An Early New Year's Resolution
tw: mental health/ED recovery
This week, I signed up for my health insurance for 2017---something I’m immensely grateful to have access to that also makes me want to smash my head against all the surfaces in my house.
Like last year, I don’t have the very good kind of health insurance that my friends who have jobs in offices seem to have. The very good kind of health insurance would allow me to do crazy things like go to the doctor for a cough and not just if I’m bleeding out of all the holes in my face. The very good kind of health insurance would allow me to see an Ear Doctor for the sinus pain I have on and off when the seasons change, too, but I’m afraid that will cost me the equivalent of whatever Ina Garten spends on very good olive oil…in a YEAR.
I have health insurance for three reasons: I do go to the OB/GYN ever year for an exam, I do have a prescription for birth control, and I like the idea that if an air conditioner falls on me, I have a card in my wallet that will help me out with that at least a little bit. My health insurance reminds me of an ancient dog that manages to be alive every year: it seems like it’ll never make it, but it can get up the stairs if you give it a few hours.
My old dog health insurance does do one other thing that could be useful to me, of course. But I’ll get to that in a second.
A few days ago, I received a very nice but also very inquisitive e-mail about the eating disorder chapter in my second book. It questioned some of the ways I chose to handle things in only the way somebody who also had an eating disorder can, and therefore I didn’t mind it. What was said isn’t really important to this specific post, but I did end the email like this:
I still think a lot about having an eating disorder. It is still something I deal with the aftereffects of. I’m still learning to talk about it in the right way, but for now, the right way is honesty.
The idea of these aftereffects has been on my mind for quite a while, and talking about it on the blog and with the people that love me is one way to handle it. The other way to handle it, of course, is through my health insurance. My health insurance gives me the access to therapy, is what I mean, and I think it’s about time I take advantage of it.
Nobody in my family is the kind of person who “goes to therapy.” Nobody’s ever really talked to me about it, and I’ve never really considered going just because I have a few aftereffects to work out in my life. But the truth is, I do. All the talk of me being more nervous, all the self-awareness of being more obsessive and more anxious and more healthy-but-mentally-more-like-a-chihuahua doesn’t make those things go away. Being self-aware of my issues never made them go away, no matter how much I write about it or make jokes about it or even pinpoint why I’m doing it. And when somebody I love very much said, “I think you could benefit from talking to someone,” it was like a gut punch that felt like a punch but was actually just a deep hug or something. Because it helped. Because up until now, all I could think of was “aren’t I already talking to someone?” Wasn’t I talking to him? Wasn't I talking to you guys? Wasn’t I already burdening my friends over glasses of wine? Wasn’t I already telling myself? Sure. Yes. But those things don’t always work, because they don’t always solve. Being self-aware of my issues doesn’t make them go away and it doesn’t solve them either. And sometimes it's okay to ask...for help.
I know when I’m going through something. I’m going through something now, because my life (while wonderful in many ways) is slightly uncertain at the moment. I react to this by pulling away and being more fearful and being harder on myself than ever before. And while I’m healthier in a lot of ways, I could still be better. And who doesn’t want to be better?
While the idea of better sounds nice, I do know me, and I do know that this whole thing could reek of bullshit if I don’t get up and move. I don’t like doctors, I don’t like spending money on doctors, and I certainly don’t like the idea of going to one every few weeks. And a part of me isn't really ready to dive into some of the stuff that's been building up. But that’s why I’m writing this: I want to be held as accountable as much as the friends who announce on New Year’s they aren’t drinking for the month of January, or they are going to go to the gym 5 times a week, or they’re going to delete their Facebook off their phone. I want to be held accountable, and I want to prioritize my mental health the way I do my physical health, as they should be considered the same thing.
The truth: I could use a helping hand. I could stand to dive into some of the aftereffects of my life, and I could stand to figure out some of the ways I handle things now. I choose to address them. I choose to find out what happens if I seek some help, and I’m lucky to currently have the health insurance that will relieve some of the financial burden of addressing it.
So come 2017, one of the only things I have to lose is an excuse.