I had health insurance. My advocate had done his job and was free of me. I could now call the customer service number on the card like everyone else. Membership has it's privileges.
Calling to get an appointment with a Doctor was a hassle,but not the Byzantium of getting coverage.There was a primary care physician in my neighborhood accepting new patients. By Autumn, I could meet her. I knew I needed referrals for an eye exam and therapy. I couldn't shake the nagging suspicion that I'd be better off dead.
I was having trouble with my joints too, real trouble this time. Not the mid-range trouble I had treated with fistfuls of ibuprofen and vodka before I got sober, but meter in the red troubling trouble. I couldn't walk right or eat with utensils.
Wanting to kill myself seemed more urgent somehow, so I tried to get a mental health referral from MGH before meeting my Dr. This was slow going,and I was ticking.And afraid to in through the Emergency Room.
Suddenly after a long time I noticed I could call my insurance company for a mental health referral. Civilization!
This was another rare instance of things working the way they do on TV. I called, got an appointment, and had an intake interview the next day. Exhale.
Just getting the intake interview with North Suffolk Mental Health over with helped me to take the next step and bring my swollen joints to the ER. I was still a few weeks away from meeting my PCP (primary care physician). The ER doc prescribed a steroid, prednisone. This isn't addictive because it makes you high; it's addictive 'cause it makes you young again. In my case, twenty-one.
I was becoming disabled physically and losing my apartment and my business. When I got to the therapist's office, I didn't want to talk about any of that. I spent the next month or so telling a time line of childhood, adolescence and young adulthood. The last thing I though I wanted was another label on my box. Sometimes another label is just what you need. I got a diagnosis, I had identified a problem. I could work on it.