Pre-Existing

Like a lot of people, I’m frustrated, terrified, and absolutely appalled by the passage in the House of Representatives of the AHCA.  With provisions that allow state governments and employers to strip away patient protections (things like pre-existing conditions and lifetime limits) and punish people for being old or poor, it’s a nasty piece of work from top to bottom.  And the joyfulness, the smug glee the Republicans took in crafting and passing this piece of legislation, is sickening (which is a problem, given what we know about the way they’re treating health care).

Now, I currently have pretty decent health insurance through my employer, a public school system in Northern Virginia.  Assuming everything goes well, they’ll keep providing that quality coverage for the rest of my career, ensuring I get to keep taking all the medications I need to take to remain alive and stable.

Oh, what’s that?  You didn’t know that I needed medication just to live?  Well, it’s true.  I’ve diabetes, depression, and an anxiety disorder, all three of which are on the list of things from AHCA that could get me dropped from my coverage.  And if pre-existing conditions make a comeback, there is no way I’d ever be able to get on insurance again.  The medication that helps keep my diabetes in check would go away.  The medication that keeps my anxiety and depression manageable would be so far beyond my ability to pay for (it’s not available as a generic, and all the generic ones I tried didn’t work for me) that it might as well not even exist.  If I were to lose my health insurance tomorrow, I’d be dead before the next presidential election, I can almost guarantee it.

And I don’t even have it as bad as other people I know.  I have friends who suffer from Type 1 diabetes and have to be on an insulin pump.  Insulin is a tremendously expensive medicine to have to take on a daily basis, as it turns out.  Too expensive for most folks to handle paying for without the benefits of insurance.  So those friends are dead.  I have other friends who suffer from bipolar disorder.  Medication helps keep them functioning, though for some it feels like it only barely manages that.  If they have stop taking their medication because they can no longer afford it (because they’re no longer covered)…well,suicidal ideation is one of the common components of bipolar.  Some folks aren’t able to sleep because of bipolar.  If you aren’t sleeping, you will die.  That’s just how the human body works.

I could go on, but it makes me too angry to.  We are at a crossroads as a society.  If Republicans are going to insist they’re Christians, they should probably start acting more Christ-like.  Jesus went around giving away free health care, folks.  And he wasn’t too keen on the super-rich.  Maybe something for members of the House of Representatives to keep in mind.

No Depression

If I’m honest with myself – and, to be honest, I’m often not – my depression has been a problem lately.  It’s left me feeling listless and worthless, which isn’t uncommon for me.

I’ve been like this…well, pretty much always, I guess.  These bouts of lowness, of feeling like I’d be better off not existing, like maybe no one would really notice or mind that much if I wasn’t around.  It’s a terrible way to feel.

The disjointedness.  Feeling like I’m jumping from rock to rock, idea to idea, with no coherent connection between them.  Hopping across stones over a rushing river, or maybe it’s lava.  Not caring enough to look down to find out.  What does it matter, if it’s water or lava?  Falling in would kill me just as dead either way.

Or the emptiness.  The sense that you’ve somehow become hollow inside, waiting to be filled up by something, anything, but nothing is forthcoming.  It’s disheartening.

With the emptiness comes the loneliness, the isolation, the sense of being cut off from everyone.  Like there’s no one I can talk to about it, no one who would understand.

I came to work this morning, more out of habit than anything.  I didn’t want to come in.  I didn’t feel like I could contribute anything worthwhile.  I wanted to call in sick, to be honest.  Call in depressed.  Is that a legitimate reason to be out?  It should be, but it probably wouldn’t look that way from the outside.  Because the truth is, I just don’t feel like being here today.  I don’t feel like being anywhere.

I know it’s all a lie.  Depression is a liar, but a damned persuasive one.  It lies and it lies, it fills your head with falsehoods and emptiness and a smothering blank of despair, and it tells you this is all you are.  All you’re worth.  Depression lies, and I try to lie to myself that I’m okay and that I can handle it.  But the truth is, the honest truth that I don’t share even with myself some times, I can’t handle it.  The depression is always stronger than I am.  Always.  Even if I push it back this time, it will return.  It always comes back.  Things I thought I’d conquered, fears I’d believed I’d overcome, slip back in insidiously, slinking in from the dark corners and making themselves at home as if they’d never left.

I’m not alone.  I’m not.  I’ve got a support group, a good one, one filled with people who love me and whom I love, too.  But right this second, in this place, I don’t feel it.  Depression’s lie – I’m alone – feels so real.  So true.  And then it starts whispering in my ear that this is what I deserve: being alone.  Apart.  Empty.  Depression is a bastard and a liar, an entity made up of all the worst things in your soul, the bits you try to forget or push out of yourself or ignore and hope they’ll go away on their own.  Depression is made up of those, finds more of them to add to itself, builds itself up into this monolithic force that you can’t resist.

I want to be able to end this post on a note of hope.  It’s hard, right now, in the throes of the depression, to even think positively, even though I know this isn’t permanent.  The usual platitude, “This, too, shall pass,” doesn’t feel true at all.