When Jon left his job we lost our group insurance coverage. I knew that I would have a hard time qualifying for individual coverage given my dramatic bout of postpartum depression and consequent stint at a medical facility, but I had no idea that we’d have such a hard time getting Leta covered or Jon for that matter. Jon wrote about our insurance problems here and here, and although I’m not going to go into the amount of detail he did, I will tell you the reasons we have twice been denied coverage: Leta’s MRIs which did nothing but prove that there is nothing wrong with her; Jon’s cornea transplant that happened almost eight years ago; my prescription for Prozac. Ironically, I was not denied because I spent four days in a psyche ward.
Right now we are covered under Utah’s high-risk plan until we have applied to (and been rejected from) all cheaper options. This means that our monthly premium costs only a few hundred dollars less than our mortgage, and before they will pay for any medical care we have to meet a per-person deductible that when added up between the three of us totals more than our remodeled kitchen including the appliances.
I’ve been asked a lot recently about the state of my depression, and to be honest, I feel really good. The only thing I’m depressed about is the fact that if I were to experience another dangerous bout of depression we wouldn’t be able to afford to get me any help. When we signed up for the high-risk group and I realized how much money we’d be throwing at the insurance company every month I told Jon that he and Leta could get coverage and that I would just go without, and if anything catastrophic happened to me that he should just let me die, it would be cheaper to pay for the funeral than the hospital costs. It made sense to me: let me die for the financial good of the family.
Jon talked me off that ledge, of course, and now my approach is to stay away from the doctor so that we don’t ever have to meet my portion of the overall deductible. Good thing for us, I take my meds. Which I guess is good for us as long as the meds work. My psychiatrist warned me that Prozac has a tendency to stop working, but he has such a boner for ADD medication and prescribing it to people who don’t need it that I can’t believe a word that comes out of his mouth. I recommend ADD medication to people who don’t need it if they want to experience a high identical to one you get from snorting four lines of cocaine. In thirty seconds.
In February 1995 I tried Zoloft for the first time, and I remained on that drug for over seven years. I occasionally had to fuck with the dosage to maintain my sanity, but it kept working, and the only reason I stopped taking it was because I was going to try to get pregnant and it made me tired. I’m hoping that Prozac will work just as long, or at least until we find affordable insurance. If it doesn’t, there’s always bourbon. Just kidding. Sort of.
Originally I was taking two other drugs in addition to Prozac: Valium and Neurontin, both for anxiety. I tapered off Valium about four months ago and have whittled my Neurontin intake to an eighth of the original prescription primarily because it’s so damn expensive. I know, though, that I can’t ever take myself off the Prozac, and I guess this is where the true update on my depression comes in. I feel good, but only because I take Prozac. Every single morning. I cannot ever stop taking it, or at least a drug just like it. I don’t think my depression is curable, but it is treatable.
I thought I would have a harder time coming to terms with that, but all I have to do is miss a few days of the drug and the oxygen stops circulating to my brain and I start plotting what to use to hit strangers in the head so that they will feel the most pain. Winters are especially hard for me, always have been, so I have to try harder this time of year to stay out of a funk. I run out of my Prozac prescription in two days and I have to remind my psychiatrist to call in a refill — something he will do for free because I won’t be sitting on his couch for an hour while he tries to convince me that I have every symptom of Adult Attention Deficit Disorder which includes, “Has mother who sells more Avon than anyone else in the world.” Part of me feels like I might have it, but Prozac is working so well for me that I don’t want to go poking around in something that is delicate to the touch and will most likely explode when poked.
Besides, I don’t feel hopeless right now, and for anyone who hasn’t ever felt that deep, lonely ache of complete hopelessness, not feeling it feels like a present of chocolate orgasms under the Christmas tree with your name on it. That good.