A couple of years ago, I could barely stop crying. When I wasn’t crying, I was on the verge of crying, using every bit of effort to keep the tears inside. Over and over, every day. Not only did I fight the battle of tears every day, I fought suicidal thoughts every day. My brain badgered me—why bother living? What’s so great about it? Living is more trouble than it’s worth. My daughter, my parents, my family, my friends. Those are good reasons to live, I’d reply in this battle of attrition my brain was fighting against my soul. Why should you have to stay alive because of them? Because I love them and they love me!! NOW SHUT UP!!
I spent a lot of time wondering who would win. My soul that wanted to live? My brain that wanted to die? I felt like a prisoner of war, waiting to find out who would win and when I could go home. Where ever that might be.
I told my psychiatrist and he put me on a drug called Saphris. Saphris is an atypical antipsychotic that, when used in conjunction with anti-depressants, helps with depression. It helped me.
I remembered again what living without an internal war about living and dying felt like. It felt good—especially after months of my consciousness being a battle ground.
Like many people with mental illness, I get my insurance through the Healthcare Marketplace. It seemed to show up just in time, just when I had to stop working and go on disability.
This year I had to change companies. My old insurance would no longer be available. But I found a good policy. And maybe it is a good policy. But I’m not getting off to a very good start in my relationship with this new company.
My new company does not cover Saphris for depression unless I have bipolar disorder. Which I don’t. My doctor found an effective drug for me and he’s not allowed to prescribe it. Unless I can pay for it myself. But a five hundred dollar a month drug isn’t possible on monthly disability. I pay my premium, yet I’m denied the drug I need.
My doctor told me that the Healthcare Exchange policies base what they approve and don’t approve on a contract. It doesn’t matter what he says. It doesn’t matter than I was so full of suicidal thoughts that I couldn’t think about much else. It doesn’t matter what I need. What matters is their contract. Nothing else. In other words, profit matters and I don’t.
I told my doctor I felt like a little, tiny mouse being crushed and he said he felt like a clerk, not a doctor. They aren’t allowing him to practice medicine the way he sees fit. He has to do what they tell him to do.
He encouraged me. He helped me. Which didn’t prevent a flood of tears when I got in my car. They told him they might approve other drugs in the same category and tonight I’ll start my Seroquel journey. I wonder where that path leads? To improved mental health or deterioration? I’ll be finding out. Seroquel is sedating, which I don’t need. It has more negative effects on diabetes, which I also don’t need. It makes people gain weight. I’m already obese and I don’t need to gain weight. I do need Saphris. But even though a skilled doctor who’s known me over ten years says I should have it, a person in some state, somewhere, who has never met me or any of the other people he or she denies medication to, says no. So no it is.
I’m trying to have a positive attitude. I’m trying to do the best I can within the system, since it’s the system I have to function in. I’m not wealthy. If I was wealthy I would be able to take the medications that help me the most. That would be the only consideration. Shouldn’t that be the only consideration for all people? Not just rich people?
I’ll keep you posted about where this new “adventure” takes me.
Here are a couple of resources for any one experiencing suicidal thoughts. You can call 911. Don’t be embarrassed. You don’t have be dying to call 911. They want to prevent injuries, not treat them after they happen, if possible.
The National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-784-2433. Again, you don’t have to be on the verge of killing yourself to call this number. Like a leader of support group told me, this line is for preventing suicide. So you don’t have to have a knife in your hand or a noose around your neck. If you feel like hurting yourself, call this number. I’ve called it before when I needed help in the middle of the night. It’s good to know there’s someone to talk to when everyone else I know is asleep.
The best book I’ve read on this topic is called How I Stayed Alive When My Brain Was Trying To Kill Me: One Person’s Guide to Suicide Prevention by Susan Rose Blauner. This book helped me more and made much more sense than any other book I’ve read on the subject.