What a difference a few days makes! I finally found a new psychiatrist, whom I saw on Friday. She's very attentive, a good listener, knowledgeable about medications and all the conditions I brought up during my first appointment with her, the most important of which was getting off Lexapro and switching to another SSRI. That ended up being Zoloft, at my request. I'd taken it before, in 2002-03, and found it helpful then. I don't remember why I was switched off of it, nor to what I was switched to back then. But for most of the past fifteen years, I've tended to go back on Lexapro. I've been on it at least three times over the years and endured SSRI discontinuation syndrome when I went off it each time due to losing jobs and insurance coverage. On Zoloft, even though it's only been three days, I already feel like a million bucks as opposed to a few. I haven't had a depressive episode since I switched. I'm sure I'll have more of them; I just hope they're fewer and further between than they were with Lexapro.
My mental health insurance, Optum, is accepted almost nowhere. Despite this, I was able to find a provider that accepted it within a mile of my house. Optum covers the psychiatrist, and I have an appointment with a therapist there this coming Friday. Given how incompetent Optum is in most cases, I hope they actually cover the therapy in addition to the psychiatry. This was what caused me to leave my previous psychiatrist and therapist—because Optum repeatedly fucked up the billing and that doctor's office now wants me to pay for what Optum should have paid for in the first place, hence the need for a new doctor and therapist. Suffice it to say, I haven't seen the previous doctor since February and I don't intend to pay the bills that Optum was supposed to cover. Nuh-uh. It just doesn't work that way and at this point I'm so frustrated and fed up with Optum that I don't care if my credit rating takes a hit from the unpaid bills. Seriously, fuck Optum. If you use it as well, I feel for you. I've never encountered such a terrible insurer in my entire career. I've been getting my psychiatric meds from my primary care physician since the last time I saw my previous psychiatrist.
I wouldn't be using Optum if I had another choice. Anything else would be better. I don't have another choice, which is really inconsiderate on my employer's part. I've been badgering them for months trying to get the unpaid bills to my previous doctor and therapist paid, to no avail. My employer either drew them out of a hat or chose the cheapest, rattiest mental health insurer they could find. All my other insurance coverage is OK-to-good—my only other complaint is with the RX coverage, which categorizes drugs into tiers and charges top dollar for any drug in tier 1 or 2, even for generic drugs. This forces me to be very choosy about which drugs I'll accept from doctors due to the cost. In a first, my new doctor understood this right away. She even made some derogatory remarks about all the drug reps that visit her office and seemed as fed up as I am with their shenanigans.
Anyway, other than all that, I had an OK weekend. Got a lot of sleep, had some spectacular Thai food and helped my medical marijuana caregiver (yes, I'm certified to use it, and I live in a state where it's legal as medication—always best to disclaim this to avoid misunderstandings) trim his produce in preparation for hanging it up to dry. One of them was a pure indica strain, "Anesthesia", which has effects apparently just like its name. I really prefer indicas as one of the reasons I'm using medical MJ is due to my crippling insomnia (the others: chronic migraine headaches, chronic lower back pain and PTSD) and indicas generally are great for sleep and pain relief due to their higher CBD content, which accentuates the THC and practically forces me to relax, as opposed to sativa, which is definitely more of a party drug, although it has its medical benefits as well, such as quelling anxiety. While I was there, I purchased an ounce of another pure indica, "Darkstar", which is smooth, mellow, very pleasantly sleep-inducing and pain-relieving. "Anesthesia" is, according to reviews I've read, like "Darkstar" only two or three times as strong. I can't wait to try it!
Medical marijuana has really been a life-saver for me. I got certified to use it last year and have gone through a small army of caregivers, all of whom prior to my current caregiver have turned out to be really flaky. With my new caregiver, I actually get a choice of strains, unlike all my previous caregivers, who were uniformly unreliable and seldom provided what I asked for. Those caregivers were providing to their patients one ounce per month, free of charge. My current caregiver charges $180 for the same amount, but it's a price I'm willing to pay if it'll allow me choice of strains and is close by (a ten-minute drive over surface streets from his house to mine). Anyway, I definitely recommend medical MJ if it's legal in your state or province and you can tolerate purely organic strains that blow street weed out of the water with their potency and pronounced lack of harshness on the throat and lungs. I never thought I'd be saying this, since for twenty years I didn't partake in such things, as a result of smoking a pre-rolled joint that turned out to be laced with something (I never found out what) and put me in the hospital on the cusp of cardiac arrest. I turned out OK after that but was really wary of MJ of any kind until last year when I thought I'd give it another try and if my body disagreed with it, I'd stop right there. But it turned out to be such a great help for so many of my ailments that I decided to get certified myself. My girlfriend had already been certified for a year or so, and now it's something more we have in common.
I have a strong feeling that MJ will be removed from the DEA Schedule I class of drugs ("no medicinal value") and put in Schedule II in the near future, country-wide. Particularly if Bernie Sanders is elected president. Hillary Clinton, I'm not so sure about, but she's become more liberal over the years between now and when she was First Lady, and Sanders is her only real competition. I prefer Sanders as I agree with him on every issue, but I'd still be happy with another President Clinton. In either case, things will get easier for medical MJ patients and caregivers/growers. At least, I hope, what with the current quasi-police state that's made up the bulk of the news over the past year or so. Even in states where medical MJ is legal, like California, police and/or the DEA routinely raid medical MJ dispensaries and confiscate all products and cash. It's confusing, to say the least. I haven't heard of that happening where I live yet, but I live in a poor, depressed city where the cops don't care much about anything at all.
So, while not everything is great in Avalynia, things are looking up!
Here are a few songs hanging on me this morning. Note the lack of a single sad song!