“I Was Really Successful at Living Poorly”

You met John Yunker on our Facebook and Blog site a few years back. John took 2 trips down the Missouri River in his homemade sail boat, with his dogs; the first one with Grace(“Gracies Tale”) and the second trip with Mercy.

The sailing was not the only quest that our friend, John, has been on since his accident nearly 5 years ago. His accident involved a horse that came up out of the ditch as he was riding his motorcycle, hit John knocking him off of his bike, shattering his skull. John has had many challenges since then and the biggest one being his inability to get anyone at the Social Security Administration to acknowledge the brain injury was serious enough to effect his entire life and ability to work.

In Johns words: “I felt like a horse chasing a carrot, never getting closer to it at times. I just wanted to give up.” But, then I would say to myself, I’m not going to let them win. I had no other recourse; no continuous plan…either succeed or die. I was not ever recognized as a person with a brain injury, (there are so many different TBI’s) and mine is not physical. So, it got to be where depression took over and lead to medication and suicidal thoughts. It got so bad that I was hospitalized.   After I was released from the hospital, I was notified that my hearing to determine if I would receive benefits had been moved up to two months instead of the one year. On August 14th was my court date. The judge ruled in my favor and awarded me 18 months back pay. Now I have SSDI and I can pay my rent, electricity, buy food, phone and actually have some clothes and money to call my own. I was really successful at living poorly. I learned how to exist and make it day to day. Now I struggle with how do I spend my money. I’m not sure what to do with myself. I thank God that I had help from DCIL (Dakota Center for Independent Living).”