It’s been three weeks since I posted about needing a lifejacket.
Three weeks since I finally made the call to get the help that I need.
Three goddamn weeks.
I’ll admit that some of what follows is my fault. Things slip my mind, or life gets in the way, or I just simply don’t feel like it.
The first call I made was to my insurance provider. I had to make sure that my insurance would pay for any appointments because, let’s face it, I’m freaking broke. And psychiatry is expensive.
Score! Insurance will pay for 15 appointments per year with a co-pay that is more than a doctor’s visit but less than a specialist.
So then I keep the helpful and friendly woman on the phone for a few minutes to get some recommendations. Who is in the area that accepts my insurance? She gives me three names and we hang up the phone.
A few days later, I finally get around to looking up the psychiatrists. All decent reviews, but one of them is kind of right around the corner from where I work. And since the only time I’ll have for appointments is by taking lunch breaks at work, this will work just fine. I call and speak to a woman who takes down all my information and then tells me that I need to come into the office to fill out some paperwork.
This has to be done before they let you schedule an appointment.
No, they can’t schedule an appointment and have me come in a little early to do the paperwork. It doesn’t work that way.
And their office is closed from noon to one for lunch. Which is typically the most convenient time for me to leave work.
They won’t fax me the paperwork because it’s just easier for me to come down, fill it out in the office so they can take copies of my ID and insurance card, and then we can schedule an appointment.
I try to leave the office that day to do it, but it just doesn’t work out. There’s nobody to cover the phones. And, according to my boss, having a live person answer the phones is one of the most important parts of our customer service. It’s the main reason I even have a job (or so I believe).
So, of course, I end up putting it off.
I keep telling myself I can request to leave a little early one day, but it just doesn’t work out. It doesn’t happen.
And it doesn’t happen.
And in the meantime, I am teetering. This day I am content and, dare I say, happy. The next I am crying my eyes out because I am not good enough and life is just too fucking hard. Then the rage is boiling and I want to punch another hole in the wall just to get the aggression out. And then I am sitting at work crying. And then I feel good. And then…
It just cycles.
I have a post-it on my computer at work with all the information. It stares at me every day. It’s just some paperwork. It’ll only take a few minutes.
Finally. Finally. I call the psychiatrist’s office again this morning.
I verify their hours. Closed between noon and one. Well the boss has a meeting at one o’clock, so he’d probably be okay with me leaving around 10:30/11. It’ll only be half an hour.
Besides. Legally, I should be getting at least half an hour lunch break every day. I rarely take my lunch. I sit at my desk and eat. I still answer the phones, but I take an hour (that’s in my employee contract) to read or blog or whatever. If someone needs something work-related, I take care of it.
So I talk to the boss. I tell him straight out that I’m trying to find a psychiatrist and I have to fill out this paperwork so I can actually get an appointment. For a minute it sounds like he’s going to tell me I can’t. There’s lots of stuff that has to get out ASAP (because he waits until the last minute to do everything). But then he looks at the clock on his computer. He looks at his watch. He looks at his computer again.
“I have a meeting at one. So yeah, just get this proposal out for me and then you can go.”
So I do it. But after I get the proposal out, the boss is on the phone. And I don’t want to just leave. So I wait.
And I wait.
And I stare at the clock, calculating. I have to get there so I have enough time to fill out the paperwork before they close the office for lunch at noon.
He’s still on the phone. Shit.
He’s off the phone!
I go into his office and tell him I got the proposal out, is it okay if I leave now? I promise it’ll be only like half an hour. He starts talking about some of the open projects we have to get done, invoicing that needs to be done, other things that need to be done.
I want to punch him in the face.
None of this is really urgent. None of this can’t wait until I get back. None of it.
And he seems to realize this. So he tells me, yeah it’s okay to go now.
I practically run out of the damn office before he can change his mind.
Five minutes to the psychiatrist’s office. Fifteen minutes to fill out the paperwork. I’m disappointed that it’s all just signing privacy notices, telling them who my insurance is through, my name and birthday and marital status and address, sign off that yes I will pay whatever my insurance will not. The lady on the phone made it sound like I would be filling out patient history or something. I had made it a point to remember the last time I was in therapy, and the time before that, and what kind of pills I was on before and why I stopped taking them.
The only question even close was a little one at the bottom of the patient application. Reason for visit.
Depression. Problems with rage.
That’s all there is room for. Oh well.
And then I start tearing up. Literally in the waiting room, all I’m doing is filling out the damn paperwork and I feel tears pooling in my eyes. I pay closer attention to the song on the radio.
This is pretty ridiculous, but it’s a song that T and I sing along with whenever it comes on the radio. Except we are silly and we change the lyrics. It’s our thing. It’s a sappy song. Just The Way You Are by Bruno Mars. Except we sing: “T is amazing. Just the way he is…” “Mommy’s amazing. Just the way she is…” Every time it comes on the radio, we sing it at the top of our lungs. There are smiles on our faces. Even if I yelled at him moments before. We smile with this song.
And now it’s playing on the radio in this waiting room where I am begging for somebody to help me but all they want me to do is fill out paperwork and now I am the crazy girl crying for supposedly no reason and there is no way those receptionists don’t see the tears because I have no way of hiding them. There isn’t even any tissues in the room.
So I turn in the paperwork. She ignores the tears on my cheeks and I stare at the papers instead of looking at her face. She takes copies of my ID and my insurance card. Then she tells me they are calling my insurance just to check everything out. They’ll call me to schedule the appointment.
Hold the fucking phone.
Is attempting to get help for mental health always this fucking difficult?
So I tell them to call me at work. She takes down the number and, in a cheerful voice that suddenly pisses me off, she says goodbye.
I curse aloud in my car.
I am celebrating that I finally did something, but I am annoyed that it isn’t enough. I don’t have a date to look forward to.
So I stop and get myself a milkshake and fries from McDonalds. I get back to the office. I’ve been gone almost half an hour.
And the boss is annoyed because the phone has been ringing off the hook.
I am skeptical.
The phone rarely rings more than 10 times in a single day.
But I sit down and I get to work. While drinking my milkshake.
And now it’s just after 2pm. I have not been called to schedule an appointment. I tell myself that I will call them by 3, if I haven’t heard anything.
I tell myself that it doesn’t seem like enough, but it is a step.
A step closer to getting what I need. To taking care of myself. To healing.
Thank you for reading. Thank you for commenting. Thank you for caring.