Monthly Archives: June 2011

Trust

Trust is a big issue for me. I have thought about it more frequently as I commute on the interstate back and forth to work. Being on the highway is trusting in a lot of strangers all at the same time. Trusting that they will maintain their speed, stay in their lane or signal to change, basically trusting that everyone will follow the rules of the road so we all remain safe.

There doesn’t seem to be a rule book for relationships to keep one safe. So trust is a big issue, at least for me. Reflecting on previous relationships, sometimes it did feel as if the other person was driving erratically, forgetting to use turn signals and stopping abruptly. We may have been on the same road, but not necessarily in agreement on how to get where we were going. And of course each of us wants to be just one more car ahead, so we push farther, exceeding the speed limit to be the leader. Throw all caution to the wind, this relationship is on the freeway of love!

However, love is not enough to sustain. Trust involves deeper feelings of consideration, compatibility, and honesty. Each car should be well maintained per se, to function well in relation to others. Lack of maintenance is a sure recipe for disaster. I think we have to work on ourselves and our relationship to build the feelings that lead to trust.

I think my metaphor is a little stretched and worn, but you get my point. Trust is an issue everyday, in many ways.

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The Price of Health

I just need to rant a bit about the cost of health insurance. Having been between jobs, I have had the misfortune of paying for my health insurance through COBRA. To maintain health insurance for myself and my son is costing me approximately $1200 per month. That’s just obscene. And yes, I have tried to apply for an individual policy and have been rejected twice due to having “too many medical problems.” I’m guessing having any problem is too many for an insurer. They only want to insure the perfectly healthy of course. I didn’t choose chronic illness. I didn’t choose to have to take three different and expensive medications to manage my Depression. It’s not like I have cancer or something really expensive to treat. Of course they probably look at the possibility of needing medication, therapy and the potential for hospitalization as just too much risk.

So, needless to say, I am a bit depressed about the enormous amount of money I am spending on insurance. And I still have copays for medications (ranging from $15-60) and for doctor visits ($30). So I am probably spending more like $1400-1500 a month on health care. I truly can’t understand why we can’t have universal health care.

I’ll be using up almost all of my pitiful retirement account to pay for the insurance for the next three months…until I can get on my new employer’s plan. I just hope I don’t have any really serious health problems in the meantime. They say that’s how most people lose their homes, etc. is due to catastrophic illness/injury. I’ll just have to say my prayers.

The Most Common Disability

From NPR’s health blog, SHOTS:

More than 1 billion people in the world are living with some sort of
disability, according to a new international survey. That’s about 15 percent of the world’s population, or nearly one of every 7 people.

The numbers come from a joint effort by the World Health Organization and the World Bank. The last time anyone tried to figure out the prevalence of disabilities was back in the 1970s, when WHO figured it was about 10 percent. The current report suggests the 15 percent estimate will grow as the world’s population ages.

Like the 1970s numbers, today’s figures are at best an approximation. Many
countries don’t collect numbers carefully, and definitions of disability differ
from place to place. The World Bank/WHO folks sought out tabulations of people who have trouble seeing, hearing, walking, remembering, taking care of
themselves or communicating. Worldwide, the most common disability in people under the age of 60 is depression, followed by hearing and visual problems.

The post goes on to say that although identification of accurate numbers is an issue, the bigger issue is providing accommodation. While great efforts have been made since accommodation has been legislated through the Americans with Disabilities Act, not much has been done to address the not so visible disabilities, such as Depression. Of course there may not be a standard accommodation for everyone. Each person has a unique situation and is affected differently by their illness, so accommodation needs to be individualized. The only way this will ever happen is that more people with Depression need to speak up about their illness and ask for accommodations if needed. Don’t suffer in silence.

There are plenty of us out there.

The Pills That Quell Despair

Everyday part of my routine is to ingest a handful of pills morning and evening. Part of that handful are three specific medications to treat my Depression. One a pretty bicolor capsule, one a small blue pill and one a medium-sized white tablet. Without these, my world would be full of gray, melancholy thoughts, escaping into sleep, and thoughts of suicide. Not a pretty picture for sure. Meds make me feel at least baseline functional. They aren’t “happy pills” by any means. Believe me, I wish there was a pill for happiness, I would be queuing up for that one.

How did I get to be on so much medication? Well, I’ve been on lots of other medications along the way. Started out on the miracle drug Prozac when I was initially diagnosed in 1995. Boy was that a life saver. At the time, I was suicidal and homicidal. Scary even to talk about those really dark days. The thoughts were obsessive, and I felt terrorized day and night. Had the most horrible nightmares too. Plane crashes, fires, murders, any kind of violent mayhem you can think of…it’s any wonder I could cope at all. Prozac took all of this away, so I could participate in therapy and work on things I needed to change. It was such a relief not to have those intrusive thoughts, the kind that make you feel really unglued.

But sometimes the drugs stop working for no apparent reason. So I’ve been through a number of antidepressants to manage my symptoms. I’ve been on four or five different medications between Prozac and my current mix. I’m not one of the lucky ones that can be weaned off medication, but I can say I’ve never been hospitalized. I’ve always kept trudging on, maintaining the status quo the best I can. That is part of my disease, I put other’s needs before my own, so that was one of the main reasons for never checking out…people were counting on me!!!

I understand not everyone benefits or even approves of the use of medication. And I’ve certainly done my share to contribute to the wealth of Big Pharma by taking the newest meds on the market. But medication works for my symptoms, and I need to use them in  combination with therapy to get and or stay well.

Wellness is the ultimate goal, right?

Ex Anxiety

Why after almost 16 years do I still have some anxiety over seeing and dealing with my ex-husband? I don’t normally have contact with him at all since he moved to Alaska (I know, who the heck moves to Alaska??? But what a blessing!) but he has graced us with his presence for our son’s graduation ceremony. I feel very fortunate that he did move so far away, because we had a very contentious relationship and ongoing battle over custody and parenting. Let me just sum it up for now: it wasn’t pretty, and it wasn’t in our child’s best interest, but I did what I felt I needed to do to protect and nurture him.

Anyway, I imagine part of the anxiety is for my son. His relationship with his father is strained since dad moved away. My son had some say in where he lived when his dad decided to move, and he preferred to stay in Ohio, close to family and friends. His dad didn’t handle this well, and hasn’t managed to stay in close touch.  He hasn’t seen him for about a year, and now he comes into town just for the graduation ceremony and is leaving tomorrow. Like my son said, it’s almost as if he just feels obligated. I mean who spends twelve hours flying just to turn around and go back in a day?

There has been a lot of acrimony and hurt between us too. At least that is how I feel. Our failed marriage was the result of his infidelity during my first episode of Depression (how’s that for a kick in the teeth?). He subsequently married the woman that he had the affair with, and had another family. Because of the depression, I found it an extremely painful time of my life, and he is still associated with that pain. I have grieved the loss of the relationship after all this time, but the darkness and despair of that episode of Depression still scares the heck out of me. And I associate him with being abandoned at my time of greatest need. Perhaps that is the source of my anxiety, I just never thought of it that way before. Writing is therapeutic too.

So, wish me luck as I put on my game face and do my best to confront my anxiety/my ex. It does get easier over time as my son gets older, and as I become more self-aware. At least it’s only for a day.