TDRL Re-Evaluation Question

Discussion in 'Air Force Info' started by WorldTraveler05, Nov 14, 2010.

  1. WorldTraveler05

    WorldTraveler05 New Member

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    Good Evening,
    I am currently on the TDRL list and I have been since Dec. 2007. I am was placed on the TDRL because the Air Force was unsure if I was suffering from grief/depression/PTSD versus Bipolar Disorder which automatically makes you unfit for duty. The short summary for the listed diagnosis is that in January 2007 my daughter passed away. I found out when I was 21 weeks pregnant that she had a rare heart abnormality, and after being on bedrest for over 6 months of my pregnancy (pre-term labor), she was born and endured 3 open heart surgeries in her short 19 days of life. She passed away from complications of the surgeries. In May 2007 I had the 1st of 3 "nervous break-downs" that resulted in hospitalizations and the eventual MEB.

    I have already had 1 evaluation since I have been on TDRL and they made the decision to keep me on the list for another 15-18 months for another re-eval. In the last evaluation I was very much on the fence about whether I wanted to go back in or not, and I expressed that to the reviewing officer, but I also mentioned that I did have some desire to return to active duty which is when she informed me that Bipolar is not compatible with military life and it is not waiverable. I received an e-mail a couple of weeks ago stating that my evaluation is coming up soon and look for orders in the mail or I can have my own personal doctor to send in a narrative and they will make their decision.

    This is my question... I have been speaking with some mental health professionals (just asking general questions because they are my colleagues (I recently completed my degree while on TDRL)) and on more than one occasion I have been told that in some cases Extreme Grief can be misdiagnosed as Bipolar because of the Suicidal ideations/actions. I have thought hard, prayed, and meditated and I have decided that I want to be found fit for duty, but I am unsure how to fight a possible diagnosis of Bipolar disorder. Even some of the Doctors/therapists I have been to for evaluations, and therapy (SSI/VA) have semi disagreed with my Bipolar diagnosis. The general consensus seems to be that once I have a healthy baby, or some other similar resolve occurs that a lot of the symptoms I am having will be cleared up.

    So what should my next step be? Should I get my own private psychiatrist to find out if I truly have Bipolar? I am lost, I am unsure of where to even start on this journey all I know is that I want to be found fit for duty. Any advice, suggestions, or help is GREATLY appreciated :)
     
  2. go-blue

    go-blue PEB Forum Regular Member

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    If you want to be found fit you will need "medical" evidence supporting the fact you are fit like medical records from any of your doctor visits, letters from your doctors with their medical opinion on your condition and the state of your condition.

    I would also have your professors write you letters, your boss (if you work), anyone or anything that would support the fact that you feel you are "fit".

    Good luck.
     
  3. Jason Perry

    Jason Perry Benevolent Leader Site Founder Staff Member PEB Forum Veteran

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    WorldTraveler05,

    Welcome! Sorry to hear all you went through and for your loss.

    A few comments:
    It is rare, but I have seen retention of members with bi-polar (normally, I would agree that the likelihood is high that unfitness is the outcome, but I have seen a fit finding...I am recalling a case that was particularly surprising where the member was an operating room surgical technician, a high stress job where details matter a lot. That person was found fit).

    That said, I think that your instinct is right, it would be best if you have a diagnosis of something other than BPD and if it is some sort of Extreme Grief dx, better if it is termed as "resolved." That is if you want to return to duty.

    I would caution you, though, you don't want to end up in the situation where you argue you are better...but they find you are not completely better and rate you at 10%. I would evaluate whether you have a strong argument for fitness in the first place. It sounds like you are doing well, though, so this may not apply to you. I just thought to mention it because you don't want a bad outcome.

    Good to hear that you are doing better. Hope you get your fit finding when the process is complete. Best of luck!
     
  4. WorldTraveler05

    WorldTraveler05 New Member

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    Good Evening!
    Thank you for your prompt reply! I have just a few more questions. I am really struggling with my decision and your insight has caused me to want to think a lot harder before I make a decision. I have an evaluation scheduled for 13 Dec so I have to make a decision pretty quickly or I know the AF will make one for me. Recently I was immediately taken off all Bi-Polar medications by my new VA Psychiatrist, I believe that she agrees that my diagnosis may be incorrect. I have been asymptomatic for almost 3 months after being on no Bi-Polar medications.

    My primary concern is not "shooting myself in the foot" I don't want to argue that I am better, and the AF decides I am not 100% and separates me. I am really unsure of what to do, I really want to go back AF, but I am very unsure about being able to fight and win my case to get back in. On the other side of the coin I am concerned that I will not be unfit enough for permanent retirement and I am still separated. And with that uncertainty I know that before 13 Dec I need to have a rock solid plan in place. Because honestly if it comes down to Separation or being found Fit I would rather fight for Fit status.

    Any guidance or advice? Any questions that I should be asking myself in this decision making process to help shed some light for my decision?

    Also I have 1 final Re-Eval after this one, is there a way to request being placed back on the TDRL list to allow my condition another 18 months to resolve itself? (Just throwing some questions out there I'm lost in this whole process)

    Thanks so much in advance!
     
  5. Jason Perry

    Jason Perry Benevolent Leader Site Founder Staff Member PEB Forum Veteran

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    It sounds like you are considering the correct issues. It is hard to give much more insight without knowing more about your case. But, your question did raise another option.

    A change in treatment can be a basis for a finding of instability. So, if you are still rated at over 30%, this should result in retention on TDRL. This presents some different options. You could argue for continuation on TDRL (and prepare your case with that in mind) and then, if continued on TDRL you could spend the next period of time evaluating your situation and, if appropriate, preparing for a final return to duty finding (with the additional time used to bolster your case). If your condition worsens or you are not likely to be found fit, you then have time to change course. Of course, you could still fight for fitness (but if your condition warrants a less than 30% finding and you are found unfit, then you face separation with severance pay).

    You have a lot of choices about how to prepare your case. I hope this was helpful. Remember, as always, none of this is legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship.

    I hope all goes well for you!
     

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