Nothing is free anymore in this world, or so others say. I don’t quite agree with this, but it can’t be helped that some of the most important things really do cost more than your kidneys and your soul combined. Such is true for a guided recovery from mental illness.
If I had my own money, I would have seen a mental health professional long before. But that’s the thing, I can’t afford recovery.
I’m still in college. I should have graduated April this year, but due to some circumstances (i.e. depression, anxiety, intolerance toward my major), I failed to do so. I should have been an employed adult by now.
Fortunately for me, I have generous (loving and understanding) parents. They give me enough allowance to ensure I don’t die of hunger, and still have enough of it should there be emergency expenses.
Had they known I’m suffering from a mental illness, they definitely would have given me their support, in whatever form that could be, including money.
But they don’t know what I’m going through. They don’t know because I’m not telling them any of my problems, especially about my mental health. And I don’t plan on telling them soon, or ever. There’s no way in hell I’m ever going to let them know about this, even if it would cost me my opportunity to recover from it.
With just my school allowance as my financial source, I was left with no options but to save some of it.
I did save some of my allowance, to be fair. But it really is hard to save money because it’s not just your food you’re spending your money on.
After some (a long) time, I managed to see a psychiatrist online (because I was too anxious to see him in person). I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder. He then told me that the best course of action is to see a therapist (psychotherapy, or talk therapy, I think?).
I was disappointed, to say the least. It took me a long time just to afford that formal evaluation; I didn’t know when I’d be able to afford therapy.
You pay a lot of money to talk with a psychiatrist. I don’t have that big amount of money. Not yet, anyway. So I suggested that he just prescribe me some medication to at least help with some of the symptoms of depression (and maybe anxiety) I was having.
I was more than devastated to learn that he was against the use of medication to help in people’s recovery. He even told me, non-verbatim, “do you treat cancer with just pills? No. The same goes with depression. You can’t just treat it with some medication.”
I wanted to yell at him. I opted not to tell him that I have a right to make a decision regarding intervention (patient’s right to autonomy). Excuse me, Sir; I did some research. Medication worked and still works for some people. I think I’m old and healthy enough to make my own decisions, Sir.
Defeated, I simply told him I can’t afford it. I gave her the rap about my financial status.
“You cannot not afford recovery,” he told me.
He invited me in a group session for free. I was glad for the invitation.
I do understand that group sessions sometimes work, but what I need and want is a one-on-one therapy session. What I need and want are prescription medicines.
But because I couldn’t afford them, I might just as well tell myself that I couldn’t (and maybe never will be able to) afford my recovery.
On a side note, I’m not saying that therapy and medication are all that is there to recovery. But they are important. They are really (really really really) important, especially if someone is beginning to be a threat to herself/himself and/or the others, as what was in my case.