(post continued from Mental Health Failure Part 1)
My next mental health professional was a gender identity specialist who I began seeing to get my letter for top surgery. He was kind, but I lied to him. I wanted the surgery, and was irritated that I had to be certifiably sane to get it, so I made sure that nothing weird came up when I talked to him. He did not accept any insurance, so I paid his hefty office visit fees out of pocket.
A year later, I was struggling once again. I decided to try out Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I began seeing a therapist, not fully covered by my insurance, who was ultimately unhelpful. After a few sessions, I stopped seeing her. A year later, my wife and I split. It was horrendous. The day after she left home, I spent nearly the entire day on the phone with crisis hotlines. Our breakup was messy and confusing, and I had trouble explaining it to the well-meaning women on the other end of the line. Somehow I got through those first few weeks, and reached out to the former therapist, the one I had lied to in order to get my surgery letter. I saw him for a few months, once again paying his hefty fees out of pocket, and decided to pursue medication again. The psychiatrist he referred me to suspected I might be bipolar, so we tried a medication that would provoke symptoms if I was. It was a very strong anti-anxiety/anti-depressant medication. It made me sick as a dog for the entirety of the two months I took it. I lost my job a month later and couldn’t afford any more therapy or meds, so I stopped going to my therapist and didn’t go back to the psychiatrist. The meds, but not the psychiatrist or therapy, were covered by insurance.
I’m lucky not to be one of the 51 million uninsured American citizens, (let alone one of the 6.8 million undocumented immigrants with no health insurance), but as far as mental health coverage is concerned, I’m not in much better shape. Continue reading