After 24 years with a national telecommunication corporation, I retired with a mental illness disability. I was fortunate to retire with the number of years of service I had and my level of management status. I, unlike many, was blessed to be afforded the perk of retirement with a disability with medical benefits. Not long after I retired, this became a thing of the past.
Mental illness and substance abuse annually cost employers an estimated $80 to $100 billion in indirect costs alone.1  Finch, R. A. & Phillips, K. (2005). An employer’s guide to behavioral health services. Washington, DC: National Business Group on Health/Center for Prevention and Health Services. Available from: www.businessgrouphealth.org/publications/index.cfm
With the rising cost to business America, any retired manager with a mental illness or substance abuse was “sold” to a third-party insurance company.
One major thing this change made for me, was the availability of psychiatrists, therapists, and mental health specialists who are willing to work with these third-party insurance companies.
After four years with my psychiatric medication specialist, she retired. I began the process of, what I call “doctor dating” to find a new provider. After a series of five appointments, I thought I had found the one. Excellent references, central location, and a woman which I prefer.
I arrive 45 minutes early per their request, and a clipboard with thirty plus pages to fill out. I am thinking “Wow, they are thorough.” Also, I had five Release of Information forms they wanted me to fill out, which I refused, they aren’t happy. I always wait till after the appointment to release anything, and I know this is a “love match.
The consultation room is sparse. There are several bookshelves on one wall, with a few books. Another wall had two chairs with a table between with a box of kleenex on it. One wall with windows.
And then a face pops up on a large screen against a wall I hadn’t noticed and said “Hi! Welcome. I’m (insert name) your new provider.
It turns out my new provider lives in Maine and works out of her home. I am experiencing the new trend, appointments via Skype.
As I sit there somewhat in shock. One, she is looking down at her screen, and I am looking up at the screen, which gives the appearance the whole 45-minute appointment she was talking to my breasts with no eye contact.
Add to that, at some point I heard a dog barking, and she looked to her left shaking her head. I am wondering “Does her child want a sandwich? Is her husband standing there? Her dog, Rover?
On the positive side, I like her. She was knowledgeable about my medications. I like that she was familiar with current studies as I am always seeking new treatments and reading about new developments in the world of depression. We “fit” nicely.
I walked out feeling like I was George Jetson’s wife, Jane. I should be hopping into my spaceship to zoom home. It felt space age and somehow lacking that human element that is so needed, particularly with matters of human nature.
I wished I had the Jetson’s robot maid Rosie waiting for me at home with a glass of Go Go Red wine, a hot bath, and my flannel pajamas ready.
Today I am thankful
- I am blessed.
- A new book. Love it when I find a good trilogy to read.
- I am missing my babies. I am so thankful for all of their pictures I have.
- It’s fall, and I have started to go pumpkin flavored everything crazy.
It is scary to be pushed into the age of new technology especially when it comes to something as personal as your emotional well-being. Skyping is the new way of mental health care, and my care provider said I was her number one concern.
Let’s just say I didn’t sign the Release of Information forms on the way out the door and I believe that like I believe Kenny Chesney is going to call me and tell me to “Come over with tequila.”
affectionately yours, Laura