Claim denied. Upon further investigation I had reached my 2, yes t-w-o, therapy appointments covered under insurance. Even then I was only reimbursed half of the cost. I shrugged, used to the system and went about my morning. Later I was sorting through mail again and as I was shredding that denial letter, I was overcome with gratitude in my situation and sadness for others less fortunate. I am one of the lucky ones and I don’t take that lightly. My family has been able to financially support me throughout my entire recovery journey even when insurance would not. Thousands of dollars. For those of you not familiar with mental health coverage benefits, this has been my experience and although every situation is different, I know there are countless others with similar stories. At my worst, I saw a therapist twice a week, a psychiatrist every two weeks, and a nutritionist once a week. Over ten years into this journey I still see a therapist once a month, a psychiatrist every three months unless an issue arises, and a nutritionist on an as need basis. These visits average around $100 and I know others who have spent much more. I will let you do that math, but it adds up very quickly. Without a doubt I know that the only reason I am in a great place in my life is because I was able to have a stable treatment team. With constant monitoring and support, I never had to be placed inpatient, where cost skyrocket into the hundreds of thousands and most are denied after only a few short weeks, leaving them in debt and fighting for other outpatient care. Some give up all together and end up dying from their disorder because they weren’t able to receive the care that they needed and that everyone deserves. I get so angry and frustrated when I think about this whole situation because I am living proof that there is a solution. It is rather simple in my head so why can’t others see it? Stable outpatient resources = recovered. That is my story and I confidently believe that it can be everyone’s story if they are given the opportunity. I am a lucky one and I will never take that for granted. With this anger and passion, I will find ways to get involved in organizations with similar goals. I know I am only a single individual, but I want to make a difference. I want to find others with similar stories to mine showing that full recovery is possible given the opportunity. I also want to hear from all those who have been denied this opportunity. Something needs to change. I know it is a more complex issue than what I present, but why should it be? I am a researcher by nature and I know I could throw fact after fact out if I wanted to write an essay, but this is from my heart. I won’t ramble on, but I hope reading this makes you stop to think, if even for a short moment, about the future of mental health and what it could look like. If you read this and know of organizations committed to this vision please share in the comments because I would love to explore them as well as compile a list so that others can explore them too.
I am grateful to link up with Julia and encourage you to read her recovery roundup on Mondays where people share stories of recovery and perseverance!