Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Cyberwhore

Cyberwhore

Cyberwhore
by Elyssa Durant, voices.yahoo.com
May 21st 2008
Background / Introduction:
Shortly after I moved back to New York City to complete my graduate degree, I lost all of my personal, physical belongings in a household fire. What wasn’t destroyed was stolen shortly afterwards and I have very few things I created in along the way.
And though the memories surrounding this devastating loss are crystal clear in my head, my journals and my artwork are gone forever. Losing my journals, my books, my photo albums, and all of my school work was even worse than losing my home. I lost a piece of myself in the process. A piece that can never be replaced… If only I had the foresight to back up all of my work– scan in my photos, or find a safe deposit box I could afford, perhaps I could have finished my assignments on time and completed the last few credits necessary for my PhD.
I became obsessed with backing up data and making photocopies of any and every piece of my past I could find — just in case!
I was eventually diagnosed with OCD and a myriad of other related anxiety disorders. 
I wrote this letter to my therapist who helped me get through the most challenging time of my life. Not only did he belierve in my talent– he convinced to me to start writing again– even if my skills are a little rusty!
Thanks Dr. T!
-edd
GT:
“Hi Elyssa,
It’s nice to hear from you, I had just been thinking of you. Is there a reason why you sent me two copies?
Talk to you soon,”
___________________________________
EDD:
Now how can you call yourself a qualified therapist and ask me such a stupid question?
I have at two of everything!

Friday, September 15, 2017

 

 

 

Elyssa Durant, Ed.M.

Nashville, Tennessee

Cell: (615) 424-8810

ed70@columbia.edu

 

 

 

RE:  White House Healthcare Forum

 

 

 

February 12, 2009

 

Dear President Obama & Members of Congress:

  

There are widespread reports that Phil Bredesen of Tennessee is being considered for a position with the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, DC.

As someone who has lived and voted in the state of Tennessee since 1996, I have witnessed several shifts in policy, both on the local and federal levels. I am a recipient of TennCare, Social Security, and I a member of the Daniels Class. Governor Phil Bredesen has no place in Washington.  Please remove his name from consideration for a cabinet position with HHS.

 

Order Setting Aside Daniels

 

Governor Bredesen is currently "holding off in spending" until he learns what federal aid will become available to the residents of Tennessee. I am urging you to take immediate action. PLEASE sign the economic recovery package before it is too late.

 

Even under of the best of economic circumstances, the state has often been reluctant to release state monies until they are in physical receipt of all federal matching dollars. This delays program implementation and compromises the integrity of the research design.  Consistency is a critical component of effective program development and design.

 

Governor Bredesen had decided to hold back state funds until the final details of the stimulus package worked out, were finalized.  Anyone who has followed the healthcare crisis in Tennessee will tell you, Bredesen is not the champion of healthcare we once hoped he would be.

 

If we hold off on making decisions about the state budgets until the details of this enormous, comprehensive package are finalized, our current programs will suffer as a result.

 

We cannot wait for a determination regarding federal funding before we to determine our state budget while before we of the programs we already are suffering financially.

 

Let me assure you that when it comes to withholding critical items like food, housing, social services, it adds up exponentially. Withholding medical care simply because of procedure and bureaucratic red tape, is shameful and cruel.  The money is there, but it seems there should be a certain level of oversight and accountability if we expect it to be used effectively without delay and without excessive administrative delay and costs.   

 

How do I know this?  Because I used to work for the state during the time when they not only made the as they were transitioning to during the transition from I used to work for TennCare,

 

We need to have some level of accountability to ensure the timely and proper disbursement of funds.  In my experience, there is little recourse for person’s individuals who are caught up in the complicated payment arrangements, complicated language, and the systematic, procedural delay when it comes to the processing and payment of claims. 

 

Let me personally assure you, that there is a very real human cost here as well... and unless there is immediate intervention, much more than just money will be lost. 

 

Please sign the bill before any more jobs, homes, and future are ruined by because help did not fast enough. Please release the funds, because we are running out of time.

 

I am 36, and my spinal cord is damaged from years of delayed, sub-standard medical treatment as I attempted to navigate a system that simply does not work.  I owe the federal government $179,982.00 in student loans. When I am able to work, I make $10.46/hour as a substitute teacher in MNPS. That job comes with no security and no benefits.

 

I have an advanced master’s degree from an Ivy League Institution. I am nine credits shy of a PhD.D. in public policy. Despite having maintained a 3.83 grade point average while earning my masters, and just over 3.2 during the three years I was enrolled full time in a doctoral program.

 

Despite having comparable coverage, the insurance company refused to give me COBRA and would not cover my pre-existing condition even through both Columbia and Vanderbilt Universities used the same underwriter for student medical insurance: Chickering US HealthScare.

 

I had no break in coverage, and even purchased a private HMO (Oxford) plan that cost several hundred dollars each month just so I could prevent becoming uninsurable before my 23rd birthday.

 

Wrong. Not only did I continue to pay for all three policies, I also had to pay for treatment and STILL wound up on TennCare and Medicaid.

 

Despite doing all the "right" things, I was still unable to transfer benefits from one graduate school to the next.

When I was twenty-two years old I developed a medical condition, and it quickly became obvious to me that it would be a lifelong struggle to cope and adapt to having physical disability.  I purchased three independent policies, however due to a terminal liability in am ERISA plan, with $1 million dollar major medical policy.  As someone who also needed to turn to federal funds and intervention in a crisis, I know that if or when help does arrive, it usually too late.

 

 

I understand the how; I just don't understand why.

 

Maybe one of these days Vanderbilt University and the Department of Education will realize it might just be cheaper to hire me that harass me.  I need a real paying job now, but with the skyrocketing unemployment rate, it looks as though I will have a lot of competition. 

 

Throughout the three year process of filing medical appeal after the next, I acquired over 1/4 million dollars in debt in unreimbursed medical care and student loans.  I was fortunate enough be able t keep my TennCare that  time—only because the state mandated a 30 hour work week, because at 32 hours, your benefits kick in. 

 

Even while in the states employ, I witnessed a pattern of behavior that was reckless and harmful to the citizens of Tennessee.  In fact, there were so many changes during short time I was there the time I was there that even my colleagues in the office of consumer affairs did not know about them until we were a formal complaint had been filed by a consumer in crisis. 

 

There was so much chaos in the system because consumers and were not given sufficient information and the state was completely unprepared to respond to the large number of people who their benefits terminated, limited, or transferred.  It took several months to update the medical database used to verify insurance coverage, and many more to get that information in sync with pharmacies and providers.  Recipients were left in the dark, probably because it was easier that way. 

 

Tennessee Department of Mental Health & Developmental Disabilities

 

 

 

Although I doubt many people people outside of Tennessee are aware of the harsh policies enacted during the Bredesen administration.  His endless assault on the state’s Medicaid & Medicare programs resulted in 271,000 people to be dropped off the roles.  People who are uninsurable or cannot afford health insurance.  He has requested multiple federal waiver to limit federal law rights under the Medicaid Act, and Social Security beneficiaries. Is not the kind of man we want to lead HHS into a  new era of reform.  He has demonstrated a wanton disregard for the welfare of his own constituents should not be rewarded with a cabinet position in the new administration.  He has failed this state, and now it costing money. Where it will come from, I don't know.  Perhaps he will turn to the feds.

 

SSA Form

 

Now, again, I face losing my healthcare coverage once again. Please do something, and do it quick.  I would not wish this experience on my worst enemy,

 

Unemployment rates in the state of Tennessee are at an all-time high, yet welfare roles have remained stable.  This tells us that despite the financial crisis and sad state of the Tennessee economy, people are not able to access emergency aid that we would expect people to receive in times of economic hardship. 

 

 

Where is the safety net? Where is the American Dream that I so diligently chased after for so many years? What was the point of investing so much in a future that I can never enjoy? How can anyone justify spending so money much on an education that will never be used?

 

What will happen when the state begins the 140,000 members of the Daniels Class?  DHS has not been able to process the applications already on file.  As the unemployment rate continues to go up, we need to be sure that applications for emergency assistance are processed within a reasonable period. 

 

I have no idea how they intend to handle the growing number of unemployed, uninsured, people in need of emergency assistance given that they are already overwhelmed by the number of applications already on file.  Is it a really a good time to start the recertification of the 140,000 members of the Daniels Class.?

 

Let us hope the state is not granted another federal waiver or we are all in trouble.

 

Sincerely yours,

 

Elyssa Durant

Nashville, TN

 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Unemployment Identity Crisis in America

by Elyssa D. Durant, Ed.M. © 2009-2016




After being rejected from a job that pays $18,000 / year at the women's prison, a job that pays $21,000 teaching Head Start, getting fired from Red Lobster (because apparently, I am just not Red Lobster "material" I decided to go to the Tennessee Career Center to take advantage of their high speed internet, free printer paper, and ink...

now would not be the best time to mention my senior thesis-- or my grad school major, or the fact that i spent the better part life as a volunteer and advocate for children at-risk.. working to give them hope and a second chance at life.

systematically invalidating such bogus, barnum-type feedback that one typically gets from a MBTI type of personality test that is given during high school or in college. i won't bother to mention the standardization of SAT scores to help our country feel better-- or the fact that the stanford-binet was created for military issue only.


who gives a shit anymore??? if you told a me a fat bearded lady at the circus could decide my fate and tell me what direction i should choose next-- i'd take it! and throw in a fat tip for being smart enough to know that any answer-- no matter how grim, is far better than just wandering aimlessly through life looking back on what might have been-- at THIRTY? at THIRTY-SIX???  How about 40? Or 45? Will I be 50 years old asking the same damn questions? 

after receiving five letters of rejection from jobs that require nothing more than a GED or a high school diploma, i decided to go to the tennessee career center hoping to find a job that will allow me to afford the most basic necessities of life. toothpaste, toilet paper, cat food... 

i got hooked up with a counselor that afternoon. he has two masters degrees-- one in educational career counseling, and a second in counseling psychology. could this be the guidance counselor i have been asking for since.. well... since... i was old enough to know was in need of guidance?


surely someone else must have recognized i was in need of guidance, but god knows my parents weren't paying attention, and having good genes just doesn't cut it these days. but now more than ever, i realize that having all the smarts in the world won't get you anywhere if you never learned how to apply them.

i am the exact same five year old who needed to win the spelling bee. in college, i was the one to set the curve, not just make it. the one to break the rules, and, break them i did, but there is no glory in being second best, second smartest, second brightest, or second anything.


i wish i could say that after all this time i developed other ego strengths and finally felt okay with who i am, you know.... "just being me," but i am sad to report that my "condition" (diagnosis) was amazingly accurate and predictable. just like all the doctors said! i wonder if they derive joy out of being right-- if they crack open a bottle of aged liquor in my fathers office and say, "see, we told you so. we told you their was nothing you could do." and so nothing they did.


and by doing nothing, and i do mean nothing-- the illness will just take will its course. and i am now, in fact, nothing. nothing costs nothing (at least to them) and daddy made another fine investment. on the other hand, nothing has drained every hope, fear, security-- every chance-- and every last breath from my body. i might have believed in me. but i know i'm alive because a tear just rolled down the side of my cheek. i am home.


but i still haven't learned. for some reason with all of my failures i am reminded of in so many ways... me, myself, as i watch them play out every time i shut my eyes or open them. yes- blink.

sometimes i ask myself, how did i get here? how did this happen? what happened to all of the plans i made for myself? where did they go? where did I go? constantly replayed over and over and over again in my mind. i must be F---ING CRAZY!


but at this moment, here, even as i say the words, i am not truly insane, i am merely in pain. what a tragedy that those two words rhyme-- they ruin what could have been a very profound misnomer of the human condition and the labels we hold so dear.


i am the exact same 5 year old who needed to ACE the spelling bee, set the curve, not just make it; break the rules, and, break them i did. there is no glory in being second best. second smartest, second brightest, or second anything. being second sucks. it sucks every god-damned second of the day.


so my search for mediocrity continues and i wait for it each and every day hoping it will find me beaten and worn from the storm. all of the storms, but dammit, its still there. i still have questions those damn elyssa questions that made all my professors so proud, damn ideas, damn thoughts, damn hope.


my mother still calls me everyday to see if i went to get food stamps to feed myself, #EFF her, and her #EFF'n things. #EFF diamonds, couture, and #EFF that life. i was here mom, the whole #EFF'n time. just not pretty enough with out any surgery. not pretty at all, with all those damn scars.


i hope someone out there still loves me. i do actually believe that i deserve love and kindness despite the obvious fact that i am a royal pain in the ass. i refuse to work in burger king. for right now, at least.

so goodnight my dear friends. let's all try to have sweet dreams. pepe awaits, as does alanis, and a pack of smokes that i can already taste.


yes, what could have been, what should have been-- what MIGHT have been if you let me be
m.e.


"When written in chinese, the word Crisis is composed of tvo characters: One represents danger and the other represents opportunity."  -JFK

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Unemployment Crisis in America

Unemployment Crisis in America

May 4th 2009
After being rejected from a job that pays $18,000 / year at the women's prison, a job that pays $21,000 teaching Head Start, getting fired from Red Lobster (because apparently, I am just not Red Lobster "material" I decided to go to the Tennessee Career Center to take advantage of their high speed internet, free printer paper, and ink...

now would not be the best time to mention my senior thesis-- or my grad school major, or the fact that i spent the better part life as a volunteer and advocate for children at-risk.. working to give them hope and a second chance at life.

systematically invalidating such bogus, barnum-type feedback that one typically gets from a MBTI type of personality test that is given during high school or in college. i won't bother to mention the standardization of SAT scores to help our country feel better-- or the fact that the stanford-binet was created for military issue only.

who gives a shit anymore??? if you told a me a fat bearded lady at the circus could decide my fate and tell me what direction i should choose next-- i'd take it! and throw in a fat tip for being smart enough to know that any answer-- no matter how grim, is far better than just wandering aimlessly through life looking back on what might have been-- at THIRTY? at THIRTY-SIX???

after receiving five letters of rejection from jobs that require nothing more than a GED or a high school diploma, i decided to go to the tennessee career center hoping to find a job that will allow me to afford the most basic necessities of life. toothpaste, toilet paper, cat food... i got hooked up with a counselor that afternoon. he has two masters degrees-- one in educational career counseling, and a second in counseling psychology. could this be the guidance counselor i have been asking for since.. well... since... i was old enough to know was in need of guidance?

surely someone else must have recognized i was in need of guidance, but god knows my parents weren't paying attention, and having good genes just doesn't cut it these days. but now more than ever, i realize that having all the smarts in the world won't get you anywhere if you never learned how to apply them.

i am the exact same five year old who needed to win the spelling bee. in college, i was the one to set the curve, not just make it. the one to break the rules, and, break them i did, but there is no glory in being second best, second smartest, second brightest, or second anything.

i wish i could say that after all this time i developed other ego strengths and finally felt okay with who i am, you know.... "just being me," but i am sad to report that my "condition" (diagnosis) was amazingly accurate and predictable. just like all the doctors said! i wonder if they derive joy out of being right-- if they crack open a bottle of aged liquor in my fathers office and say, "see, we told you so. we told you their was nothing you could do." and so nothing they did.

and by doing nothing, and i do mean nothing-- the illness will just take will its course. and i am now, in fact, nothing. nothing costs nothing (at least to them) and daddy made another fine investment. on the other hand, nothing has drained every hope, fear, security-- every chance-- and every last breath from my body. i might have believed in me. but i know i'm alive because a tear just rolled down the side of my cheek. i am home.

but i still haven't learned. for some reason with all of my failures i am reminded of in so many ways... me, myself, as i watch them play out every time i shut my eyes or open them. yes- blink.

sometimes i ask myself, how did i get here? how did this happen? what happened to all of the plans i made for myself? where did they go? where did I go? constantly replayed over and over and over again in my mind. i must be F---ING CRAZY!

but at this moment, here, even as i say the words, i am not truly insane, i am merely in pain. what a tragedy that those two words rhyme-- they ruin what could have been a very profound misnomer of the human condition and the labels we hold so dear.

i am the exact same 5 year old who needed to ACE the spelling bee, set the curve, not just make it; break the rules, and, break them i did. there is no glory in being second best. second smartest, second brightest, or second anything. being second sucks. it sucks every god-damned second of the day.

and so my search for mediocrity continues and i wait for it each and every day hoping it will find me beaten and worn from the storm. all of the storms, but dammit, its still there. i still have questions those damn elyssa questions that made all my professors so proud, damn ideas, damn thoughts, damn hope.

my mother still calls me everyday to see if i went to get food stamps to feed myself, #EFF her, and her #EFF'n things. #EFF diamonds, couture, and #EFF that life. i was here mom, the whole #EFF'n time. just not pretty enough with out any surgery. not pretty at all, with all those damn scars.

i hope someone out there still loves me. i do actually believe that i deserve love and kindness despite the obvious fact that i am a royal pain in the ass. i refuse to work in burger king. for right now, at least.

so goodnight my dear friends. let's all try to have sweet dreams. pepe awaits, as does alanis, and a pack of smokes that i can already taste.

yes, what could have been, what should have been-- what MIGHT have been if you let me be

m.e.

"When written in chinese, the word Crisis is composed of tvo characters: One represents danger and the other represents opportunity." -JFK