Friday, November 15, 2019

Mental Health, Insurance Companies, & Medical Marijuana

This is going to be an angry blog post. FYI. 

I have health insurance through my job. It is one of the larger companies so most doctors accept it. Mental health services are another story...

I've outgrown my current therapist. I just need a little more something. I'm out of the depression hole and leaving the house again, but I want to dig deeper. I also want to get off pills, which requires understanding how my brain works and developing coping skills to handle whatever the pills are currently handling for me. 

I've been hunting for a new therapist for two months. I have a fucking spreadsheet. Most of the therapists who accept insurance, and there aren't many, are not accepting new patients. I'm on several waiting lists. Two places were nice enough to kindly tell me I'm so low on the list that I should look elsewhere for services. 


I called a few therapists that do not take insurance and the going rate is $150-$200.  That's per session. After the initial intake session. Which is $400-$500. 

What the fuck, yo.

I called my insurance company and they indicated that once I met my deductible they would kick in a portion of the cost for a therapy session. I didn't get to the part where they would help pay because I got stuck at my $5000 deductible. 

Dude. My copay is $30. If I went once a week for 52 weeks-a calendar year-it would cost me $1560. That is nowhere close to five grand!! I don't have five thousand dollars to spend on therapy. That's close to half a year's rent money!

I bit the bullet a few months ago and got a private psychiatrist who doesn't take insurance because my old psychiatrist moved out of state. I pay her $200 for a 30 minute session to write me prescriptions for meds I don't really want to take.


Today, it got worse. We had a presentation for open enrollment for benefits at my job. In speaking with the rep from the insurance company, I discovered that only $100 of a $200 therapy session will count towards my deductible. Essentially, I'd need to fork out ten grand before the insurance company would help pay. Once I've spent $10K, they will contribute $50 towards a $200 therapy session. 

Did you catch all that math? I had to ask the rep 4 times to explain it to me. 

Let me repeat. What the fuck. 

I'm so annoyed right now. I need a therapy session to work through my inability to find a therapist and the exorbitant cost of therapy. 

My next blog will be about medical marijuana.  

Happy Friday, ya'll. 

Monday, August 19, 2019

Hot & Humid Bad Decisions

A wave of nostalgia hit me tonight while I walked the dog. It was dark outside, yet hot and humid enough for a simple stroll to quickly bring sweat to my brow.  I was reminded of my hometown in the heartland, the Great Lakes region where people are familiar with the long, cold, snowy winters. Less known, though, are the short, hot, humid summers.

Growing up, there was, at best, a baker's dozen of days that were perfect. No humidity. No coats needed. No blizzards, tornadoes, or heat alerts. When it wasn't cold enough for your snot to turn icy after two minutes in the elements. And it wasn't eighty degrees with 90% humidity—that means mist in the air for you Southern Californians.

Nightlife on hot, humid nights was dangerous. The residual Puritanical ideals that lingered in the Midwest were temporarily put aside.  It was acceptable to wear little clothing as the news warned everyone of the very real potential for heat stroke. The misty air in the night clubs mixed with the overall lack of clothing lead to very, very poor choices.

These were the nights the shy girl became emboldened due to her unusually excessive amount of skin showing.  Men's ability to control their urges became internal Holy Wars as women in short skirts, tiny dresses, and crop tops danced around them. Everyone was sweaty. Everyone.  

The sweat, mist, skin, and darkness became a recipe for bad decisions.  

These nights created spring babies and chlamydia outbreaks.  

Alcohol was the catalyst on hot, humid nights for women, who usually took pause, to throw caution to the wind and lead a man they'd just met to the promised land—her bed, car, or the bar bathroom, whichever fit her fancy.  Men rejoiced and everyone's orgasms hit just a little bit harder.

While Mother Nature was at rest before the inevitable thunder storm that followed hot, humid nights filled with stagnant mist in the air, men and women were drinking, fucking, and sweating like the gales that were to come.  

Those memories are hazy, but I'm pretty sure I had a great time—sans chlamydia.

Friday, August 9, 2019

City of Sibling Love

It’s been a minute since I’ve been able to write. I’ve actually been doing work… while at work. I’ve also had a fair amount of headaches. Ones where my eyes burn and the computer screen is like the sun burning my corneas.

I’m not doing well with getting out in the world and meeting people. I binged the latest season of Queer Eye and realized many of their make-overs included pushing someone out of their comfort zone and, often, letting people in. I felt sad as I realized I didn’t have anyone to let in, at least not in my current city. There is the problem at hand. I don’t have a problem connecting with others, but I have to meet them first.

I place a lot of restrictions on myself in order to adhere to what I believe is the optimal schedule for the highest quality of sleep. The last two men I tried to date took issue with my schedule. It was an inconvenience for them and they ridiculed me for being an “old lady” who goes to bed at 10pm. It felt demoralizing and deterred me from trying again.

I am content to come home, walk the dog, and meander around my apartment. Content is not what I’m looking for, though. I know me. I know I need excitement, adventure, and passion to be my happiest self. I want more than just contentment. God, I keep coming back to the same question. How do I get out in the world and find my tribe in this foreign city of brotherly love?

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Getting On My Mental Health Game… Or Trying

How did I do this weekend? I went out with some people from my job who work in a different division. It was good to be out with people. Unlike in my younger days, I listened more than spoke. I think this served me well. They say the less you talk the more people listen. I agree in certain situations.

Then I went home and stayed up until 2am. This made Saturday less than productive. There was a free event downtown I wanted to go to. I should have as I now know there were LOTS of men there. My typed of men. Alas, not only was I tired, but it was balls hot. There will be other opportunities this summer.

Did I stop the (excessive?) thrifting? No. Not at all.

My dog is getting to be an old lady. We don’t walk as long or as fast as we used to. I’m getting older as well. A perfect storm has been created and my damn pants are super snug. I got some new jeans and a summer top that covers my lonjita. (Spanish for little belly roll.)

Sunday I spent a large portion of the day messaging or chatting with my BFF in another country.  Though it did not get me out in the world, it was an opportunity to check in with my support system. Things have been going pretty well for me lately, but my friend was in need of a kind ear. She is embarking on a fun life adventure (that offers awesome travel destinations for me) and is in that early stage where things are really fucking scary.

I’ve rolled into a new city with no job and done exactly what she is doing—job hunting her ass off. I have a degree, a second language, and great work experience.  I know I’m very marketable. I always get a job (7 cities so far). That early stress never changes, though.

It felt good to be on the giving end of support versus the receiving. And she found out yesterday that she got the job. (Yeay!)

All in all, the weekend wasn’t too bad. Part of strengthening my mental health situation is not being so hard on myself. I may not have engaged as much as I’d wanted in the world outside my apartment, but I didn’t sit at home and cry and/or binge watch TV all weekend.

On a side note, I have a Why Netlfix Binging Is Bad For Depression blog post and Why I Love Binge Watching The Magicians On The SYFY Network coming soon.

Side note number two is that Smashwords is having a big sale until the end of the month. I know, I should have mentioned this earlier. I forgot. The link is below. Smashwords is a great site to support small independent authors. Like, smaller than Amazon authors. It is also a place where established authors publish under different names and genres. Side note two and a half is that all the super erotica that Amazon won’t publish is on Smashwords. So taboo yourself out.

Unwanted House Guests

Lately I’ve been feeling decent. Some days aren’t great, my head hurts, I’m a little emotional, but on the whole the last week or so has been OK. I’m very rigid with my after work schedule when I don’t feel good. I obsess over sleep hygiene and cut myself off from the world so as to not be distracted. The risk of doing something or being exposed to something that will upset me is too great.

When I’m in a good place, I feel bad going home after work to just watch TV and do my normal routine of getting things ready for the next day. It’s summer. There is plenty of sun. No winter coats or the process of layering up before leaving the house.

I’m nervous, though. I don’t have friends to call and hang out with. I have to make friends. I’m still stuck in that mode. Making friends is draining and takes more than 90 minutes on a Tuesday night. That 90 minutes includes drive time.

I feel like I’m stuck in the gerbil wheel that goes nowhere, and I’m not running that fast.  Last night, two obnoxious house guests, Guilt and Shame, paid me a visit. I sat on my couch re-watching season 4 of the Magicians and realized I was on my third episode.

3 X 40ish minutes = 120 minutes

Two hours of the 5ish hours I have in my evening were spent staring at the TV. Another hour was spent reading. None of these are activities that put me out in the world.

Thankfully, Guilt and Shame did not bring their cousin, Hopelessness. I would rather keep Guilt and Shame if it means I continue to be aware of the need to get out in the world and have the  desire to do so. Knowing is half the battle, right?

And so the quest for a healthier life continues.

On a side note – season 4, episode 10 of the Magicians – off the mother fucking chain. I’ve watched that particular episode three times now and Margot is still moving me to tears. She nails her scenes and her character. She does an angry breakdown so damn well. I imagine the crying breakdown is hard to do in acting, but the angry breakdown seems harder to pull off. Idk. I’m just the observer.

On a side side note – I read Darkness Descends by Alisha Ashton. It’s fucked me up and now all the books I’m reading are sucky. DD was 700 pages of awesome. It’s that book which makes the next five books you read seem subpar. I’m powering through, though… 

Friday, July 12, 2019

focus on the outcome, not the steps

Part of depression is pulling away from the world. Isolation. Depression is selfish in the sense that one is absorbed with their own feelings to the point they cannot see past it to other’s needs. That is what a textbook would say, but I’d agree on a personal level.

When I was at a low low loooow point, I didn’t leave the house except to walk the dog and get groceries. (I am so gratefully for my crazy ass dog. Pets can greatly help with depression – if you’re a pet person that is.) Not only was I not leaving the house, but because I was in a new city I wasn’t meeting people. I wasn’t building a support system. My support system is scattered around North America.  I was alone and very lonely.

I’m leaving the house again. Yeay, me. But where the fuck do I go?

It seems overwhelming to go out into the world and drop myself into pre-established groups of people. I’ve been slow rolling it. I’ve started going to thrift shops up to an hour away, especially on sale days. Though retail therapy isn’t the healthies form of therapy, it was a good first step for me. I learned more about the areas surrounding my new neighborhood, saw some beautiful sights on my drives, and thrifted my ass off because I love that shit.

I discovered Eventbright has an app with all kinds of events. (Like really, ALL kinds of shit. Some events provide hookers and some stress that weed will not be provided. You must bring your own.) I’ve been to a metaphysical expo because I’m into that and have a couple more on my calendar.

I got back on Facebook. When I was depressed, I didn’t want to see people’s happiness. I recently moved and joined a Facebook group for my new neighborhood. From there, I discovered all the events listed on FB. There’s a shit ton!

I’m a little stuck, though. Thrifting is a solo thing. It’s not really a way to meet people. Maybe there’s a thrifting group out there? Am I reaching? Idk.

The New Age Expos, as I shall call them from here on out, are potential opportunities to meet people. The one I already went to was on a particularly challenging day. One where I cried for no reason. I cried thinking about my mother dying—but she’s not sick. Or near death. I cried while thanking my dog for supporting me. She just rolled over so I’d rub her belly. I cried because I felt like a failure. Suffice to say, I was a bit of a mess and didn’t talk to anyone at the expo. I had a pounding headache that I was nursing and the fluorescent lights at the Expo felt like they were burning my corneas. (Shouldn’t New Age stuff have soft lighting? Am I the only one that seems logical to?)

I need to stop doing solo shit and throw myself into an activity where I will have to actually talk to people. A situation where there will be no way of avoiding it. Because I’m very good and creative at finding ways to avoid interacting with people when I’m feeling low.

I was told to focus on the outcome—meeting new people and strengthening my support system—instead of the steps that seem mammoth which I have to take in order to get to that desired outcome.

God, that seems scary. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Booshie Ass First World Problems

Someone recently described my current job situation as being in golden handcuffs. Ain’t that the mother fucking truth.

I’ve moved around the continent over the last 12 years, thus having a variety of jobs. All have been in some kind of social service/helping field. All have allowed me to be in direct contact with my populations of service. These jobs have kept me in the community and not an office.

I’m writing this from my desk in an office.

I audit, make graphs, and sit in meetings. I know that I’m still helping people—just indirectly.

We’ve all had that job we don’t look forward to each morning. I try to keep in perspective that although I’ve like most of the work I’ve done in the past, I haven’t always had the best bosses and/or coworkers. I recall one job where I disliked my boss so much I often cried on the way to work. (I cried in bathrooms at that job too.) Though I’m not enamored with my coworkers and boss, they are not malevolent people. My boss isn’t a jerk or asshole. He doesn’t micromanage. But he isn’t passionate about anything. There’s no fire. I chose the social service field because I’m passionate about helping others. Each day that passion is a flame snuffed out. Really, the candle isn’t even lit anymore.

So leave you say. Go find a job you love.

I’ve tried.

Nothing pays as well as this job.

I’m making the most money of all the jobs in my life. I have never seen a biweekly paycheck this big. I buy the good toilet paper now and live in an apartment where dead bodies aren’t found on my morning dog walk. (Yep. That’s a true story about my last apartment.)  I don’t worry as much about money. I know I can pay the bills, even the unexpected ones. I have a freaking retirement plan!

Are there other opportunities at this company you ask. Maybe at some point, but not right now and not anything that’d be better.

This is one of the least stressful jobs I’ve ever had. Sure, there’s a woman who sends me bitchy emails and forces confrontation upon me, but it’s manageable. We sit on different floors and see each other five times a month at most. I work 40 hours and never a minute more. I have time to write this blog post…

So what do I do? Stay at a job that brings me not a lick of personal fulfillment, or take one of the other jobs offered to me for less money, more work, and more satisfaction? (I’ve been on a few interviews. OK, a lot of interviews.)

I ask myself this question damn near every day. I’ll let you know when I have an answer. For now, I’m going to eat my lunch that does not consist of dried noodles in a cup or anything made out of meat from a can.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Mid Year Review

I was recently reminded that I am an author. Or was an author. I sometimes forget that I wrote books as it has been four years since I’ve pushed the PUBLISH button. It seems like a lifetime ago—and it sort of has been. Two states and two countries ago, I was an author. Am I still?

I was once excited to come home and write. So much so that I had to limit my writing to the weekends as I would forget to eat or go to bed. This is no bueno when you have a day job that pays the bills. I remember these stories eating away at me until I put pen to paper (fingers to computer keys) and purged them from my brain. It was a rush, a high, a dragon chasing expedition.

And then it wasn’t.

I didn’t wake up one day and decide not to write. Life changed. My circumstances changed. My country, state, and city changed. I changed.

It wasn’t a happy change, though. I’ve spent the last four years battling depression, anxiety, and trying to get off the prescription pills that doctors have been feeding me since I was 13 years old.  I’ve been given multiple diagnoses and seen so many psychiatrists I’ve lost count. I’ve spent four years working on Emily.

So she can say what she wants.

I’ll never be “better” or “cured” or “fixed”. I will spend the rest of my life managing my mental health. If happily ever after existed, I’d say I’m far from it. It’s hard to write a HEA when I haven’t seen the light at the end of the tunnel. I know it’s there and I’m moving closer, but it’s still pretty dim where I’m at.

I have a book story-boarded out. I have all the major parts… except the end. I know the end, more or less, but can’t envision it in my head yet. I can’t seem to write it. I can’t seem to write much of anything lately. I’m writing this blog in what I hope will be a starting point.

I might shelve the whole book and start something different. I don’t fucking know. I just know I want to write again. I want a head clear enough to find words that accurately describe my thoughts and ideas. They were once neon bright and are now muted pastels.

I vow to myself, today, July 5th while sitting at my desk (at the office, not working) that I will attempt to say what I want in this blog. I will write what I can and give myself permission to not write a novel. I will not pressure myself with shame and guilt to produce a book that will be subpar. (God damn that shame and guilt. They are some nasty bitches.) I will put this out there to the universe and anyone who might be reading this as a means to hold myself accountable.

I already know what I want to write about next. The Magicians on the SyFy network. I’ve been freaking obsessed. Just finished season three. I love love love a good quest. I’m about to pay for season 4 on Amazon, and I’m really fucking cheap so this is a big deal. Netflix only goes up to season 3.

Stay tuned.