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‰

Bad At Feeling Bad

Saw my workers comp doctor on Thursday, discussed the additional pain in my neck and shoulder from relying on my cane (for my unrelated knee pain) this past month, but mostly discussed the upcoming WC mandated “review” – and he’s just as frustrated by what they’re trying to do as I am. πŸ˜’ Then I finally went back in to my prescribing shrink after taking a couple months’ break to get used to my new WC doc meds… and ended up spending an entire hour with him.

Granted, when you talk to a counselor you usually get an hour, but typically the pill shrink just wants to get you in and out of there, prescribing what he feels is appropriate based on the counselors notes and maybe a few followup questions. He talked to me about so many different possible meds, I have to admit that I don’t even know which ones he ended up calling in for me. I guarantee you that I’m going to be doing a lot of googling before I start taking anything… especially considering the other meds I’m already taking, and that in about a month I’ll have to stop taking my thyroid meds to prep for the next radiation pill treatment.

Meh… I’m not gonna get into all that. But I’m gonna try what he thinks I should, as long as I don’t find anything concerning that he maybe didn’t consider. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ But for the past hour or so, I’ve been waking up and psyching myself up for the trip into the pharmacy. Three different doctors, multiple prescriptions, many new, some to be covered by WC, but still might not be, and then others meant to go through my regular insurance. 😣 For some reason they can’t mark it in their system, which meds go through which insurance, nor can I count on some of them being approved anyway, so this’ll be a fucking process today. 😠

I know. 😐 This is just what people have to do. The medical / workers comp / insurance programs in the US are shit, nobodyΒ does it without jumping through hoops, dealing with delays and irritation… but I’m still gonna bitch about it. 😏 And sure, whether it’s WC or traditional insurance… once, maybe twice, do what you have to do to verify that “Yeah he’s broken. Yeah he needs those meds.”Β (I get it… fraud prevention) but then just cover the shit plz. πŸ€• Go through that sort of bullshit long enough and you can totally understand why people, as they get older and feel more broken, just can’t or don’t want to have constant adversarial engagements with the whole system – and just stop bothering with some of it. 😒 Especially when the doctor’s hands are tied and they can’t even prescribe you the meds that could actually make you feel better – whether due to WC guidelines, insurance not covering it, or it simply being too cost prohibitive. 😠 Man it fucking pisses me off…

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I’m just bad at feeling bad when a)Β I’m denied treatments that could make me feel better, and b) people are still fighting to take the things away from me that merely keep my pain tolerable. πŸ˜–

Oh, and my insurance company… they keep leaving messages, saying that they want to schedule an in-home visit from a doctor that can evaluate me and give me his or her opinions as well. πŸ™„ Yeah, um, no. You’re insurance. Just be insurance. Get my health info from my records like a normal company… and don’t expect me to invite you into my house with another handful of hidden hoops behind your back. 🀨 Okay, I guess I’ve dragged my feet long enough, and should get in town and see what kind of luck I have with all this shit.