I decided I can use this blog as my journal, so to speak. Sometimes, I need to just write free form to figure out what it is I am saying.
I started this particular blog to share my life journey and all that entails, parenting, homeschooling/ unschooling, living my life, conscious evolution and spiritual practices to be my best self (a continual process), and share my experiences with mental health, mental illness, and life challenges.
Anxiety goes hand and hand with depression, in my experience.
Helping my children with their depression and anxiety, challenges my own issues with metal illness and mental health.
Today, I took my child to the psychiatrist for a routine follow up appointment.
Today, we went knowing I needed to talk about the depression that appears to be enveloping my child’s life.
My child is reluctant to speak about their issues especially when they are dealing with significant depression.
Isn’t everybody challenged by talking to their doctor about depression, when they are depressed? I am.
Is that not part of the nature of depression? To have difficulty first seeing that we are depressed, and then to be able to share that with someone who is essentially a stranger. Depression involves low levels of motivation and feelings of worthlessness. For me, I always figured, I wasn’t really depressed, not like clinical depression, not like other people who i saw as depressed, typically people in media and people who admit themselves for treatment because they can not function at all in life.
I was very wrong.
It took me years to seek help.
It took years for me to see how much depression was negatively affecting my life and the life of my family.
I saw it first when I moved into a hypomania state. I am grateful for my bipolar depression to help me see that. Looking back over the years, I see the trend of mood swings over time in myself. I think their was mild depression in my past but life events and challenges triggered a much more significant depression. At least, that is how I see it.
I was very anxious about taking my child to the doctor today to talk about their depression knowing they were reluctant to talk to me let alone the doctor. We talked ahead of time and the responses I got was, “I am not feeling very talkative today.” They did agree for me to talk about it.
I am grateful that my child has been able to open up more to their dad for me to better see the extent of this depression. Yet, I left the house with anxiety and concern that the issue would not be fully addressed.
I am so glad we finally have a good psychiatrist to go to. My children have been on NC Medicaid or Health chose (NC insurance for children). I am grateful for the programs because our financial debt would be so much greater without the insurance program for children. When our income goes up beyond level. To receive Medicaid for them, they have still qualified for NC Health Choice program with very low cost and minimal co-pays. Yet, we have had issues because we need a referral from our primary doctor to go to other doctors/ specialists. The state funded insurance program is very frustrating because the people in place to help have way too many responsibilities and their are not enough resources including no lists of doctors in the plan, to name one frustration. We also never see any bills nor any explanation of benefits.
I found out how Helpful the state funded assistance is for medical expenses for my children when they dropped us last spring and told us our income was too high for either program. I had a good social service worker helping at the time and he recommended I reapply due to my efforts at contesting the denial were talking too long. I mistakenly, signed my children up for our market place insurance waiting for the process of reapplying for state assisted insurance. I thought I should have my children covered. Yet, it cost me so much money because I did that. No one told me, that if approved for Medicaid again, it would be retroactive to when I applied and that if I have private insurance and NC Health Choice, the doctors can not bill both but must first bill private insurance. I wound up with a $700 bill for my son’s OT services (for 6 weeks of visits) that with Health Choice cost us $5 per visit and 0 with Medicaid. And that was with holding off until we had insurance for them again. I called to cancel the private insurance when I found out they did qualify for Health choice, but it could not be canceled for another month and a half and even though it was retro-active a few to when I applied (about 2 months prior), I had these high bills to pay because of the double insurance.
I wasn’t even thinking about that when I sat down to write today.
It is part of the picture.
My first child with OCD, began going to a therapist who specializes in OCD treatment and is trained in ERP therapy which is the recognized standard for OCD treatment. At that time, the therapist took Medicaid. When we no longer qualified for Medicaid but Health. Choice instead, she did not take Health choice. She worked out a plan for us. Yet, the cost of continuing therapy with her, added up over time and when my child was doing better, we cut back how often and eventually to not going at all. We have talked about going again, yet, the cost is an issue. We are working to pull ourselves out of credit card debt, something we have done several times in the past 8-10 years. The expenses on the credit cards have been things like groceries, car expenses, health care costs, etc. At least 90% of it has been daily life expenses!
So now here we are, seeing significant depression in my child, depression that has surely gotten worse int he past month. And we have not gone to a therapist in over a year or more. They are on mediation and so we have gone to a variety of psychiatrists which until the current one who we first went to 3 months ago, have been far less than ideal, We went as required to “manage medication” but felt most of the practitioners, many of which were PAs, were not truly qualified to do what they were doing and spent such little time in a visit. It really is sad the quality of mental health care when you are on NC state assisted health insurance. There are enough challenges with mental health care in the US as a whole but when dealing with NC state assisted insurance, the problem is so much worse, in our experience.
I am happy to say that I survived the appointment and so did my child and I feel there was a good understanding of the issue and the psychiatrist spent adequate time with us and made good recommendations. Sure, she is the professional and I should not “do her job”, yet in the past, I have had to manage the job the so called, professionals were doing. I am a believer of the importance of us being our own advocates when it comes to our health and we need to educated ourselves and work with our doctors. The doctor has the “expertise” in their area of speciality, and we are the experts of our own bodies. As a parent, I must be an advocate with and for my children.
Part of ERP therapy, Exposure, response, prevention: is in sitting with “the anxiety” and waiting it out, to see that nothing terrible happens. So the exposure is like my going to the appointment and having a plan of what I wanted to say. Now that I have done it, I will have less anxiety for the next appointment. Other than the anxiety of getting my child to the appointment on time because I don’t like to be late for doctor appointments and I fear we will be when my child is not invested in getting to the appointment on time, or at all. Add the added challenge of my child’s difficulty with time sense along with my own which equals more = anxiety!
As always, I would love to hear your experiences with anxiety and mental health and the family. We gain strength through support of others who understand by common experiences.