“It’s not personal,” she told me over the phone; I couldn’t help but notice her condescending tone, talking to me like I was a patient and she was my therapist. But that’s the thing; she was denying me mental health treatment, after agreeing to take me on as a patient. She didn’t have the right to speak to be like she was my therapist; she needed in that time to speak to me like a business woman. We weren’t friends; as far as I could tell she was now an enemy, although the situation wasn’t entirely in her control. She put me at risk. And whether she meant to or not, her actions were very personal.
Almost two weeks ago I went to a program in my state that was set to help me; re-diagnosis, more intensive therapy, group options, prescriber. This was supposed to help balance me out, especially in the weeks leading up to my book release. I had met with one of the women in charge, with my mother and son in tow, and we had a long conversation; at least an hour long. I opened up to her about past traumas, without going into detail, concern about a misdiagnosis, and some very personal thoughts about things going on in my life. She was kind during this pre-intake, and by the end of the session she even agreed that I would be a good fit for the program. I had two options; schedule an actual intake, which would be several hours long, or show up on a Friday, and hope they could take me in. I scheduled an intake, and we were all on board with me starting the program. She even mentioned re-diagnosis, and threw a name of a new diagnosis out there (which I researched thoroughly and wow hit the nail on the head).
My plan for today was to go to intake, figure things out, and come to my blog, to write about my new diagnosis, and have a raw post about what it’s like to learn something new about diagnosis and what is going on with me. I was going to talk about how diagnosis doesn’t define you, but it’s important to know what you’re going through. However, this is not what’s happening today, as I found out last night.
This past Tuesday I started calling the program. I didn’t write down my appointment time like I thought I did, and I didn’t receive a phone call confirming my appointment, so I wanted to check the time I needed to be in, just for sure. I called once; no answer. Figured they were at lunch, and called again. A receptionist answered. Someone will call you back right away, were her words. Two hours went by, no call. I called twice more until they were closed, and I e-mailed the woman I had met with. I figured okay, they got busy, I’ll give them until tomorrow (yesterday). By noon, there was still no call. I e-mailed the woman I met with again and started calling. My appointment was now less than twenty four hours away, and since I don’t drive (which they knew) I needed to know what was going on. I finally get a call after I hopped into the shower to calm down, because I was getting frustrated. My husband answered and brought the phone into the shower, and put the phone on speaker so I could talk. “Hi Taylor. I just wanted to call to let you know that we aren’t ignoring you, but we are having a staff meeting today to find out if we can take new patients at all. This isn’t personal, and is effecting a lot of other patients, but I just wanted you to know what’s going on. I’ll call you back soon to let you know if you made the cut. I’m sorry. Buh-bye!”
I said okay, hung up, and released all control that I have been clinging onto for dear life. I just started screaming and sobbing. How could they? How could they call me with less than twenty four hour notice to tell me that I might not be able to be a patient? If I was a patient trying to cancel, I’d be charged if I cancelled with that little notice, so for them to treat me like this was unacceptable. I couldn’t stop screaming. They weren’t ignoring me? They knew I was calling for two days, and they chose not to let me know what was going on sooner. Her buh-bye made me cringe. I was furious. When I collected my thoughts I called the CEO of the mental health organization they were funded through. They had known about the budget cuts for the same amount of time I had known about my intake; they had just neglected to warn me.
She called me back to let me know they couldn’t take new patients, and that she felt sad because she had four other calls, and she felt bad. She kept assuring me it wasn’t personal, and she enjoyed meeting my son. She also said if I should take anything away from this, it was that I was very intelligent upon meeting. I lost my cool, and told her how unprofessional she was being, and she “respectfully disagreed” so I hung up.
Here’s the thing; it may not have been a personal attack intentionally. But it was absolutely a personal attack. This woman called five people yesterday, after scheduling time to have them receive help, after already hearing personal information about their life, to tell them they couldn’t help. And I get it, they had budget cuts, because the first thing to get cut in the Connecticut health budget is the mental health budget (because, pardon my language, but fuck Malloy), however the way this woman handled this was entirely unprofessional.
It was personal, because for me and four others, we were put at risk. We were told we would receive help, we were told there was hope, and then, in less than twenty four hours before reaching that hope, it was taken away. It was personal, because yesterday, at least for me, I was put at risk, and I had to be under suicide watch because of my explosive anger from this news. It was personal, because it will affect me for days. It will affect the way I act, which will affect my family, and my friends. It will put me at more risk of crisis, which was the whole reason I was trying to get help!
So yes, she personally didn’t mean to tell me too bad, but she has personal affected my life, and put me at risk. Budget cuts may not hurt everyone; but it will destroy and damage many lives.