Is it the identification which, if recognized, prompts one to engage in a commensurate reaction? Does recognition of the identified condition require a societal conditioning, such that fear becomes a learned response as much as a sudden movement or a shrill shriek piercing the midnight hours of darkness? Does the expansion of knowledge have a parallel and exponential quantification of fear and the list of things we fear?
Or is fear a singular emotion, triggered by multiple sensors and perceptual sensitivities such that variegated pathways may find their way to a single receptor which determines the responsive requirement, as in a shudder, a trembling, flight or uncontrollable screams?
The list of medical diagnoses has expanded over time; whether this means that there are more diseases, conditions and syndromes today than a millennium ago, or the bureaucratization of mere annotative indexing of that which has existed, been parsed and more precisely been categorized, is a question for the “experts” to debate.
Death sentences are rare; but lesser commutations of conclusions regarding one’s mortality and health are often regarded in the starkest of terms. When a Federal or Postal employee learns of a medical condition which impacts the ability and capacity to continue in one’s chosen vocation, the residual consequences which must be considered are indeed serious and life-altering. Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, is not an easy decision to make. It is considered within the context of a bundle of issues, including medical, legal, financial, family, social — and dealing with the fear of the unknown.
Just as a child may at first identify an object of fear without recognition of the underlying reality of that emotion, and recoil without thought; so the Federal and Postal Worker who first learns of a debilitating medical condition may react in a similar identification recoil. Taking that next step in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, often requires a pause and an indentation of time, precisely because one must first deal with the cumulative fears crowding out the voice of reason.
Gargoyles come in different shapes and sizes; like a chameleon in the wild, it is often our reaction which impedes our progress, and less so the objectivity of the thing to which we respond.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire