Where's the Humanity
By Kathy K on March 29, 2012
Last week was not a very good week for me. I had another panic attack on Monday. I’d been stressing out about money, or our lack thereof lately. Thinking about this more than I should is a hallmark of someone with chronic and debilitating anxiety.
I think about the money we don’t have because I’m not making very much yet from freelancing. So then I think, “Self, maybe it’s time to get a part-time job.” I have nothing against work or working part-time. The problem is that I’m terrified to do so.
I have this completely and utterly irrational fear of working for someone else. I have touched on this in my blog in the past. This fear is rooted in having previous jobs where I had no control over certain things, and as a result, I grew more and more stressed out to the point where I had a nervous breakdown. I wasn’t against working all that overtime; I had no say in when and how I did it. It was important to me that I had some flexibility in when I worked it because when I had control over when I did it, I could avoid the very thing that triggered my nervous breakdown: burn-out. Morale was another issue that contributed to my burn-out.
This fear is crippling. It is why I decided to freelance. I needed to feel as if I were contributing and not being a burden on my husband. I had to not allow myself to feel helpless. But everyone knows that it takes time to get a business off the ground. I write for the content mills. I write my blog. I write articles for another website. I earn little bits here and there.
But I still don't make enough.
Part of this fear I have is that if I get any job, then it will completely take over my time and my freelance work and blog will end up being pushed aside because I have little free time to work on them. For my entire life, I’ve pushed aside what I really want to do to take the path of least resistance and do the practical. I always told myself "Oh, I'll do it later." That was another reason behind my nervous breakdown. You can only kick the can down the road so far. At some point, you're going to run out of road. That's what happened to me. I ran out of road and the can had nowhere to go.
Two days after my panic attack, I saw my doctor. I am on medication that works to ease the depression, but it's no longer helping with the anxiety. I have been on Lexapro in the past and I know it works. During my visit, my doctor wanted to put me back on Lexapro, but couldn’t because Lexapro is on my insurance carrier’s “excluded drugs” list.
This means my insurance company will not cover any of this medication. Not one dime.
It’s not an experimental drug. It’s a brand name drug with no generic equivalent. Lexapro, out-of-pocket, is over id="mce_marker"00 for a thirty-day supply. I cannot afford to pay that. To qualify for assistance to help pay for this, I have to prove income and by doing so, I have to use last year’s tax return. Needless to say, I make too much to qualify.
I am staying on the citalopram I take, but I now have a prescription for lorazepam that I take “as needed”. I took some that day because of feeling the jitters again, and it made me very sleepy. I don’t know how that is going to work if I do get in a place where I can get a part-time job. I am concerned that I could become dependent upon the lorazepam.
I don’t feel drowsy on citalopram alone or Lexapro.
Why is it that a business, that is not qualified to practice medicine, gets to dictate what medication I get to take?
Why what is best for my health and my life takes a backseat to what is the best for a for-profit company’s balance sheet?
So many people out there who are against the Affordable Care Act mention that they don’t like the government taking control of health care? They mention rationing of health care as one reason. Rationing of healthcare is already happening. But it’s not the government that’s doing it. Private business is dictating my healthcare to me. Private business thinks it knows better than my doctor.
If you are on the side against the Affordable Care Act, I want you to do something. I want you to look me in the eye, straight into my eyes, and tell me why it is right that a corporation gets to decide that they get to dictate my healthcare treatments and deny me a medication I need to take in order to function like a normal human being? Why are their rights more important than mine?
And if your answer is “Well, it’s a business…”, then I must point out that this business does not have a medical degree and is not technically qualified to practice medicine.
Then I have another question for you. Would your opinion be different if I needed cancer treatment they were refusing to pay for? Or do you think this way because mental illness is “not a real illness”?
Is your ideology and “beat the liberals at all costs” more important than the quality of my life?
If your answer to that is yes, then you have no humanity. And that is a shame. Humanity separates us from animals. Humanity trumps ideology. Humanity is what makes us human beings. We think, we feel, we are capable of compassion towards others. In this quest to be right and to beat people who don’t agree with us, we have forgotten what it’s like to be a human.
It’s easier to not care about someone when they are demonized. But I am a human being. I am a person. I have feelings. I am sick. I need to get better.
Denying me the medication I need is exactly like denying a diabetic insulin. A diabetic needs insulin to regulate their blood sugar so they can function normally. Imagine what happens if you don’t get to take your insulin when your blood sugar changes. I need Lexapro to regulate my screwed up brain chemistry so I can function like a normal human being.
Since I have a mental illness, it’s socially acceptable to deny me the medication I need to function. We wouldn’t dream of denying a diabetic their insulin. So why is it okay to deny me my Lexapro?
Am I angry? Hell, yes, I’m angry. I don’t like to have this irrational fear of something normal. I don’t like being held hostage like this. I want to take control of my life and not let this define me. I want to be a functioning adult who lives a normal life and contributes to society.
I want to be normal.
I don’t want to be a victim.
Is that too much to ask?
Yet, I’m doomed to stay in this cycle of irrational fear and nervousness and anxiety because I am denied the tools I need to break out of this cycle and live a normal life. It makes me sick to know that there are people in this world who will fight tooth and nail to keep things the way they are because their ideology is more important. The Bible that they are so fond of quoting has stories and lessons about showing compassion towards others, but they conveniently ignore those parts. Why is that? Because it doesn’t fit within their narrative? Because the appointed talking heads and gaseous windbags of right-wing radio and TV don’t bring it up?
It may seem cool to some people that you have a “voice”, but that “voice” doesn’t serve you. Its purpose is to play upon your fears with the purpose to create fake outrage in order to generate ratings. Its purpose is not to inform you, but to preach to the choir, play on your fears and play on your baser instincts. It’s not interested in serving you. Its first interest is to serve itself by manipulating you. And if it takes getting people to forget their own humanity and the better angels of their nature to achieve its self-serving goals, well, then congratulations. You’ve been played.
Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.
In the time since I originally wrote this, I've begun seeing a therapist.
You can take the girl out of Wisconsin, but you can't take Wisconsin out of the girl.