March 2012

Desperate for Social Security Disability Benefits? Get a Hobby!

March 26, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

North Carolina Social Security Disability beneficiaries (or want-to-be beneficiaries) can learn a lot from Rock ‘n’ Roll lyrics–specifically from 38 Special’s famous song “Hold on Loosely” which warned “Just hold on loosely, but don’t let go… if you cling too tightly, you’re going to lose control.”

Those are true words–particularly if you’ve been struggling with your Social Security Disability situation. Whether you caught a nasty case of pneumonia that’s kept you bedridden for months, or you wrecked your back in a construction accident in Raleigh, you need assistance and stat.

Unfortunately, life deals out unfair results, all the time. The more you strive to achieve a certain result, the more elusive that goal often seems to become. Ask any teenage boy (or girl) who’s ever been desperate for a date to a dance. When you act out of a desperate energy–as if your life depended on a particular outcome happening (or not happening)–you cede control over your destiny.

That loss of control, in and of itself, can cripple you.

We’ve discussed this theme dozens of times in dozens of ways on this North Carolina Social Security Disability blog, but it always bears repeating.

To break free from dependency on outcome, consider getting a hobby.

That might sound strange–perhaps even a bit insulting. But don’t take it the wrong way! Hobbies can be remarkably refreshing and invigorating. Whether you knit, play chess, participate in a Rotisserie Baseball League or whatever–a hobby gives you an outlet for your talents and energies. A great hobby can get you into a “flow state” and boost your mood. It can get you socialized and build your network, which can be important if you feel isolated and alone. When you get to work at something you’re good at, you will feel more engaged with life. You will be less likely to “dread the day” and more flexible and open.

If you have no hobbies, go on a hunt for at least one–preferably one that you can do without physical taxing yourself and one that involves being with other people.

If you already have a hobby that you love, brainstorm ways to get back to doing your hobby on a regular basis.

After Your North Carolina Social Security Disability Victory…

March 21, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

Here’s a simple exercise that, dollars to donuts, you haven’t considered doing, one that can greatly enhance your quest for Social Security Disability benefits in North Carolina or elsewhere.

Open up a Word processing document (or get out your trusty Moleskine notebook) and journal on the following topic: “What would my life be like, after I’ve locked down benefits and decisively gotten on the road to healing from my injury/illness?”

It sounds like a pedantic exercise–perhaps a little boring.

But you might be surprised by how powerful this type of journaling can be. When we struggle with vexing problems, such as how to make the Social Security Disability system work, we tend to accentuate the negative and eliminate the positive (to pun on the classic song). That’s just human nature. When we get in this negative mindset, we tend to explain it away as “just being realistic.” But as elite theoretical physicists tell us, our understanding of “reality” depends sensitively on how we observe nature. Ask any serious student of Einstein’s Relativity or of the theories of quantum mechanics, and he or she will confirm: our intuitions about how Nature works are often WAY off the mark.

The point is this. When you focus on positive feelings, events, habits, and behaviors–what you would love to have in your life in the coming months and years–you can enjoy fresh energy and inspiration. This is not magic. It’s not as easy as closing your eyes and wishing your cancer or obesity into remission. But when you focus productively and proactively on good outcomes, don’t be surprised to see your behavior change and your roster of resources expand.

To that end, if you have yet to connect with a Social Security Disability law firm in Charlotte or elsewhere, please consider calling or emailing the DeMayo Law team today to set up a free consultation. We have excellent processes to help claimants like you succeed. Find out more about us online today, or call us for a free consultation at 1.877.529.1222.

When Should You “Break the Rules” and Deviate from Best Practices for Social Security Disability?

March 19, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

The average person who needs help with a North Carolina Social Security Disability claim should follow a standard set of strategies and principles — “best practices” — to maximize chances of success.

But when is it okay to deviate from these best practices? When is it more useful than not to “break the rules”? (When we say “break the rules,” we of course mean that in a metaphorical sense — you always need to follow the law or risk serious punishments!)

Different circumstances call for different strategies.

For instance, most claimants benefit from discussing their claims with Social Security Disability law firms. But some people may not need legal help. Maybe you have a gift for navigating bureaucracies. Or maybe you qualify for the Compassionate Allowances program — a special “fast track” system that allows certain very sick SSD applicants to jump the line.

Likewise, the average sick or injured person probably should sleep a lot, refrain from unhealthful behaviors, etc. But if you only have six months to live, you might decide that living without cigarettes (for example) is no longer worth the health benefits. So you start smoking. (Again, we are not advocating that anyone do that!)

The point is that you may want to modify or even throw out certain best practices based on the peculiarities of your situation.

How do you know when to deviate from best practices?

In the abstract, no one can really say.

One way to analyze this is to track your progress through metrics, somehow. For instance, maybe you want to eat a lot of junk food, even though you’re 30 lbs overweight. Ultimately, that’s your decision, even though it might not be the most healthful one. But you might hedge by tracking important metrics, such as your BMI, your triglyceride levels, and so forth, to determine how your “non-best practice behaviors” impact you.

It’s a lot easier to make decisions about what to do (and what to give up — or what to do more of!) when you understand your Social Security Disability problems in context. Let the team here at the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo educate you about your remedies, rights, and resources. Call us today for help at 1.877.529.1222.

No “Easy Button” for Social Security Disability Benefits Problems

March 14, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

As a Social Security Disability beneficiary — or perhaps more accurately, ‘would-be’ beneficiary — you’re hoping for easy answers.

You would like some person or entity to eliminate all the myriad stresses and make your life simpler. Unfortunately, because everything in your life feels so chaotic right now, you’re likely far more vulnerable to look for “easy buttons” — dangerous quick fixes.

You’re in a precarious position because of this yearning. Just peruse the web for countless examples of senior citizens — and sick and injured people — who’ve fallen victim to despicable “investment schemes” and other con games because they wanted to believe that someone, somewhere had “all the answers.”

So what can you do about your heightened vulnerability?

Unfortunately, you may not be able to eliminate all — or even most — of the uncertainty in your life. Certainly, no single blog post or even consultation with a qualified North Carolina Social Security Disability law firm will take care of all your problems.

But just being aware of your vulnerability can help. The awareness can inoculate you against false hopes, scam artists, and nonstrategic behavior.

By becoming aware, you can not only guard yourself better but also regain a sense of control. That’s very important. When you’re hurt and sick and without substantial financial means, you can easily feel at the mercy of forces beyond your control. When your primal need to exert influence on your environment does not get met, your life can feel pretty awful.

The point here is two-fold:

1. Your vulnerability can put you at risk for problems with your Social Security Disability case. Protect yourself by becoming aware of when and how you exhibit this vulnerability.

2. Your lack of control, in and of itself, can create stress and emotional problems. The more you can reassert control over your situation — even if only by minute actions — the better you’ll feel.

For a thorough consultation with an experienced North Carolina Social Security Disability law firm, connect with DeMayo Law team today at 1.877.529.1222.

Hypochondria and the Social Security Disability Beneficiary: Part II — Strategies

March 12, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

As a hypochondriac who’s in desperate need of Social Security Disability benefits to pay for critical care, drugs and therapies, living expenses, and so forth, you face a peculiar bind.

On the one hand, you are sick — sick enough to qualify for government assistance and maybe so sick/disabled that you may never return to your former employment or quality of life.

On the other hand, you know your anxiety about your health is, at least in some sense, overblown — or at least unproductive. Even if you have something terminal, you want to be able to live your life without being constantly bombarded with negative thoughts and fears. In other words, you would like to increase the efficacy of your thinking and reduce the ambient noise and drama of it.

Here are a few ideas for how to think more constructively.

1. If you haven’t started journaling, start journaling, ASAP.

We’ve talked a lot on this North Carolina Social Security Disability blog about why people should journal and how people should journal. But the message needs repeating. Your minute to minute mental chatter can lead you into a kind of mental cul-de-sac. You wind up making the same observations and having the same thoughts again and again — and these observations and thoughts are neither pleasant, nor particularly constructive.

When you journal, on the other hand, you can spit these observations and thoughts out onto paper and manage them in a more objective fashion, much as you might manage the complaints and fears of a close friend who came to you for help. Journaling also helps you track your symptoms, feelings, and fears. By gathering data, you can begin to make resourceful choices.

First of all, you have a record to show your physician, so he or she can reassess or refine your treatment based on what’s working or what isn’t working for you. Secondly, you can adjust your own routines and behaviors to be more constructive. For instance, maybe you discover, through journaling, that you can stop the hypochondria by watching your favorite movie or getting on the phone with your mom or whatever.

2. Research and learn about the condition as something apart from your main illness/injury.

When you are legitimately sick or hurt, it’s easy to come to believe that your hypochondriacal thoughts are always legitimate because you really DO need to be vigilant about your health. But you might find it resourceful to conceptualize the problem differently. You might also benefit from getting psychological treatment to work on your anxiety, depression, self-esteem issues, or whatever else may be stimulating the hypochondriacal response.

3. Get clarity on your SSD benefits situation.

When people endure uncertainty, they tend to feel stress and anxiety, and this strain can translate into somatic symptoms, which can provoke hypochondriacal responses and even cause physical damage due to the excess cycling of cortisone or other stress hormones.

When you work with an experienced Social Security Disability law firm, like DeMayo Law, you may gain clarity on your benefits situation, which can cascade down to relieve some of the stress and anxiety.

For help understanding what to do about your benefits, get in touch with us today at 1.877.529.1222 for a friendly and free consultation.

Social Security Disability and Hypochondria: Like Chocolate and Peanut Butter

March 7, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

You’ve been feeling hypochondriacal after being diagnosed with an illness or injury that’s compelled you to seek Social Security Disability benefits (in North Carolina or elsewhere).

Whether you’re a 20 something who got diagnosed with lymphoma fresh out of college; or a recent retiree stricken with lung disease, your legitimate and real health issues may spark illegitimate and needlessly stress-inducing concerns about your prognosis.

Some studies suggest that hypochondria afflicts around 5% to 6% of the North Carolina population. Although the condition seems hokey or innocuous to people who’ve never suffered from it, it can be quite debilitating.

When a hypochondriac does get sick, the emotional situation can get seriously out of control.

Some people classify hypochondria as an obsessive compulsive disorder or OCD. Methods used to treat OCD, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and meditation and conscious relaxation, often help hypochondria sufferers. But the nature of the disorder creates an unpleasant kind of bind.

You have racing and stressful thoughts related to potential health issues — “Is this lump something I need to be concerned about?” “How come I have a pain in my side?” Etc. You may intellectually understand that you need to ignore useless or trivial signals. On the other hand, part of your brain thinks “what if this is a one in a thousand situation, and this really IS a problem? Shouldn’t I proceed, out of an abundance of caution, to treat the situation as something serious, because the consequences of taking no action are worse than the consequence of seeking reassurance from a doctor for what turns out to be nothing?”

This calculus in some ways is actually rational!

We summoned a similar metaphor recently to discuss why potential claimants should contact North Carolina Social Security Disability lawyers, even when the situation seems “almost totally under control.” If your situation is that one in a thousand case that turns out to be “not so under control,” then you will be very glad you had a lawyer. The consequences of inaction in that one in a thousand situation is far worse than the slight negative consequences of action in non-situation.

We’re going to talk about practical strategies for dealing with this issue in our next blog post. In the meantime, to relieve stress regarding your case, connect with the team at the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo today at 1.877.529.1222 for a free evaluation of your case.

Overweight and Metabolically “Screwed Up” and in Need of Social Security Disability? Read this!

March 5, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

Something like two-thirds of Americans currently suffer from obesity or overweight. Being overweight puts you at higher risk for metabolic syndrome and as well as for problems ranging from obesity to cancer to diabetes. If you’re in this group, you may be so metabolically damaged that you need to apply for Social Security disability in North Carolina to pay your bills, because you’re too sick and fatigued to support yourself through work.

Obesity and the diseases that coincide with it constitute the most epic challenge facing our state and our country. Yet the conventional treatment for this problem — “just stop eating so much” — in some ways treats all obese people the same way. This one-size-fits-all solution may not be the right approach — at least for a lot of people.

According to an alternative point of view, advocated by the so-called low carbohydrate diet research community, the quality of the calories we consume matters as well as the quantity of those calories. Certain types of calories (e.g. soda calories) cause our bodies to store fat, while other calories (e.g. broccoli calories) are somehow fundamentally healthier.

The debate over the viability of this second perspective — i.e. that some calories are inherently worse than others — can get heated. Groups like the Nutrition Science Initiative (a new non-profit based out of San Diego) are trying to help us better understand what causes and perpetuates problems like metabolic syndrome and obesity.

There are several important takeaways here.

First of all, if you’ve been struggling not only with your Social Security disability benefits, but also with metabolic problems, don’t give up hope. You might still find surprising resources that can help you bust through obstacles and get results faster and more effectively than you realize.

Secondly, and to that end, if you’ve been struggling with your case — or if you’re about to confront a serious challenge to your claim at Administrative Law Judge Hearing or Reconsideration, call the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo at (877) 529-1222 for a free consultation.

The Many, Many False Beliefs about North Carolina Social Security Disability

March 30, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Are you thinking critically about your potential to get fair and easy North Carolina Social Security Disability benefits?

If you’re like most people out there, the answer is simple: almost certainly not.

How can we be so sure? Because so many patients out there – even surprisingly well-informed ones – operate based on obviously false beliefs about how the Social Security Disability application and follow-up process works. These false beliefs hamper them at all stages – Reconsideration, administrative law judge hearing, and elsewhere throughout the process.

The Big False Belief Holding You Back?

There are many false beliefs we can talk about – and this blog has gone into some depth on other posts about them. But far and away, the biggest problematic belief is the belief (hope) that the system will “take care of you.” In other words: if you just do the appropriate action steps — if you have a legitimate claim, and you can provide effective documentation — then you’ll get a fair result. You’ll be on track to receiving the right benefits at the right time without much stress.

The reality is that the system is infected with many fundamental flaws and nuances that can cause you to fail – or at least to be less than optimal in your pursuit of the benefits you need to pay for your healthcare, your housing, your home’s upkeep costs, your rehab, etc.

As a claimant – or a potential claimant – you have two basic ways of dealing with this challenge. Number one, you could try to teach yourself “the rules” using government pamphlets, free resources on the internet, etc. There is some logic to this approach. You can learn a lot online and elsewhere for free. (But discerning the “good stuff” from the “bad stuff” is harder than you might realize). At the same time, you’re likely sick, struggling financially, confused, and overwhelmed by your situation. Do you really have the time and wherewithal to sort the wheat from the chaff and figure out which experts to listen to and which experts to ignore?

A second way to go is to connect with a Social Security Disability law firm in North Carolina. You might balk at that idea at first – do you really need to pay a lawyer to help you with your claim? Won’t that cut out some money you desperately need to deal with your financial problems? The answer is not necessarily no or yes. It depends on your situation. In some cases, applicants can do fine just working the system themselves, using good guidance from trusted resources. In other cases, a law firm can be an absolutely crucial ally. A good law firm can help you cut through red tape and reduce your level of stress and uncertainty at a time in your life when things just seem so overwhelming and out of control.

The broad takeaway here, whatever path you choose, is that you must be mindful of the potentially destructive beliefs you hold about how the Social Security Disability process works – particularly question your faith that the system will “take care of you” without your having to advocate, perhaps forcibly, for your own rights and fairness.

More Web Resources.

Good Free Info on Social Security Disability

More Savvy Online Advice about Social Security Disability

When North Carolina Social Security Disability Money Seems Out of Reach…

March 27, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

If you’re struggling to secure Social Security Disability benefits in North Carolina or elsewhere, you probably feel like you have a lot in the line. You probably spend a fair amount of time thinking about how much you need the money, ruminating about what you’ll do with that money, and “catastrophizing” about what you’ll do if you don’t get enough benefits. You can get so caught up in both the hopes and the fears – the hopes that achieving your SSD goals will liberate you somehow and the fears that not getting that money will be your downfall – that you can lose perspective and make irrational, careless decisions.

As important as the money could be for you, it’s critical that you moderate your thinking about the subject. Business theorists have shown, again and again, in different arenas that success or failure at any endeavor – including financial management – is almost never caused by a single action. Instead, it’s an ongoing process of either getting better or getting worse – either moving closer towards your goals or moving away from them. This isn’t to say that there can’t be enormously powerful events that can rocket you forward or create a massive obstacle in your way. And perhaps your North Carolina Social Security Disability challenge is one of those crucial turning points in your life. But don’t necessarily count on it.

After all, according to theorists like Nassim Taleb, author of the Black Swan, these big catastrophic, “profound-seeming” events in our lives are often not apparent to us prospectively – only in retrospect can we really acknowledge the impact.

That’s all a little theoretical. So let’s break that down a bit. Think about winning the lottery. That would be a big event, right? You’d think that the moment you won the lottery would be a major tipping point in your life – pushing you towards great wealth. But studies show that’s not necessarily the case! Many lottery winners blow their money, and some even wind up bankrupt. This is because they never developed frugal habits of saving and investing, etc. So in retrospect, the Lotto win was not necessarily a big turning point in the Lotto winners’ life – it didn’t really affect his ultimate financial trajectory. Likewise, your quest for Social Security Disability may in retrospect turn out to be less important than your quest to recover from other more fundamental financial or emotional problems.

The moral here is there is really no way to know in advance whether a potential decision in your life is going to be monumentally impactful (either positive or negative) or, over the long term, pretty neutral and unimportant. That being said, when you treat big challenges in your life with awareness and attention, good things generally occur. For instance, if you’re currently financially struggling and worried about your welfare, you may benefit hugely from talking to a North Carolina Social Security Disability law firm – not only to get help with specifics like your Administrative Law Judge hearing or Reconsideration but also to get a broader understanding of your options and planning resources.

More Web Resources:

Nicholas Nassim Taleb

People Tend to Focus on the Wrong Things

Enjoying the North Carolina Social Security Disability Journey

March 23, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Life’s opportunities are often challenges in disguise, and the same might be true for your current quest for social security disability benefits in North Carolina.

Obviously, this sounds counterintuitive. After all, you are likely panicked about your medical condition, worried about how you are going to feed your family and pay your bills, and discombobulated by the amount of information about social security disability benefits you’ve found on the web. Maybe you’ve even had to suffer through a difficult administrative law judge hearing or go through reconsideration. Even if your application for benefits has not been denied, you’ve no doubt found the experience stressful and unwelcome – an annoyance (at best) that you and your family must deal with on top of an already scary and frustrating situation.

Assuming all the aforementioned is true… how can your North Carolina social security disability quest be considered an “opportunity” and how on earth should one “enjoy” it?

The answer is basically this. In the American myth, we are taught that success comes to those who buy certain things, achieve a certain level of status, acquire the right products, and so forth. Technically, we have what is known as an acquisitive mindset. We like to acquire, and we are taught that we will be unfulfilled unless until we acquire the right “stuff” (money, cars, possessions, superiority, heath, security, beauty, etc.). This acquisitive mindset is not necessarily bad or incorrect. Obviously, we all need certain basics to live and survive, and we much prefer to have things like security, wealth, health, and youth over the alternatives. The problem is that, when we frame our struggles as struggles to acquire, we ignore fundamental truths about our own psychology (i.e. what makes us happy) and also about the nature of success itself.

As scholars like Barry Schwartz and Daniel Gilbert have written about at length, experiments convincingly show that acquiring “stuff” (even security and financial stability) does not lead to happiness nearly as much as most people think it does. If you won the lottery tomorrow, for instance, your troubles wouldn’t be over, and your sense of happiness and wellbeing wouldn’t change over the long term, either.

This isn’t to say that you should be lazy or you should not pursue your North Carolina social security disability benefits aggressively and with passion and urgency. But it is to say that you shouldn’t expect SSD benefits to “change everything.” By the same token, success researchers – from modern day business theorists back to reporters like Napoleon Hill (author of “Think and Grow Rich”) — have repeatedly shown that one’s mindset can powerfully influence outcomes. If you want to maximize your chances of arriving at the destination you want, in other words, you must learn to enjoy – and perhaps even love – the journey that you are on.

More Web Resources:

Think and Grow Rich

Winning the Lottery Doesn’t Make You Happier

Confronting Your North Carolina Social Security Disability “Worst Nightmare”

March 20, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Many who apply for North Carolina social security disability benefits panic. They panic because they fear the bureaucracy, they fear rejection, and they fear going bankrupt. They panic also because they fail to think through whether or not their most catastrophic thoughts are rational or not. This is a complicated thought, but it’s a key one. So let’s unpack it.

Taking a Good, Hard Look at the Worst Case Outcomes

As the late great author Madeleine L’Engle once illustrated so beautifully in one of her science fiction stories, the key to dealing with the nameless horrors in our lives is to use the power of naming. Uncertain, amorphous fears are almost always more scary and threatening than our worst fears articulated. Philosophers like Ernest Becker have suggested, for instance, that our fear of mortality is intrinsically terrifying simply because it’s so difficult to understand what death might be like or what may come after death. The uncertainty of death creates our terror about it.

On the flipside, when you actually sit down and confront your fears – name them and work through them, intellectually – you might be amazed at how “unscary” they can become.

For instance, let’s consider a typical worst case scenario for the North Carolina social security disability beneficiary. You are very sick with a potential life threatening illness. You go through the social security disability process, get rejected and struggle through all the different appeals processes – reconsideration, the ALJ hearing, and so forth. At the end of the day, your benefits are denied. Now you don’t have money to pay for your home, your bills, and your medical care.

Sounds pretty rough, doesn’t it?

Unfortunately, situations like this are the reality for far too many North Carolinians, which is why it’s so important for would be beneficiaries to connect with a responsible North Carolina social security disability law firm early on the process. But even in that dire scenario, consider that the person would still be alive, and would still potentially have options for care, including government assistance, help from friends and family, and help from other programs. If you anticipated that worst case scenario and planned for it appropriately, perhaps you could protect some of your savings, find alternative care, and generally make the landing as “soft” as possible. Life would go on, in other words, even if life got uncomfortable for a while.

Moving out of the abstract, it might be useful for you to take some time and think for your own “worst case scenarios” for social security disability and then test them against reality. What are the actual odds of these nightmares? What would you do if they did come true? You will find that just by writing this stuff down and reconciling with it in a rational way, you will take a lot of the emotional charge out of it.

More Web Resources:

The Works of Ernest Becker

Writing Down and Dealing With Your Worst Fears

The Roots of the North Carolina Social Security Disability Crisis in the Philosophy of the Enlightenment

March 19, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

The conventional wisdom is that Social Security Disability system in North Carolina and elsewhere is broken or at least highly dysfunctional. The criticisms come from all sides.

The million-dollar question is: What are the system’s constraints? Why are we having so much trouble financially, bureaucratically, and otherwise? Why is it so difficult for so many would-be beneficiaries of Social Security Disability in North Carolina to get results and to be treated with respect and empathy? Why is the Social Security Disability program in general so stressed and hard to manage? Unless we have good, deep, and true answers to these questions, we’re going to have a difficult time applying the right solutions. Because if we get the root problem wrong, our attempts to ameliorate the problems are going to be the equivalent of swimming upstream against a riptide.

So what are the root causes?

This blog and other sources – both scholarly and amateur – have been probing this question for years. Perhaps we have all not been probing deep enough. Perhaps the root of our suffering lies in the fundamental philosophies we have regarding health, wellness, and problem solving.

Let’s dive into that. Western thought has, at least over the past several centuries, been characterized by something called Reductionism. Basically, in our thinking and engineering, we like to break things down to their internal components. In so doing, we believe we can get a better understanding of how they work and improve them. This kind of “careful watchmaker” approach is useful for engineering products, machines, and even ideas.

But emerging science and evidence both suggest that this approach may be deeply flawed. Reality is more integrated. Breaking things down into components does not necessarily yield more information about how a system as a whole works. In fact, it can mislead us. In other words, from this point of view, Reductionism represents a step in the decisively wrong direction.

The more integrated approach basically tells us that the whole is more than the sum of its parts. In other words, you can catalog and study every brain cell in your brain. But studying the brain on the level of neurons alone will never give us answers to questions like “where does consciousness come from?” and “how does the mind create love?” etc. We need an approach that respects the challenge of describing the true, integrated reality of our reality.

For instance, when we talk about individual stressors on the SSD system – out-of-control costs, strange insurance rules, overwhelming bureaucracy, etc. – we may be missing the point. It’s not that these things don’t matter. Indeed, they can matter a great deal. It’s that it’s nearly impossible to separate various causes from one another. So what we should be doing is focusing on an integrated approach to our challenges — we need to see both the trees AND the forest.

For specific help, turn to a well-respected, efficient and effective Social Security disability law firm in North Carolina.

More Web Resources:

Perils of Reductionism

Why we Mistake the Forest for the Trees

The Numbness Problem and the Challenges of North Carolina Social Security Disability

March 15, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

You’ve been chasing North Carolina social security disability benefits for some time now. Perhaps you’ve tried to get help from programs, people, or institutions. No luck. You’re feeling frustrated and possibly angry. And the weeks, months, or even years of fruitless searching have led to a different level of emotional resistance. You are beginning to feel numb. This is a bad sign. But it’s understandable.

The Roots of the Numbness

We were all raised to believe in the American myth – that if you work hard enough, play by the rules, and show discipline, inventiveness, and passion, then you will be rewarded richly. But your struggles with the bureaucracy of social security disability in North Carolina have demonstrated that the system does not always “play fair.”

•    Maybe you got sick or injured because you received bad advice about how to take care of your body or protect yourself at work.
•    Maybe you got completely overwhelmed by insurance regulations or other bureaucratic rules and missed out on your chance to obtain benefits easily.
•    Perhaps you did everything right but still suffered because an insurance company or uncaring bureaucracy erred or even broke the law somehow.

In short, you tried to be a good citizen, but you encountered brick wall after brick wall. Who wouldn’t grow a bit “numb” in that environment? The numbness is a protective mechanism, psychologically speaking. If you cannot face your anger, fear, and frustration appropriately, you repress those feelings. Repression isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But if it prevents you from making functional choices, obtaining help, and moving toward positive action, than it certainly is.

Escape from the Numbness Cycle

Moving beyond the numbness is more difficult than the typical cheery advice would have you believe. It requires sustained and progressive practice. You did not arrive at this state spontaneously after one set back. This numb state resulted from accumulated setbacks. So, step one is to appreciate that there is no magic bullet. Step two is to appreciate that your current view on your situation – your potential to recover, medically, financially, and psychologically – may not be accurate. With the right mindset, right resources, and right actions, you can recover more than you realize.

At the same time, do protect yourself. There are unethical people and companies that may try to take advantage of your vulnerable state and send you further down the numbness spiral. Ensure that whatever resources you use are trusted, vetted, credentialed, and appropriate for the kind of help that you need.

Desperate Straits: Whom Can You Trust About Social Security Disability in North Carolina?

March 11, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

If you are suffering a serious illness or injury, you need a respected guide to help you understand how Social Security Disability in North Carolina works. You don’t want to guess. You don’t want to take advice from an uneducated (albeit well intentioned) friend or relative. Nor do you want to “trust the system” blindly.

On the other hand, you can’t be overly picky. You have an urgent crisis in your life. You are not feeling good. You don’t have much energy. Your resources – financial and otherwise – are limited. And you are not functioning from your best mental state. Perhaps the illness or injury has even affected your ability to make good judgments or deal with critical life logistics.

To top it off, as this blog recently discussed, North Carolina Social Security Disability recipients often are bombarded with conflicting advice about what to do and what not to do. The cacophony of noise online (and even offline) can be so deafening that it leads to analysis paralysis. This inaction can, in turn, create indirect problems.

So what’s the fix?

Given that there are the ratio of “chiefs” to “Indians” is something like a million to one – in other words, everyone appears to be an “expert” — how do you make progress?

Consider these principles:

Principle #1:

Be skeptical of all “non-experts.”

Would you take medical advice from a baseball player? Would you take financial advice from your dentist? You could. And the baseball player might have some really interesting and true things to say about how to take care of your body. And the dentist might have some very legitimate ideas about how to grow and nurture your wealth. But why take the risk? Why not just go to a doctor for medical advice and a financial advisor for a financial advice?

That said…

Principle #2:

Be skeptical of all “experts” too!

Just because an authority boasts conventional legitimacy does not mean that authority will effectively solve your problem. Not all experts are created equal, in other words. Some experts may be vastly more qualified to deal with your situation. One North Carolina Social Security Disability law firm might nearly effortlessly solve your problems and help you obtain the compensation (and fair treatment) that you need and deserve. Another law firm may yield only fair to middling results.

Principle #3:

When patients and clients take responsibility for their futures, good things tend to happen.

Taking responsibility for a situation is different from taking total control of it. You need and you want to cultivate relationships with professionals, mentors, and other authorities who can guide you. But you also want to look out for and protect your interests. No one is going to care about your problems more than you will.

Principle #4:

Write it down!!!

The more you objectively record any and all relevant information about your Social Security Disability case, treatment, and experience, the better and more diverse lessons you can learn from what’s been happening to you.

More Web Resources:

What Distinguishes the Real “Experts” from the Fakers?

Principles for Living in a Confusing World.

North Carolina Social Security Disability: Is the Earth Round…Or Flat?

March 5, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

Let’s get philosophical for a second. Most of the discussions on this North Carolina social security disability blog pertain to “nuts and bolts” issues. We talk about the emotional, logistical, and medical turmoil that hurt and sick North Carolinians experience. Sometimes we touch upon the grander debate – how on earth can we reform Social Security Disability in North Carolina and elsewhere in a way that’s equitable, reasonable, and legal? We even touch upon issues that concern the caregivers of Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income beneficiaries.

But let’s pull back our telescope and take a look at the broader landscape.

Specifically, let’s see whether we can uncover some broader truths about surviving (and thriving) while on Social Security Disability. Almost all of us (at least in some areas of our lives) operate under false beliefs akin to the Ptolemaic belief that the stars are painted on a giant glass globe above the earth. Given our present day understanding of astronomy, the Ptolemaic “heavenly spheres” hypothesis about astronomy is completely preposterous. Today, for instance, we know that earth is but a submicroscopic fleck of dust within a vast vast ocean of the cosmos. We haven’t “solved” astronomy. But we at least understand that the earth is not the center of everything and that the stars are vastly more than just dots painted on a glass ceiling for our entertainment.

Unfortunately, it’s very very difficult to spot false beliefs.

And this is just speculation, but it may be that the bigger and broader the mass delusion, the more under its sway you will be. It’s the classic case of the emperor has no clothes. Let’s say you own a green car. You can see that it’s green. But imagine what would happen if everyone you met, including your family members, friends, coworkers, auto mechanics, etc. – insisted that the car was blue. You think you’d put up a resistance. But after a while, you would almost certainly “cave” and agree that the car was in fact blue.

The point is: it’s extremely hard to resist delusions that are extremely common and never questioned. All of this is to say that we may be operating under certain false beliefs or bad habits that make solving our North Carolina Social Security Disability related problems needlessly frustrating and fraught.

Quick fixes to this false belief problem are few and far between. But you can connect with a North Carolina Social Security Disability law firm to explore your rights and opportunities for navigating the Social Security Disability bureaucracy more effectively.

More Web Resources:

If everyone said the earth was flat, would you start to believe them?

The Ptolemaic view of the cosmos

The Fight for North Carolina Social Security Disability Reform: Does It All Hinge on the Hormone Insulin?

March 3, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

In a recent post, we discussed how the challenges of North Carolina social security disability reform can only be met if and when we effectively manage the obesity/diabetes epidemic that’s currently plaguing North Carolina and the rest of the U.S.

But how can we stop the obesity epidemic in its tracks? We’ve been trying pretty hard for quite some time. But the problem seems to be getting worse and worse.

Perhaps we are looking at the problem incorrectly. Almost all obesity researchers, doctors, dietitians, nutritionists, policy makers, and science journalists believe that obesity is caused by something called a “positive energy balance.” In less technical language, we believe that people get fat because they “eat too much” and fail to “burn off” enough energy. Sounds reasonable. Likewise, we believe that the cure to obesity must be a “negative energy balance.” In other words, someone who is obese needs to burn off more calories than he expends by eating less and/or exercising more. So we take these two basic assumptions about obesity and run with them. These precepts are ubiquitously accepted.

But are they valid?

Enter science journalist Gary Taubes. In his books Good Calories, Bad Calories and Why We Get Fat, Mr. Taubes builds an impressive case that refutes these two basic building blocks of our understanding about obesity. Mr. Taubes suggests that thinking in terms of energy balance is silly and misleading. After all, in order to get fat, you need to store that fat in your body. In order to store fat, you need to have the help of hormones and enzymes. The main fat storage hormone is the hormone insulin. Without insulin, it can be very difficult, if not flat out impossible to store fat – ask any type one diabetic.

Conversely, ample evidence abounds to suggest that obesity is a disorder of “insulin resistance” – a metabolic problem, not an “energy balance” problem. If Mr. Taubes is correct, then the solution to the obesity epidemic is not to convince people to “eat less and exercise more” as people like Michelle Obama often importune. Instead, it’s to use dietary therapies and other therapies to help obese and overweight individuals normalize the hormonal/metabolic environment of the fat itself – mainly by controlling and normalizing insulin levels.

If Taubes’ theory is correct, not only might obese and overweight individuals enjoy substantial new hope (evidence suggests that controlling insulin is a more effective long-term therapy for weight loss than controlling calories). It also suggests that we may be able to use this new perspective to solve the seemingly intractable obesity epidemic – and thus ultimately to reform North Carolina social security disability and other programs like it that have been challenged by the obesity epidemic.

More Web Resources:

Is the “Calorie Counting” Approach to Weight Loss Flawed?

The War on Insulin

 
 

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