We Need to Talk About this One Problem that People with Mental Illness Are Experiencing
Most insurance companies seem to not care about people getting better, and that makes me angry.
Last night, I had one of the worst mental breakdowns ever in my life. My whole world just seems to have crumbled at my feet; this is the worst I’ve ever felt, like darkness just overcame my vision and all I see is black. My mind just started racing; most things that I don’t worry about, whether it is bills, budgeting for the month, even passing thoughts such as personal problems and things I usually have control over mentally are magnified 10x.
I take Cymbalta and Ativan for my mental illness. I have a great psychiatrist that I visit every 4 weeks or so. These two medications have been amazing in helping me control my depression and anxiety. I felt grounded, my mental illness was not a burden on myself for a time. I started feeling like my normal self; you couldn’t even tell that I suffered from it.
I recently ran out of medication last week, literally a week after I had seen my psychiatrist. Right now, as I’m typing this, I’ve been off my mental illness medication pushing close to two weeks (Time is hard.). Here’s the problem—My psychiatrist is amazing at making sure I have enough pills to last me until I have to see him again, So I’m not blaming him for this; keep in mind, if I’m prescribed something that will help me not get lost in my own mind, you bet I’m going to routinely follow the instructions of the medication that is given to help me. When I’m off the Cymbalta, I go through really bad withdrawals that make my head go to some really dark places, and I mean REALLY dark. The suicidal thoughts are screaming in my ear, the anxiety is threatening to drown me to the point my husband has to drop what he’s doing and intervene to make sure I don’t do something to myself that could hurt me physically, I cry to the point that I end up tiring myself out. I never want to be off my meds, but there’s been a growing trend the past few months with Medicaid (my insurance that covers the Cymbalta and Ativan) where even though the doctor prescribes these much-needed medications for someone like me who struggles to control their mental illness, the insurance puts what seems to be a temporary block on when someone can refill them; this leads to withdrawal from these much-needed pills that someone who suffers from mental illness desperate need, and it’s ridiculous. I understand there’s an opioid crisis in our country, but the medication I need at this very moment isn’t a highly-controlled substance, and let’s be honest, it’s HIGHLY impossible to abuse Cymbalta and Ativan (I’m sure people have tried, but I digress and even if people have, why would you?). To summarize it all up, this is what adds to the mental health stigma… There are resources and people willing to help those who suffer but, if we are temporarily barred from medications, who’s that helping? What’s the point? Why am I literally running out of Cymbalta and Ativan days after I see my psychiatrist, and then when I request a refill, I receive an email stating it’s “Too soon” or “Doctor Approval needed” But he just literally gave me new refills, how is this a thing?
Those of us who suffer from mental illness should not have to struggle to get refills for the medications that make us feel better. People are so quick to state how mental illness should be talked about, but when it comes to actually help people feel better and get on with their lives, to not have to worry if they are going to have a mental health breakdown or an anxiety attack. Medication helps. It really does.