Federal Disability Retirement: Tempering euphoria

Life presents a wide spectrum; it is the limitation of one’s mind that restricts the expanse of that endless stream flowing on either side.  Euphoria rises to the pinnacle of that swinging pendulum; the high that reaches, follows upon a subsequence reversal of the tidal wave, and comes crashing down in fits and tumults of dismaying turbulence.  Does it necessarily need to be contained?

In modernity, and in society generally, there is a level and pitch of discomfort when intense feelings and exuberant outbursts of excitement surpass a certain arc of acceptability; there is no rule or law governing the demarcation where acceptance, discomfort and outright rejection are dissected, but it is there nonetheless.  It is like the line between light and darkness created by a campfire in the twilight on a beach that reaches forever beyond the darkness of the sea; yes, somewhere the glow of the fire ends and complete darkness begins, but we can never perceive with clarity where that boundary lies.

Some neuroscientists ascribe to the view that the extreme of euphoria occurs when there is a simultaneous, concurrent activation of all hedonic trigger-points with the brain’s rewarding system of stimulus-responses, but surely many have experienced such a state without the coalescence of such a perfect storm?  As the antonym of dysphoria, it is perhaps another hidden vestige of our evolutionary past, where intensity of emotional response was necessary for survival in a state of nature.

In civilized society, however, tempering euphoria – except in limited circumstances of heightened stimulation within the privacy of one’s home and restricted to context-appropriate circumstances – is what is expected, presumed and demanded.  There is always somewhat of an experiential oxymoron when a person manifests an unfettered state of euphoria; somehow, we all suspect that behind the uncontrolled exuberance will follow a “down” state which closely aligns itself with depression and despondency.

Is there really anything wrong with unrestrained expressions of pleasure and happiness?  Or, are we just being old fogeys and fuddy-duddies when we raise an eyebrow to such unsolicited declarations?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have filed 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, the issue of tempering euphoria is applicable within the context of having contact with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  Waiting for months upon tiring months for OPM to respond can be exhausting.  Then, when a decision is made, one can become overwhelmed by the sheer revelation of information, whether euphoric or dysphoric.

Why tempering euphoria is important, is because filing for Federal Disability Retirement through OPM is a process, and must be seen as such.  There are many potential “stages” to the administrative process, and the bureaucracy as a whole does not lend itself well to emotional states of responsive exuberance.

In the end, it is not only civilized society that sees the benefit in tempering euphoria through normative means of behavioral reactions, but for the very sake of keeping expectations and emotions in check, tempering euphoria is a necessary mandate when dealing with the juggernaut of OPM’s indifference in the multiple stages of a Federal Disability Retirement application.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement: Counting coup

It is not always in the outward and very-public display of emotions, in which a battle is fought and won; often, it is the restraining of a capacity and potential to reflexively counter, but held back just at the point of harm, that determines the pinnacle of gaining prestige.

Acts of bravery for a Plains Indian did not necessarily require harm inflicted upon an enemy; counting coup and the subsequent rise in respect and prestige could involve the mere touching of an enemy, while escaping unharmed despite that close encounter with the savage face of danger.  It is not always in the completion of an intended act that the standard by which the success or failure of the act is judged; rather, just at the point of fulfillment, the holding back or the deliberate withdrawal can be the penultimate evidence that one could have, but by sheer will of grace of self-control, did not.

In Western Civilization, perhaps the parallelism can only be embraced with an analogy of sorts; of the subtle remark with a duality of meanings, placed just at the right time in response to an otherwise untamable tongue wagging about with destructive force by its aggressive tone, ugly words and offensive remarks.  Or, of the realization that one is now a prisoner in an “enemy” camp, and the escape out is to stealthily retreat in the quiet of a proverbial night, without harming the members who may once have been counted as friends and colleagues.

This is often the situation the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker finds him/herself in, when a medical condition arises and the Federal or Postal employee is no longer able to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job.  Suddenly, the Federal or Postal employee is treated as an “enemy”, and the initial reaction is to counterattack, as the initial onslaught by one’s coworkers, supervisors, managers, etc., was neither deservedly received no invited by any act or statement by the innocent Federal or Postal worker.

But is the battle – the actually harm inflicted and the legal imbroglio ensuing – worth the hassle?  Or, is it better to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, submitted (ultimately) to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and like the warriors of past in the battles fought in the far-off Plains of the American West, before the white settlers came to decimate and exterminate with the modern technology of weaponry unheard of in its efficiency as a killing machine – is it preferable by counting coup and withdrawing unharmed, in order to secure a future brighter for tomorrow, and less left with the residue of bloodstained wounds harboring lasting pain in the essence of one’s soul.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Medical Retirement from Federal Gov. Employment: Degree versus knowledge

Does a degree hold as much worth, if everyone possesses one?  Why are the economics of supply and demand not attached to degrees conferred by so-called institutions of “higher learning”?  Is the degree conferred of value because of the opportunities granted by the elevated status, or by the knowledge gained and imparted?  Or is the disjunctive bifurcation into universes of counterparts, between diploma represented as opposed to a jewelry box of wisdom, an offer of false alternatives, when some may indeed gain knowledge as well as certification in completion of courses advanced?

If everything is nothing, and nothing constitutes the combined aggregate of everything, can a distinction with a difference be proffered?  So, if everyone has gone to college, and the conferring of a degree is disseminated to all, has nothing been gained by the accessibility to everything?  It is, of course, best represented by Cordelia in Shakespeare’s Tragedy, King Lear, where he responds to the hesitant daughter, “Nothing will come of nothing”, and entreats her to further to expound by extravagant and flowery profusion of meaningless trope; or would it have been meaningless?

The silence which ensues between the cacophony of emotions in the short scene is painful and agonizing.  The old king whose feelings have been devastated; the insincere showering of expressed flattery by his other daughters; the pauses and elongated silences between entreaty and loss of words; for, it is ultimately that wide expanse and abyss between the words fabricated and the intent revealed, which formalizes the fate of a person’s soul and destined catastrophe.

It is the identical nature of a degree versus knowledge, and there are multiple parallels and counterparts of such contending artifices of conceptual constructs enamored; of silence versus quietude; of peace which merely poses as a veil for a ceasefire.  Knowledge is what is lacking in a society that promotes glitter, padded resume and degrees dispensed with abandon and devalued wisdom.

There are exceptions, however, and the pragmatic cynic will counter with:  Would you allow an individual without a medical degree to perform surgery upon a vital organ?  The answer, of course, is an unqualified “no”.  And that is why, in a Federal Disability Retirement application, the case-law conferred and rendered by Administrative Law Judges at the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board have consistently held that a treating doctor possesses the greater credibility in formulating an effective Federal Disability Retirement application in a Federal Disability Retirement case, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

For, like the issue surrounding the distinction between “degree” versus “knowledge”, the medical doctor who has never treated a particular patient, but who certifies that the Federal or Postal worker is unable to perform one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal employee’s positional duties, is likened to a person who wears the formalities of credentials, but lacks the individualized knowledge elevated to the heightened ascendency to wisdom, representing the doctor who has had multiple clinical encounters and can determine the capacity and capabilities of the Federal Disability Retirement applicant with confidence paralleling the man of knowledge who may lack a degree, but never fails to notice the pitfalls present on the pathway to an unlit gaze upon the heavenly stars of folly.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


OPM Disability Retirement from Federal Employment: Far-Flung Universes

Each generation tells a generic story reflective of the times; and thus did the Great Depression era produce movies and epics with undertones of escapism from the harsh realities of life; of the 60s, the fear of nuclear holocaust and the confrontation of the Cold War; of the following decade revealing the hesitation for  technology and its pervasive intrusion into the privacy of our lives; and so on, so the anxiety, fear and loathing goes.

Throughout, people escape in their own private ways, through daydreaming, imaginative time-travels as in the classic short story by James Thurber depicted in, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”; and other times in nightmares and dreams controlled only through the breaches in our subconscious.  It often seems as if the far-flung dimensions and dominions of hope save us only through living in those other-world universes, if only for a moment, a period, a time and a day.

Vacations and weekends only delay the inevitable, and then the harshness of who we are, what we have become, and where we are going, all come crashing back, like the rolling waves of thunderous whitecaps which bellow in the echoing chambers of the far recesses of our minds.

For the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to threaten one’s livelihood, resulting in the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service beginning subtle (or not so) noises of increasing pressures through adverse actions, like unpleasant abdominal groans which should remain private but echo out into the public domain, it may be time to escape the escapism of the alternate universe and become “real” by considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

Other and far-flung universes offer hope beyond dreams, but when the dream is shattered by the progressively deteriorating forces of a present-day reality, it is time to travel back to the origins of reality, and face a full-frontal confrontation of what the pragmatic steps of day-to-day concerns must by necessity bring, and begin to prepare, formulate and file for OPM Disability Retirement benefits.

Alternate dimensions indeed reflect the times one lives in, and may even represent a pleasant moment in time, a respite away from the harshness of today’s reality; but when the awakening occurs, one must shake away the cobwebs of fantasy, and face the serious concerns of one’s angst-filled day, as the medical condition will not go away, the Federal agency and the U.S. Postal Service will not fade, and the fight to survive will remain as real today as it will be tomorrow.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire