So here’s the thing. I had my last session with my doctor/therapist last week. I have found a new doctor who will monitor my medication periodically, but no new therapist. Why? Because it’s too fucking expensive that’s why. Even with insurance the bills are huge, and half-way through the year my doctor/therapist dropped my insurance because she just didn’t want to deal with their crap anymore. For half the year I paid to see her out of network and our bills piled up, and we just can’t do it anymore. Why is mental health coverage so difficult?
I had a better relationship with this therapist than I have had with any other therapist I have EVER seen, and I’ve seen A LOT in my almost 50 years on the planet. It was the first time, even in the midst of a messy desperate depression, that I felt equal to my therapist (which I suppose is a credit to all the hard work done with the therapists of my past, as well as a good relationship with my husband in which I feel loved and valued). I didn’t feel like putty in her hands – I felt like I needed her help to make sense of the blurriness and chaos around me, but not that she had some weird mysterious power over me. She talked to me, not just listened. She praised my strengths, but also told me when I was full of shit. She gave me her opinions – we had good back and forth conversations. I’m thankful for the work she and I did together. But it wasn’t finished. And that’s too bad. But we just can’t do it anymore. In the past year I had gone from seeing her weekly, to every two weeks to prepare for her going out-of-network, to once monthly when that finally happened – so at least I weaned myself from our conversations. Again, too bad, because she was really good for me.
But I also tried to wean myself from my medication, which I DO NOT recommend to anyone. I didn’t tell her, I didn’t tell my husband, I didn’t tell any of my friends. I wanted to see if I could “handle it.” Wanted to see if I could stop therapy and my medication and be “doctor free.” Turns out I couldn’t. I started feeling heavy and anxious and was beginning to retreat into the internet – the beginning of the slow slide into darkness I’ve come to know. So now as I’ve just said goodbye to my doctor, I’m getting myself BACK on the medication and going through the motions until the heaviness I feel starts to lift. She would surely tell me I was full of shit if she knew what I had done. When I finally told my husband last week, he wasn’t too pleased with me either. PLEASE PLEASE DON’T DO WHAT I DID.
I will miss my conversations with her. I will miss the support and wisdom that comes from her clinical knowledge and experience and detachment (distance DOES permit better perspective). I’m not feeling desperate. I can “get by” without the talk therapy, especially since I’m taking my medication, but I wish I had more of a support network of people I COULD talk to about stuff. The online community is fantastic, but it’s not the same as having someone to meet at the coffee shop to hold your hand, whose hand you can hold too. I will have to force myself to make phone calls and initiate “get togethers” with folks in my social circle, when I’d rather just stay home alone (another wonderful symptom of depression). But first I have to make it through Christmas…