Let us begin at the beginning.
I went to the ER on Tuesday because this thought popped into my depressed mind: “I wonder what dying would feel like.”
And then my thought was this: “HI, HELLO THERE, I AM A RED FLAG, HELLO, PLEASE DEAL WITH ME IMMEDIATELY.”
While I had no plans to kill myself, and I didn’t feel like I was a danger to myself or others, that thought is not good and it came out of nothingness. It is supremely disorienting to have that kind of thought come into your mind unbidden when before that moment you were calmly doing walking around being a sane, if sad, person.
I promptly started googling psychiatrists on my phone and crying uncontrollably and then, when I couldn’t find the kind of help that I needed and was scared about where to turn, I called my mom. She took me to the ER and we waited there a long, long time while I cried because I was scared and I just wanted help. Any kind of help.
The woman who finally visited me in the room assessed me gave me her recommendations: I was suggested to go to group therapy three times a week, see a psychologist one-on-one, and see someone about possibly getting meds.
I felt wildly uncomfortable with the thought of talking about my problems in front of a group, and told the assessor as much, but added the caveat that if she thought it would help, I would certainly give it a try. She affirmed that she thought it would help, said that I could start Wednesday night at 6 PM, and called the facility to give them a heads up that I would be checking in with them to start group therapy.
I was optimistic. I felt like I had been hit by an emotional truck, but I was optimistic.
On Wednesday, I slept in the best I could (which didn’t work out very well) and woke up feeling a little better overall. After I wrote this, I left the house at around 4:30 to get to my appointment but needed to get gas before I could drive the half hour required to get there (they had also asked me to arrive 30 minutes to an hour beforehand to fill out paperwork).
In a fit of brain-murkiness (a not uncommon occurrence these days, unfortunately), I locked my keys in the car at the gas station. Because of course I did. Thankfully, I had my phone on me and was able to call my mom to rescue me (AGAIN) and I was able to get to my appointment with the minimum thirty minutes padding time requested of me.
Of course, the receptionist wasn’t sure if I was being assessed (again) and didn’t know if/that I was starting group that evening. I started crying over her confusion because I just wanted to get started feeling better, you know? I just wanted to START.
She was very kind about it and reassured me gently that it was ok but I’m sure that I looked completely unhinged.
I filled out my paperwork, turned it in, and waited for a while. It was well past 6 when they finally called me back to ask me questions about my medical history and what kinds of things made me angry/made me calm and they told me that they’d get me over to group momentarily.
Then the financial guy came over. And then the floor dropped out from underneath me. You see, my insurance doesn’t cover this sort of intensive outpatient therapy under my deductible. It’s $75 for a copay each visit. At the 3 times per week this facility offers, my total PER WEEK comes out to $225.
Their standard minimum course of treatment is 15 sessions. That comes out to $1,125 for a COPAY for a service that is already inconvenient for me to get to with my work schedule, makes me uncomfortable with the mere thought of, and I can’t even begin to afford. And this $1,125 is for treatment for FIVE WEEKS. God knows how long I’d actually NEED group therapy.
I felt kicked when I was down.
I broke down in that tiny room with that nice man who had to give me the bad news. He told me that, yeah. That’s a really high price. Apparently he usually sees copays, if there even is any, of $15-20 per session. I sobbed and wiped away my tears with their scratchy tissues and told him everything about what I was going through, how I’d been in the ER and how uncomfortable talking with people I was, and how depressed I was about this whole thing. He said that he heard me and that if that’s really how I felt? If I thought I’d be unable to open up? I shouldn’t waste my time or my money and I should seek therapy one-on-one. And then he–very gently, very kindly–wished me well.
If I were the hugging type, I would have hugged him. Of all the people I’d talked to, he helped the most by actually listening to what I wanted.
I left the facility disheartened that I hadn’t yet started anything on the path to feeling better after I spent the previous day in the EMERGENCY ROOM (and more than a little bit angry that I’d wasted three hours on nothing) but was, again, optimistic that I’d be on the path to recovery soon.
I’ve been working on this for a couple hours and I’m just beaten after these last couple of days. There’s more to this story (spoiler! I got to feeling so very much worse) but I am in desperate need of rest because hey, apparently I’m tired all the damn time now and today was emotionally taxing.