Hey, everyone. It’s been a while.
Well, longer for you than it has been for me. I wrote a blog a few weeks ago and never posted it. I guess I was ashamed of the content in that blog. I thought it was something I wanted to talk about but, I was wrong. Having one of my closest friends tell me how wrong I was…that didn’t help. So, I didn’t post it, but I DID write it. For me, I had just released all my pent-up energy and I haven’t had much else to write about. Not until now, anyway.
Things have been…alright, I guess. They’ve been better, but they’ve also been worse. I think in the midst of the global pandemic, all of my anxiety is just doubled. My stress levels are through the roof! That can’t all be blamed on COVID-19 though. There are plenty of other factors at play here.
Two weeks ago, on Thursday, I went to my morning T session like normal. It was an 8am appointment so I woke up bright and early and headed straight there. It was a fine session. Not life-altering or anything, but I left feeling better than I went in. Isn’t that the point, anyway? After that, I had to go sign papers to refinance my car. It took FIVE-ever, but it wasn’t a huge deal. I didn’t have to be at work until later, so I had the time to kill. I decided after that, I would continue with my adult responsibilities and I would go to get my oil changed. Exciting, I know. I had to run home first and grab a punch card from my dad before heading to the shop though. When I got home, that’s when everything changed.
My parents dropped a bomb on me. COMPLETELY unexpected. It was like a punch right in the gut. I had my hand on the door handle to leave and my dad tells me he needs to talk to me for a minute. I had time, so I walked back over to where he was. He proceeds to tell me that he lost his job the day before. If you stay up to date with the world, you know that the oil field is really not doing well right now. Gas prices are low, which, is great for some people, but for those of us with family working in the oil industry, it’s a nightmare. My dad was one of the unlucky ones. After about 5 rounds of letting people go, they had to let him go. This was a shocker in and of itself. I was stunned. But, this wasn’t the part that shook me to my core.
I hadn’t even thought of what this would mean for me. Not until my mom said “so, we’re losing our insurance.” I’m sorry…what? LOSING insurance? My heart sank. No more therapy? How was I supposed to NOT go to therapy? Something I had come to rely on so much. I was supposed to just…not go?
My parents aren’t fans of me going to therapy. In fact, until this happened, my father and I had never even spoken about it. I knew that he knew about it, but it wasn’t talked about. Not between us. My mother refers to it as my “appointment” because it would just KILL her to admit that I’m in therapy. They don’t know about my trauma so they couldn’t understand what I was really doing there. But, this was fine with me. As long as I could bill this to our insurance, I was fine with it being an unspoken rule of the house.
My mom proceeded to say that she didn’t know what I was going to do about my ‘thing’, but it was up to me. They said we would have insurance for 30 more days before it ran out. They also said that even though my dad had a new job lined out, insurance through that job was not an option. I tried to play it cool in front of them, but my stomach was in knots, there was a lump in my throat, and I could feel the threat of tears stinging my eyes. What was I going to do?
I left the house shortly after that so I could 1.) panic in private, 2.) call my friend, and 3.) get my freaking oil changed. I pulled into the parking lot next door to the oil change place and called my friend. I told her what happened and that I was terrified I wouldn’t get to see my T again. I finally let the tears fall. Panic and worry were consuming me, I couldn’t think straight, and I felt so defeated. Having my friend there helped. She talked me down and helped me come up with a plan. BEFORE giving up and wallowing in self-pity, I needed to look into the insurance my job offers. I mean, that’s logical – thanks, friend. After that, I could decide on the next step. Either sign up for insurance, or look into other options, and talk to my T. So, that’s what I did.
I got the dang oil changed, went home, changed clothes, and headed to work. I was anxious to get there so I could just look at my options. As much as I knew I had ’30 days’ to get this under control, I was still nervous. I just needed to see what I could do.
I get to work and tell my mangers I need to talk to them. We talked about insurance and, of course, my job offers the most obscure insurance that no one has ever even heard of. I knew my T wouldn’t take it. I hadn’t asked her yet, but I knew she wouldn’t. We talked about options, but everything was so expensive. I didn’t know how I would afford it or make it work. Ah, there they were again, those pesky tears rolling down my cheeks and threatening my pride. I just couldn’t help it. I felt like I was running out of options. After talking a little more, I came to a decision – something I thought would work. IF I could get my T to take my insurance.
I leave the office and send a text to my T. I asked if she could please call me. I told her it was really important and that I wouldn’t ask if it wasn’t. She said she would call me before her 4:00 appointment came in. Alright. Begin the waiting game.
Finally, the phone rings. It’s J – my T. I rush into an office and close the door to take the phone call. The first thing I asked was how much a session would cost without insurance. The answer? ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS. I know it could be worse, but I also knew there was no WAY I could afford to pay $100 a week to see her. It wasn’t an option. She asked if I was worried about losing insurance and I told her what I had just found out a few hours prior to the phone call. And…there it was. Again. I don’t know how many other ways I can word this, so I’ll just say it – I started crying. She mentioned another option to look into, and I told her that I still had insurance for 30 days. We had time to figure it all out. But I still felt like I was running out of options. Nothing was working out in my favor.
We hung up, and I headed to my computer to start looking into the individual insurance options J told me about. I won’t go into detail about numbers and deductibles because honestly, it’s confusing and no one cares. So, I’ll just cut to the chase and let you know that individual insurance was a no-go. I couldn’t afford it. I was better off just paying out of pocket the $100 a week!
I was hitting wall after wall after wall. NOTHING was working out. I was exhausted, I was worried, and I wanted this to just…NOT be happening to me. Unfortunately, avoiding it wasn’t going to do me any favors. The problem wasn’t going to just disappear. I was going to have to fight for it if I wanted it.
I sent my mom a text just to be sure that I needed to be looking into health insurance for myself and she said yes. I also wanted to confirm that I had 30 days, but she said no. They thought we had 30 days, they pleaded with the insurance company to give us time, but they said no. I was told that our insurance was terminated immediately. Immediately. I was never going to see J again. My heart dropped further, the lump in my throat grew, but I held back the tears. I had to stop crying!
I took a break from looking at insurance. I was tired and I was kind of out of ideas at this point. I needed to sit down with my T and talk about options. I needed help. It was during my break that we were hitting the 5:00 mark and everyone started going home from work. I work until 6, so it was down to my friend, Cassie and me. We worked together until 6 every night and she’s one of my best friends. After we were alone, she asked if I was okay. I told her no – I wasn’t okay. Not at all. I told her what was going on. Hot tears pouring down my face, sniffling between sobs, and trying to catch my breath. I had been crying all day, but this broke me. Talking to her and knowing I was alone with her and no one else would see me…I was done. I couldn’t hold it in anymore. She was sympathetic, but she didn’t have any ideas either.
I sent J a text and told her that the insurance was done. I needed to cancel my appointments because I could no longer afford it. She told me she would see me the following week for free. She wasn’t going to throw me away. I felt a little better knowing I had one more session to wrap things up until I could return to seeing her. I wasn’t happy – not at all. But one more session was better than zero more sessions.
I left work feeling tired. My heart was so broken, my mind was tired from racing, and my face was puffy and red from all the crying. Then, The New Guy calls me. He had something else he wanted to talk about because of something I said to him via text the day before, but that didn’t last long. Then I told him I had a horrible day. He asked what was going, so I told him. Every detail. I even told him the boring stuff about deductibles and prices. He listened, but he also didn’t have any options. He apologized to me profusely. Not because he did anything wrong, but because he knew I was hurting and there was nothing anyone could do. I wanted to fall into his arms and just be broken for a while. That wasn’t an option. I did cry on the phone with him and tell him how much this all sucked, and he agreed with me. It DID suck.
Before we hung up, he reminded me that I wasn’t a throw away, and he told me he loved me. I held on to those words for days after this because it was what I needed. I wasn’t a throw away. This would work out – it would be okay. I wasn’t a throw away, and I was loved. That was what I needed.
I get home and, well, some things had changed. Great. More news. This was better news, though…sorta. Our insurance had NOT been terminated, but we didn’t have 30 days either. We had until the end of March. That included one more Thursday. I could go ahead and let her bill me the next week and if she was still offering a free session, I could use that the week after. This was better. What wasn’t better was their attitude about all of it. They were claiming that once the oil field goes back up, my dad will have his job back and we will have insurance again. I didn’t doubt that. At the same time, though, I didn’t know when that would be. A month? Two months? Six months? No one had an answer to that.
My parents encouraged me to go without insurance until he was employed by that company again. We didn’t know when that would be, but they are very confident that this is a temporary set back and things will be back to normal soon. I trust them, I do. But my therapy is really important to me and they don’t understand that. They knew that this was my unspoken worry – that I would have to stop therapy. This time, it was my mom that brought it up. She asked if I could just take a few months off – it wasn’t a big deal. Her exact words were “haven’t you learned enough…coping mechanisms by now that you’ll be fine for a few months?” She barely had the words out of her mouth when my dad chimed in, agreeing with her and saying I needed to suck it up. It was ironic because going into the house, I was determined to tell them how important therapy was to me and that I knew they didn’t understand it, but to me, it was a big deal. Needless to say, those words never left my lips. I digressed quickly. It was clear to me that they would not understand it and I didn’t want to argue. This was something I was just going to have to deal with in private, on my own. With the support of my friends, of course. I do have a few good people in my corner that have my back. The New Guy, Cassie, and the friend I mentioned in the beginning of this post.
This is kind of a side note, but I talk about the other friend in my posts frequently and I haven’t given her a name yet…I’m going to have to work on that. She deserves a name here. I’ll think about it and get back to you.
By the time I left their bedroom and headed to my own, I was exhausted. Completely drained both mentally and emotionally. I changed clothes into something a little more comfortable, watched some mindless TV while talking to my friend, and laid in bed. When I finally stopped and just let myself rest, silent tears rolled down my face onto my pillow. This was the end and it was all out of my control. I had exhausted all of my options and there just wasn’t anything that anyone could do. I was defeated and heartbroken and just…sad. I eventually fell asleep and put that day behind me.
The next day, I had a new determination. I was going to figure something out. I made it to work and immediately started looking over the insurance paperwork again. I knew this wasn’t going to work, but I had to do something. After all, I needed insurance for more than just therapy. I had to decide if I wanted to take the risk of not having insurance to go to the doctor, or if I wanted to pay for insurance until the end of the year when we did open enrollment for our 2021 benefits. That’s when I saw it.
The Employee Assistance Program (EAP). This was where I found J to begin with. That’s kind of a story in and of itself and I’ve already been pretty long winded, so I’ll try to keep it short (if you want the full-detailed story, let me know in the comments!). The EAP offers 6 free counseling session to employees here. When I started looking for in-person counseling and EMDR, I thought I would do 6 sessions with J and that would complete the EMDR process and I would go back to just online therapy with the other person I was seeing. Obviously, that didn’t happen. I continued to see her after the 6 sessions and now it’s been over a year and I’m still seeing her.
When I saw the tab for the EAP, it got me wondering if the sessions from there would renew, or if it was 6 sessions per employee for the life of their career here. I looked at all of the FAQs on OUR website as well as the EAP site. I didn’t find an answer, so I decided to call. The lady I spoke to was very kind and when I asked if they would renew, she wanted to look at my profile. I gave her permission and she looked it up. She asked who I was seeing because she wanted to make sure she was still on their list. I told her, and sure enough, she was still there. She said since it had been over a year, they could renew the 6 sessions.
SIX MORE SESSIONS! This was great news. I know it doesn’t fix everything, but that meant a total of seven weeks before I had to worry. During this seven-week period, I decided that I would start saving as much money as I could. I would stash money in my currently empty savings account so that when the seven weeks ended, I could afford to pay out of pocket for at least a few more sessions. Hopefully. I know that is a temporary fix – a band-aid on a bullet hole – but it gives me time. Maybe this will give me enough time for my dad to get re-employed and get us insurance again. Or, maybe not. It’s not a long-term plan, but it’s what I have for now. That’s enough for me to hold onto right now. I have one of those seven weeks down, and six more to go. I won’t lie, it seems to be going by fast, and that worries me a bit. I’m just trying not to focus on that part, not now, anyway.
J brought up a good point, though. When I renewed the sessions, they asked what I was seeing her for, and I said trauma. J said that when my six sessions were up, I may be able to tell them I’m having a separate issue (depression, stress, anxiety, etc.) and it may let me renew the sessions again. I don’t know if this will work, but I’m going to try it. I’m taking what I can! Until then, I’m alright for now. I’m just focusing on short term – it helps.
That was the first of many things I have adding to my stress right now. The insurance has caused a lot of problems.
The past several weeks, my T has been urging me to get back on my medication. I didn’t listen at first – I told her I felt fine. She kept telling me that I was GOING to feel fine for a while, but that the medication would wear off and eventually, I wouldn’t be fine anymore. I thought she was wrong. I had been off my medication for a month with no issues so I really didn’t think it would get bad. As you probably guessed, I was wrong. If I wasn’t wrong, I wouldn’t be sitting here typing about it.
Things started getting bad around the same time I found out about my dad. While I think the stuff with my dad contributed to how lousy I was feeling, I really don’t think that was the only cause of my slip back down. It couldn’t have been. That all happened on a Thursday and I had it (mostly) sorted out by Friday, but I was still…not good. I decided that J was right and I needed back on my medication. The only problem was, I had been off my meds for over a month. I didn’t know if I could just go back to the same dose because I was on such a high dose. When I first started the medication, I had to work up to that dosage. So, getting back on it, I didn’t know if I would have to start at a lower dose again.
I REALLY didn’t want to call my pdoc and ask. I didn’t want to hear the lecture about not taking them or deal with them being rude because I messed up again. J had told me to call that day, but with everything going on with my dad, I forgot. I really was going to suck it up and do it, but I didn’t think about it. The next day, I remembered. It was about 4:45pm and I thought they closed at 5, so I was just in time. I called, but I got the message saying that they closed at 4:00pm. Great. That meant I would have to wait until Monday.
Things got progressively worse over the weekend. I started cutting again. Which, wasn’t super new, but I had been trying to stop. I just didn’t see many other options. I was overwhelmed and I felt alone and…well…I don’t know. I do it a lot when I feel alone. I felt hopeless.
Monday came and I remembered to call. I asked them first, how much an office visit would be without insurance. I don’t know what I really expected, but I wasn’t pleased with the answer. She told me it would be $140. There it was – another wall. How am I supposed to afford that? A hundred and forty bucks to sit in a chair while someone writes me a prescription? No way. I can’t do that. But, my next appointment isn’t until May so I’m not too worried about it right this second. I’ll worry about it later. I can only focus on one thing at a time and that’s not on the top of my priority list.
Then, I confessed what I had done. I told her how long I had been off my meds and that I wasn’t sure if it was okay to start back at such a high dose. I THOUGHT I was prepared for the backlash. Apparently, I wasn’t. She was so rude to me. Her tone, her words…the way she belittled me and made me feel stupid. Honestly, the medication got screwed up when I went on vacation. I just never started it back when I got home. And aside from that, does this not happen a lot? Am I the ONLY person that has felt better and thought they didn’t need medication anymore??? J has told me that the doctors are used to this. It happens a lot, especially in patients with mood disorders, like me. Things get better, you think you don’t need meds, you quit taking them, then things get bad. It happens. I’m not trying to make excuses for myself, but I don’t think she had any excuse to be so rude to me.
Anyway, she told me that she would have to call my doctor and find out and they would call me back the next day. I wasn’t upset about having to wait on a phone call, but I WAS upset about how I was treated. I already felt worthless and stupid and she just added to that. Confirmed all of the negative things I felt about myself. I was done. All I could think about was hurting myself.
To top it off, I got in a fight with my friend. The one I mentioned up there that I need a name for? Yep, that’s the one. It was so dumb, and I know it was my own fault, but I just felt miserable. I felt like I had no one. I decided then that I was going to finish everything I had to do that day, and then I was going home, and I was going to slit my wrists and kiss the world goodbye.
It wasn’t a passing thought. I had this made up in my mind. I wasn’t going to change my mind. There was nothing anyone could say to make me want to live like this anymore. I wanted out. I wanted the thoughts to stop and I wanted the ache in my chest to go away and I wanted to escape this thing we call life. I was done. I was messing everything up anyway, so, why not? No one was going to miss me, things would be better without me, and I would be free.
After I had this made up in my mind, I posted on AS. I didn’t want anyone to find out about my death and think it came out of nowhere. I felt I owed some sort of…heads up. Not really an explanation, but a warning. I posted that I was done living, and that was that. It was almost over. I finished work, went to my piano lesson, and went home.
I skipped dinner. It was kind of late, I was in my room, I was alone, and it was time. This was the end. I started to cry. Was I really going to end my life? Was this really it for me? At 23 years old, my life was going to be over. Unmarried, no children…but I was done.
I decided to check AS before doing it. Curiosity got the best of me. When I looked, it seemed like no one thought I was serious, or it really was just that no one cared. In fact, I got a PM that made me feel even more like I was screwing everything up and making people miserable. I logged off, put my laptop down, and grabbed a blade.
Then I got a text. It was the friend I keep mentioning that doesn’t have a name. Let me clarify a couple of things here. She and I talk nearly every day. We hardly ever miss. At least one message to check in every day. It’s just…how it is. I’m usually the one to reach out though. If I don’t message first, we don’t talk. Usually. It’s been that way for… a while. So, when my phone went off and I saw it was her, I set the blade down. I wiped the tears from my face, and I responded back.
We kind of talked about this night after it happened, but I don’t think she knows that she may have saved my life that night. I didn’t want her to think my life was her responsibility, so I didn’t tell her that part.
We talked for the rest of the night. We put everything out in the open and worked everything out. Just like we always do. I went to sleep that night and I was safe. I was alive. And for the first time that day, tomorrow didn’t seem so bad. I could make it another day.
I never heard from my pdoc the next day. Or the day after that. Or the day after that. But I did have therapy on that third day. I told her about Monday night (as recommended by that one nameless friend) and I told her about the pdoc. We agreed at this point that I needed the medication. With everything that happened just a few days prior, I actually WANTED to be on the medication again. I even told J that. Regardless of what I wanted though, they still hadn’t called me back. I felt stuck. I had about 10 minutes left of my session and J said she would call the pdoc with me in case they were rude or unhelpful. So, I called and put it on speaker with J right next to me. I’m sure you guessed this, but I’m going to tell you anyway. They weren’t rude at all. I mean, of course not. J likely thought it was all in my head! They gave me the answers I needed and we moved on. Maybe it all worked out for the best.
J asked me if it was close to time for me to refill my prescriptions. I told her that it should be about time, but I never used any of the ones I filled last time. I have an entire month’s worth of medication sitting in a bag in my closet, untouched. She said even so, I should refill them before I lose insurance. She’s very smart. I did that and it was pretty easy. No pain in that process.
When I picked them up, I asked the girl at the pharmacy how much this would cost without insurance. If my co-pay was $45, I wanted to know how much it actually costs. She told me that ONE of my three medications, is over $1,700 without insurance. WHAT? That’s just for one of them! Altogether, the three medications will cost over $2,300 a month. I don’t even make that much money! I have a little over 2 month’s worth of meds. After that? I have no clue what I’m going to do. Not any idea. Even as I write this, I have no solution for that. If you have any ideas, feel free to drop them in the comments! I welcome any and all suggestions!
With no insurance, I have no way to afford T, pdoc, medication… nothing. I was just starting to get back on track with all of this. Then the universe was like ‘LOL, you thought’ and now I’m a puddle of overwhelmed cluelessness and questions that don’t have answers. Maybe that’s what has been causing my recent slip. Maybe…
You see, I started self-harming again almost a month ago, but it wasn’t frequent. Maybe once or twice a week. Maybe less than that. Somewhere along the way, it started becoming more frequent. I couldn’t stop. Something about etching red tally marks into my hips became intoxicating again. Once I have the blade in my hand, I can hardly put it down. I don’t know what makes me stop every night. I guess that’s my point. I’m doing it every night.
My hips are trashed - nearly unrecognizable as flesh. I’ve been dreaming about red baths and stitches. With the slightest upset, my first thought is cutting. When I feel alone, I tell myself not to worry – I still have my blades. They’re always there. They never leave. I can rely on them. I can trust them. They’re safe. How ironic is that? The very thing I use to tear my flesh apart is the same thing I call ‘safe’. That’s what all of this is, isn’t it? A big, heaping plate of irony. This whole story, everything I’ve poured out on this paper today, the words fleeting from my fingertips…it’s irony.
The fact that I was feeling safe with J and then the world came crashing down and I don’t know how much time I have left with her? Ironic. The fact that I wanted to kill myself, but I was saved by a text from someone I was fighting with? Ironic. Let’s not forget that I finally decided to try medication again and it isn’t even in the BALLPARK of being affordable. Ironic.
I know, this took a weird turn and became super negative. This is the most I’ve spoken about how much I’ve been cutting though. No one, and I mean NO ONE, knows that I’m doing it every day. It’s like part of a damn routine. I’m still deciding if I want to tell J any of this tomorrow. I’ve kind of enjoyed keeping it a secret. Well…it was a secret. Until I typed it here and started shouting it from the rooftops.
Well, friends, this is where I am right now. Before you ask, no, I’m not okay. I’m trying to act fine, I guess with hopes that in time, I WILL be fine. But right now, I’m not fine. I’m a mess. And I’m dealing with it in ways that I shouldn’t. Hopefully, the medication kicks in soon and everything will be better. Maybe in a short amount of time, I will have answers to all of these floating questions, and I’ll have solutions to all of my detested problems. For now, I’m just going to not be okay. I’m going to keep forcing a smile until my cheeks are sore and I can’t any longer.
I think at this point, it’s all I really can do.
With all my love (I still have some of that),