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The title of this post does not report any facts. It's just a line that came from a series of bizarre, vivid dreams I had the last night of Finals Week.  I didn't get much sleep and woke up every hour and a half or so. I have to admit that I am feeling a lot better than I was. There's still a small level of background pain, but I'm not too stressed.  I'm certain I've passed all my classes and I received the lowest grade in quantitative reasoning.

It's also been a difficult month or so to get through. I knew going back to school would be tough, but I also know if I can't handle a full time work load, returning to the work force is out, if that is my goal. The difficulties of this month caused me to engage in introspection and reflection. It also reaffirmed why I don't like the OSI networking model or computer networking much in general.  At least computer networking is related to my career field.

First, I can be reasonably certain I do not have dyslexia.  I did wonder about this, but the errors I make are errors common in many first drafts. This is why editing and revision are so important.  It's also why I'm not big on freelancing for a penny a word any more. If someone wants me to waste my time and limited energy doing something that is not an unskilled task for low pay, they better have a reason beyond wanting to make a profit.  As for dysgraphia, it remains a possibility given some of the mistakes I've made on the quantitative reasoning tests, it remains a possibility. Dyscalculia remains on the table despite my roommate's disbelief in it.  (And to be fair, missing the first 7 homework assignments in quantitative reasoning did not help. This, at least, was purely my fault for not reading the syllabus.  I had to work damn hard to get a C after that.) I consider these blog posts to be a free writing exercise. Free writing involves no revision or error correction. Even if I do have dyslexia, it would not prevent me from writing professionally again. It just means I'd have to work harder. (Piers Anthony is dyslexic.)

The end of the semester is not the only stressor removed from my life. I also had Nelnet discharge my student loads because I am, according to their ruling, "totally and permanently disabled."  It still seems weird to me to be celebrating getting that news, but it's something I knew a couple of years ago.  It's silly that I have to have the government continually affirm what I already know.  However, I'm more happy that the student loans were discharged than I am  about the Department of Education agreeing I am disabled.

Also, I finally heard from the person who will be representing me at my hearing. I have slightly more confidence in the firm now, but I still keep hearing they have a reputation for screwing up what should be easily won cases. I have no idea if my case is easily won or not. I know that my comparatively young age works against me, but the lawyer was surprised that the social security doctors had limited me to sedentary work.  I also hope he gets my point about the treatment being ongoing physical therapy taking time out of the work day frequently for my EDS. (Now, if he can get the paperwork that confirms the EDS diagnosis.)  The only thing I worry about is the constant nagging from my lawyer's office may become a source of stress in the days leading up to my hearing.

On a final note, this Sunday is Mother's Day.  My mother and I had a distant relationship at times. I had a completely different worldview and she was a very hands-off parent even during her lucid moments. The greeting card industry's insistence on celebrating this holiday will make the next few days a bit harder than they need to be. During the last year of her life, my mother spent the entire month of May in a psychiatric ward at Geisinger Hospital in Danville. She became even more distant after that, and was placed on partial hospitalization by court order.  I didn't know what else to do other than try to force her to get help at that time.  I'm not going to question the actions I took  I'm not sure I would have acted differently now, although I might not have involved the police to deal with someone suffering from a mental illness. I realized that even though it seemed unfair at the time, it was a problem I had to deal with.  My mother didn't know who was really on her side and who was not.  

I suppose this is why I still occasionally wonder about schiozphernia or schizoaffective disorder, but so far, I don't show many of the symptoms. (Other than a history of raging asexuality, which as my readers should know, is more about pathologizing asexuality than it is about being a sign of a mental illness.)

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 I have owned a Chevy Astro for over four years. it is certainly the longest time I have owned any vehicle. It has taken me from Pennsylvania to Indiana, and the vehicle and I have had many misadventures over the years. The main problem I've had with it isn't it's lack of reliability, it's been my absent mindedness and lack of funds. The latter has been even more of a problem for the past year or so. Because it has been a thorn in my side, I am relieved to see it go.  However, since it's been with me for a while, I will also miss it.

The sale process did not go smoothly, however. Even though I let someone buy the car on payments after putting half down, the transition was not smooth. The buyer has server anxiety, and kept asking me questions that seemed odd to me. Some of these made me worry. One of the strangest ones was asking me to promise not to take it back unless they stopped paying on it.   It made me wonder if they were planning on pulling something.

While I still wonder about this, I think there's a better explanation.  I know as an autistic person, I'm not really good at picking up on emotional context. As someone with anxiety, I should know how the mind can go to the worst possible scenario.  I also know my logical mind was thinking that a written contract does give them legal recourse if I go back on the agreement. Having a (somewhat) logical mind is a great help with programming. It's not a great help when you're failing to pick up on emotional context.  Apparently, all she wanted were receipts.  (And I know my anxiety rarely responds to logic. in the first place.)_

Now, if she had simply told me this, my logical brain would have told me that this was a good idea. I would have agreed to it readily. Instead, she kept asking this question over and over again. It took someone else to help me sort out what was going on.

In the end, I had to tell her I have Asperger's Syndrome and she can't try to be subtle or beat around the bush on things like this.  If both conditions had been considered before the sale was made, the entire awkward situation could have been avoided. Maybe I shouldn't always keep the "I'll keep my conditions to myself unless someone needs to know" policy.  It's become a problem in the past year.   I just find -- like being trans -- it's usually better to hide them from people who  don't know.
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I wonder if going back to college at the rate I'm going isn't tilting at windmills. I'm not adverse to tilting at windmills.  It could be said I've spent a long time doing it, including the once held assumption that I could make a living as a writer. I have, of course, done that, but things were different when I managed to do that.  In the world of the Internet, things change rapidly.

Going back to college full time is a bit different than my attempts to do something extremely difficult in the past. This time I knew I might have problems with time and energy. I'm not surprised when I encountered them, but I'm having to wonder if continuing this pace for the next two years is a good idea. My body can't take standing for more than two hours, according to Indiana's disability determination board, and they're not known for being generous with their estimates. I know that sheer stubbornness will cause me to press on regardless. I've wanted to finish a college degree, even if it's just an associate's degree for sometime. 

There are things I've discovered since going back, including the rules of being female in any technology related endeavor.   I'm going to repost these here sometime, after fixing some formatting issues I have with them. I also have one teacher who seems to be stressing that any student with a disability can ask for accommodations in my presence. (Thanks. I got the message from you and all the other professors on the first day of class when they went over the syllabus.  If I know I'll need them, I'll ask for them.)

While all of this is interesting to me, it's probably not interesting to someone who is not going back to college in their late 30s. Instead, something else has been on my mind. I've been thinking about disability as an identity versus disability as a medical phenomenon.  I'm not sure where I stand on this. If someone called me a person with a disability or a disabled person, I'd probably me mildly surprised. I do not have a preference for either one. I might have a preference if it came to me earlier in life.  My surprise comes from still not thinking of myself that way. This does not mean that I fall into the only disability in life is a bad attitude camp. It means that I still suffer from internalized ableism most likely. This should not surprise me. Internalized transphobia still haunts me even after forty years.  The teaching of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the attitudes of my father towards LGBT people explain the transphobia. I cannot explain the ableism quite so easily.


True, society does bombard us with messages that having a disability -- even a mild one -- is a disasterous occurrence. The only character on television who suffered from chronic pain was miserably misanthropic, even though he hated people long before he suffered the infarction that forced him to use a cane.  There are few other examples. When we do see people with a disability in the media, it's often about how they overcome their obstacles to achieve some incredible feat. In the past two years, I've learned that this is called inspiration porn.  As much as I hate to admit it, there are times when I still succumb to this way of thinking. It's deeply ingrained. It may not have the force of religion behind it, but it has decades of enforcement through media messages.

So, I'll probably not decide whether I follow the medical or sociological model of disability. It may be a while. The fight is a lot like the one i faced for being transgender. I knew I was transgender, but I also knew that voicing these opinions led to negative social consequences. At least with being transgender, I eventually managed to say, "This is making *me* miserable. It's time to screw society and do what I need to do."  The fact that it took 36 years says something about the anxieties I have over it.  At least I've come to the point where I've gotten used to some of the new normal.  There are some things I'm still dreading, but these are things that have not happened yet, and they may not happen at all.*



*I believe I'll soon have confirmation of having some form of dysautonomia, however, I know that I might be wrong. I also know that anxiety tends to amplify problems to be greater than they actually are. The fear I have over not being allowed to drive is an example of this, and it's something someone would have to be from a small town to understand.   Not being able to drive in a small town as an adult greatly curtails an individual's freedom.



 
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 I came down off of last week feeling slightly better. I was eager to start school and I had enough of resting and doing nothing for a long time. I’m also faced with a question regarding my LARPing activities, since they are not pressing the issue much, but I will get to that later. Right now, I’m just happy not to be sitting in the house and moping all day.

 

Almost all of my class materials have been bought, except for the one the teacher decided to spring on his students the first day. Even though there should be some sort of policy against this behavior, IvyTech does not seem to have one. Coming up with $48 for the code would not be slightly difficult under normal circumstances, but my circumstances are not normal. As I write this, I am sitting in the Wi-Fi study lounge, taking a quick break from doing some of the coursework. It’s been a busy week and I have a lot to cover. The book does not come with a code in the bookstore.

 

The first item is public transportation. I’m not overly impressed with Terre Haute’s bus system, but I am glad it is there. Bus trips take longer than car trips, but they must accommodate all the stops in between. I even managed to get to physical therapy yesterday without having to be driven there. (Note: The roommate isn’t letting me drive while the arm is healing; I decided not to drive at least until two days after the tilt table test. While I strongly suspect POTS* or some other form of Dysatonomia, I would like confirmation if possible. At least I know I’m not the first spoonie to be cheering for a medical test to come back positive. We know something is wrong; Our doctors think we’re nuts or doing it for attention. One thing that seems odd to have done at 39 is to set the alarm for 5 pm and miss the bus to get to classes. Fortunately, even though this event happened today, my roommate took me to class. I really wish I could do something to properly thank Cathy for all she’s done through this.

 

I think I’ve rediscovered my love of computers, programming them, working on them (somewhat – I’ve never been too thrilled with hardware issues. Some of these repairs require coordination.) I’m not sure that server administration is right for me and part of me really wants to switch to software development. My primary objection to coding so many years ago was the Visual suite of programming applications and look-alikes like Delphi. These programming environments have been replaced by programming for the web. I’m perfectly fine with doing that.

 

The first week is over. I’m a little nervous about whether or not I can keep down assignments. The idea some professors have of skipping the lectures and putting the information down as PowerPoint presentations bothers me, but I’ll get to this over the weekend. At least the school has provided lunch from a local barbecue place for the past few days. Eating it outdoors yesterday was a nice break.

 

As for the Mind’s Eye Society, I need to pay my dues, and I’m going to do that anyway. Now that I’m not mad, I can see where they are coming from. They wanted me to be in better control of my actions and emotions. I believe this attitude comes from the games itself where someone can spend willpower to temporarily override what the game calls derangements. Real life does not work this way. Suppressing something temporarily only causes it to pop up somewhere else later. If the Changeling storyteller hadn’t been the target that night, someone else would have been. Sadly, the only person who gets any of this is the person with Graves’ Disease who had his own melt downs about a year ago before taking medication to suppress his thyroid. I don’t know how many of them also have the attitude that people get better. No one has any idea that people with Hashimoto’s get put on an emotional rollercoaster, whether they want to be or not. I think they’re getting that idea now.

 

Before I ramble too much, the issue is this. I can come back. These meltdowns are going to happen continuously until my immune system kills off my thyroid. (I hope it doesn’t go searching for something else to attack after it’s done, but I’ve only seen a suggestion that it automatically happens on extremely pseudo-scientific websites.) If I am concerned about not hurting people over this, the best thing to do is quit. It is no different than a baseball pitcher who has to give up his career after a rotator cuff injury. I may have no choice but to be on an emotional rollercoaster, but I don’t want to take everyone around me with me. I’m not even paralyzed by anxiety over this; I simply don’t want to do it. No matter how many times I tell myself it’s the right course of action, I just can’t bring myself to believe it emotionally.

I have not asked for accommodations, but it does not seem like I'll need the school to do anything so far.
 

 

*It may be okay to just say I have it in casual conversation. The same might be true for EDS. It’s just telling doctors what I have should be avoided unless it’s already been documented or they need to know. That makes them suspicious. At least I have confirmed Hashimoto’s Disase.

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 Last night's Elementary featured an autistic character as a love interest for the title character. (I wasn't going to post today at all, but I needed to get as much of this out while it was still as fresh as possible.)

When it comes to myself, I don't consider myself to be Autistic. I know I have Asperger's Syndrome or whatever it is now, but it seems that I've never been aware of how it affected my life.  I noticed that she tended to break some of her sentences up the way I do at times, although I doubt I would have noticed this if I hadn't started doing videos. She often seemed to focus more on not picking up on signals. Now, this seems a bit unrealistic to me. I know I often don't pick up on non-verbal cues and I am terrible at recognizing flirting.  

I have also, never in my life, described anyone as Neurotypical, although she did so frequently.  To his credit, Johnny Lee Miller's character responded that he abhorred the typical.  She also seemed to be far more obsessive about things than I am, including trying to make sure she followed appropriate social proprieties.

Now, she had very little to do with the main case, but I was surprised to see a depiction of a person with autism on television as a sexual being, and a possible Romantic love interest for one of the main characters.  I think there may have  been some flaws in the actress's performance, but I'll let other people judge that.

As for applying these things to me -- well, if I ever figure out how to have a successful romantic relationship with a member of the opposite sex or of the same sex, I'm sure I will let you know.   I think it may be wise for me to try her strategy of letting other people know what she wanted because she couldn't read them.

As to why I've never defined myself that way -- I've just never felt a need.  Something about the autistic communities I've seen online just doesn't click with me. Maybe that's because I see way too much from Autism $peaks.
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 I know this is something that will not keep me up at night, although I probably should spend more time thinking about it than I have, and I've come up with two ways to make my site more accessible, and they are within my price range at the moment, although they will not necessarily be the highest quality available.

The first idea was to do a brief podcast that runs down all the major news stories of the site on the week.  I don't intend to recap them word-for-word, but I do think a brief highlights should give people an idea of what I'm talking about.

The second idea is to use video to do the same thing I did in my podcast. I'm not terribly thrilled about the latter idea since I've never been all that big a fan of appearing on video.  

Also, I think I need to start a new blog here just for  backlink purposes. I'd rather not have the people who subscribe to his or my other feed get spammed with promotional links.

I'm not exactly sure how these will help make my site more accessible.  Maybe I should just put each story on audio instead of the podcast idea?

I'm just putting this here because I know Vlad will have ideas I have not considered and I appreciate her feedback. I'll also ask for Feedback on Tumblr, who will have ideas both positive and negative about what I am doing. The latter should not be avoided necessarily.

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 I just came back from the appointment this morning. It was just a brief session to inform me what Indiana's Office of Vocational Rehabilitation offered.  It is a job placement program, and I've not had good luck with such services in the past.  Hopefully, it'll be more useful than the temp service that placed me in a manufacturing job. (I held that job for a week before getting fired. Jobs that requires speed and a lot of gross motor skills do not work well for me.)

It lasted for about a half-hour.  There was no paperwork to sign, and the only note he wrote down during the meeting happened to be my name.  I think I might have overdressed for this appointment a bit, but I wasn't sure if it was supposed to be a job interview or just meeting with someone to set something up. It turned out to be the latter.

Now, I have to go back to bed and catch up on some lost sleep.  

Note to self: Call attorney after I finish napping.
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I’ve patiently waited for the reconsideration letter for SSI.  I know it was held up because they waited for records from my rheumatologist and the physical therapist. The mail came late today, but the letter I had been expecting arrived in the mail.  I prepared myself before I opened the envelope. The letter inside probably did not contain good news.  The first sentence of the letter confirmed the expected results. As before, I had received an ‘other work’ letter.   They were more specific about the types of work I could not do.  The letter said I can adjust to jobs that do not require no more than occasionally climbing ramps, stairs, ladders, ropes or scaffolds, balancing, stooping, kneeling, crouching or crawling while avoiding concentrated exposure to wetness, machinery, and heights.

All of these items seem to be carefully tailored to suggest that I could do my last job just fine as it required virtually none of these things, but it did require standing for long periods of time, which I also have difficulty doing. I wonder if this was carefully calculated to make me think I should feel guilty about being forced out of my last job.  It's hard for me to say, and I shouldn't attribute motives to an agency full of people who do not know me personally.

It’s not a surprise that the Social Security Administration would deny my SSI claim at this stage. The requirements for getting through on the first try are pretty specific, and I would not want to meet them. Making it hard to get is a good thing in a way, but it doesn’t make things easier for people who actually have lost the ability to work.  It’s a good thing I’ve got friends who can help me get through this, but they’re not exactly in the best shape financially, either.

I will just have to appeal the decision and go before an administrative law judge. In the meantime, I'm going to have to have a talk with the housemate about why it is inappropriate to extend shopping trips by fifteen to twenty-five minutes because she wants to buy glycerin to make her own body wash.
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I still listen to Rush Limbaugh.  In the past, I faithfully listened to the entire program. Now, I turn him off when he goes on some ridiculous rant or goes on at length about some point my real-life experience has taught me he is wrong about. Lately, he's been lamenting the fact that so many Americans are not working, even though they are still able to eat. He sees this as a bad because it does not encourage people to look for work. Like many Conservative commentators, he drones on about the poor labor force participation rate. Limbaugh never says that these people are too lazy to look for jobs, although this is the unspoken assumption. The truth is far more complicated.

The decreasing unemployment numbers do have to do with the number of Americans who have given up or who are no longer on unemployment or similar programs. Someone who falls off of the unemployment rolls because they have given up longer for work does not count against the statistics. Some, perhaps, have given up because they are lazy and do not want to work. Most people simply cannot find a job. Republican legislators, including the Republican governor of Indiana, seem to think that forcing people into job search programs will increase the labor force participation rate, or that involuntary self-directed job search programs will give the people they skills they need to maintain employment.

These are popular talking points among the Republican-controlled legislature of the Hoosier State, but they ignore the reality. The talking points reinforce the stereotypes that poor people are lazy and morally deficient. Their constituency loves this message and continues to vote them into office. Meantime, the actual statistics are ignored. Indiana has 20 counties that have unusually high rates of poverty, and Vigo County has the third highest poverty rate in the state. (This is something I learned from members of the Vigo County School board.)

As even the Deseret News pointed out, if someone wants the workfare programs to be useful, they need to provide incentives to both the participants and the companies who run these programs to find people jobs. Otherwise, the only thing that will change is forcing people off of the SNAP program. If that and reinforcing the image of the state as being hard-working is the only thing that matters, then the welfare reform programs in the United States have succeeded in their goal. If their goal is to get fewer people to eat or to depend more on food pantries, Pence is succeeding in his goal.

Pence thinks the IMPACT program targets able-bodied adults without dependents. It even says it in the program description. Political paperwork, however, seldom matches reality. People with severe depression, suffering from other mental illnesses, or people using canes or crutches frequently find their way into this program. The people in the program are expected to get notes from their doctors, which they may not be able to get if they do not have health insurance.Pence wants Hoosiers to have skin in the game. Neither he nor the people who use this phrase have any idea what this phrase means. If he means having a stake in it, I already do. I paid sales taxes and Indiana state income taxes this year.

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I got the mail when I came back from a minor grocery shopping trip today. As I went through the mail box, I found a letter from the Indiana Department of Workforce Development and a letter from the Family and Social Services Administration. I did not know why the latter agency contacted me, but I did not expect the former one to have good news for me. I opened the letter without optimism after I put away the groceries.

It was not good news. It said that I could not get unemployment because I was not able and available. It included a penalty date, but it did not say when the penalty period would end. I assume this means it is an indefinite period, which means I am now stuck in the limbo of the disability system.

I would have been understandably upset at this letter, even though I expected this outcome. The other letter, however, added further insult. It was letting me know an IMPACT (Indiana Manpower and Comprehensive Training) session had been scheduled for me. I really want to cancel this because it’s a mistake, but I can’t afford to lose food stamp benefits right now.

I really wish life would just let up on me right now, rather than throwing one thing after another. It’d be nice if something happened that would make the current situation easier. And I seem to be losing appetite, another sign of depression. (Of course, one of my ways of dealing with depression is overeating, which isn’t good.)


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 Spending time in fibro chat room can be depressing. Such forums often turn into a vehicle to air their complaints. However, it's also one of the few places you'll find other people who understand.  Last night, the topic turned, as it often does, to the financial struggles each of the regular chatters face. One person, who lives in Ireland, successfully got her social security equivalent. The people in the United States are still struggling with various elements of the disability system in the United States. Most of us are stuck in disability limbo. We are either married or have support from another source.  All of us would rather not have to live off of other people in this matter.  The system, in each of the states in question, seems to be the same one that exists in Indiana. The other two people I see regularly in the same situation cannot even get food stamps because their husbands make too much money.  (Now, everyone here, for some bizarre reason, has been diagnosed with fibromyalgia and some form of arthritis, even if the form is non-specific. I think it's just coincidence.)  Eventually, she expressed regret that there is no help for people like us.

And she's exactly right.  Even though she's in her late 50s and fairly close to collecting social security benefits anyway, the government expects her to prove that she cannot do the work that she used to do.  Her doctors told her to stop working, but the Social security administration is making her wait to even get the initial review. (The one that almost always says the doctors are wrong and someone either is not disabled or can do some other form of work.)  They sent her case into administrative review and she has to wait until December to even get that answer. My case went quickly.  I think they'll take more time with the reconsideration, as they're actually seeking out the records that exist under my dead name.

In the meantime, we exist in limbo. We live and keep roofs over our heads, but we enjoy this privilege only as long as others tolerate us. We're forced with living on the street or finding a new job to keep us afloat. As far as the government is concerned, getting a new job means we did not need to apply in the first place. If the same problem happens, the law does not consider that we were only delaying the inevitable to avoid the unpleasant circumstances of not having an income.

Part of me really wants to go back to Pennyslvania, but I'm stuck here for now, unless some other miracle occurs.
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 The state of Indiana continues to be helpful with my current situation. I set out this morning to apply for the Lifeline program, to go to the Work One office to see if I could figure out what was going on, and I had to stop at the Division of Family Resources building to clear up something with my SNAP claim. I did not intend to do the last item, but I found out they had canceled my food stamp claim on the phone earlier this morning.

 The SNAP issue was resolved quickly.  The workers figured it was some sort of common SNAFU with the main office in Marion County, who probably didn’t bother to read the official separation e-mail I sent them. It’s one less worry at least.

 Next, I went to the Catholic Charities building, which usually has a sign outside advertising the SafeLink program. No one put the sign out today, so I will have to wait for another time to use that method. This was a minor setback, and I can apply for the program online.

 With that out of the way, I set out for the Workforce building to see if there was anything that could be done with my unemployment claim.  I found out that it was still waiting available because I quit for medical reasons. I was told the process could take up to ten weeks, and there was no guarantee I would be approved. The worker still said I had to keep filing until the decision is made. (This does not make sense to me, but it just seems to be one of the hoops I have to jump through.)

 I wish I knew more about how to navigate this state’s systems, but it seems there are frustrations at every turn. Now it’s time rest and to recover the energy spent this morning.  Then, I can go on to doing dishes and baking bread.

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The State of Indiana realizes that anyone may develop a chronic illness that affects an individual's ability to work. If this happens to you, the  Family and Social Services Administration is ready to provide the tools such individuals need. The state legislature developed the following safety net programs for people who do not qualify for unemployment, TANF, or other safety nets . The following document provides the resources that Hoosiers disabled by chronic illness need to continue living.   Indiana residents can choose from one of three options: mooching off of friends or relatives, living on the streets and begging, or becoming a meth dealer.
 
Mooching Off  of Friends or Relatives
 
If you have friends or relatives willing to take you in, the Family and Social Services Administration recommends this option. Mooching off of friends or relatives places no additional burden on the taxpayers, does not increase the rate of homelessness in the state’s urban areas,  and does not violate Indiana code.   We recommend that you have rich relatives or a large family to support you for an indeterminate amount of time. Having a large family increases the chances that you will survive until social security disability payments start.  After alienating a relative or friend, you can move on to the next one.
 
Living On the Streets and Begging
 
This may seem like a drastic option, but it provides benefits that mooching off of friends or relatives does not. Many faith-based programs are available to help homeless adults who are not Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender.  Churches and soup kitchens provide meals to people without permanent residences, and clothing drives help keep people warm during the colder months. Occasionally, local police officers will help homeless individuals with a place to stay that provides free meals and medical care. Many local ordinances prohibit panhandling, but individuals who can make legible signs can support themselves if they do well. Shelters exist to take in non-LGBT homeless adults during the harsh Midwestern winter nights.
LGBT Adults should consider changing their sinful life-style if they wish to be worthy of receiving these benefits.
 
Becoming a Meth Dealer
 
Technically, this violates federal and state laws. The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration recommends not getting caught. Getting caught dealing drugs results in  a lengthy prison sentence,  but being sent to prison can be beneficial for unemployed individuals.  While in prison, you do not need to worry about food, housing, or medical care in many circumstances. (Some people might fall through the cracks if the guards believe you are too disabled, a member of a minority, severely mentally ill, or simply faking an illness.)  You will meet meet interesting people during your prison sentence.  If you manage not to get caught, you have a career that can provide you with a great deal of wealth while helping to reduce the surplus population. You are also contributing to one of the state's largest industries.
 
The State of Indiana wants to make sure all Hoosiers succeed, and it has provided this pamphlet to you free of charge. Good luck in your future endeavors.
 
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When my GP at the time gave me the fibromyalgia diagnosis, he asked about my quality of life. I did not know what the phrase meant then. Even though I’ve seen more people use it as I’ve read about the experiences of people with disabilities, I am still not sure what the phrase means.  Perhaps someone else could explain this to me.

Does quitting my job lower my quality of life?  Some people would say it does. The state of Indiana Family and Social Services Administration seems to think that I’m still an able-bodied adult.  I can forgive them for this since they do not have my current medical records. Staying on the job and the stress that came over worrying about being fired would also fall under this broad category. Perhaps the promoters of this phrase are talking about something else.

Is my quality of life lower because there are days when I must rest because of pain or fatigue?  I’m not bedridden, unlike some other fibromyalgia patients. Even if I were, not everyone needs or wants a great deal of social interaction. Some people would be completely content alone in a library at the end of the world, and I would be content to live in such a world even if I broke my glasses. It seems that we must look elsewhere to find the phrase’s meaning.

Is my quality of life lower because I no longer do some of the things I used to do? True, I don’t do some of the things now that I would enjoy doing. As we mature, however, we stop doing many things we once enjoyed doing.  All it means is that things have changed. I still enjoy playing with building toys, such as Legos and Erector sets, but I no longer play with these toys unless a younger relative is involved.  It’d be fun to break out the Legos and build things with them, but other adults would look at me strangely. Yet another exploration of the meaning of the phrase falls apart.

Maybe people think my quality of life is lower because I use a cane.  I’ve seen the occasional look of pity I get from older people. I have also heard phrases like, “Isn’t getting older fun?” Plenty of people use canes and seem to be content with their lives.  A cane is simply a tool.  It supports a painful limb, and it prevents the falls that occur because of dizziness or muscle weakness.

I can make guesses about what people mean all day. The phrase bugs me.  People seem to use this phrase when they want to make a comparison based on their lives.  The context suggests that there is threshold. If a person falls below this threshold, then their life is not worth living. I do not live anyone else’s life.  I can only say I am willing to continue this life.  If a doctor is really concerned about my quality of life, they can give me a portion of their income.  Supplementing my income with additional money would do more to improve the quality of my life than asking me silly questions or prescribing prescription drugs ever could. 

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