I’ve been “out” about my life with depression for a while now. I’m not sure why I decided it was time to stop hiding and time to start trying to be more honest with myself and with others. My close friends, they knew I had depression, but they didn’t know how hard I was struggling the past several years. And most people, had no clue that I – the seemingly happy, functioning, strong woman, was struggling on a daily basis to sometimes get out of bed and put on that happy face. But I was. And somedays, even now, I still do.
Since “outing” myself, I’ve had many people embrace me – publicly and privately – which has been so wonderful. helpful. supportive. And some even confess their own private issues with mental health issues. Others regularly check in.
And there are others who treat me with kid gloves – like damaged goods. There are days that this bothers me. But most of the time, I think about the fact that this is really a reflection of the stigma that surrounds mental health problems. People don’t understand depression – hell, even someone who lives with it doesn’t get it all the time. People think that it’s a choice, that I’ve chosen to be unhappy. (now why would anyone choose to be unhappy, I ask you.) That depression is about being happy or unhappy. Some think that medication and/or therapy are silver bullets, which they are not. It’s taken me years (literally more than a decade) of trying just about every medication alone and in combo before I’ve been able to find something that works. For me. Right now. And it’s not a given that tomorrow, my current regimen will still work for me.
I try daily, literally daily, to reach out to people – sometimes a text is all I can muster. Sometimes its just Facebook. But I try. I try to reconnect with those I’d pushed away because I didn’t know how to function. (And I hate the phone but I’m even doing better making phone calls and reaching out that way too). These are decisions I do make, but when I made the excuses for not going out, or answering the phone or cancelling plans – that was me in survival mode because that was all I could do.
I hope that my posts help to shine some light on what someone who lives with severe/major depressive disorder is like. To be real and not paint the world with rose colored glasses. But I don’t want to be a ‘debbie downer’ either, because life IS good. I am empowered, I do know what my options and choices are and I know how good, good feels and I’m determined to keep it.
This song simply kills me – I cannot listen to the original, brilliant Leonard Cohen version or Jeff Buckley’s poignant and gripping version without summoning emotions (many of them, all at once.). Today, I’ve been singing this song in my head as it feels like the only song that seems appropriate to morn the sweet, older gentleman, Robert Goodwin, Sr. who was brutally, senselessly murdered while being life streamed on social media. I wrote a post or two about how much this incident has affected me. There are so many likely equally as gruesome, equally as senseless murders that occur here in the US, that this should have just rolled of our collective shoulders – but this one hit me. Could it be the horrible visibility it received being first broadcast over Facebook Live and then streamed on every news broadcast around the country? Could it be seeing this REAL crime when we normally see the Hollywood sanitized versions on our small and big screens? Could it be the three or four images of that sweet looking old man who was guilty of nothing more than being in the entirely wrong place at the right time? (in my mind, having just seen the latest Morgan Freeman movie – Going in Style – I am associating and imposing Mr. Freeman’s lovable character onto Mr. Goodwin). I honestly don’t have the answers, it just really impacted me. My friend voiced that she’s not usually an ‘eye for an eye’ type of person, neither am I. But the killer’s taking of his own life seemed too easy. Too good for him.
Last week, I got a sense that something ‘wasn’t right’ with my insurance. I hadn’t received the massive amount of paperwork you receive when your plan becomes live. The plan details, your ID card, etc – none of it had found its way to my mailbox. So I called (hey a step in the right direction – normally during depression episodes I would have hidden from this…delaying what would have surely been bad news.) I’ll save you from the LONG version, what has happened is that my health plan enrolled me into a “new plan” at the beginning of the year, one that is different from the one I really signed up for and had been applying my premium payments to this imposter plan instead of my real plan. And of course, once they figured this mess out, they did the natural thing of cancelling me for lack of payment! A number of phone calls and transfers and re transfers and telling and retelling the same set of details to different people and I’m currently waiting the outcome of a review of the case to see if I can be ‘reinstated’ – even though I made my payments to said insurance company.
A HUGE PITA. But more than just that, as other friends and acquaintances have shared their similar experiences, it’s made me realize how screwed up our system of private insurers really is. I’ve never been supportive of a single payer system – mostly because of the chaos it would create for a painful period of time, not because I was fundamentally opposed to it. In fact the thought of eliminating what I see as part of the major problem with our ‘sick care system’, the payers who have a practice of reimbursing for the treatment of problems vs. looking organically at the WHOLE problem (we treat conditions not the body as a universe most of the time which leads to the need for multiple specialists and health problems being compounded vs. alleviated.) Perhaps a single payer could work. Then I look at the VA system as an example and shake my head again – that doesn’t exactly function well. Congress, another dysfunctional organization, doesn’t seem willing OR able to even consider this as a prospect, and the likelihood of those boys and girls being able to sit in a room and work out a viable bi-partisian solution, again doesn’t seem too likely. What do you think on this matter? I’ve realized that I don’t have a good amount of info other than the examples here in the US and also those from around the world who have this type of a system. I know there’s bad that comes with the good (and good that comes with the bad as well.) Help me to understand the pros and cons please.
In the meantime, I’ll keep you posted on the results of my ‘review’ in the next post… be well friends. be good to yourselves and others. we all could use a little extra kindness these days.