Gah! I know I have posted about this before but I was reminded once again how fucked people's perceptions are of those of us who are on antidepressants. Yes, yes - I know. ADs are over prescribed. Yes, I also know that on the rare occasion they can be dangerous and have a worsening affect (Exhibit A - my sister). And yes, I've heard all about the excellent alternative remedies like exercise, good diet, prayer and just getting on with it.
The truth is, some of us not only benefit from ADs, we thrive on it. It makes us better mothers / sisters / daughters / citizens / bosses / workers.
I am an anxious person. This is partly due to genetics (both my parents are anxious people), partly due to my sensory issues (people with SPD can be prone to anxiety) and partly due to my physiological make up. I don't suffer from panic attacks, I am not severely depressed. I have never wanted to kill myself. (Well besides the time just after my son died. Then I really did want to die but I was mentally ok enough not to do it). But I am not a terribly nice person when I leave my anxiety untreated. I find it difficult to concentrate, to function optimally. I am anxious, irritable, worried, stressed and generally not that pleasant to be around. I have been formally diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).
I could leave the anxiety untreated, as many, many people do. I could struggle through life, living a sub-optimal life. I could cope. But I dont want to just 'cope'. Why shouldn't I choose the best possible physical and mental health for myself? I don't want to 'cope', I want to thrive.
I have a multi pronged approach to dealing with this diagnosis which includes exercise, healthy diet, ongoing therapy sessions and antidepressants (aimed specifically at dealing with anxiety). I choose to be on ADs. I choose to be proactive about my life. Without sounding conceited, I consider myself to be quite successful - I have fought a long battle with infertility, I have written a book, got an MBA, started a successful business, maintained a good marriage, invested in a good home and other assets. I would consider myself a successful, competent, healthy person.
But my insurance company doesn't see it that way. Because I am on ADs (specified for anxiety), I was forced to go see my doctor to get a written report that I am not suicidal or mentally incompetent. I have to take insurance that has a specified exclusion for death or disability for any conditions related to depression, post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, other mental health issues.
That is such bullshit. I get 'punished' for being proactive about my health. For taking charge and making sure I am highly functional. There are so many people out there who have serious problems who are too scared / tired / depressed / ignorant / poor to take charge of their mental health but they are ok to be insured.
It pisses me off. I understand the insurance companies have a standard formula they use, but they should look at the specifics for each case. Look at me as an individual and then decide whether I am a high risk client or not.
I hate the stigma attached to people who choose to seek out therapy or are on ADs. I personally feel we should be applauded for taking charge of our lives, rather than considered incompetent / crazy / a risk.
I am on ADs and I am not ashamed to admit it. And just like a diabetic who needs to take insulin for the rest of their lives to be healthy, I will take my ADs for as long as I need to. Of course I would love to be able to be 100% healthy without medication but I would rather be on ADs and healthy, and be off them and not live the best life I can. And if it means I need to stay on ADs forever, so be it.
Just because someone is on ADs doesn't mean they are crazy / suicidal / incompetent / dysfunctional. And anyway, sane and normal is so last season. A bit of crazy makes life interesting.