Mental Healthcare: The Seriously Long Wait

The universe is full of magical things, patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.

Eden Phillpotts
laptop screen with the words MENTAL HEALTH mental healthcare

The mental healthcare system can feel like a lot of waiting sometimes. Providers often book up and book out, sometimes for months in advance. Add in the holiday season and it feels like I’ll be waiting forever to start this mental healthcare journey

Waiting and patience are not my forte. My highs and lows are many and my moods change rapidly…sometimes several times in a single day. I do not mean that I go from tired in the morning to upbeat in the afternoon to grumpy at night. I mean that I will have a big idea that gets me feeling fiery and passionate and ready to change the world in the morning.

I’ll call anyone that I think will answer and I will talk their face off. My voice will be an octave or two higher and I’ll be talking at 2x speed. I’M GOING TO CHANGE THE WORLD….THIS AFTERNOON!!! Then by the time I go to bed at night, I’ve convinced myself that I’m the worst and I lie in bed and replay every awful thing that ever has happened, is happening, or will happen for and hour or two before I drift off to sleep. I’ve yet to change the world in the span of a morning. Angry one minute, happy the next, and crying 5 minutes later…patience is not a virtue that I possess much of.

Mental Healthcare: On the hunt

I digress, waiting. I’m still waiting to see my new doctor. I’m a bit nervous because I’ll run out of one of my medications before I see him and it’s the only one that works. This is not the first time that I’ve gone through this and, honestly, it always sucks. You really don’t know what is going to happen. Maybe you make it to the doctor in time with no issue. Maybe you fall of a cliff. It’s a gamble.

Here’s the thing…our medical care system is not conducive to people with brain illness and/or disorders. We move inside of a system that was not set up for people who have Executive Functioning issues. Making any kind of phone call that isn’t personal feels like torture to me. I have trouble remembering appointments and to go to the pharmacy. There are certainly tools and behaviors that I can, and will, put into place to help with these tasks. However, for some people, it is often hard to implement the needed tools in your life without first finding the right medication for your brain. As you can see, the cycle can be endless.

As I said in my previous blog post, I found out my official diagnosis; ADHD-I, PDD, anxiety disorder, PTSD, and OCD, in the beginning of September. We are now into December and I still have not gotten stabilized on medication. That is not for a lack of trying. I have actually seen more than one doctor, trying to get the help that I need, and it has been one debacle after another.

The first doctor that I saw was my primary care doctor. His attitude toward ADHD left a bad taste in my mouth and after my 2nd visit, I felt like maybe he was not in his wheelhouse. I was having completely uncontrolled and severe anxiety for MONTHS and he was reluctant to treat it. It was becoming very disruptive to my life and I could not afford to wait.

So, I saw another doctor. I was a $135 disaster. She latched on to the idea that I have bipolar disorder and she would not let go of the idea. She had me take the evaluation and it came back negative and she still wouldn’t let the idea go. It was almost unnerving. I have been misdiagnosed with and treated for bipolar disorder many years ago and it did not go well.

I do have treatment resistant depression. She gave me a medication for that and it has actually worked pretty well. However, I decided that I would try find a new provider. The last doctor made me feel uneasy and, if there’s anything I’ve learned in 30 years of mental healthcare…uneasy won’t work. She also did not treat the anxiety.

So, I went back on the search. I called one provider who wasn’t taking my insurance and another who wouldn’t treat patients with ADHD because they refused to prescribe medication for it. I called 4 different providers, in all, and none of them could take me as a patient. It was maddening. I started to feel like giving up. I’ve lived this long without help…surely I can make it the rest of my life without help, right? Right?!?

Mental Healthcare: The tough road

Anyway, I snapped out of that and I finally found a provider that came highly recommended and they could get me in…in a month. So I’m waiting…

The road to brain illness and ADHD recovery has been long and arduous. The system that is available to us is often insufficient and I understand why people give up or fall through the cracks. It’s disheartening. You are already drowning, but you can’t find a hand to grasp on to. You are expected to jump through hoops when you can barely get out of bed or take a shower and brush your teeth. It’s exhausting when you already have no energy.

It requires motivation that you can’t seem to find. We have to find ways to make it better and then fight until it is. It shouldn’t be this hard to feel good. But keep trying. Keep plugging away. If you can’t make the phone call today, then wait until tomorrow, but keep it on your to-do list. You’ll find the energy eventually. If you miss the appointment, it’s okay. Pick yourself up and make a new one. You are worth it and there is help and love and compassion and recovery out there for all of us.

That’s it. That’s the update. It’s mostly just me ranting about my experience, but I promised myself that I would try to post often during this journey and I’m going to try to stick to it. I know many might tell me to just be patient. It takes time. These things are a process. These are all things I know and try to keep at the front of mind. But also remember, This has not been a 3 month wait for me. I have been waiting for help, begging for help, for 38 years. Forgive me if I seem insufferable during these next few months.

Love and light and keep fighting the good fight. 💜☮

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