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 DR. Michael Shery, clinical psychology

    2615 Three Oaks Rd. Ste 2A; Cary, IL 60013

 www.carypsychology.com  847 275 8236 (24 Hrs);  drmike@carypsychology.com

 

 

                                                                                    

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Case Study: A Teacher Battles Depression and Social Security

 

Armed with a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's in early childhood education, Arlene Weiler began teaching in Georgia.

She later returned to Milwaukee area to teach kindergarten in the Cudahy school system.

One of the first members of the National Teacher Corps, Ms. Weiler is proud of what she has accomplished as a teacher.

Outgoing and personable at 50, Ms. Weiler describes herself as having been a "perpetual student. I used to be a sponge when it

came to learning... life has so many wonders to explore," she says. Her enthusiasm for teaching is evident as she remembers her

two decades in Kindergarten classrooms.

"The children were scientists and explorers, and I was their environmental engineer and research assistant," she said.

 "We had a framework of daily activities, stories, songs and games in reading, math and science.

We learned that it can be lots of fun to eat your way through the alphabet and counting Cheerios and M&Ms.

"Because I know how important the kindergarten years are to building a foundation, I did everything I could to make myself a better teacher,

" Ms. Weiler continued. "My forte is creativity, but I took a lot of courses in science, nature, history, geography, and many other

 things-anything else to keep up with the kids' interests."

A model teacher, perhaps, but Ms. Weiler no longer spends her days spinning creative tales and lighting the fires of learning for her

 wide-eyed youngsters.

"For some years, teaching became more difficult and demanding of my time," she said. "It became increasingly difficult to pick up the pieces and

get things ready for a new year in what seemed to be a shorter and shorter summer vacation."

Her problems increased when her school involuntarily transferred her to teach the second grade.
"The second grade wasn't my field of expertise," she said. "When the transfer order came, I lost the whole shooting mach.

"I loved being a kindergarten teacher. I was allowed to be creative because kindergarten is a bit 'mysterious,' and most administrators don't

understand it and leave you alone. Second grade is different because it is so highly structured. Well, I just couldn't do it.

I couldn't get organized. I did my best, but I was in a catatonic state by the Christmas holidays. I had to quit work and begin therapy."

Ms. Weiler reflected on her slide into deep depression.

"I made the mistake of investing my life in my profession and trying to satisfy the needs of others," she said. "Instead of taking an

objective to look at a profession that came before more difficult and more demanding each year, I tried to live up to all the expectations.

 I attempted to live up to the demands of the children, their parents, and the administration until there was nothing left of me."

She added, "I feel like an artist who has worked with every ounce of her energy to create a masterpiece just to see the effort of a lifetime

demolished. My depression culminated one day at home while I was doing the dishes. For some reason, I suddenly started crying.

I was a sad and mournful little girl wailing for her mother."

Adding to, or perhaps as a result of, the depression, Ms. Weiler developed several sub-personalities.

She describes one as a "two year old tank commander who pushes everyone around."Another is an "eight year old who is r

esponsible and loving." Reluctant to talk in detail about her depression, she does say "I'm not sure how many personalities are

involved; they're not distinctive. They are persistent, but not consistent."

Despite intensive therapy, Ms. Weiler found herself unable to function. Battling her depression was painful enough, but when

she applied for Social Security disability benefits, Ms. Weiler waged a war on two fronts.

"I bared my soul to Social Security on my initial application. With my depression, it was sheer agony to fill out all those confusing forms,

" she said. Her discouragement quickly turned to bitterness when SSA denied her application.

"I was ready to quit," Ms. Weiler continued. "Even when my insurance company referred me to you, I didn't want to

pursue my claim. I just didn't feel I could cope with this ordeal again. I didn't believe anyone could help me."

Later, Ms. Weiler appointed Karen Tretter, our claims consultant, as her representative.

"I was very apprehensive," she said.

"I've never needed help before. I've been a helper all my life, but no one has ever helped me before.

Why should I believe a complete stranger would enter my life just to help me with this problem?"

When Ms. Tretter accepted the case, she began what eventually became a lengthy and complex appeals process.

SSA denied her initial application. When Ms. Tretter filed for reconsideration, it was again denied. When the administrative law judge

denied the appeal at the hearing level, Ms. Tretter forwarded it to the Appeals Council. The Appeals Council remanded the case

back to the ALJ, who again issued a denial.

Following customary procedures, Ms. Tretter refused to stop pursuing what she thought was a legitimate depression disability.

She again asked the Appeals Council to review the case.

The Council did so, and remanded the case to a different ALJ. Finally, an administrative law judge in Milwaukee approved

Ms. Weiler for full disability benefits for her depression.

"This case took longer to decide than most because of the lengthy dispute between the Appeals Council and the ALJ,"

Ms. Tretter said. "I knew from the outset it wasn't going to be easy because of the complexity.

"Depression disability is always difficult to determine. The fact that Ms. Weiler is well educated and obviously intelligent

made it an even more difficult decision.

"The ALJ who eventually awarded the claim took the time to be fully prepared," Ms. Tretter continued.

"The judge had a knowledgeable psychologist on hand at the hearing, and he went out of his way to examine every angle on all the issues."

Ms. Weiler's initial doubt about a &quotstranger" being able to help her was replaced with gratitude and admiration.

"Karen did a super job!" she said. "It was as if the Social Security Administration dumped 10 tons of gravel on me, and Karen dug me out,

brushed me off, and said she'd take care of me."

At first bitter about the application ordeal, Ms. Weiler is now grateful.

"Thank God for an America that allows a company like Allsup to exist. Some people think the American system doesn't work,

but I'm here to tell you it does."

Today, Ms. Weiler continues her depression therapy. She looks forward to someday returning to work, but she knows

much progress must be made before she'll be able to do so.

Arlene Weiler's name has been changed to protect her identity.

 

To receive:  Preliminary Evaluation for Disability Benefits

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To return to:  Our Nationwide Disability Office

 

 

   

Dr. Mike Shery is a licensed clinical psychologist and is affiliated with almost all health plans, including:  ValueOptions,

Medicare, Cigna, Cigna Behavioral Health, United Health Care, Aetna, First Health, Healthstar, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois,

ComPsych, Magellan Health, HFN, Tricare, Humana, most union local plans, most school district plans, Unicare, ChoiceCare,

CAPP, Multiplan, Mental Health Network, Managed Health Network, United Behavioral Health, PPONext,

Private Health Care Systems, Humana-Military and Beech Street .

 

He has practiced clinical psychology for approximately 24 years and is board certified as a specialist in professional counseling

by the International Academy of Behavioral Medicine, Counseling and Psychotherapy. He is the director of Affiliated

Counseling and Referral Services and is a member of the American Counseling Association.

 

The office is located in Cary, IL and in select cases phone consultations are available for those who don’t live

 locally> Telephone Counseling.

 

 

To make an appointment> New Patient Registrationor to learn more about the psychological services he provides

call him at 1-847-275-8236 (24 Hrs.

 

 

Go to:  Store: Unique Psychological and Motivational Tools

 

 





 


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