Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Is It Physical or Mental?

I had the most bizarre conversation with the new landlord today. I checked my messages to find one from her wondering about my illness. On the application I filled out in place of employer I put "recovering from an illness" and also added that my income was from state disability. At least for one more month it is.

I reluctantly called her back. I just didn't want to have to get into an explanation of "my illness." It's really none of her business and I can easily provide proof of income should she require it.

Here's how the conversation went:

Landlord: Hi, this is ...... I just wanted to find out if it was You who had the illness or your employer.

Me: Oh, it's me. (In my head I'm thinking I think it's pretty clear who has the illness. I didn't offer any other information. It was making me a little nervous she was even asking about my being ill.)

Landlord: Oh so it Is you. Have you been ill for long?

Me: (feeling increasingly uncomfortable). Well, maybe for about a year. I quickly add "but I'm hoping to have improvements by Spring." Suddenly I find myself scared she's going to take away our apartment just because I'm sick.

Landlord: Oh. You've been ill for a year?

Me: Yes. I'm under a doctor's care and I see him monthly-he's closely monitoring my health. I suddenly find myself needing to prove something to her but not knowing what. It's clear I'm not providing the information she wants. It's not that I'm trying to be difficult. It's just that people don't understand this illness and I just didn't have the energy today to try to educate someone. I'm also aware of how intrusive she is. I want to reassure her but I'm not certain of what it is that needs reassuring. I just feel weird about the whole conversation.

So then there's the kicker and I think the REAL question she wanted to ask.

She says "is your illness physical or mental?" I could not believe she just asked me that question. My voice went flat and I said one word: physical. She says Oh, okay. I add "I wish it weren't."

I get off the phone and find myself having all sorts of conflicting feelings. Is this a foreboding of what is to come? Is she going to be an intrusive landlord? I had a brief feeling of wanting to call the whole thing off. It was really a strange conversation. She did ask my references if I had a drug or alcohol problem.

I just hope SHE isn't loopy and show up unannounced at our doorstep. It would put a real crimp in my heroin use.

Was it because I put that I was on SDI that she thought it was okay to ask that question? To even inquire about my illness at all felt weird. I understand if it was in the spirit of caring but it felt more like I was being interviewed and a little grilled.

At the very end of the conversation she says "oh I didn't cash your check you gave me." I'm like, "uh, okay" and thinking "why is she telling me this." She says I figure I won't cash it until the lease is signed.


Sue Jackson said...

I think we've all experienced strange conversations about trying to explain CFS, but that was a really bizarre one! I guess she didn't want to rent to someone who is mentally ill, but isn't it actually against the law for her to even ask? It seems like it would be. Hopefully, that was her only concern, and she'll leave you alone from now on! Look on the bright side, at least she didn't get into the, "Oh, I feel tired a lot, too!" thing. I hate that one.


Daphne said...

She did not ask about your quinoa addiction, however. That would have been a deal-killer. :)

Kerry said...

Definately a step over the privacy line conversation. CFS is so hard to explain and to try to do so to a new landlord who I don't think has a legal reason to ask--what a challenge! (Anyone with legal experience who knows if legally she has a right to ask such questions?)

You must have felt like saying something like-- a highly contagious form of "make up a hideous name" that can only be passed over phone lines to nosey landlords! (wink)

I hope you enjoy the new apartment, feel better there and that the landlord has no more questions. Kerry

Renee said...

Wow. Seems like she has stepped over the line with her questions! I expect she may be worried about renting to someone with a mental illness? Maybe she had a bad experience in the past...
Sure hope this is a one time deal with her intrusive ways and that you will be happy in your new place. It sounds like a nice place!
Always listen to your intuition/inner voice is what my doc would say.