I am applying for indigent people health insurance. I am doing so online. Here is what you need to realize about this seemingly simple task, I don’t have internet at home, but I do have panic attacks. So, I have to tote my things to a coffee shop and plug in. That part is not so bad. Doing the application is that bad: I am having a series of panic attacks trying to leave the apartment to fill out the forms, at the coffee shop accessing an account for which I cannot remember a user id or password, on the site while the words spin before my eyes. I. Am. Panicking.
What if I do it wrong? I read the words “perjury,” “fraud.” What if they need additional paperwork and I cannot get it to them or something changes in my life ever and I goof up the updates? They will take away my benefits, ask for money back. I don’t have any benefits, but maybe if I get some that will be yanked away and I will be fooled and forced to pay more money that I do not have and will never be able to acquire. Then, straight to prison.
I am struggling not to cry. I am having a hard time focusing on the words on the page. Every sound in the coffee shop is irritating, upsetting, a nightmare. I am having a meltdown in public while trying to complete an application. I am starting to sniffle. I want to leave. I don’t have anything completed. I cannot tell if I am doing it right. A bunch of times it logs me out and I have to start over. I have to allow pop-ups. I cannot figure out how to allow pop-ups. Then, I cannot figure out how to stop allowing pop-ups from everything ever. There is a glare on the laptop from the sunlight and I keep grimacing and re-angling the screen.
It feels like everyone can see me crying and freaking out. Maybe they can. Every time the website asks me to review a section of info, I stare at it, uncertain that it is correct. Why are they asking again and again? Now anger is setting in, hardening. Fuck this fucked up program and its questions. Fuck this laptop, fuck these pop-ups, fuck health care and fuck all of these clattering noises and wailing children and fuck me for ever being fucking born. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.
The final questions are answered. I click “submit,” knowing that it is not really over because now I will be status “pending” and will be called upon to verify all of the things that I just said. I can do that, right? No. Maybe. The desire to cry and smash everything in sight is rising, even as it just started to subside.
And then, the chore is done. I am still shaking, but it is done. I still want to cry, but it is done. I can go home to the disaster of clutter that I created tearing through everything for papers that I brought and did not need. I can go home and try to put everything back to together. I can go to my job.
I don’t know how to say how hard it is, how debilitating. I can tell you that logically it sounds incredibly stupid to me to struggle this much with a task this mundane. The same thing happens when I try to do taxes, apply for a job, etc. I realize on a strictly cerebral level that these are just annoying chores and that I should complete them and move on.
Every attempt is exhausting. Every attempt.