Just out of Reach: The Cost of Help


For many treatment is just out of reach

There seems to be this ongoing idea that mental health services are readily available to all those who need it. This idea is sadly untrue. It shouldn’t be but it is the reality. The damaging effect of this concept is the portrayal of those with mental illness as not really wanting the help. If I had a penny for every time I heard, “Well, if they really needed the help, they could get it.”, I would be rich and then I could easily get the help I needed. Mental health treatment can be costly, even with insurance.

A couple of weeks ago, I decided that I needed to seek help. Now, my husband and I both work making decent money. We aren’t rich, but we just eek into the middle class bracket. I have decent insurance from my husband’s company. So when I called to set up an appointment, I was not expecting the dent in my wallet that came with it. You see with the insurance I have my appointments are not covered until I meet my deductible. Our current deductible is $1,500 per member or $2,500 for the family whichever comes first. For the average American family, that is a huge amount over money with my family being no exception.

So, since I had not yet met my deductible, this means I have to pay out-of-pocket. For my intake appointment alone, it was $125. For every appointment thereafter if will be $68.50. Based on where my deductible is at now, it will take me 4 appointments to reach it. However, by the time we reach that it will be a new year and I will be back at square one. This is just for sessions with the therapist. This does not include common treatment expenses such as:

  • Medications
  • A session with the psychiatrist
  • Childcare
  • Regular bloodwork which, depending on the medication is every 3-6 months
  • Transportation (I have my own car, but not everyone does)

Now, I understand that some of these things fall under a different part of my coverage, but there is still a cost until my deductible is met.  Something also to consider is, not everyone has insurance, they may have a higher deductible, or there may not be a practice that takes their particular insurance. While there may be some who qualify for some kind of medical assistance, I do not because we make too much. We fall into that hole of not making enough to cover it, but too much to get assistance.

This is a shame. It is not that because I don’t qualify for medical assistance. I understand it is for low-income families who need it because of various reasons. However, my going to therapy is not a luxury.  This isn’t like plastic surgery or getting my nails done. This is a medical necessity. I NEED the help. I NEED this medication to function. I NEED the therapy so I can be a productive person.  I often think that the stigma that mental illness is not real is what keeps so many of us from getting the help we need. If treatment for mental illness was accessible as it is perceived to be, more of us would seek it.


The White Flag


It is official.  I am going back to therapy. I will be honest. It has been a long time coming. I have been putting it off for much too long. I let myself fall too far down the rabbit hole. I faked it my best until I couldn’t make it anymore. However, I missed myself. I missed the person I used to be before my bipolar disorder swallowed me whole. No matter how much I fought, it just refused to spit me out.

To be honest, I don’t know why I put it off so long. I think I was really in this strong denial that I was ok without it. I believed that I was the Queen of Coping Skills. What I really was was the Queen of BS. It was a big part why I didn’t go back. I put this amazing image of being able to cope without therapy and MEDs, I didn’t know what to do when it fell apart. I was ashamed. I felt like a sham. It is why I stopped writing. Who was I to help people when I couldn’t get my shit together. Then depression kind of took over like it always does. I gave up. I gave up on myself.

I was overcome with shame. I shouldn’t have been. I have nothing to be ashamed of. I am no less of a person because of what I have. And then absolutely no shame in getting help. It is not a weakness to say you can’t do it on your own anymore. It takes great strength to be brave enough to ask. Therapy has never been easy for me. I dislike speaking of my past. I don’t want to reminisce about certain events in my life.  I need to get them out because they are still chewing at my soul. I feel like a husk floating through day to day. This is not how I imagined my life, nor how I want to be remembered. I want to live not merely survive.

Most of all, I want to be the woman I fought so hard to be. Becoming the person, I am now being came from years of struggles and growing. I am not ready to let her go. I have come to finally love her as she is. I know I am going to continue to grow and change, but I refuse to start over. I am going to do what I can best think of to save her. Therapy is the answer. Medication is my life preserver.

I miss being happy. I miss being able to hear the thoughts in my head. I miss enjoying everything. My children. My husband. Roller Derby. My job. The sun shining on my face. The small things. I miss being able to focus enough to write. I miss the blogging community. Everything. So tomorrow, I go to fight for it back.