Monday, February 26, 2007

More insurance bullshit

Sorry to be crude, but there's no other word for it.

When I signed up for my incredibly overpriced insurance at The Bad Place, they told me that my prescription limit was $750 for the year. I asked and was told that the $750 referred to my co-pays, $30 for brand-name and $15 for generic medication.

Today I went to fill a prescription and was surprised to see it cost 4 times as much as it had last month. And when I called my insurance company, breathing heavily with anger, they told me, sorry, the $750 refers to the total cost of prescriptions -- not the co-pays.

What the hell? How can any insurance company with half a conscience charge more than $5000 for a year's coverage and then give a measly $750 worth of medication???? Also, it makes no sense. The medications I take are EXPENSIVE. I'm quite sure they cost more than $750 about 3 months into this coverage. So it can't be true. But there's no way I can prove I was lied to and sue them alleging fraud. Again, I am out MORE money.

More to the point, how can any grad school with a conscience provide such crappy insurance? The insurance that my new school is forcing me to take is better; they provide prescriptions and a whole lot more for a whole lot less money. And The Bad Place is affiliated with a fucking medical school. There's no excuse for the crappy insurance option they provide their students.

I just feel fucked in the ass. Again. I am furious and sick beyond sick of everything in my life going wrong. I even contemplated suicide, but I don't have enough prescription meds left that are actually toxic enough to overdose on. I would have had to buy and consume a large bottle of tylenol PM -- that would fry my liver, no joke. That would do for me.

I realize this train of thought may seem scary to those of you who have never been morbidly depressed and suicidal, but I've been thinking about dying or killing myself for almost my entire life. As a little kid, driving in the car with my mom, I would see other cars coming toward us and imagine that they would smash into us. That's a preadolescent death wish. At these extremely frustrating times, suicide is something I have to fight against, like alcoholics have to fight not to pick up a bottle.

I actually had to think about how unhappy my family would be if I actually acted on this impulse, and that helped me calm down a little.

But I can't live the rest of my life for other people. And I'm really starting to fear that I'm just not cut out to be a social worker. I don't want to have to worry about the client's environment -- I just want to focus on the pathology. But social workers focus on STRENGTHS, not deficits.

I am so not into focusing on strengths right now. I know I should be thinking positively, but I'm absolutely sick of it. Of life. Of everything.

And I really don't want to talk about it. To anyone (this means YOU, Mom; if you call after reading this, I'm taking you off the private readership). But I had to get it out. Because at some point I'll calm down and wonder why I got so infuriated about being let down AGAIN by my rotten luck, my shitty life. I just don't have that perspective right now.
Copyright (c) 2007 "Ayelet Survivor"

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Ray of hope

Just wanted to say that for the first time in what seems like forever, it wasn't a huge effort to get out of bed today. Usually I remain paralyzed for a good hour or more after the alarm goes off, but today it took me less than 15 minutes to get up and start my day by finishing my paper.

Every ray of hope is precious when you're recovering from a depression episode. Every step forward is huge.
Copyright (c) 2007 "Ayelet Survivor"

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The kind of love you never recover from

It's been a full three days since I last saw LM, and I still can't study or write the paper that's due Thursday. And something a friend wrote me resonated.

Nice Jewish Guy has a blog of his own. He and I met through a dating website, although we never went out. I like him because he comments on my blog -- and these days, when I have so few readers, I relish every comment.

So I wrote him to thank him for commenting, and he sent me this:

Sorry to hear you've been down lately.. hope you feel better soon. And for what it's worth -- which is probably not that much right now-- the LM thing will get better. I've been there. I don't know if it ever goes away completely... some relationships just have a way of searing themselves onto your heart forever-- but it definitely gets to a point where you think about the other person, say, once every few weeks or month, and then only briefly.

Which reminded me of a kick-ass Christine Lavin song:

I know a couple
She sits in a rocking chair working puzzles
He watches TV upstairs
She has a secret she has never let out
A man she thinks he never knew about.
She hasn't seen him in 30 years
The mention of his name doesn't brings on tears
If you ask her "Are there any regrets?"
She'll tell you "No"
But she never forgets.

It was The Kind of Love You Never Recover From
Even though she found another one to take his place
She never will escape the truth
At times like this
When the moon is bright
When the air is foggy like it is tonight
She'll think about what might have been
If she had just held on to him.

I don't want to be that woman! I want the person I marry to be THE ONE, the person who makes all these agonizing years of singledom seem worth it -- or seem like a bad dream I awoke from, which steadily recedes in my memory. I do NOT want LM to be the man I never recover from.

And even though we said our good-byes, and he made his indifference clear when we met, I still feel... unfinished. Even though I know it had nothing to do with me -- it was just the place he's in right now.

They say the best cure for an old love is a new love. Gd? I'm waiting.

I heard back from Batya Burd, the women who organizes the davening at the Kotel. She sent me a beautiful picture of the person who davened for me. Facing the Kotel, one hand lightly resting on it. And she wanted to know how I was doing.

Told her I was still single, of course, and she wrote back:

Hang in there... it's only a matter of time, tefillot [prayers] and mitzvot [good deeds]... Gd-willing, soon.

Is He willing? I find that increasingly hard to believe.

I know I should daven again; for a while I was saying tehillim every day, but when the latest depression hit, I just couldn't. I can't daven when I'm morbidly depressed; it just doesn't work. Now that I'm sort of recovered, I know I should -- but again, I can't. I just don't see a cause and effect relationship with my davening. I know that's not how it's supposed to work, but I just can't get myself to focus on the prayers.

And I know my life is better than the life of the average woman in Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, or Peru. Or a Jewish person who came of age during the Holocaust. But that's not enough comfort.

Well, I better try to write my stupid 3-page paper before I start to bawl and drown my keyboard.
Copyright (c) 2007 "Ayelet Survivor"

Monday, February 19, 2007

Out of the mouths of babes

My niece Shira has noticed her older sister talking to me on the phone every night. She decided to get in on the action and called me while I was on Skype with Matt Stein. (So far the sobriety seems to be sticking.)

I hung up with him to talk to her. "Aunt Ayelet? Who were you talking to?"

"My friend Jennifer." Shira doesn't have to know everything.

"Do you have a book to read after you talk to her?"

"Sure... I have books and other things that I need to read for school."

"What else do you do in your house?" she asked.

"Well, I... go on the internet and look at websites."

"That's not a good life!" she cried. "You should come and live with me in my house."

Flattering, but also tremendously sad. That is my life. I read (sometimes), I surf the web. I don't do much else. At some point I'll be studying more, and I'll also be working, if they finally get finished with my stupid physical. But... she's right, in a way.

"Where would I sleep?" I asked Shira.

"In Malka's room."

"Where would Malka sleep?"

"In the guest room."

"Where would the guests sleep?"

"In the basement?"

In the past, I would have been living with her in her house. The spinster aunt would have lived with a married sister as a kind of unpaid servant. She would have helped raise the children.

Not sure which option is worse -- my life, or the life of a Victorian spinster aunt.
Copyright (c) 2007 "Ayelet Survivor"

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Fantasy vs. reality

Last night, for the first time in a LONG time, I went out to a singles event. I wasn't really expecting to meet anyone -- I went with my friend Shimona. It was a live music concert by the Guthrie Brothers, who mostly played Simon & Garfunkel with some originals and other tributes. I was just happy that I felt well enough to get dressed, put on makeup, and be somewhere outside my apartment.

And guess who showed up? Little Marty.

I won't say I was entirely surprised, because he loves music, and because I'd fantasized that he'd be there. But fantasy is an entirely different thing from reality.

In my fantasy, LM was there with his friend Dovid. Shimona and I would walk up to them so I could say hi. And LM would be really, really happy to see me. He and I would go off to the side and talk, and he'd tell me how much he missed me. He and I would leave together for a wonderful romantic night -- and Dovid would give Shimona a ride home. They'd fall in love, LM and I would fall in love, and we'd dance at each other's weddings.

That didn't happen.

LM was sitting amid four women. I went up to say hi, and he was perfectly polite and indifferent. As if nothing intimate had ever happened between us.

It was incredibly painful. I've spent more than a month trying to get over him, and not succeeding. And there he was, having no problem seeing me again. He didn't even look particularly pleased. Just indifferent.

Thank Gd Shimona was there. During the intermission/refreshments, I had someone to talk to. In fact, we talked during the set as well. She's been in and out of relationships, she could relate. She reminded me that a big part of missing your ex-boyfriend is missing being in a relationship. That was comforting, making me feel less like a lovelorn teenager.

During the second set, Jock and Jeb Guthrie (could they be any more not Jewish?) kept up a stream of patter with the audience.

"Do you want to hear a really sweet love song?" Jock asked at one point.

"NO!" I cried involuntarily.

Taken aback, they played "Layla."

At the end of the concert, LM came up to me again and we chatted briefly. I couldn't look at him. I tried to act as cold as I felt. I didn't think he cared.

But -- my fantasy came true in one respect -- I did snag a ride home for Shimona. With LM and his friend, who drove in from Queens. It felt kind of weird asking them for a favor, but I did it anyway; it was very late, and the subway ride back for her would have taken more than an hour.

I shared a cab home with a member of LM's little harem. She told me that she'd only met him that evening, and that he wasn't dating any of the other three. Some comfort.

I'm just glad that I deleted his phone number from my cell phone, and that the call waiting memory on my home phone is all taken up with my sister's phone number, because my niece calls me every day (sometimes more than once). Even if I wanted to call and ask how he could be so indifferent to me, when we'd been so close, I couldn't.
Copyright (c) 2007 "Ayelet Survivor"

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Depressed mind in a depressed body

Saw Dr. R today, and he felt that my latest depression was the result of me getting overwhelmed while dealing with the recent annoyances that blighted my life these past few weeks -- waiting for my internship to start, being uncomfortable about having to take a physical (and disclose about my disorder), trying to get my health insurance accepted so the school wouldn't force me to buy more insurance, trying to stop fantasizing about Little Marty (and failing), and adjusting to the difference between psychology school and social work school.

It's like my body just shut down, and I couldn't function mentally or emotionally. My body includes my brain.

I've been stuck in mind-body dualistic thinking, instead of looking at myself as a unity. We've been studying this construct in one of my classes -- and now I'm living it. "It's an artificial division," said Dr. R. "Mind and body are one. What affects the body, affects the mind."

Evidence of this was an accompanying symptom this episode: constipation. I usually don't have a problem with regularity, because I love fruit and vegetables. But I've had a real problem these past few weeks. The digestive tract has serotonin receptors -- just like the brain. Before my suicide attempt, I went through months of nausea and gastric pain. Again: it's not mind-body, but mindbody. Your brain and your gut operate in tandem.

So I was shutting down mentally and physically. And now I'm recovering. We're not changing the medications, because it wasn't a medication failure. But I really need to relax and take a LOT of things more easily.
Copyright (c) 2007 "Ayelet Survivor"

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Half truths

Yesterday, I had a physical. I needed one before starting my internship; as soon as they've "cleared" me, I can get to work.

I was upset when I first learned I'd have to have a physical. It felt like an invasion of privacy. And I didn't want to disclose any information about my bipolar disorder or medications I take. I didn't want to give them a reason to reject me -- this is the third placement the school has tried to find for me. The first two fell through, and I've been feeling pretty anxious about this one.

So when the doctor asked me if I was taking any medications, I said yes. "Cymbalta."

"What's the dosage?"

"Sixty milligrams." It's the maximum dosage, and I wasn't sure if he'd find that worrisome.

"What was your diagnosis?"

"Depression." Half true.

But that was it. Except for me being stuck about 20 times as he and the phlebotomist tried to draw some blood. I had to wait around a few hours before a P.A. finally struck a vein.

So today I relaxed, and even did a little studying. I'm hoping my mood will continue its upswing and stabilize somewhere around content.
Copyright (c) 2007 "Ayelet Survivor"

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Meet my nephew, Oedipus

I'm still feeling pretty crummy, and having trouble focusing on schoolwork, but I got rid of my garbage and packaged up my recyclables today, so I can't be that bad.

And I want to write about my nephew, who's invented a new spin on the Oedipus Complex.

"I'm going to marry Aunt Ayelet," he says. He's been saying that for about a year. He falls comfortably within the Oedipal age range, 3-to-6 years old. But he's supposed to be in love with his mother, not his aunt.

"Don't you want to marry Mommy?" I ask him. "No. Aunt Ayelet."

My niece Shira was giving me a hard time about being single, something she learned from her older sister. Both of them think I'm way too old to be unmarried.

"Aunt Ayelet, why don't you live with Grandma and Grandpa?" Shira asked.

"Because I'm a grownup," I said. "Grownups live on their own."

"But grownups are MARRIED!" trumpeted Shira. "You didn't get married!"

Oedipus looked up. "I'm going to marry Aunt Ayelet." Without missing a beat.

The sad thing is, some days it feels like he'll end up getting married before I do. I'm still pathetically hung up on Little Marty, think about him every day. I check dating websites regularly, but it feels like there are no men left out there for me.
Copyright (c) 2007 "Ayelet Survivor"

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

A glimmer of light

Things are better. Marginally. My internship seems to be about to happen, so I'm less anxious about that aspect of my schooling. I'm not too anxious to go to class. I've been able to read (with varying degrees of concentration) and work on assignments. And I finally washed my hair.

My apartment is still a disaster, but that predates any dip in my mood.
Copyright (c) 2007 "Ayelet Survivor"

Sunday, February 04, 2007

It's bad

I can't even really write about how bad I feel right now.

Yesterday was Shabbat. Normally I'd get up, get dressed, put on makeup, and go to shul with my friend Alona. I sat in bed and tried to remember how I ever did that.

It's so hard to get dressed, let alone fuss with makeup. I haven't washed my hair in ages. And forget about reading and retaining any knowledge. It's a miracle I'm still able to go to class and participate -- and of the two days per week I'm in class, I missed one. I couldn't do it.

Trying to write this blog is also really hard, but I have to try, because I'm trying to cover how I function. And right now I barely function.

I guess I have to call my doctor, but I don't know what he can tell me. I don't know if there's anything he can change about my medication. I don't want to be taking more than 3 kinds of pills.

I might have to.
Copyright (c) 2007 "Ayelet Survivor"