Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Man Needs To Learn That Depression Is A Full-Time Disability

Dear Tazi:

I have the opportunity to take a cross-country road trip with some friends who are in college, and I would love to go!  I have always dreamed of driving down Route 66 and having an adventure with my best friends.  We would leave the day after Christmas and return home four weeks later after driving though New Orleans, Dallas, Las Vegas, and other cool places. 

The problem with the plan is that I am on disability benefits for depression and am required to meet with my counselor on a weekly basis.  I have told my counselor that a road trip would be therapeutic for me and would be a huge help to my depression, but he doesn’t believe me and refuses to sign off on my plans.  I can go without his permission, but I am afraid that he will report me to the state and I will be dropped from disability when my case comes up for review this spring.  Why can’t people see that just because depression keeps me from holding down a job it doesn’t keep me from trying to find happiness?  Depression is an invisible disability.  Just because I look okay doesn’t mean that I am!  Can you give me some words of advice that would convince my counselor to let me bail on my daily life for a few weeks?  I honestly think this trip will help to cure me of my blues.

Easy Rider

Dear Easy Rider:

No.  What I can provide for you is a map of Route 66, and you will notice that it does not run through “New Orleans, Dallas, Las Vegas, and other cool places”. 

From what I have been told, Amarillo is kind of cool...
If you are on disability for depression it means you have a chemical imbalance in your brain that affects your ability to feel joy and/or motivation of any kind.  The fact that you are actively looking forward to going on a road trip with friends – to the point where you are seeking official permission from your counselor – tells me that your counseling and medication is helping and that your depression is not as severe as it once was.  I am not saying it is not severe enough to keep you on disability – that is for your counselor to decide – but having extensive personal goals that you feel ready to accomplish, such as a cross-country road trip, does not bode well for your future on disability. 

Since your counselor is advising against this trip, I think that you should follow his advice and not plan on going; as he is the one who evaluates your depression on a weekly basis you may want to follow his advice – even when you don’t like it.  To go on this trip against medical advice could result in devastating results for you and for your friends, who would have to deal with any fallout that would occur if you had any kind of medical complications.  Be a true friend and don’t risk ruining their good time.  There will be other opportunities for road trips once you are medically cleared to make one.

No snuggles for you!

Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.


  1. Hi Tazi,
    I love the map and it is amazing. However, I kind of have to disagree on this a little bit. Only because I also am on disability for Fibromyalgia, Autism Spectrum disorder, and have some depression and other medical conditions. I was advised by doctors and others not to go on my Florida trip, especially alone.
    But I did go on my trip and by myself and had a fabulous time. Not only that but it was the only time where nothing, not even my conditions were bothersome because I was soo busy having an amazing time to think about my pains, and other issues. I actually had proved them wrong.
    I think with the readers friends around, maybe they could help the reader be able to have a great time and be supportive of the depression by helping make the trip more fun on the bad days.
    I never agree with most of the mental health community because, in my experience and the experience of others, the doctors try to keep people with mental illness on this "rut" routine that does not allow them to get out have have the opportunities of fun that others get to have. To be honest, that "Rut" routine actually makes depression worse because it makes one feel that their lives are not as exciting. At least by having this trip, the reader could feel for once that there is a world of excitement out there and it will give some glimmer of hope. I know because I was stuck for many years in very routine schedule that did not include fun or trips. It made me feel that my life was not worth anything. Then, I went on my trip and not only felt great, but got a new motivation, go to school, move down to Florida, and have more fun.
    I know Tazi, you may not agree, but this was my experience. I wish the reader good luck with everything. Thank you Tazi for being such an amazing listener.

    1. I love and appreciate your support, Miss Maya, but stand by my advice. A month-long, cross-country road trip is fun but stressful. Someone experiencing mental illness badly enough to put them on SSDI should not attempt to make such a trip against medical advice - which is what "Easy Rider" wants.