Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mental Health Awareness Month

Since May is mental health awareness month I wanted to take some time to address the topic. I don't know that anyone could suffer with chronic pain for any extended period of time without struggling with some mental health issues. Truthfully, I think almost all people will struggle with at least mild depression at some point in their lives.

My Story, Short Version: My chronic migraine pain has robbed me of my career, and all the money that I would have made doing it, and all the feelings of satisfaction and involvement and contribution to the world...etc. I work so hard to figure this all out and to try to find a solution but so far solutions have eluded me. I live about a 2 or 3 day drive from my friends and family so I don't have the support and distraction from them. Couple my migraines with some of the other health stuff going on like the extensive endometriosis (and recent loss of an ovary) my fertility is sketchy.

I'm aware of the depression and anxiety that has moved into my psyche over the past four plus years of chronic pain. The depression is more of an obvious reaction; it was only recently that I realized the increasing anxiety is a reaction to the same events. I feel like I've lost my sense of control over my life, which means I need to depend more fully on others. Not easy. This manifests in a terrible fear of flying and a need to try to control how everything in the house runs, just to name a couple. I know I need a therapist to help me process everything that's going on right now. I need it and I want it. But I can't afford it. My insurance "covers" mental health expenses but it is a separate deductible from my physical health deductible. Basically I would need to shell out the first $1550 out of pocket before I would see the benefits start. This is in addition to the $4000 I've already paid in premiums and physical deductibles. (that's for this year, of course that will go up next year, and the year after...) Without my job we just can't spare that kind of money. And because I have this "coverage" I don't qualify for assistance. Wouldn't it be nice if we could really get our phyciatric help for 5 cents?

Moving On: Mental health understanding and treatment has come a long way over the years and I believe it will continue to progress. It is my most sincere hope that in my lifetime everyone will have access to quality mental health professionals and can seek the help without the fear of stigma.

1 comment:

  1. Understand the anxiety and the fear of flying - I fear having a pain attack on a plane and no way to fix it.

    Anxiety when the pain looms and dread of pain work together, and makes it even harder to control my breathing and other physical responses to pain.

    I did find that biofeedback helped with some of the anxiety (didn't help the pain one bit) as I am someone who likes to have a plan or something to do other than just hunker down.

    There are free group sessions in different regions that are mediated by professionals - if you check with hospitals/mental health providers you might benefit from a group. Hoping you get the care you need.