OPM Retirement for Psychiatric or Physical Incapacity: One among many

Does it tell us anything that we recognize that we are merely one among many?  Does such an awareness actually add anything to one’s conscious life, or is it just another one of those pithy egotistical “self-realization” statements that purports to sound profound but adds little, if anything, to any existential intuition beyond the words themselves?

Does a lone dog pampered by its owner have a similar awareness when it is taken for a walk, encounters other dogs or sees rabbits scurrying across the suburban landscape?  Does it pause and reflect: I am merely one among many?  Is language a prerequisite to conscious awareness of one’s place in the universe, or is the mere fact of existence enough to bring about an instinctive realization of the same relevance?

To be “one among many” certainly brings about a certain perspective, does it not — perhaps of one’s significance or irrelevance; that each has a burden or part to play, but is not necessarily responsible for the entirety of the problems encountered; and perhaps even of a sense of community or sharing-ness, that one is merely one cog in a complex multitude of wheels spinning about in a universe that is often impervious and uncaring?

Medical conditions, however, have a way of destroying even that perspective, in that it makes loners of us all.  When a medical condition hits, it leaves one with a profound sense of isolation, where one begins to think and believe that no one else in the universe experiences the pain, tumult, angst and loss of joy, and that the one suffering from the medical condition is all alone in the universe.  To that extent, the statement that one is “one among many” helps to remind one that, No, others too have gone through similar trials and circumstances, and such suffering is not unique in this world.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it is important to recognize that while each person’s condition is unique, it is also shared by many others.

Federal Disability Retirement itself is a recognition that the frailty of the human condition must sometimes allow for an end to a career, but that further, productivity in some other career or vocation is still possible.

Federal employees and Postal workers are one among many, and preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is to share the burden of self-realization that while your medical condition may indeed be unique to you, you are not alone in the need to change direction and move on into another and more promising future where the one among many may be many more than you first thought.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire