I finally worked up the courage to call the Mental Health Center to get an appointment to get my Effexor prescription. I was supposed to see my psychiatrist in January, but it was the same day and time as my dad’s Mental Health Court appearance. I tried to reschedule when they called to remind me (the day before), but they said that I hadn’t seen my therapist in over 3 months. That wasn’t true and I tried to point out that, at that point, the last time I had seen Debbie was in December. They didn’t believe me and had me transferred to my therapist’s voice mail to tell her that I needed to see her before I got a psychiatrist appointment. I explained what was going on and Debbie called back to tell me that she didn’t understand why they couldn’t see that I had seen her in group within that time frame. I probably could have called them back to schedule the appointment then, but every time I wanted to do it, I’d get sidetracked by my phone fear. So I allowed myself to put it off until the very last minute, which led to today’s call.
When I finally got transferred to the medical part of the MHC, I was told that I couldn’t schedule an appointment with the psychiatrist or a nurse for two reasons:
- I hadn’t seen the doctor in the last six months. According to their rules and maybe some mental health laws in the state, you have to see your psychiatrist every six months in order to remain in good standing at the MHC. What they don’t take into account with this rule is that they pretty much only schedule psychiatrist appointments once every six months and their “wait-list” is at least one to two months out.
- I had cancelled two doctors appointments. One was the January one, which was a necessary cancellation. The other was one while I was at Nana’s last summer that I didn’t know had been scheduled.
Because I knew about the wait-list for doctor appointments, I asked for a nurse’s appointment and a doctor’s appointment when I called. The receptionist told me that she couldn’t do the nurse’s appointment because of those two reasons, but that she might be able to get me an appointment with the psychiatrist for May 3. Two months without any medicine is kind of a long time, which I tried to point out to her. She said that there was nothing she could do, which is actually BS. I tried to explain how I needed this medicine, but she was like, “Well, May is the soonest I can try to get you in.” This was when I remembered that I still had a card that I could play.
“If I go two months without medicine, I will end up in the hospital…or someone else will.”
Though I was basically manipulating the situation, what I said wasn’t exactly a lie. Going a few hours without part of my dose causes me to start going through withdrawals. Going over a day or two makes me want to hurt myself and/or other people. (When I go without the Effexor, I get extremely agitated and hostile toward anyone who does even the smallest thing that I don’t like.) If I got that bad, I would check myself into the hospital. What’s weird is that if that happened, I would be able to get an emergency appointment after the hospitalization within that week.
The receptionist, knowing that she can’t exactly let someone who threatens suicide or any sort of violence go without medicine, took my name, phone number, and drug I needed down. She said that she would have my psychiatrist and a nurse get together tomorrow and determine if they could get me a prescription sooner. I’m pretty sure that they can, since the last time that I was running out of medicine (back in July), I threatened to kill myself and got the medicine a couple of days later. (Yes, I have done this threat before…a few times.)
Now, I know I’m not completely blameless for the lack of medicine. In fact, it’s mainly my fault, but their stupid rules and their tendency to be dismissive on the phone (and in person) helps fuel my anxiety about calling them. And I’m not the only person who runs into this problem. I have seen people get upset with them while at the appointments because of these rules. I know that they are overbooked and that they have certain rules/laws that they have to follow, but if they could understand that they’re dealing with a population that can’t deal without having medicine and that doesn’t always feel comfortable conforming to rules or asking for help when they need to, it might make their lives and the lives of the patients infinitely better.