Mental Health

I don’t often talk about the issues I deal with. For one, it’s not an easy topic to discuss in mainstream culture. And for two, I’m not entirely sure exactly what they are. But I think I have a good idea.

For the past couple years, I’ve been in a tough financial situation and I decided moving back home was a good idea. Financially, it was. Mental health wise, it was probably the worst decision I’ve made in my life.

When I went to UNM (University of New Mexico), I was forced to deal with a lot of problems, and slowly came out of my shell and I think I did pretty good. I had a ton of friends, I did a lot of cool things, and helped the community a bit.

After moving home, my friend pool stagnated and I didn’t really do anything any more. I got a very part time job that I still work out (which I am grateful to have that). I don’t do much in the community because I don’t connect to it in any way. My family is nearly broken apart and I was right in the middle of that.

This is all just background information. Some of you might already know it. But over the past few months, I’ve been slowly realizing that I have pretty bad anxiety and depression. I never though about it before, because I don’t have the “traditional” symptoms. True, I never went out and did anything, but that’s because I didn’t have the money, right?

Avoidance as coping helped me get through the worst of it, but now I need to stop avoiding everything and just avoid the situations that actively cause me stress or trigger the symptoms. Yes, I have them. I don’t have them all exactly, but they stem from someone else being angry at me and reprimanding me. I want to go into hiding, no matter how small, petty, or big of a deal it actually is.

I’m going to seek help. Unfortunately, our mental health system, especially for the poor is outrageous. I have Medi-Cal, California’s version of Medicaid. This system is terrible, barely better than nothing: unless your pregnant or want to overcome addition (thanks asshat Republican ideology). I have a referral to go to a mental health clinic. I have to bring my ID, social security card, Medi-Cal card, proof of income, sit there for three hours for financial screening, other screening, and see a social worker BEFORE I can even see a counselor. And at max, I get eight sessions. Better than nothing, but barely. For someone like me, or other people dealing the mental health issues, these obstacles can be nearly impassible.

But I’m going to try. And every day, I hope I get a little bit better.


16 thoughts on “Mental Health

  1. Just putting in the effort is a step forward. Poverty sucks 😦 good for you for recognizing and reaching out for help. Much love and many hugs, I am here if you need to vent. Xoxo

  2. Andrew, I am truly sorry you are feeling anxiety and depression for whatever reason, and although I do not know you well, I have an impression of you from taking one our your writing seminars. From that vantage point of being in the classroom atmosphere, I saw someone very animated, knowledgeable and extremely helpful to others. Most of the time others forget to say thank you for the special gift educators give, but you taught me a lot, and this is where your strengths are. My daughter enjoyed your class as well, and we both came away from it spiritually happy.

    I suffered from anxiety a long time ago in my early twenties, and all I can tell you is it does pass with accepting it, taking three deep breaths and relaxing, and most of all not being afraid to feel these feelings; moreover, that is when you own them, and they cannot hurt you anymore. What happened with others in the past, be it family or friends, is not a reflection on you, but on them. Learn to say NO; especially, if it is someone that uses manipulation tactics.

    Continue to help and love others, and if they don’t reciprocate, then just consider the source, and move on. True healing will come when you believe you are the worthwhile man you were created to be, and let no other belittle your self esteem.

    Most don’t know it, but money is the least of one’s problems, and it comes and goes, but happiness is earned by helping others, and you are good at it…and it is free.

    Blessings my friend, you will get through this…I promise because I have been there as well…☺

  3. So many people are feeling the same way these days. Shall keep you in my thoughts and prayers. Shall see you in a few weeks but feel free to call or email any time.

  4. As someone who has sought help many times over the years, I can say that the first step is realizing the need, the second step is making the appointment, and the third is keeping it. It sucks that insurance gives so little. Consider also low-cost community clinics that operate on a sliding scale. Don’t give up!

  5. Andrew, it’s me, Latanya. I totally understand what you’re going through. Surprise! I’m bipolar and when it comes to the financial side of it, I pay out of pocket, which sucks. Doing so tends to make me skip appointments or haggle refills so I don’t have to see my doctor. There are low-cost clinics and help. Look up Tri-Cities, which is a good mental health resource carrier with many centers around Southern California. As hard as it is, keep your chin up.

  6. God bless your for sharing this. I’m pretty sure I’m on the spectrum (autistic). It’s great for my writing but I’m a weird humanoid! You are so right about our mental health system, and I should know, because I worked in facilities for over thirty years. Seems one has to break a law, and break it quite horribly, to get some damn help. I don’t have any good resources for you, I just try to live with my issues and make the best of them, but I got a lot out of AA. It was worth it to quit drinking so I could have some new skills. My favorite method is to write, write, write. I can grind my axes and educate others through my not-so-fictional characters. Keep on keepin’ on! Look forward to hearing more from you.

    • Thanks for the comment. And I totally understand that breaking the law thing. We made a few good steps with health care reform, now we just need mental health care reform.

  7. Andrew: I’m sorry to hear what you shared in this post; however, I can relate to much of what you described. This post really hit home, as I’ve been sailing a similar boat for longer than I care to remember. I know what you are going through and how much it sucks. I also know how much courage it takes to put this out there, especially since, in my experience, there isn’t a whole lot people can say to make you feel any better. Just know you’re not alone and can reach out anytime. All the best moving forward.

    • I’m glad it’s relatable, but at the same time, not. I posted primarily because I felt I needed to for me, and helping others is something that I hope is a side benefit. There are good days and bad days, and the good days need to be relished and taken advantage of. We are not alone in this, and I can see that even though the “tunnel” tends to tell me otherwise.

  8. Ok, so now I read this post, Andrew (out of order), but really– what difference does it make? You’re hurting, and i’m sorry to hear it. Never underestimate the freeing effect of changing your domicile. You want to be careful not to jump from the pan into the flames, but a good solid jump to a new locale, where no one is beating you up, so to speak, can be so liberating to the spirit. Again, I say– hang tough, my friend. I’ll be in touch mid-August– see how you are doing. Hugs, Marta

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