This Bipolar Life: Money on the Mind

Healthcare, mental included, is ruled by money. Simply put, people without it get lower quality care if any at all. 

Let me give you a very personal example:

This past fall I was without health insurance and as a result had to switch medications from Abilify ($1100/month) to Risperdone ($40/month). 

Now my doctor made this decision based on my financial need and believed wholeheartedly that she was doing the right thing as the meds are in the same pharmacological family. However, my body responded VERY differently to them. 

 Within days of starting Risperdone I was spiraling into the most severe depression I have ever experienced. It was scary and there was nothing I could do other than go back on Abilify and where the hell was I going to come up with $1100?

I became suicidal for the first time in decades and on the verge of hospitalization (something that had never happened to me before and frankly scared the crap out of me).

So, not knowing what else to do, I pleaded with my family to help. They, of course, did it immediately and paid for a month of the Abilify to hold me over until I could get on my wife’s insurance which was just a month away at that point and wiithin days I my family was on a plane down here to take care of me while I healed and I managed to get through it but it took months. Not weeks. Months. 

Surviving that level of depression was very hard.

I was so fortunate to have had friends and family with resources to help. Not everyone does. I have read countless stories of people committing suicide or needing hospitalization because of a medication change due to a lack of funds or insurance. When is this going to stop? Even with the ACA it can be hard to get insurance for everyone and frankly those that don’t have the money for meds probably can’t afford the health insurance premium. Where does this end? How many people have to die? 

I consider myself mostly recovered now but trust me, I was very, very lucky. By the grace of God and my family I managed to survive but only barely. I can only hope that others are as lucky and shed tears for those that aren’t.

1 Comment

  1. I will always be so thankful that you had those resources when you needed them, and that the grace of God was to keep you here with us for what I hope is a very long time. You know I know the challenges of medication, mental health care needs (for children too!) and money, or lack thereof. Thank you so much for continuing to bring these things to our consciousness… You are wonderful.

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