Finding a therapist in my new city was not an easy thing.
First, I wanted a female. Talking about birth experiences and the possibility of my sex life and lady parts wasn’t something I wanted to do with a male. Not that a male wouldn’t be helpful, but I’d prefer to talk to someone who might be able to understand the ups and downs to this whole TTC, carrying and giving birth to a baby thing.
Second, I wanted someone who wasn’t opposed to medication. I wanted to get off my antidepressant, but I wanted to see someone who wasn’t adverse to me going back on it if it looked like the benefit outweighed the risk.
I probably should have called my insurance company to get a few names to research, but I consulted the internet instead. I got a bunch of names and sent out a bunch of emails, explaining my situation and did they accept my insurance?
Ninety-eight percent of the responses I received answered, “No, sorry we do not accept your insurance. However, you can always pay out of pocket and try to get reimursed by your insurance company.”
I’d have considered that, but 1) we don’t have $150+ to spend at what would surely be weekly visits for a while 2) I knew I wouldn’t get all of that money back from insurance and 3) I had no idea how long it would take to get any amount of money back.
I did get one response from a therapist that said she was in the process of enrolling with that insurance company, but she didn’t know how much longer it would take.
I was starting to think, “Fuck it. I’ll just pay out of pocket at my old therapist. I’ll make the commute, drop G off at my parents, and just go once a month like I was doing and put up with the hassle of getting my money back. At least I wouldn’t have to start all over.”
Then I got an email from my therapist’s assistant. They did participate with my insurance despite the fact it was the worst one they participated with.
I wrote about my frustrations with setting up my initial appointment with this therapist here.
The first visit is always the roughest. Therapists want to know everything. Why are you here? Are you married? What’s your husband like? How long have you been together? How often do you spend time alone? What is your relationship like with your mom? Dad? Siblings? What was your childhood like? Did you go to college? What do you do for fun? How much to you talk to your friends? How often do you hang out with your friends? What’s your blood type?
hate loathe this visit. So much that my fight or flight response kicks in and I start thinking about walking out. They need an idea of what my past was like to help me with my future. I get it. But I’d rather work on what is bothering me in the present and fill in the gaps of the past as we go. I know why certain things are the way they are in my life. I know how the past has affected me now. Just help me get over this difficult period I’m currently in my life, is all I’m looking for.
Sessions with my past therapists have gone something like this: the therapist would ask me a question and I’d give an answer. I guess I’m used to therapists keeping their personal thoughts to themselves. I guess I’m used to an affirmation that they heard what I said while they write it down on their note pad.
But this time around my therapists nods, looks at me as though she’s judging me, then waits for more.
There isn’t always more so I don’t know what she’s waiting for. Sometimes I’m not willing to offer up more information so I shrug and play dumb. Holding back information directly correlates to the response I receive from my initial answer.
To go from three rounds of therapy with therapists who really weren’t right for me, to one that I clicked with, and back to one who makes me feel like a shitty person has been… not so nice.
This time around, I’ve felt like Im back with the very first therapist I saw. I’ve been asked “What does your husband think about that?” only to answer with “I don’t know” more times than I care to think of.
Not knowing what your husband thinks about having more kids. Why he’d rather sleep than fool around. What he thinks about your PPD. To only speculate what he might think made me feel like the worst wife in the world. Because I know what’s lacking here: communication. I’ve left feeling shitty and judged by the therapist because I clearly don’t talk to my husband.
I’ve felt like I was in couple’s therapy without my other half. I’ve been down that road before. It sucked.
The night Hubs and I decided to have more kids, I told him this is how I felt. I asked him if he’d go with me if I continued to feel this way. He said yes, but his tone told me everything: he wouldn’t go willingly.
I’ve had two sessions since that talk, and they’ve gone slightly better. I think because the talk happened. We were honest and no one fell asleep. We came to a decision on having more kids. It was a much needed talk and I’ve felt better about things since then.
But I still feel judged. When I told the therapist we were going to start trying in June (lie, we decided right away in May, but I knew what kind of reaction I’d get) I thought her eyes would fly from her face her eyes got so big (that reaction). Then she did some math and decided that a year is a perfectly acceptable time to start trying for another child.
This rubbed me the wrong way. I could see her opinion being a valid thing to state if she explained her medical reasoning. But she didn’t. She asked me questions about Jake’s work schedule (which won’t ever change), money (we’ll never have enough), the state of the Union (yep, she even got political and we discussed the housing boom and bust). She made me feel like I might be rushing into this huge decision without giving me a medical reason why it was or was not okay to have another baby. Medical. Reason.
I was pretty upset after this visit. But I told myself (and continue to tell myself) that this is a decision between me, Hubs, and no one else. I’m currently more concerned with the state of my mind than the Union. Hubby and I discussed that, and we will discuss it some more if and when I’m pregnant.
I was considering just finishing out the appointments I had already set up and then finding someone else. Then, two hours before my next appointment, I received a phone call from my therapist’s assistant.
I was secretly hoping he was calling to say she’d had an emergency and we’d have to reschedule my appointment, but I didn’t have such luck.
No. Instead he told me there was an issue with my insurance. He commenced to explain, once again, how terrible my insurance company is. Then he explained how insurance worked (which I don’t need to know. I worked at an optometrist office for four years, I know how tricky insurance is when you’re dealing with a medical specialty) so I pretended to listen.
Then he said my particular plan won’t pay for mental health benefits until I’ve had the plan for one year.
What. The. FUCK?
He said there are loopholes, but my particular diagnosis didn’t fit those holes. My plan won’t cover their services. I wouldn’t even be able to apply for out of network benefits.
Here I am, trying to be responsible, trying to get help while I go off of medication that I’ve been worried about having to be on forever to make me a functionable mother and get through life, and I get zero coverage for a year.
The assistant told me it should be illegal for insurance companies to do such a thing, so because I was trying to do the right thing by seeking mental health services, so the therapist was going treat me as a cash patient and I could continue to pay my (high) specialty co-pay.
I know I’m free to go; although, If you read the paperwork for this therapist and read her webpage, you’d think otherwise. But where would I go? I have managed to get my therapy appointments down to every two weeks, which I think is necessary at the moment. I can’t get therapy anywhere for $50 a visit. I could go somewhere else and use our flex spending, but then how would we pay for other things like the dentist, contacts, glasses, strep throat, or the knee surgery Hubs is convinced he’ll need soon.
Not having some kind of help isn’t going to help anyone here at home. I hate when I’m so overwhelmed I can’t focus on G and I get angry at him. I hate that feeling overwhelmed makes me anxious and angry and I lash out at Hubby. I’m starting to feel like the happiness in our house depends on me and I still have days I want to pop a pill instead of working on drug-free ways to deal with my issues. Not seeing a therpist doesn’t seem like an option at the moment.
The bottom line is, this is a deal. I don’t care for the therapist and I question whether she’ll really help me in the long run, but $50 is a deal when money is tight and the likelihood of another therapist doing this for me without being an established patient is super slim. This is something my therapist didn’t have to do, and I’m actually very grateful she did.
Rock, meet hard place. Hard place, meet rock. I’ll be mediating here in the middle until I can figure something out.
(I have many thoughts about this “waiting period” but G is going to wake up soon and I have much too much to write about the topic, so another post should follow soon[ish]).