Monday, May 2, 2016

My Valid Reality

I'm on a new medication.  An additional medication to help me manage my now 12-year battle with depression and anxiety.  During a follow up today, the doctor decided that since I tolerated the initial dosage very well we would continue with a higher dosage, the dosage she always intended to prescribe.  The lower dosage had already helped.  And despite the many clouds of emotion (and paperwork) that surround picking up your whole family and moving to a new state, my brain feels the most focused and alert in years.  Now, I'm just regular sad and scared and nervous.

I left feeling positive.  I left feeling proud.  There was a time in my life (a mere five years ago) that I believed "depression" and "anxiety" were dirty words and ones I certainly did not want associated with me.  Today, I almost fully embrace my reality.  That my chemical makeup is a bit wonky and that it is OK (even necessary) to take medication and seek help.  Maybe one day I will completely get rid of my remaining irrational shame.

After the appointment, I texted my husband whose new job is just around the corner from my new doctor and we met for coffee and a bagel.  It was a lovely little way to start a foggy, damp Monday in May.  He left with a salad to take to the office for lunch and I left to pick up our youngest from preschool.

And then she and I headed to the pharmacy to pick up my new meds.

Initially, I thought there was only one simple task to accomplish.  But I remembered that I needed to print pictures for a school project (15 minutes).  Then I noticed that my favorite tanks and tees were on sale (15 minutes).  After that I realized I wanted to pick up a Mother's Day card (10 minutes).   And then, uncharacteristically, the pharmacy line was very long.  I somewhat set off my own spiral.

Little G handled all of this with poise, relaxing in the back of the cart as I allow her to do when the list is relatively short.  But it didn't take long in this line before she was starting to squirm.  By now it was nearly noon and we were both hungry.

When we got to the desk, the pharmacist quickly produced my bag and then quickly questioned why what cost 23 dollars last month was ringing up as 77 dollars this month.  You better call your insurance, he suggested.  The higher cost is probably due to the higher dosage, but I would recommend you check.

So I did.  I stood there responding to a robot, "member" and "yes" and "no."  I recited our ID number at least three times.  I gave Ruby Robot (and everyone around me) all of my information.  Even the name of the medication.

But after two calls to two different numbers, during which I never spoke to a human, my anxiety began to bubble. People are probably looking at me.  I probably sound really loud and annoying and dumb on the phone. Jason, the pharmacist, is probably rolling his eyes. G is probably going to break down in seconds. I'm probably going to have to go home without the prescription and then drive the 20 minutes back sometime later because I have no pills left.  But I have to make lunch and dinner and do laundry and homework and I ran out two days ago...

And maybe this increased dose won't even make any difference.

I'm not suffering from a serious medical condition.

And I don't make any money to help pay for this.

I'm not worth 77 dollars a month.

My eyes darted around in a misdirected attempt to make a decision.  I looked at my phone.  It was 12:29.

At this point I was close to tears.  I had to hang up with my husband (who I also called) to keep from losing it right then and there over what I see now as NOTHING.  I am sure I had cried at the pharmacy at our Target back in Maryland.  I did not want (or need) to cry at our new Target in Ohio.

I took a deep breath.  And smiled.

Jason was very nice.  I paid the 77 dollars as my husband and I agreed and we left.  I bought G an un-requested chocolate milk to thank her and tide her over.  We drove home.  We ate lunch.  I inhaled Cheetos.  I was exhausted.  I passed out on the couch during Wild Kratts.

I don't always know what triggers it, but, in the end, it's usually something I can handle.  It's often a wave of anxiety followed by a crash of depression.  Sometimes I need my husband to hold my hand or a friend to text me a kissy face.  Occasionally, I need to sleep or cry or paint my nails or watch Fixer Upper for it to go away.

This is all thanks to the medication.  It is because of the medication that I don't need hours (or days or weeks) to recover.  It is thanks to the medication that I understand that I am worth it, that I do contribute, that anxiety and depression are valid.  And that because of them I am not less.  I am more.

The medication allows me to see the devil that is the disease, stare it in the face and wiggle free.  

And so if this increased dose allows me even more fuel to fight?

I sure as hell deserve to pay for it.

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