I have read all the posts in this thread and am fascinated by your story, TCyan - and also everyone's responses. I'm in my 50s and have lived with this mess, though not to the same extent. Back in my day, I hated my parents and had to get out, managed to find a boyfriend, one bad husband, and finally a good one, had 2 kids, etc., but stumbled through over a dozen jobs, always quitting fairly soon (the longest lasted a year or so) because of my misery in having to deal with people. (I grew up very isolated with no sibs, a sociopathic mother and a stepfather who disliked me, just a ridiculous almost feral upbringing - well, sorry - I think I rambled off on that because I'm new here.)
Anyway, I do have some advice that I hope you'll consider. I'm sure your parents and brother do care about you and perhaps they could help you with a plan to qualify for SSI, which would enable you to survive after your parents can no longer support you. It's about $700 a month but you also can get food stamps (and some delivery places like Schwan's or whatever do take foodstamps or you might could find a way to force yourself out once a month to buy food?) - and you'd also qualify for Medicaid in case you needed healthcare.
Now you'd have to dig deep (as you may have done when you went to the bank?) and find the courage to find ONE doctor who'd help you qualify. However, instead of looking for a doctor to help, you could just first apply to the Social Security Administration and list your extreme social anxiety, agoraphobia, panic attacks (the major symptom of generalized anxiety order) and also please emphasize your Celiac disease and the fact that due to not being able to process/digest food properly, you're frequently exhausted and don't have the energy, just from that physical disease, to work. Use whatever tactic ends up qualifying you - and you DO have several qualifying conditions. I'm thinking the Celiac disease may be the best main diagnosis that qualifies you (and it's easy to find doctors to keep signing the renewals every year or whatever they require to remain qualified)
If you are denied, get your family to go to a lawyer to help you. They can only charge a flat amount ONCE and you don't pay them if you're denied. And THEY can handle most everything with the lawyer, meaning you'd only have to occasionally personally appear somewhere to give testimony or whatever - don't worry about that now, you might not have to do it much - and just "gut" your way through it by dissociation, reciting poetry in your head, just whatEVER to get that qualification.
I believe the Social Security people would want you to go to THEIR doctors anyway which would save you the step of trying to seek out medical help before you apply. Maybe your brother or parent(s) could go with you to the Social Security office, if need be, but you can start the application completely online or on the phone.
Due to the special nature of your problems - severe social phobia - your parent(s) and/or brother could explain to the social security person that you actually CAN'T talk on the phone or visit them -- or at least if you do, you're likely to become very ill and have an attack. Then if you must get on that phone or go to that office, you know they're forewarned of your extreme embarrassment, anxiety, fear, and likelihood of running away or fainting or curling up in the corner -- hell, it's your future LIFE we're talking about -- so just force yourself to go and whatever happens, it's ok. The end result could be decades of peaceful, contented life! It's worth a bit of battling for that, isn't it?
In my opinion, there's NOTHING wrong with being a hermit by choice. History is full of examples and it used to be a respected choice, among spiritually inclined people - or maybe just anyone who had that kind of personality. It's harder now (due to the need for so much money!) but also easier in some ways (Internet, ordering food online to be delivered - though I don't know if Amazon grocery store takes food stamps, but I know the Schwan trucks do and you could at least survive on that, but I think you could probably find a way to get some beans, rice, and dried milk - or whatever basic staples you can digest - delivered to your house through an online shop? (and if you could find a way to get your parents to leave you their house, that would help enormously)
Well, I'm rambling -- but I can tell by your posts that you are an extremely intelligent person - and from your comment about a recent successful trip to the bank - I honestly believe that you could pull this off, and just go ahead and accept your conditions and try to plan for your future past your parents' ability to cope. Oh -- and if you lived in your parent's home, perhaps your brother could bring you your groceries bought with your food-stamps? (assuming this plan works and I just feel 99% sure it WOULD if you made it your mission)
I don't know what part of the country you live in, but in the cheapest areas, you can get an efficiency or rent a trailer and pay utilities (just barely) with the SSI check - and then use foodstamps for food. Maybe you could move near your brother so you'd have someone to do the occasional essential interacting that you couldn't manage? And if you do yardwork, perhaps you could grow some of your food? Well, that gets into money - ordering seed and probably needing to interact with people at the farm co-op store, etc.
Sorry to go on, but I think it's perfectly FINE to be a hermit - it's just such a shame that your support system may disappear on you when you're still a relatively young person and then you might die due to this insidious disease, complicated by your physical ailments. I hope you find a way! Good luck.
I appreciate your time in writing this post. This does look very promising.
But the problem is, I've never actually been diagnosed with whatever I have that causes these panic attacks. I've only been diagnosed with depression and SAD. The panic attacks came up after I quit going to the doctors.
Also, the celiac disease, I've never been officially diagnosed with celiac disease either. I only recently (about summer of 09) changed my diet to a gluten free diet. The reason I changed my diet was because I have had stomach problems all of my life and we never really could figure out why. I think even trips to the doctor as a kid, they never could figure out out either, they would just say I'm not digesting food properly or whatever, it's been forever ago.
Anyway, around the summer of 09, I started having even more problems with my stomach and was having cramping all the time. My uncle right around that time was officially diagnosed with celiac disease and so my mother just figured maybe it was possible that I had the same thing. So I agreed to change my diet to gluten free. It's been about two years now on this diet and I have to admit, my stomach problems have mostly gone away. Apparently it takes several years for your stomach to heal itself.
But I don't know if it's actually celiac or if it was just the change in diet that helped me. We've thought about getting a test done for celiac but I either have to go to the doctor and have a tube shoved down my throat into my stomach, or we have to pay like $200 to mail in a saliva test. I sure don't want to go to the doctors obviously, and I just feel like spending $200 is a waste of money.
But I guess if I have to get tested in order to apply for SSI, then we might have to think about it. I'm just afraid if it turns out I don't have celiac, then that's going to be one less thing I can use to get SSI.
I've read on other forums about agoraphobics getting SSI, but they always lose it after a few months because they have to reapply or something, and it get denied. I don't know what this means, but I don't like the idea of it.
I never talk to my parents about all this what I call "adult" stuff. So they could be doing things behind my back in order to help secure my future, at least leave the home to me and things like that. But I don't think we're getting government money for my "disability".
Also, I'm extremely afraid If I were to go talk to the social security people, what If it's a nice quiet room with only one guy, and I don't have any panic attacks? I can be completely calm in some situations. It really just comes at random. They would have to put me in a room full of people and make me panic in order to confirm I really do have this thing. It's all just a little too unreliable to me though. I can't guarantee I'll have a panic attack in a room full of people either.
I feel like I'd have to go through an entire body exam so they could see if my thyroid is messed up, if I have any problems with my brain, ect, ect.
This is why I just avoid life all together. I don't want to deal with any of this. Even if I was magically cured from panic attacks right now, I'd still want to avoid public situations.
It's stressful even thinking about doing this, and I haven't even decided anything yet.