I don’t know if you’ll find this entertaining...or astounding... or embarrassing...or a sign of our ridiculous health care times. Probably all of the above.
In short and as I've stated....this pregnancy has not been easy.
Where I’ve lucked out on the physical front—very little discomfort, no morning sickness, not a ton of weight gain, I suffered threefold in the mental health department.
I am an artist. We are bizarre, moody creatures filled with turbulent emotion and social anxiety. That’s how we roll. I’d learned to roll with it for thirty years.
Until, like, October 2017.
I had these panic attacks in September and October, the third and fourth months of my pregnancy, where my mind wouldn’t stop. I was bombarded by intrusive thoughts, plagued by uncontrollable insecurity, and I spun out like a motherfucker for days unable to pinpoint or halt the physiological or emotional insanity that was each panic attack. Over the course of that time I stopped painting, stopped playing guitar, stopped seeing family and friends, and basically halted everything that made me. The worst part was that... I could see it. I was atop myself, outside myself. I was split into pieces and each one was fully conscious and aware. In those moments, the new panicked driver of my body and mind was this omniscient entity that I had absolutely no control over. The Real Me, lost and tucked away inside, was like a cowboy on a bucking bronco. I longed for death so at least the ride would be over.
Before I was pregnant, I was paying an assload of money a month for catastrophic insurance that I’d been grandfathered into keeping through the last ten years. This shit-tastic insurance apparently didn’t include maternity coverage. Not one...bit. Well, one bit... should I have a complication during birth, it might consider covering that complication if it fit in the standard.
Assload of $$ for shit-tastic.
Considering FOB has/had/will have amazing insurance.... and absolutely no intention of marrying me, I am still slammed with first trimester bills from my fancy insurance and have only found relief through Medicaid.
Health Plan of Nevada.
I picked the only plan my OBGYN accepted and just went with it. I really reeeeeally like my Doc and it’s been really important that I get to keep him as my provider.
I remember the first appointment I told my Doc I was feeling blue. More blue than normal blue. Payne’s gray and constantly sobbing with thoughts of self-harm as a matter of fact. He told me to find a therapist and I agreed. He told me we could handle it and I believed.
Wouldn’t simple be nice?
So I began the process...
I started with the list of therapists and offices my Doc gave me.
Three “no, we don’t accept that insurance” and one “we aren’t accepting new clients.”
I continued on...
I asked friends for references, posted on social media, went through the virtual phone book that is Google...
”No new clients/not that insurance” every time.
I called Medicaid and was pointed to mental health care offices of Las Vegas... which transferred me to the Behavior Institute of Reno... which rattled off a list of names. I called. I left messages. I emailed.
One even had the answer, "we are only accepting new clients if there is a substance abuse problem." I briefly considered fibbing myself into addiction just to get the help I needed.
Days and weeks passed and the sheer embarrassment of having to constantly ask for help, beg for help, summarize my sicknesses in voicemail after voicemail... it all wore on me as I continued to suffer.
I was so full of self-hate.
I was so full of regular hate for FOB.
I hated this baby.
I hated asking for help and I hated being turned down.
Finally, I called the lowest name on my list. A name I’d never heard of at a practice I’d never seen in an area of town I’d never associated with medical professionalism or fine mental health.
They could see me on Friday.
She could. Whatever her name was. Her. Yes. Thank god.
I cried tears of joy. I thanked the receptionist profusely and felt hope. Hope. For the first time in months.
I went into the dumpy office with so much hope... so much psychosomatic relief that finally FINALLY someone was going to help me understand, sharpen, collect, and utilize all the coping skills that I had somehow forgotten or didn't know existed.
How.... do I summarize this encounter? I really want to give it the narrative it deserves, but it's... so fucking preposterous... I just wanna hit you with all the highlights and punches and let you chew it up as you like.
We began with a family history, questions like ''what does your father/mother/sibling do and any history of mental illness?" etc. After every answer I gave, She had a comment:
"Oh, so you didn't grow up poor..."
"That must've been nice on easy street..."
"That explains a few things..."
We switched to my problems. I opened up, determined, about my panic attacks, depression, etc. and what I was hoping to get out of this therapy...She replied,
"Well, if you're gonna reach for anything, reach for marijuana. Don't drink a drop. Not one drop is safe. Weed, the jury is still out on as far as what it does to that baby, but it's great for anxiety."
We moved to current events. FOB had just dumped me, five months pregnant, the previous week and I couldn't stop crying hysterically.
"Oh, he's Hispanic. Figures. They never take care of their first kids."
"If he is the only male in his immediate family, he's been raised like a prince so be wary of that..."
"Oh, he makes good money, he should buy a duplex and put you on the other side..."
and to top it off
"I could start a separate thriving practice for white pregnant women who have been deserted by their baby's Latino fathers. It's just what happens... "
That was some racist, narrow minded, judgmental shit. I was astonished. I was baffled. I can't believe I sat there ten minutes more to pretend to make another appointment. I was offended. I was shocked. I was... deflated... after having so much hope for this help. This woman had sat across from me, summed me up in her eyes, judged me, ill-advised me, and then basically said FOB dropped me cuz he's Mexican.
I was outraged and still am. I have since reported this person anonymously to the appropriate board and who knows what's happened to her. Hopefully she's been put in check.
I never went back. What a fucking nutjob. Man, and I thought I was crazy.
In short, I stopped asking for help and began creating my own.
Support groups? Yes.
Prozac? You betcha.
Am I fixed and all better? Hell no.
Am I on the heaps and piles happier than I was the ass end of 2017? Heck yeah.
Mallory Kate is a blogger, artist, single mom and funny girl outta Nevada.