Mental illness again…it just doesn’t go away…
I started the new year off by getting a graduate degree, having a great visit with my mom and my aunt, and savoring moments with the BSW. I also had a story accepted to a literary journal, won an award for best revenue growth at work, and my manuscript is close to ready to pimp it out to agents. 2013 is off to a good start.
I still have a mental illness. Amid a lot of happy times and good news, it is still there. I’m not “all better” because of some good times. It took me a long time to figure that out. Positive events lifted my spirits, and I decided I didn’t need the meds…I was all better. I wasn’t. I’m not. I am with the BSW which is the greatest enhancer of my demeanor except for being with my children. Either of those will substantially affect me in a positive way. They will not remove the illness. The demons always lurk and wait.
There are many long, dark nights of winter still ahead of us. The spirit of the season has passed. The winter is inordinately harsh to the mentally ill. They need your Christmas spirit now a lot more than they needed it last month.
For myself, I determined to stay on the meds however well I seemed to be doing. I continue to see my psychiatrist (I hate psychiatrists). In full disclosure, these are required activities to avoid the BSW beating me severely for my own good. However, I hit a snag.
My employer provided insurance is called a “high deductible” plan. That means I pay high premiums and I pay a boatload before the insurance ever pays for anything. I started my current anti-depressant last fall. I had already cleared the annual deductible and I had contributed a lot to my account the employer administers to make me feel better about the shitty insurance. So, when I started this new med, there was no out of pocket.
Last week I went to the drugstore to refill my happy pill prescription. They presented me with a bill for $815.00 for a one month supply. That by itself was pretty fucking depressing. Once I clear the annual deductible, I still pay 20% of the cost of medications. So, after several thousand dollars, my happy pill costs will still be $160.00 per month. I also happen to have rheumatoid arthritis. Between the two illnesses, my medication bill is over $600.00 per month. I stopped taking the RA drugs last year because eating won out over pain.
Any hoo….this particular blog is not about insurance or corporate greed. My aunt told me about a Canadian pharmacy. I contacted them, and I can get a three month supply of happy pills for just over a hundred bucks. That is over $8000 cheaper than I can get them in America for the year. How fucked up is that? Bemoan Obamacare all you want. I would argue it did not go nearly far enough. I understand that drug companies incur huge R&D costs, and they have the right to recoup them. It seems Americans are paying a disproportionate amount of that. We’re the wealthiest nation on the planet. I’m okay with paying more. I’m not okay with paying $8K a year more…for one fucking med.
I have internet access. I have support from loved ones. I have a beautiful, sunny woman kicking my ass to protect me from me. I can stay on my anti-depressants. (I still can’t afford the drugs that actually halt the RA progression.) The guy you see talking to himself in the street…what do we expect him to do? Does he have $815 this month or the means to find an international dealer? Maybe he qualifies for federal assistance. If I’m paying $815 per month, I’m willing to bet the $30K toilet seat federal government is paying more for his meds because they’ve repeatedly shown they’re stupid, inept, and never passed Econ 101. In my budget reviewing days, we called this a target rich environment for cost control.
Part of actually helping the mentally ill is making medication reasonably priced and easily accessible. I’m going to Canada for meds! (not literally. They mail them to me.) We’re the self described greatest nation on earth. This is the best we can do?