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Disability Claim October 29, 2009

Posted by Crazy Mermaid in Disability Claim, Hearing Voices, Involuntary Committment, Psychotic.
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Back when I was working as a Project Manager on the renovation of a 100 year old hotel in downtown Seattle, my employer- let’s call them M Construction- paid for a long and short term disability policy as part of my compensation package.

As the stress on that job escalated to impossible levels, I began to believe that I had ESP, and that I could talk with my boss, Mark, and his boss, John. As my mental illness progressed, I became more enmeshed in my delusional world.

As the pressure escalated, Mark and John hatched a plan for me (via ESP), telling me to hold my job hostage by telling John (in person) that I had another job offer. They assured me that this would be the leverage they needed to get me more help.  So at their direction, I made the threat. But instead of getting more help, John held an exit interview with me in which he wished me well in my future endeavor. I became concerned that he seemed to think I was really quitting. That wasn’t in the script.

The voice in my head that was John told me to just play along, that it was part of the plan. So I did. Before I knew it, I was out of a job. I called both John and Mark to ask them what happened, and when I was going to return to M Construction.  They explained to me that I had quit.  I argued that I had only done what they told me to do.  “Hang tight”, they told me via ESP.  So I did.

As the weeks leading up to my ultimate involuntary commitment wore on, I continued to maintain phone contact with Mark and John, truly believing that my return to M Construction was imminent, despite their continued assurances in real life that my job had been filled.  When my husband asked me how my job hunt was coming along, I explained that there had been a mistake  and that I would be returning to M Construction soon.  I didn’t even bother to apply for unemployment, because I knew I would be returning to work soon.

Within three weeks of holding my job hostage, I was involuntarily committed to a mental hospital. During the three weeks at the hospital and the subsequent months in recovery, the furthest thing from my mind was the insurance policy. But as I began to re-enter the real world, my husband reminded me of that policy.  Digging around the house, I located the policy. Sure enough, I was covered! I called M Construction’s Human Resources department to start the claim process, only to be informed that I had quit before entering the hospital. Policy null and void.  Submitting the claim anyway, I wasn’t surprised when Prudential’s denial letter arrived, saying the same thing: I had quit before I became crazy.

Upon further consideration, I realized that what I really had was a workman’s compensation claim thought Washington State Labor and Industries.  I was effectively hit on the head at the jobsite by a 2X4, but the 2X4 in my case was stress.

As I file the claim,  I’m about to cover some very interesting ground.  It will all boil down to one question: At what point did the “2X4” effectively connect with my head? Before I left the company or after?  That will lead to other questions.  How long does it take to become psychotic?  More than 3 weeks or less than 3 weeks? Was I officially crazy the first day I was involuntarily committed to the mental hospital or at some point before that?  Where’s the line in the sand?  The answers will be as fascinating as the logic used to determine them.

Stay tuned.

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