow money I know I cannot pay back, or go around town on foot to the food banks without reliable means to transport the food home.
My parents didn't want me driving or obtaining a driver's license. So, I never purchased a car or obtained a license.
My transportation is dependent on city transit, or my own two feet. Bus fare is $1.70 per ride, and passes are $30 for disabled riders, which I am.
I receive a free pass through my clinic monthly, though it's limited to the C-Tran routes. These don't entirely cover Vancouver.
Medical is provided for "current health problems." However, many preventative measures and over the counter medications aren't provided, meaning I cannot afford them.
I'm at risk of becoming diabetic. I want to diet and exercise to prevent this, but cannot afford the healthier foods or the gym membership to have access to proper workout equipment.
I've attempted work, but have only ever made it past the interview once after dozens of attempts. That job was at Burgerville when I was 19.
I was terminated within the first few months for intimidating staff and customers with my attitude. I wasn't aware I was even doing this. My manager questioned my mental stability and labeled me a safety concern.
Following termination, I had a spree of dozens of rejections at the interview level. Feeling defeated, I moved to working from home.
I attempted producing commissioned pieces of artwork and literature for friends and family. But not being well known, I received few requests and virtually no payment for my work. Sometimes clients would entirely withhold payment once I sent the piece.
Without other options, I applied for SSI and have been turned down multiple times. I'm currently on my fourth appeal.
I need to afford to live, to be able to pay for my food, shelter, clothing, transportation and general home purchases without having to borrow money when I know I can't pay it back.
I've tried so hard to find a place where I can work, or another means where I can legally make money to just live my life. But I've experienced so much rejection from companies and people in general due to my wild emotions and mood swings, it keeps me from being hired anywhere.
I feel my needs are very simple and reasonable. I just need to have the means to live without damaging or further destroying the select few good relationships I still have with friends and family.
I desire to have a home, not be hungry, and have a little bit extra to finance home maintenance and repairs when they're needed.
Even with my struggles with Bipolar Disorder, I still have a lot talent and ability to plan, think and organize ideas and concepts. It's always been my dream to one day open and run my own privatized security company in the Vancouver / Portland metropolitan area.
I have borderline obsessive organizational skills and a longing to feel useful to my community in some way. I have such difficulty working under and for other people, but I feel like I still could be useful to the general public if I could somehow start up my own company in this aspect.
I have a passion to protect the people in my city and I care about the well being of the general public. I feel that owning and running my own security company would be a great way to take my skill set and established abilities and utilize them in as a means to give back to the community while also establishing my own financial independence so I can too be a self-sufficient member of society and live my own life.