The Internet allows for everyone to have access to information; what it does not do, is to methodologically assure the sequencing of accuracy, legitimacy, or even of relevance in the wide dissemination of “it”. One thing is clear, however; the society as a whole has changed; but whether such alteration of human interaction has been a positive ingredient, or one which will have lasting determinants of destructive tendencies, only time will tell.
The pendulum of history swings widely and with slow, deliberative force; years ago, there was a time when the hint of psychiatric conditions resulted in the shunning of individuals; the taboo of Freudian caricatures still resided, and acceptance of its legitimacy still questioned. Today, there is acceptance, yes, but ignorance is never erased, and pervasive opinions amounting to a level of ridicule seems to insidiously creep in, of a perspective that as every other person on the street is on prozac or some form of psychotropic medication, so the ancillary consequence of that is to denigrate the seriousness of a clinically diagnosed psychiatric condition. If everything is something, then all somethings becomes nothing, as all somethings become equalized in the morass of everything-ness.
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from Major Depressive Disorder (or a combination of that, as well as other psychiatric disorders which often link to, accompany and present co-occurrences), the lack of understanding or empathy by coworkers, and suspicions created in the workplace, become palpable.
We like to think that society has progressed to a point of an evolutionary pinnacle, but the fact is that as more information is disseminated and made available, the loss of esotericism seems to have a negative impact. Encounters often unveil the ignorance of societal biases: most people still hold on to the view that, if only you “pulled yourself up by the bootstraps”, that somehow you can overcome your sadness and state of malaise. But the clinical diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder is nothing like that (with attendant co-diagnoses, often, of Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, etc.).
It is a malaise beyond mere episodic sadness; with overwhelming loss of value of life, and of uncontrollable sense of hopelessness and helplessness. It is, for Federal and Postal workers, a legitimate basis for filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.
Whatever those busybody neighbors have said or not; of those inconsequential cracks by coworkers or ignoramuses; the fact is, Major Depressive Disorder is a serious psychiatric condition of epic proportions, and one which debilitates an individual. But there is a conceptual distinction, as always, to be made between having a medical condition, and proving that medical condition to OPM in an effective Federal Disability Retirement application.
It is the latter which must be considered when preparing, formulating and filing for OPM Medical Retirement; as to the former, continued treatment with pharmacologic and therapeutic intervention is the favored path, and never to fret alone in the abyss of one’s own wisdom.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire
Mr. McGill, good morning/afternoon. I read some of your very interesting column/post. I am a federal employee and contemplating of filing a medical retirement but I don’t know how to begin. I am currently diagnosed with MDD and currently taking depression medicine. I’ve been working in federal for close to 11 years and a retired Marine served for 26 years. I ask your opinion/guidance and hoping that you will be able to help me. Thank You, Sir.