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Posted by on Mar 26, 2012 Pour Your Heart Out Wednesday | 25 comments

Where is the Humanity?

Last week was not a very good week for me.  I had another panic attack on Monday.  I’d been stressing out about money, or our lack thereof lately.   Thinking about this more than I should is a hallmark of someone with chronic and debilitating anxiety.

I think about the money we don’t have because I’m not making very much yet from freelancing.  So then I think, “Self, maybe it’s time to get a part-time job.”   I have nothing against work or working part-time.  The problem is that I’m terrified to do so.

Image Courtesy of stock.xchng

I have this completely and utterly irrational fear of working for someone else.  I have touched on this in my blog in the past.  This fear is rooted in having previous jobs where I had no control over certain things, and as a result, I grew more and more stressed out to the point where I had a nervous breakdown.  I wasn’t against working all that overtime; I had no say in when and how I did it.  It was important to me that I had some flexibility in when I worked it because when I had control over when I did it, I could avoid the very thing that triggered my nervous breakdown: burn-out.  Morale was another issue that contributed to my burn-out.

This fear is crippling.  It is why I decided to freelance.  I needed to feel as if I were contributing and not being a burden on my husband.  I had to not allow myself to feel helpless.  But everyone knows that it takes time to get a business off the ground.  I write for the content mills.  I write my blog.  I write articles for another website.  I earn little bits here and there.

But I still don’t make enough.

Part of this fear I have is that if I get any job, then it will completely take over my time and my freelance work and blog will end up being pushed aside because I have little free time to work on them. For my entire life, I’ve pushed aside what I really want to do to take the path of least resistance and do the practical.  I always told myself “Oh, I’ll do it later.” That was another reason behind my nervous breakdown. You can only kick the can down the road so far.  At some point, you’re going to run out of road.  That’s what happened to me.  I ran out of road and the can had nowhere to go.

Two days after my panic attack, I saw my doctor.  I am on medication that works to ease the depression, but it’s no longer helping with the anxiety.  I have been on Lexapro in the past and I know it works.  During my visit, my doctor wanted to put me back on Lexapro, but couldn’t because Lexapro is on my insurance carrier’s “excluded drugs” list.

This means my insurance company will not cover any of this medication.  Not one dime.

It’s not an experimental drug.  It’s a brand name drug with no generic equivalent.   Lexapro, out-of-pocket, is over $100 for a thirty-day supply. I cannot afford to pay that.   To qualify for assistance to help pay for this, I have to prove income and by doing so, I have to use last year’s tax return.  Needless to say, I make too much to qualify.

I am staying on the citalopram I take, but I now have a prescription for lorazepam that I take “as needed”.  I took some that day because of feeling the jitters again, and it made me very sleepy.  I don’t know how that is going to work if I do get in a place where I can get a part-time job. I am concerned that I could become dependent upon the lorazepam.

I don’t feel drowsy on citalopram alone or Lexapro.

Why is it that a business, that is not qualified to practice medicine, gets to dictate what medication I get to take?

Why what is best for my health and my life takes a backseat to what is the best for a for-profit company’s balance sheet?

So many people out there who are against the Affordable Care Act mention that they don’t like the government taking control of health care? They mention rationing of health care as one reason.   Rationing of healthcare is already happening.  But it’s not the government that’s doing it.  Private business is dictating my healthcare to me. Private business thinks it knows better than my doctor.

If you are on the side against the Affordable Care Act, I want you to do something.  I want you to look me in the eye, straight into my eyes, and tell me why it is right that a corporation gets to decide that they get to dictate my healthcare treatments and deny me a medication I need to take in order to function like a normal human being?  Why are their rights more important than mine?

And if your answer is “Well, it’s a business…”, then I must point out that this business does not have a medical degree and is not technically qualified to practice medicine.

Then I have another question for you.  Would your opinion be different if I needed cancer treatment they were refusing to pay for?  Or do you think this way because mental illness is “not a real illness”?

Is your ideology and “beat the liberals at all costs” more important than the quality of my life?

If your answer to that is yes, then you have no humanity.  And that is a shame.  Humanity separates us from animals.  Humanity trumps ideology.  Humanity is what makes us human beings. We think, we feel, we are capable of compassion towards others.  In this quest to be right and to beat people who don’t agree with us, we have forgotten what it’s like to be a human.

It’s easier to not care about someone when they are demonized.  But I am a human being.  I am a person.  I have feelings.  I am sick.  I need to get better.

Denying me the medication I need is exactly like denying a diabetic insulin.  A diabetic needs insulin to regulate their blood sugar so they can function normally.  Imagine what happens if you don’t get to take your insulin when your blood sugar changes.  I need Lexapro to regulate my screwed up brain chemistry so I can function like a normal human being.

Since I have a mental illness, it’s socially acceptable to deny me the medication I need to function.   We wouldn’t dream of denying a diabetic their insulin.  So why is it okay to deny me my Lexapro?

Am I angry?  Hell, yes, I’m angry.  I don’t like to have this irrational fear of something normal.  I don’t like being held hostage like this.  I want to take control of my life and not let this define me.   I want to be a functioning adult who lives a normal life and contributes to society.

I want to be normal.

I don’t want to be a victim.

Is that too much to ask?

Yet, I’m doomed to stay in this cycle of irrational fear and nervousness and anxiety because I am denied the tools I need to break out of this cycle and live a normal life.  It makes me sick to know that there are people in this world who will fight tooth and nail to keep things the way they are because their ideology is more important.  The Bible that they are so fond of quoting has stories and lessons about showing compassion towards others, but they conveniently ignore those parts.   Why is that?  Because it doesn’t fit within their narrative?  Because the appointed talking heads and gaseous windbags of right-wing radio and TV don’t bring it up?

It may seem cool to some people that you have a “voice”, but that “voice” doesn’t serve you.  Its purpose is to play upon your fears with the purpose to create fake outrage in order to generate ratings.  Its purpose is not to inform you, but to preach to the choir, play on your fears and play on your baser instincts.  It’s not interested in serving you.   Its first interest is to serve itself by manipulating you.  And if it takes getting people to forget their own humanity and the better angels of their nature to achieve its self-serving goals, well, then congratulations.  You’ve been played.

 Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.
Dalai Lama

 


I know I said on Sunday that I don’t talk about politics.  This technically isn’t a post about politics, but I mention it briefly.  I wrote this last Thursday after my doctor’s appointment.  I’ve also had an appointment with a therapist.  My husband doesn’t want me to get a part time job.  He wants me to focus on my writing career.  I want to get past this fear so if things come to it, I can get a part-time job.  I’ve also done a little research and discovered that vitamin deficiencies also can contribute to a person’s anxieties and panic attacks. While I haven’t had blood work done, I know that my eating habits are bad enough that I am most likely deficient in vitamins and minerals.  

Kathy Kramer

Kathy Kramer has words in her head, so she writes them down. Kiki Dee had words in her head, but she only just said them. Kathy has other things in her head that aren’t so great, but that’s what the medication is for.

Kathy is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Plains Magazine and eFiction Magazine. Kathy is originally from Wisconsin but her mid-life crisis prompted her to move to South Dakota because she can’t be like other people and do normal mid-life crisis things like dress inappropriately for her age, get Botox or chase after younger men. No. Kathy has to be different.

When Kathy isn’t writing her author bio in the third person, she likes to make things, she likes to read books, and she likes to go outside. Kathy lives with her husband, whom she refers to in these pages as The Hubby or D.

Kathy also likes to hang out on Twitter a lot, especially during football games. Kathy is a Green Bay Packers fan and has been since she was born. She is also a contributor to NFL Female.com, as a writer about the Green Bay Packers.

25 Comments

  1. Hi Kathy;
    I have tears. I don’t know much about you as I am a new follower of your blog. I can say one thing for certain. You wrote this from a very deep part of you and I could feel the pain and frustration of the futility of your plight. Well, not just ‘your’ plight. Countless people are going through something similar and the struggle is heartbreaking. You could brainwash me in the ways of the conservatives, and I still would not understand why a person who can be denied medication coverage by anyone other than a licensed medical practitioner. I am a product of this economy, having been laid off from a nice job since 2009, and only able to find very low paying phone jobs since. The last job I had was taking calls for a mail-in prescription company. Patients would call in desperate for their medications to be covered, and crying and begging for some kind of fair treatment and/or justice. All I could do was read off a scripted answer to these people. I sat through several shifts in tears for these people. It was without a doubt, the worst job I ever had. I still have bad dreams. I specifically remember one man calling in for a very expensive medication for his terminally ill daughter. The med had been covered before but all of a sudden, it wasn’t covered. The man was sobbing. He said he would have to go steal the money but he would get her meds. Kathy, I was so happy to be fired from that job. You have no idea.
    Well, yes I think you do.
    Sorry I went on and on. I’m in tears for you. My partner and I are scraping by these days, but we have medical and it covers meds we need for now. But god help us if we need anything of a more serious or expensive nature.
    YEA, I don’t get these god-fearing so-called Christian conservatives/republicans/whatever. I don’t like to get political on here either, but this is a freaking downright shame.
    HUGS my friend,
    Terri

    • Thanks, Terri. My husband used to work the phones and I know how much he hated it. And he did tech support. I also have the threat of denial for “pre-existing condition” hanging over my head (at least until August).

  2. This is an honest and open letter about your struggles with mental health issues and the need to treat them with as much respect and attention as we do other health issues. I appreciate the addition of your personal story to the larger story that affects our national discussion about health care. Good luck, Erin

    • The problem with debates on topics such as this is that the personal gets left out. It’s so easy to not care about your fellow human beings when they’ve been demonized.

      Thanks, Erin. :)

    • This is a really good comment and pretty much sums up what I wanted to say but more eloquently than I would have. I agree.

  3. It is tough when you know there is something that can help you and you can’t afford it.

    Where I live there are certain organizations that receive medications from different people and places and pass it on to people who can’t afford them ( they do need to give a doctors prescription for it though)

    Hope you come through all this stronger.

    • I do, too. I want to beat this so badly. Thanks for stopping by. :)

  4. Reading your post reminded me of a good friend of mine that was struggling with her anxiety and depression but because of their financial situation she could not get access nor afford the appropriate and best medications for her. It was frustrating and heartbreaking to watch her struggle day after day, without the help she really needed. Help that would have made her more successful at being the great mom and friend she is. Grrrr

    • I feel for your friend. We go through this with my husband’s mother, except at this point, it’s more on the frustrating side because she refuses to get help and we can’t make her go. It’s almost like dealing with an addict. There’s only so much you can do when someone won’t help themselves. Thanks for stopping by. :)

  5. thank you for speaking your heart out on page. It helps to raise awareness to this issue.

    • Although I was upset when I wrote this, I also believe it’s not good to stay quiet about my anxiety and depression, period. If my being open is helpful to someone else, then it’s worth speaking up and risking people thinking less of me because I have this. I want to kick its ass because I don’t like having this.

  6. Regarding your prescription and insurance carrier, I couldn’t agree with you more. I think you very eloquently said what so many of us feel. And regarding your anxiety and working, I feel very much the same way about my day job right now. I feel like I’m on the same path that you were on, and I worry if I don’t get off this train soon I’ll have a breakdown myself. But I don’t know how to get off the train. The practical side of me just keeps riding…destination doom.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and words here. This was a very brave post, and you helped me tremendously, because I feel like now maybe I’m not so alone.

  7. I’m so sorry you’re going through this. As someone who suffered with anxiety and depression, I can completely relate to your desire to get better. As someone who works in the insurance industry, I can tell you that I’ve heard stories like this so often. It’s unfortunate that people don’t realize how complicated the whole health care system is so when they say they want PPACA overturned, or that healthcare reform is unnecessary, they are missing the mark. I don’t know how to fix the problem with insurance carriers or how to get everyone the care they need. I wish I did.

  8. Very brave and honest of you.
    I am thankful for the health insurance and extended health benefits we have in Canada. I could not stand the thought of anyone in my family not getting the medication that’s ideal for them, because someone in some corporation decides so.
    Mental illness is an illness just like any other and the treatment should be top of the line, just like for an infection or anything else.
    I truly feel for you.

  9. this is a topic so near and dear to my heart. Last night I hear some 20 year old girl on the news saying how this affects her personally (she was tea party – against the act) but had no specifics to back it up. Personally? I can show her personally…. and so can you. I have a post in draft along these same lines, but I’m always worried that people will think I’m a ranting maniac. I may come back and ask you if I can link you up.

  10. And this is why healthcare should be available to everyone. We should all be able to take the medicine we need and get the tests our physicians order.

    Hang in there.

  11. This was such a brave, moving post. I am thankful that I have not had to deal with anything like that. But you’ve certainly convinced me to become more aware of this particular issue, and I have no doubt you’ve swayed me to your side on this. I hope everything falls into place for you and you can overcome those fears and get the medication you need. You are in my prayers.

  12. I’m sorry you have to deal with this. You’re absolutely on point here, and it’s regrettable that decisions such as healthcare is usually made with profit in mind.

    They just don’t see that REAL people need the help, the medication, the access to full care. Sigh.

  13. This has to be so frustrating. I’m sorry that you are not getting the help you need.

  14. I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this! My husband suffers from depression and anxiety, and I don’t know what we’d do if we didn’t have good insurance that pays for the medications he needs to live a more “normal” life.

  15. “Rationing of healthcare is already happening. But it’s not the government that’s doing it. Private business is dictating my healthcare to me.”

    This is so true and so easy to forget. I work at a hospital and part of my job is insurance authorizations. Insurance companies dictate care and they answer to themselves. Even the so-called “non-profits” (Carefirst, I’m looking at you…)

    I hope you find a medication that works for you. Unfortunately psych meds seem to get the short shrift. It is just another way we stigmatize mental illness.

  16. I can’t FATHOM. Lexapro, Klonopin and Lithium. I would be a complete wreck curled up in a ball alternatingly cursing people out, cryin hysterically and being unable to sit still. I’m. on. your. side.

    • That’s how I was before I even went on meds. It’s not a place I want to go back on.

  17. You are so right. Healthcare is already being manipulated and adjusted by those in charge of the purse strings. Your analogy regarding diabetes & insulin is so true, and I only wish more people would understand this. Bravo for sharing your voice.

  18. I’ve been listening to the SCOTUS hearings with trepidation and heartsickness. Some of the questions made it clear that most of the justices have no idea what it means to have to struggle with co-pays and make health decisions based on the size of a bank account.

    I wish you all the best.

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