In a recent post I wrote a couple of reasons why folks suffering mental health issues don't just "go on meds." I felt, very strongly, that the financial piece of looking for and getting help should be developed upon. Strongly enough that I wrote an additional 300 words developing that thought further. On my phone. At 3 a.m..
Here's the thing. Even if you have insurance, even if you can afford the initial co-pays for the meds and the doctor visit, it takes more than one try to get it right. The first antidepressant I went on took three months before I started to feel any effect. It required the initial appointment and then a follow-up appointment once a month for three months so my doctor could take stock of how I was reacting to the medication. I was on those meds for about six months before needing to have the "$10 for a med vs. $10 for gas to get to work" debate (gas won that debate).
The second go round it took another three months before I felt anything, and this time things seemed to be working out. I followed the same procedure as the first with multiple follow-up visits with my doctor so he could assess my progress. I was on that med for about a year before they started to lose their magic. At that point my doctor prescribed me an all new medical option. The new medicine he prescribed me was $50 a fill. I couldn't, still can't, afford that.
This was maybe four months ago. I've not been on antidepressants for four months. All because I can't afford them, or the series of doctor's visits that come along with. I shudder to think what it would cost without insurance.
If you've not been in a situation where you need to experiment trying to find a med that works for any reason, there's always the possibility that the first medicine you're prescribed doesn't work at all. Now you've had three months of visits and meds that do nothing and you need to go back and try again (and sometimes again and again). When balancing your kids' lunches, your partner's health insurance, your health insurance, your car's maintenance with meds that while helpful -- while great -- aren't critical? I know I'm not the only one to push medications and doctors' visits down the priority list.
Have a story about depression that you'd like to share? Email firstname.lastname@example.org, or give us a call at (860) 348-3376, and you can record your story in your own words. Please be sure to include your name and phone number.
Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.