I'm going to start being more open, despite my tremendous shyness. It's Mental Health Awareness month. As I'm sure you've seen from my posts, my mental health has been a struggle for me, especially with all the loss in my life.
It's ridiculous how many phone calls, in person trips, and creative problem solving I have to do to find the cheapest way (or ANY WAY) to access mental health care, even with insurance, not through the ACA, that I pay a large amount weekly into.
Over the past few days, I've been on new medications. I saw my Psychiatrist last week, when she prescribed the medications, but she also left her practice that week. She warned me three weeks ago she was going to leave, but despite calling my insurance for referrals, looking through multiple websites, and calling 10+ psychiatrists and psychiatric nurses, there's absolutely no one I can find in Portland accepting new patients OR taking my insurance, Harvard Pilgrim. If I want to pay out of pocket on a reduced scale, the first month will be at least $600 based on the intake visit and the follow up visits required for just the first month.
But also, another hurdle: I'm reacting really badly to the medication changes. I've barely slept in three days, can barely eat, and have panic attacks. Usually NyQuil or Advil PM knocks me out, but because of this medication, nothing. I sleep for thirty minute increments at most. My arms and legs really ache and feel weak.
My therapist, who doesn't manage medication, thinks I may have been misdiagnosed in my mental illness by my Psychiatrist and that this medicine severely increases risk of harm if her theory is correct. My doctors office won't call me back. My PCP finds my mental health too severe to manage. The office is in the process of hiring a new psychiatrist, but I need resolution absolutely in the next few days. Over the past two months, I've ALSO been trying to locate a new PCP, but the one I met with two weeks ago was too young and inexperienced with trauma for it to be a good fit.
I'm not sure what to else to do, but power through today and make more phone calls and hope and hope someone will be able to take me at a rate I can afford. And hopefully soon. I need to relax and heal my body, but I guess sometimes advocacy comes first.
What do I need from you?
Support, positive thoughts. 💙 Awareness that despite having insurance through a full time job, that it's been a tremendous hurdle for me to access any kind of mental healthcare.
And that's just for my PTSD. Addiction runs in my family. I'm careful not to drink alcohol at all because it's what ultimately killed my mom; who battled her entire life with mobility disabilities, addiction, and probably similar mental health illnesses that I have now.
In Maine, every day, many are dying from heroin overdoses. Finding substance abuse focused mental health access is even harder to obtain in Maine. Read through all the recent articles focusing on the epidemic, attend workshops on the subject, talk to those who have battled with trying to find help for loved ones. How many lives could have been helped if they had access to care? It's not just a simple lack of impulse control. It's a mental illness. It's a life long battle.
I'm in intensive treatment today ONLY due to the generosity of my network and loved ones. My insurance said that they didn't have to cover it, as therapy and my PCP should be enough for me. But even finding a PCP or Psychiatrist is hard to find. Can you see the dilemma here?
Also, if anyone has a PCP and psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse locally that takes Harvard Pilgrim, new patients, or will be lenient with a reduced scale for me, please let me know, I'll check it against the list of people I've reached out to.