I feel like I should be writing

There’s that evil word again: should. I should be doing this or that, I shouldn’t have done something else… it goes on and on. What does the word should get me other than guilt? Someone should take the word ‘should’ out of the English language. OK, that time it was a pun. 😉

I am constantly full of regret. I am scared as our savings is getting quite low. Neither DH nor I have full time jobs and COBRA is eating away our savings like you wouldn’t believe ($800+ /mo). I don’t know how much longer I can afford it. I would hate to go without insurance but what else can I do? If I had known about this state insurance program while I was still on unemployment then I could have gotten that but I didn’t so oh well. How do people live in this country???

There are lots of things I ‘should’ have done… like look for private insurance (it’s cheaper than I thought) and I didn’t know I could qualify for a deferment on my student loans. (I think my deferment time is spent though, so it would be forbearance time.) I waited on my student loan because you need to pay interest on it or the principle goes up and I didn’t want to do that while I could still afford it. (Afford being a relative term, of course.) But our money is dwindling fast and I’ve got to start with the desperate measures. Some programs are only available while you are collecting unemployment so I should have applied for them last year. (There’s that ‘should’ word again. Really, it ought to be banned.)

Anyway, I feel like I should be writing on here more but there still isn’t anything to talk about. I am working on insurance options and stuff like that today, wishing I had done it a long time ago. But I can’t change the past and I so I need to work towards the future. That’s all I can do.

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Finally caught a break…

COBRA is finally in place! After a third phone call, I spoke to someone who gave me more new information, but helped me straighten it all out. Turns out, you can’t make a payment if you are set up for direct deposit. So the nice fellow who helped me yesterday removed the direct deposit, allowed me to pay for one month with a credit card, then processed a rush with the insurance companies so that I am now covered and back covered. Additionally, my check was processed as well, which catches me up through the end of June. The same nice fellow who helped me yesterday also called me back today to tell me that everything was set up. I picked up my Paxil today and only had to spend $1.25 instead of $33 for it. *whew!* Finally!!

This week has been a little crazy, but hopefully things are settling down now. I wrote about the incident with my niece in Runaway and Runaway Part II.  She seems to be herself now, but I will track her facebook statuses more carefully from now on.  They seem to be a good indication of how things are going with her.  She doesn’t seem inclined to talk to me, and I think it’s because she is afraid that I will tell her what she doesn’t want to hear: partying is bad for her. I know how she feels.  But you have to make choices in life and some of those are related to your health.  Others are related to your career and if she keeps this drinking and partying up she won’t have the career she wants.  It’s hard to get through school with a science degree.  It’s harder to get through school with a science degree and good grades, even if you are smart.  It takes a lot of work.  She’ll tell me that she knows and is prepared, but her behavior speaks to the opposite.  There’s a big difference between a beer or two on a Friday night and being too drunk to walk without falling down.  Maybe I sound like a stick in the mud, but I’ve been where she is and I know it doesn’t work.

On to other news… I got called a BFF this week! 🙂  I’ve never been called a BFF before.  I was out shopping with a friend of mine on Wednesday, and we were looking at pillows for her new couch.  I picked up a cute one that had BFF embroidered on it and that’s when she said I was her BFF.  It took a few moments before it sunk in, and I said it back.  (It’s sorta like the L-bomb, isn’t it?)  I think a million things went through my head in those few moments.  First, I’ve always thought of myself as a loner inside.  My friendships aren’t fake, but they are limited.  For example, this friend doesn’t know I am bipolar.  She probably never will.  Which is another part of the reason why I hesitated.  Can I call someone a best friend if I can’t tell them I am bipolar?  I probably could, but I don’t want to.  You see, she is a police officer.  And I don’t want her thinking that someday she might have to be the one sitting next to me while I’m handcuffed to a chair awaiting a psych eval.  If the situation ever warrants it, I would tell her, but there’s no need to blurt it out just because we’ve determined we are BFFs.  Oh, and lastly?  I never thought I was cool enough to be called a BFF.  😉

That rounds out most of this week.  I am so happy to have insurance coverage!  And I am so excited to be called a BFF!  (I feel cool now.)  Next up – I need a job!  In the meantime, I hope everyone has a great weekend!

 

COBRA

Grrr….Argh!

COBRA – Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act – very useful option for those of us finding ourselves suddenly out of benefits, but…. the details!  OK, so my (former) employer sends me at least 5 different packets on my COBRA options, only one of which contains the amount and due dates for signing up and sending in payment.  Several sheets in each packet appear to be duplicates.  Not the entire packet, mind you, as if accidentally sent twice, but each packet a separate piece of the COBRA puzzle, with some redundant pieces thrown in for confusion.  I confess I skimmed through all the pages, looking for relevant, non-repeated information.  However, they give you a great big 1-800-call for information about your benefits hotline, so really, do the details on those pieces of paper matter?  Apparently so, although I still haven’t found the detail that has caused me the most immediate grief.

I called several weeks ago about my benefits and find out that I need to have a pin number sent to me that I can use to access my account.  Great.  Wait for that.  After I have all the information, DH & I debate over dental insurance.  Well, it’s $75/mo by COBRA and if we haven’t done anything about our teeth in the past two years at $12/mo why should we spend $75/mo on insurance we probably won’t use?  So we get that settled and I sign up online for health only.  Done.  I wait 10 days… no money has been taken out of my account.  Well, I need prescriptions.  So I call and verify that I have coverage.  Yes, but it takes 14 business days to notify the insurance company. OK, fine, I can wait another week for my scripts.

Fast forward to this week.  I need my scripts now.  The pharmacy says I don’t have insurance.  I say, fill them anyway.  I’m out of choices.  I call the glorious 1-800 # back and ask them what is going on.  They say, oh, well, we don’t notify the insurance company until you send in a payment.  WTF?  That isn’t what you told me last time.  What you told me last time was that I only had to sign up for it.  So now what do I do?

I had signed up for direct deposit to make my life easier, and that won’t start until June 1, which is still in my 45 day time frame for payment.  That’s all good and well, except that until then, I have to pay for all of my own medical and then try to get reimbursed from the insurance company after the back-dated insurance kicks in.  No, I’m sending a check in on Monday.  Well, you don’t have to, the benefits support specialist says, your account will be direct debited on June 1.  While true, that’s an extra two-three weeks worth of doctor appointments and medication juggling I have to do before payment all becomes automatic and life goes back to simple co-pays.  What land do they live in that I can spare all this up-front cash and trust the insurance company to reimburse me?

Meanwhile, I only picked up two of my three medications.  The third, generic Lipitor, was going to cost me $111 out of pocket.  With my high deductible health plan, this normally costs me $0.  I said no.  My PC is going to kill me if my cholesterol numbers are too high when I get tested on Monday, but she will understand once I explain at my next visit.  A lot of doctors today are sympathetic when it comes to insurance companies.  It’s not that I don’t have insurance, it’s that it’s currently inactive. It will be back-dated once it’s activated.  However, I can’t afford to be filling my psych meds without active insurance.  I need this ASAP.  I’m half tempted to send the check overnight.  It seems to take them two weeks to do anything.  Two weeks to send out the paperwork, two weeks to process, two weeks to notify the insurance carrier.  I don’t even know if I will get new insurance cards.  I should have asked, but it might have taken me two weeks and three tries to get the correct answer.

Well, that’s enough crabbing for today.  I am going to try to get back on the creativity wagon now.  It helps to keep me sane during this unemployment period.  Finding a job is a lot of work, and very depressing, so I have to find ways of balancing that out.  Photography seems to help.  I need to go out on a shoot somewhere soon.  The simple act of taking a photo is an art in and of itself.  And I need a little art in my life.

Quiet Composure

One of things that has been bothering me lately is that I am taking this unemployment situation with graceful composure.  With the exception of a couple of down days, I’ve been working through this unemployment problem with no actual outward sign of mental illness.  Although I am still laden with some depression and my Moodscope chart puts me in the teens in terms of emotional state, I am by all appearances, calm.  Even behind closed doors.  DH & I talked about this the other day.  He was surprised that I am not more upset.  He came home from work and told me how he was feeling stressed out over our situation.  We hugged and talked… even with his admission, I remained oddly calm.

Is this me?  Is it the real me?  Am I hiding something from myself?  Am I in denial?  Or is the medication numbing me?

I talked with my new therapist about this yesterday.  We didn’t come up with an answer, other than maybe my mind recognizes and accepts that this situation is not as bad as previously similar situations.  This time I have savings (which will be eaten up quickly by my mortgage and COBRA), and I do not have a $450 a month car payment.  But we do have a $300/mo student loan payment for my husband’s education that we didn’t have before.  Our mortgage is $500 a month more, and my husband had a job with health insurance last time so we didn’t need to COBRA.  Our medical and phone bills are certainly higher. Maybe we aren’t so much better off this time after all.  Damn, why did I have to follow that train of thought?

This morning I began to feel a crack forming in my calm facade.  A thin stream of mental instability shot through the opening.  Maybe I am not as composed as I think I am.  I’ve not been taking Klonopin because I am trying to avoid it whenever possible.  Stubborn me, I’ll suffer before I ask for help.  At least this time I have people to help me.  My therapist might be young, but she is enthusiastic and genuine, whereas last time my therapist was only interested in dragging out my therapy and not focusing on things that would impact me immediately.  The pdoc I had last time was nice, but he didn’t have the same amount of insight or time invested with me as my current pdoc.  I have a better support network of friends now, even if none of them know I am bipolar.  Last time, my friends abandoned me when I lost my job or perhaps just before because I scared them all away with my wild mania.  Odd, isn’t it, how quickly people will turn tail and run rather than try to help?

I’m walking on paper-thin ice here.  I fear the day it cracks and I fall into the dark cold of depression.

 
© Manic Monday (manicmonday123) 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Flood

This isn’t about a true flood with 16″ of water or anything, but it is about my house and even an inch of water is too much in my opinion.  We live in a ranch house on a concrete slab foundation so there isn’t a basement or crawl space to fill up with water.  Our backyard is sloped, and during a heavy rainfall the water runs like a river along the side of the house.  Whatever genius designed this house, made the back patio slightly sloped as well, so that the water pools at the back door and along the back of the house.

At first we thought it was just because we didn’t keep the gutters clean enough.  So when it happened last night, DH suited up in his rain gear and went out back to check.  Gutters clean, water everywhere.  Mostly seeping through the back door.  Some of it seeps through other places too, but mostly it’s the back door.  The previous owners had landscaped the backyard so the water would run around the house, but we’ve gotten such harsh storms since we’ve lived here that I think all their landscaping has washed away.  If we continue to live here, we will probably invest in French drains, but I don’t even know if that would work.  Personally, I would like to flatten out the back yard and put in a retaining wall. But that might get washed away too.  Who knows?

I really don’t know how much more of this I can take.  Between my job, Goldie, and now the flood… I know I’m strong, but there are limits. I’m feeling overwhelmed. I feel like there is chaos in my mind, but not a manic kind of chaos.  Everything is mixed up: self-loathing & self-punishment, fear, stress, frustration and a weird sort of calm (stability?) or perhaps that’s just resignation. All swirling together.  Wanting to get out and leave my mind blank. Quiet. Peaceful.

I keep thinking I could have done better at this job, I could have been a better cat-parent, I could have been looking for a job these past 10 months, etc.  But really, could I?  If you’ve been following this blog for a while, then you probably noticed that my early blogs contain a lot of pain and anger.  That’s no place to be when looking for a new job.  Right now, I just want someone to tell me what to do.  I’m lost and I feel like my mind is exploding, the emotions and synapses bouncing off the walls of this thick skull of mine.

My mind is not racing like mania, as I might expect from being in this situation.  I’m mildly depressed, but not severely.  Again, surprised.  My medications must be working, as expensive as they are ($1500 for Geodon without having met a deductible for a 3-month script).  I’ve met my deductible for the year now, I wonder if that starts over now with COBRA?  Boy, would that suck.

I’m trying to stock-pile my medications now while I know I still have insurance.  I’ve got 3-6months on most things.  Some of them are cheap even without insurance (like blood pressure) so I will be OK on that.  It’s my estrogen (will probably have to switch to a pill), Lyrica, and Geodon that are going to kill me over the coming year.  Geodon is now generic, but not much cheaper than the brand name, and won’t be for a while.

If any of you are religious, please say a prayer for me.  I’m afraid my life may require more strength than I have.


© Manic Monday (manicmonday123) 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Useless Lawyer

Let me start by saying that I am still employed (as far as I know) and I will find out later this week if I have a job. I called the lawyer as a precautionary measure.

So I finally called the lawyer. It’s been months since I filled out the request and I only got 14 minutes of his time for my $25. (I was running out of questions.) I’m sure I originally had more questions, but since I waited until the last minute, I wasn’t really prepared. Basically, I’ve got nothing. He told me to call the unemployment office to find out if would qualify for unemployment benefits if they didn’t have a place for me after coming off short-term disability. Well, isn’t that why I called him? A lawyer who deals with employment law? Really all I learned was that if you are going to make an ADA complaint (American Disabilities Act) then it must be done within 10 months of the event.

There is nothing I can do except go back to work and say, “I’m ready. Will you have me?” And they say Yea or Nay. If I do go back and they harass me again because of my work restrictions, then I can file a complaint with the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) over disability harassment, but disability cases are hard to win.

I was kicking myself afterwards because I forgot to ask about COBRA. Really I need health insurance more than I need income. (Well, we all need both but since my medical bills went over $8k last year, I think I need health insurance pretty badly.) So I went to the government site for COBRA and I found the following:

Qualifying Events for Employees:

  • Voluntary or involuntary termination of employment for reasons other than gross misconduct
  • Reduction in the number of hours of employment

That means that even if they ask me to resign, I can still COBRA.  That’s what I needed to know.

So basically, it’s up to them.  I’ve done what I can to prepare, which is important.  I still have backup plans, although they are dwindling.  But that’s a whole other story.

PS: I feel no empowerment by having completed this task of calling the lawyer like my therapist said I would.  Overall, a very fruitless expedition.  At least I find a some solace in the COBRA information.

 
© Manic Monday (manicmonday123) 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.