Can’t afford recovery, literally.

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.






11 thoughts on “Can’t afford recovery, literally.

  1. Hi K! This is your personal life but as you have chosen to blog about it and as I happen to be a doctor I cannot help myself from advising. I am a pediatrician, not a psychiatrist… so… i cant treat you …if I were I would give you some sessions free. But you need help. I do not know the back ground of your parents but any parents will definitely try to understand their chidrens suffering even if they cannot. Whatever be the reason for you to choose not to tell them I have a feeling your mind is misleading you. Help starts from family. If you meet a psychiatrist he will ask for family. Especially in India, we believe family is the best support system. If money is what you are bothered I suggest you to approach government institutions.I am assuming you are from India!? I have done UG in JJMMC, Davangere and psychiatry department is very good. NIMHANS in bangalore is one of the Asia’s best centre….money should not be a problem in any of these places. If you are not from karnataka, I suggest you find out nearest teaching government hospital, I assure you staff will be good.If you are not from India, you should talk to your parents. The psychiatrist you spoke to is right! If you can google and decide on treatment of diseases, we people breaking our head and wasting our lives in studying for 10-15 years is the biggest stupidity of world! Dont you feel so! Psychological disorders are related to mind, there is a problem in your thought process or deep rooted problems in your unconscious mind which need to be resolved over multiple sessions. Tablets work at chemical level in your brain and can suppress the symptoms but wont cure you. Or else meet a proper guru who can heal you … but out of 10 gurus you meet 7-8 will be fake. I would suggest go to hospital. Talk to your family… TODAY! It will be difficult in the starting but things will be much better than they are now.

    • Thank you for your kind words. 🙂 if you were a psychiatrist I would have taken you up on that offer of free sessions, ha ha. Unfortunately, I’m not from India. I do know that expecting the worst from my parents would not help me, nor is it fair to them. But I am, I think, taking little steps. I’m kind of contemplating about telling them.

  2. I read this post first and I have no clue about depressed people …I was curious to know so I followed your blog…went through some more posts of yours…. I got the point …you can delete both the comments….. though I might have a probable solution….dont tell friends…not required but tell parents…I know you cant…soooo…. write a letter ….may be just a post addressed to them… you dont have to show them today or tomorrow …just write it …just an imagination….and one fine day at some fine point like the one you found courage to step in that hospital …just mail it or give it to them in a way you cant take back and it is done…….and once that is done they will take care of the rest… I dont know how your mind will take this…. do put up what it feels about this idea… may be one of your blogger friends can give you boost enough to do it. And about patients right to autonomy it states that doctor should provide you with all your treatment options their results and side effects and you are allowed to choose…..drugs is not an option…it is an adjunct in your treatment.

    • But my doctor wouldn’t let me use those medicine? 😦 I know it doesn’t cure depression, but for the symptoms, I would have liked to have something that would at least alleviate them. 😦

      Thank you for this wonderful idea! I might try writing a letter soon.Though I don’t know if I’ll ever have the courage to give them to people. Still, thank you! 🙂

  3. 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.”

    That was a terrible thing for him to say. Most Doctors will agree that you need the pills to at least stabilise your mood first before you can get to the heart of the problem. Pills are not a solution, but they are part of a solution.

    Good luck!

    • That was what I was trying to tell him. But I don’t want to seem like one who gets their high (or something) from those meds (but I’m not really opposed to that Idea, haha).

      Thank you!

  4. I don’t know if you’re in the U.S. so this might not apply to you. Most, if not all universities have mental health practitioners. A few years ago, when I was in college I went to a psychiatrist on campus who was able to prescribe me anti-depressants. The visit was free because you pay for access to them through college fees.

    If that is not an option, you can often find psychiatrists who charge you on a sliding scale based on your income or lack thereof. You might be able to call around and see if you can find someone who does that.

    As far as medication, I was able to get my anti-depressants 100% subsidized by the pharmaceutical company that made them. Many companies have programs for low income people that you can apply for. Just have your psychiatrist consider cost when he’s deciding what to prescribe you.

    And for the psych who condescendingly asked you if you just treat cancer with pills. Next time you can tell someone who asks something similar that the answer is yes. You can treat cancer with just pills. My first 7 months of chemo was 4 pills twice a day.

    Good luck.

    • I’m trying to find a psych through the hospital my college is affiliated with (a government hospital). What I’m needing is the courage to just go up to them and ask for assistance. Thank you! 🙂

  5. I liked this post, but I don’t like it in the meaning that you absolutely right.
    In my country the psychiatric services work that way too.

    It costs. A lot. And if you cannot afford it, you can only go to the government hospital, where you are waiting for an appointment for months, and that’s for the first appointment! And then, if you can get two appointments a week, you can consider yourself lucky. Once a week is a standard, but for the beginning of a treatment that’s not enough.
    And why he hasn’t prescribed you some antidepressants and anxiolytics, for God’s sake? At least that?

    I have no words to express my anger towards health system and my compassion for you.

    “You cannot afford yourself recovery”. No, I cannot.

    Fight somehow, find a way! You’re still too young to give up that easily!

    • I will 🙂 I’m trying to approach the health service department of the hospital our college is affiliated with. The only thing that keeps from going actually is fear and anxiety. And I think that’s much harder to beat than the inefficient health system we have.

      Thank you for your thoughts!


      • I’m glad to hear there is a way.

        You’re gonna be better, trust me.

        Health system is just a one minor obstacle, and you found a way for a start.

        Wishing you luck!

        Tina. 🙂

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