One morning I was talking with someone about mental health. He said, “Well everyone just wants the easy way out. They just want to take a pill rather than doing the ‘work’ like therapy and stuff.”
I had to take a deep breath before I responded.
Do you know why more people don’t even go to get the pill? Because I had already been down that road before with the same doctor. I knew what I needed to do. And I still had to go in for a 10 minute talk, long enough to get weighed (boo- gut punch), tell a nurse through the tears what was going on, and then tell my doctor through the tears what was going on again. I was prescribed the same medication in the same dose. I even had medication leftover that I could use. And do you know what that 10 minute conversation cost me? $200. As if I didn’t already feel like I was worthless and hopeless, I now see what a “burden” I was to our bank account by asking for help. 10 minutes. $200.
Do you know why I take a pill? Because my chemicals are imbalanced in my brain. If someone told me to eat a magic food or do a certain exercise and I’d be “fixed,” you better bet like hell I’d do it in a heartbeat. It’s not that simple. Some things are beyond your power, and cheers to you for recognizing that and having the strength to stand up and ask for help.
Do you know why some won’t or stop taking a pill? Because it takes about 5 weeks to start working. And until that magic time, you have NO CLUE if you’re on the right pill at the right amount. My first pill left me feeling suicidal. In my mind, it was because there was truly no hope for me- even drugs wouldn’t “fix” me. To hear that we needed to start all over in the doctor’s office was indescribable. All I wanted was to feel better. I was doing what I was supposed to be doing. And it wasn’t working. And then when we did find the right combination, I stopped taking it because I so badly wanted to “be like everyone else.” To be “normal.” I thought I was cured. My doctor told me over and over NOT TO STOP TAKING IT even if I felt better, but I felt like society frowns on those who need help so I took it upon myself to deem myself “fixed.” HUGE mistake.
Do you know why more people don’t go to therapy? Standard insurance covers 5 visits to a psychologist or psychiatrist, if you’re lucky. As a person who’s tried therapy several times in the past, I can tell you that the number 5 is a freaking joke. It can take you 5 times to figure out you can trust the person enough to let them in. If you’re like me, it can take you a minimum of 5 times to tell your WHOLE story. And therapy is even harder than agreeing to take a pill. You have to open up to a stranger and trust that they know what to say to make it better. I went to a guy once and it was a disaster. I was in the deepest part of my depression and he wasn’t helping at all, but I thought that’s just what therapy was and if it wasn’t working it was my fault- not that we weren’t a good match, just that I was too broken for it to work.
And then there’s the time. Last time I tried to find therapy it was a minimum of a 5 week wait just to be seen by someone who MIGHT be a “good fit” for me. And after that I’d probably only get into her once every 3-5 weeks. I felt like I was suffocating when they told me this. I needed help NOW. I needed to talk to someone a week ago but finally got the courage to call today… and now I have to try to just hold on for another month and a half? Drowning.
When I heard that the new healthcare bill by Mr. Trump passed the first round, that things like Post-Partum Depression are considered a “pre-existing condition,” well… I cried. I’ve cried a lot since then. I cry for the women who now feel like they’ve done something wrong by deciding to bring a life into this world because our government essentially blames them for the chemical imbalances in their brains. I cry for the people who suffer with mental health issues and are burdened by the financial impact it has on them- just to find a place of peace again. To have to decide whether they want to take a chance on potentially feeling better or pay rent.
When people suffer from Mental Illness, we don’t ask for it. We are just trying to live the best life we can with the cards we’ve been dealt. When women have babies and post-partum depression sets in, we don’t ask for it. We sincerely set out to bring a new life into the world.
Listen to me:
You are not broken. You are not a burden. You deserve to feel happy too.
Get the help you need. If it’s not working, keep searching. You will figure it out.
Know you are brave. Know you are strong. Know you are worthy. Know you are LOVED.
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