World Mental Health Day

(Just got done writing this one. Heh… sorry, it turned out way longer than I anticipated, but here we go…)

Any time you get on Twitter and scroll through your feed, you see any number of people posting something because it’s a “National (whatever) Day” of some sort. Usually it’s not… but it gives folks a good excuse to post cute pictures of their cat, dog, kid, or whatever – but after seeing several posts and doing a quick google, it turns out today really is World Mental Health Day.

It’s meant to raise awareness, show support for folks getting or needing mental health care, and to also reduce the stigma that’s sometimes involved. Often involved, actually. πŸ˜’ For example, a while back at one of my primary care doctor appointments I was discussing some of the things in my life that were causing me anxiety. My disability, pain, the (then) newly discovered cancer, Mom being sick and now having passed, other close friends dying from cancer, dealing with workers comp, etc… 😟 like I told her – stuff that would probably cause anyone to feel stressed. I was just telling her so she’d have the full story, but she said she could refer me to a counselor if I wanted to talk to someone about it. πŸ‘©πŸ»β€βš•οΈπŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Seemed like a good idea to me. Sometimes just being able to let out your stress or anxiety to someone that’s not involved in your life in any way… it can just take a little bit of the weight off. I saw her like once a month for a few months, and she said she could refer me to their in-house doctor to see if there was any medication that might be able to help. I wasn’t really interested, since I was feeling an appropriate amount of “bleh” in regards to the stuff that was causing it… but I went ahead and took her suggestion.

I now see that doctor about once every six or eight weeks, and I’ve actually got an appointment with him tomorrow where I’ll need to make a decision. πŸ€” Because, despite this feeling like a normal series of doctor visits – just as if I was dealing with a physical health condition – the fact that this doctor gives me medication to help with my anxiety is now being used against me. 😠 And being used against me by the last person that I would expect to further the stigma surrounding mental health care… another doctor. ☹️

And when I say “mental health care” … I don’t even take any type of super serious medication, and I haven’t been diagnosed with any extreme disorders. Until this hiccup happened, I looked at this doctor and my treatment there as “Yeah, I guess it makes me feel a little better maybe… or at least I know it’s not making me feel worse… so I guess I’ll continue going.” Like, in my mind, it was barely a thing, but I continued going since it was now part of my current medical routine.

But when I had to go to the independent medical evaluation for the workers comp system (a week or so before getting that second radioactive iodine dose and scan for my cancer followup) one of the things discussed with that doctor was what medical treatment I was currently getting, and from who. (Regardless if it was related to my WC injury or not, to get a complete picture…) So of course I talked about the cancer doctor and treatment, my WC doctor and treatment, and then my PCP doctor and referral regarding the mental health care.

Now, these exams, they’re initiated by my former employer’s insurer, so of course they’re rarely going to be helpful to my cause. So I expected him to say certain things, but I never expected that being treated by a doctor for occasional anxiety would essentially be “weaponized” and used against me the way that it is. 😟😞 Because this doctor took the names of the two meds I’m prescribed, and picked some of the absolute worst possible reasons that I may be taking them. You know how almost every medication has one “thing” it is known for treating, but then it can also be used for treating a half dozen or more other things?

You could even do this test on yourself. Just grab whatever meds you take, get on WebMD, pick out the most extreme, “worst case scenario” possible uses for each medication, and see how close that sounds – compared to what you’re actually taking them for. 🧐 That’s what this doctor did to me. Taking what is run-of-the-mill, minor anxiety treatment to me, and twisting it into all sorts of implied, speculative, “concerning” mental conditions that could be so severe that they even affect how I interpret / talk about my pain and disability. πŸ˜§πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜  Reading those things in his report was honestly shocking. πŸ₯Ί

The funny thing is, for most people… just the pain that I deal with each day, and the sheer amount of things that I can no longer do due to the disability in my left shoulder and arm… just those things alone are enough reason that a person might want to include anxiety treatment in their normal medical routine. And I was doing it mostly because another doctor suggested it, and it sounded like a “might as well” thing, rather than me desperately needingΒ it or seeking it out. And now it has bitten me in the ass. πŸ™„πŸ˜’

Well, maybe it has bitten me in the ass. (Maybe the commission will see right through it, as they should.) I won’t know how his report will affect my worker comp case until the hearing is scheduled and all of the doctors’ information (from both sides) is reviewed. But now I’m stuck, wondering if tomorrow I should let this doctor know that I no longer need his services. πŸ˜ŸπŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ He probably helps me a little bit, but it’s certainly something that I could do away with if it’s going to damage the treatment that I get for my work injury. It’s obviously more important (and logical) for me to want to keep the treatment that keeps my pain to a minimum, which also helps keep my stress and anxiety to a minimum.

Yeah, so anyway, it’s a bit of a clusterfuck… and, unfortunately, anyone that reads my story here… anyone that may have been considering seeing a counselor or psychiatrist for the first time… they’ve now got something to add to their mental “nope” list when it comes to the pros and cons of seeking any type of mental health treatment. πŸ˜’ I don’t take it personally, what the “independent” doctor wrote. I understand that his job is to come up with all of the “worst case scenario” stuff that he can, since my doctors will obviously be talking positively about all of the ways that my current treatment is as effective as the WC situation will allow.

I guess I look at those types of doctors the same way that you might look at public attorneys who are appointed to defend obvious criminals in court. They still have to give that defense their maximum effort, even if it goes against what many people would consider to be “right.” That doctor has chosen that job for reasons only he would know… so I can only hope that sometimes he stops to think about the effect that his actions have on us folks who rely on our WC treatment to keep our pain and lives at least tolerable. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜Ÿ

Happy World Mental Health Day 2019. πŸ˜’πŸŽ‰

Tedious Ramblin’

Doing my typical weekend thing, being half-productive / half-bum. 😐 Last week wasn’t too bad… got a few of my “must do” things done, while adding in a couple new things on the fly – and whatever wasn’t accomplished last week will just be added to the list of stuff for the upcoming week.Β πŸ€·β€β™‚οΈ I guess I got just enough of last week’s stuff done that it’s not really stressing me out today like it normally might.

Dealing with the misc “bill stuff” last week was tedious.Β πŸ˜’ My check for an bill that I had gotten was returned to me, with a note that said no balance was due. That same day, I got a second bill for that same amount… and it took talking to someone in person to get them to acknowledge that I was handing them a check for the amount due, at least according to their file. 😠 Not a big deal, just annoying.

Then I got a bill from one of Dad’s nurses or doctors, for an “at home visit” which I obviously don’t get here at my own home. I called and explained that our names are similar but not identical, but she still couldn’t tell me why the bill came to me, in my name. 🀨 She assured me that she fixed it in the system and that I won’t have to worry about it. It was for only ten bucks, but still… annoying.

Tried to call the hospital about some additional bill stuff on Friday afternoon, but even though it wasn’t that late in the day – apparently everyone with any authority had already left the building for the weekend. In theory, the financial assistance should absorb some bills as they’re generated, so there’s a good chance that the ones I’m calling about will have already been affected (or perhaps eliminated) by the time I actually speak to someone about them.

Everything that I ordered for Maven finally came in. There were issues because of the package being damaged in transit, then automatically refunded, then the order was automatically re-orderedΒ – despite me doing that same thing manually… just nonsense that had to be worked out before everything was good.Β πŸ™„ But she’s feeling better, isΒ mostly flea-free… so basically I’m handling a few things at the same time with her, like I’ve been doing appointments with myself for a few months now.

Oh, and then the “on the fly” thing that I mentioned having to make room for last week… it was an intake appointment that my PCP had made for me, to start seeing a therapist and psychiatrist.Β πŸ˜³πŸ‘©β€βš•οΈ The last two PCP appointments I mentioned that I’d like to do that eventually, but that I wasn’t ready to throw it in with all of the rest of the things I’m dealing with quite yet… but my PCP apparently (and accurately) figured that I really did want to get started with the psych side of things, and that I just needed the nudge of having an appointment straight-up scheduled without any input from me. 😏

The first person I saw (and the only person, until next week) was the therapist lady, and I think I’m going to like her. 🧐 I got the typical hour-long intake visit with generic questions to start sizing me up… and I think I’ll like her not only because we share political and social views (it came up while talking about insurance and pre-existing conditions), but also because I think she’s aware that I’m relatively smart – and she seems pretty sharp herself. I always like therapy better when there seems to be a “fun” but somewhat adversarial type relationship – where we each know that what we both say will likely have merit.

Not much talk about meds yet, since that will fall under the umbrella of what the actual psychiatrist will be handling for me… so, I dunno, it may seem weird but I’ve always liked counseling for some reason. Even if it’s just because I can rant to a disconnected party for almost an hour and then just go home.Β πŸ™‚ I don’t have to consider any “solutions” that they think might make me “better” compared to what I usually am. I mean, I’m open to suggestions… but do I have any specific goals or methods that I’m particularly interested in? Not really. Hey… I’m not the one who actually made this appointment.