OPM Disability Retirement: When Once Sleep is No Longer Restorative

Sleep is more than the cessation of activities; it is a state of slumber and dormancy, when one can effectively escape from the daily stimuli of variegated bombardments; as an escape, it allows for the mind to suspend the frantic functioning of communicating and conveying the billions of information bits which must be perceived, processed, bundled, interpreted, and delivered to the destination needed for instantaneous response and decision-making.

Such a complex, subconscious and underlying process may be comprised of a simple act as mundane as scratching an itch located in one’s lower extremity; or it may be to respond to an emergency of epic proportions involving countless lives.  But for each response and particularized stimuli, the multitude of processing venues which the mind must filter requires a time of restorative relief, known variously as that state of “sleeping”.

Thus, for the Federal and Postal employee — whether in law enforcement in tracking down criminals and drug cartels; or for Federal prosecutors who must weave a complex web of details to put together a case; or for the window clerk at the Postal Service who must respond to multiple queries from customers on an hourly basis; all are subjected to varying degrees of information processing by the brain, which requires complex connections occurring beneath the skin, within the protective skull of our brains, and sent to destinations throughout our bodies.

At the end of the day, sleep becomes a necessity, for purposes of restorative value, to rejuvenate mind, body, and the classic “ghost in the machine” — the human soul.  But when sleep is no longer restorative; when the chronic pain interrupts the required time of suspended dormancy; or when the anxieties of the human psyche overwhelm us with uncontrollable ruminations of fears both real and created — then sleep itself becomes an enemy of our own making.  Without that period of restorative suspended dormancy, the very lack of sleep exacerbates those other medical conditions which dominate our daily lives.

Federal Disability Retirement, whether under FERS or CSRS, through the Office of Personnel Management, allows for the Federal or Postal employee to escape that vicious cycle of medical condition/lack of sleep/progressive deterioration/work/back to the constancy of the debilitating medical condition.  Perhaps it is time to rethink the paradigm.

Federal Disability Retirement is a step forward for Federal and Postal employees, in order to reach that point of restorative sleep needed, for the health of the human psyche.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

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