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Thursday, February 25

I Don't Want to Kill Myself Today, But What If I Did?

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This is a series of stories that is part of my own healing. I welcome you to read along, or not, but I'm going to write it anyway. I hope you take something good from it, and I hope I do too.
I’m writing this while I’m frustrated, which is admittedly not a great idea, but you know what, this is my blog so we’re gonna do it.

I was released from the local Psychiatric Ward on February 16.

I was given life saving medications - anti-depressants, thyroid support, anti-anxiety, and anti-psychotics (Yea, I know, it’s a doozy, but it helps - haven’t decided yet what that says about me.)

These medications were dispensed under the condition that I would not be able to get refills without a doctor’s approval.

Fair. Abuse of prescription medications is a reality.

To catch you up, it’s now been nine (9) days since I left the supervision of a mental health clinic.

I was admitted because I was having severe panic attacks, hallucinations and behavior that was endangering myself and others (suicide, paranoia, etc.)

I know this about myself. Please note, there are several patients that I met in my unit that do not in fact know this about themselves, some that were struggling to make sense of their immediate surroundings, and some that could not even speak.

Think about that.

I was released with discharge papers and phone numbers I could call for support, should I need it in the days following my release.

I have now spent nine days and numerous phone calls all of which have led to dead ends trying to find 1) A Primary Care Physician 2) A Support Group 3) Psychiatric Evaluation 4) Renewal of my Life Saving Prescriptions.

I would like to re-emphasize:

I am more coherent (albeit very frustrated and should probably pop one of those anti-anxiety pills) than many of the patients I met at the mental health facility that treated me.

It has been nine (9) days.

I have called everyday trying to reach support and find answers.

I scheduled an appointment at a clinic that was recommended to me by the Psychiatric facility I was staying at. It is listed on my discharge papers as a clinic to call for Primary Health Care.

I went to this clinic.

They refused to take my health insurance.

I am listed as a dependent on my husband’s insurance - and apparently this is a problem for them, because my husband was not the patient - so they could not “find my insurance in the system.”

The problem was, Blue Cross Blue Shield (middle fingers up to you, honestly) - rather than giving us our permanent medical ID number - wrote a very lazy attempt at a plea to any clinic that we should choose to attend. It says, “Please accept this as proof of insurance.”

Please. From, Blue Cross and Blue Shield, we would appreciate it, thanks, signed, us, xoxo. PS. This doesn’t guarantee we’re going to pay you. But like, please accept it anyway. Thx.

Well, that wasn’t acceptable to this clinic - which I should tell you accepts WIC, Medicare and Medicaid - none of which I have or qualify for. They also provide a sliding fee for anyone who meets their income restrictions. I was not told this was an option and was not prepared with pay stubs or tax returns - which anyway, why the hell should I? I NEED THESE MEDS BECAUSE THEY SAVE MY LIFE.

Okay, so anyway.

They refused my insurance, and I cancelled my appointment.

I left, defeated, no where closer to finding a physician that can help me continue much needed care.

Then, just this morning - I called no less than four phone numbers trying to reach clinics and support groups recommended to me by the mental health facility where I was treated.

These were numbers, clinics and national associations recommended directly to me on my discharge papers.

All four phone calls connected me to people who either did not know what I was talking about (“Support groups? Yea that’s not us.”) or offices that do not communicate well enough with each other that I have now been asked three times to complete “Initial Intake Forms” which are still under review because the one person - the ONE SINGLE PERSON IN THE ENTIRE CLINIC - responsible for approving the intake of new patients is out sick.

Whatever, you deserve your sick day.

It has been nine (9) days.

This, my friends, is what modern health care for people dealing with mental illness is like. I have been dealing with clinics, doctors, support groups, national associations, that are meant to support people with mental illness AS PART OF THEIR PRIMARY MEANS OF BUSINESS.

And THIS has been my experience.

I don’t want to kill myself today. But what if I did?

My only option would be to call 911 again.

What are we saying to mental health patients and those who suffer from mental illness, that 911 is their only means of getting help, when there are life saving medications and therapy available to them - but only if they navigate the maze that is our healthcare system?

I don’t want to kill myself today. But what if I did?

Think about that.

Think about all of the other patients I shared a unit with that can’t even speak or recognize their immediate surroundings that are discharged every 72 hours only to have to navigate this maze by themselves without advocates or even someone to fucking help them make phone calls.

Some of these people are homeless.

Think about them for just one god damn second.

I am so infuriated. Not just for me. For every single person suffering from mental illness that has to deal with THIS.

If you do not think our health care system is broken, you are probably one of the many lucky people who receive health insurance from their jobs, are above working middle class, don’t suffer from any chronic diseases that require expensive medications, live in an upper middle class suburban neighborhood that has only quality clinics to service you, work in the medical health profession, know doctors personally or other.

I am NONE OF THOSE THINGS.

I am an average, American health care patient that has been lost in the system for nine (9) days despite every attempt of my own to try to receive help.

I don’t want to kill myself today.

But what if I did?

Think about that.

Think about all the other people suffering who can’t put to words what they are going through. Think about veterans suffering from PTSD who have to come home and try to live a normal life like they didn’t just watch thousands of people fucking die.

Think about people that have been suffering from mental illness their entire lives, who want to die every single day and think about the lack of care that is available to them.

Think about how many lives are lost in this country every single day because people don’t know where to turn for help or how to help themselves.

And think about me.

With every bit of information I could probably ask to have, who received great treatment at the mental health facility I was in, who received life saving medications that make me want to LIVE.

And think about how I can’t even get the help I need to renew these prescriptions or go to a support group.

And think about how if I still can’t do that for 21 more days, that I’m out. I’m out of medications.

Think about me shaking, seizing, crying, blacking out on a bathroom floor, naked, begging myself not to kill myself.

Think about that.

And then think about how you don’t want every American to be covered by insurance as a fundamental human right.

Think about all the people that die because you don’t want to pay your FUCKING TAXES.

Think about anything for one god damn second.

Think.

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