There is an old saying that is often passed down in families by oral tradition that says every family has a “crazy” uncle or aunt. These individuals are often singled out for ridicule by being the butt of humorous stories about their eccentricities and odd behavior. While many of these stories are likely apocryphal, the sentiment is the same: mental illness is something to be laughed at and embarrassed about. We now live in the 21st century, an age that has seen the development and advancement of amazing technologies that allow the diagnosis and treatment of psychological problems that were unimagined even 30 years ago. Yet still, within the wider community, the image of mental illness as a character flaw or lack of willpower persists. All too often friends and family urge a person in the throes of depressive disorder to “cheer up” or just “get over it.” People with chronic anxiety are told they need to “calm down” or “grow up.” Yet, medical science tells us that willpower alone does not cure mental illness. These are physiological conditions that need to be treated as such. And, while many times proper treatments do work to minimize symptoms, it is often the case that the individual will be dealing with the illness for the rest of his or her life.
When mental illness creates a situation in which a person cannot go to work, it can be devastating to the individual and his or her family. In these cases, application for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits may be appropriate. While complicated to diagnose and document, an experienced disability attorney has handled many such cases, and knows how to gather evidence and present a case.
We know that psychological problems are illnesses just like cancer or lupus. Further, because we have handled these cases and seen the consequences of mental illness, we attempt to treat each case with the compassion and attention it deserves. Mental illness is hard enough to deal with, without the added stress of being told to just suck it up and deal with it, and having to navigate the complicated machinery of the Social Security Agency by oneself may be too much to handle.