The Next Step On Our Journey

Please join me at my new Beliefnet home, the official Beyond Blue blog page.  Looking forward to continuing our conversation!    

Monday, December 18, 2006   11:30 a.m.

Stay Tuned!

In my first blog post, I described my intention for Beyond Blue: "for it to become a comfortable place where we can pitch the unfair stigma of mental illness, expose our real selves, and lend each other an empathetic ear." I wanted it to become a community, a network to empower depressives to use their illness to evolve into wiser and more spiritual souls. In the last two weeks, we’ve started quite a conversation! I’m ecstatic to see that many are tuning in to tell their stories and sharing all kinds of insights.

I want this all to continue! However, I need to take a brief break while the Beliefnet team resolves some technical issues. We’re unsure about the exact length of the hiatus, but I do hope to be back real soon.

Please stay tuned for more. And tell me via the message board what kinds of topics you want to read more of.

Until then!      

Tuesday, November 7, 2006   10:00 a.m.

Proof for Insurance

Today gave me one more reason to hate health care insurance companies. After completing the 18-page questionnaire required to schedule an appointment with a pediatric behavioral specialist for David, I got to actually talk to someone on the phone.

“Does Dr. K take insurance?” I asked. Her rate is $250 an hour.

“It depends on the diagnosis,” the nurse said. “If it’s a physical condition, most insurance companies will cover it. If it’s mental, they won’t.”

Right. Because mental disorders are like imaginary friends—not real. They happen to people who can’t deal with life’s hard knocks, who are stuck in traumatic childhoods, who are too stupid to know what they want and too cowardly to go after it.

They are part of a make-believe world invented to get attention.

I wasn’t surprised by her answer. Last year when I tried a half dozen sessions of acupuncture, Dr. W asked me in his broken English, “Do you have sore back?” No. “Sore neck?” No. “Tight shoulders, yes?” No.

“Insurance not pay for depression. You have sore back?”

The Catholic in me couldn’t lie, so I forked over the 80 bucks until I got a sore neck thinking about how I was going to pay Dr. W.

It left me thinking: how can we ask people to ditch the stigma of mental illness if insurance companies are telling us otherwise? Granted, an MRI won’t map the destroyed brain tissue that my bipolar has caused. Blood work can’t determine exactly how much Zoloft I need to function.

The day may very well come when I can point to a spot on an x-ray and say to David, “That’s what’s wrong with Mommy.” Evidence is now mounting for declaring the gene complex G72/G30 as the first confirmed gene related to bipolar disorder. There has been remarkable success in locating and identifying genes associated with schizophrenia.

The fact that I read up on this stuff—and that I stay up at night searching for “proof” of my physiological illness—is ridiculous and painful.

Until the day comes that I can pick up an over-the-counter depression test at Rite Aid, I utter this simple prayer when dealing with insurance folk: “Father, forgive these stupid, idiotic, feather-brained morons, for they know not what they do.”     

Friday, November 3, 2006   10:00 a.m.

'I Do Not See the Road Ahead of Me'