This post will be written over the next couple of weeks. It will look into the process of not only receiving but experiencing therapy here in the USA. This first part will look into the process of getting therapy. Once my appointment date comes and goes, I will post this. After that I will begin writing about therapy itself.
Everyone experiences are different, and I look forward and encourage others to share their experiences in the comments below.
- July 21st: I hit a low. Emotions started to overwhelm my brain, and I began feeling myself slip back into unhealthy habits. I am beginning to realize that maybe I cannot do this alone. I am terrified of signing up for help and then my family finding out. We share the same insurance. Before I am told that HIPPA protects me from this, I know. I am a nursing student. I have spent hours learning HIPPA like the back of my hand. Yet, this irrational fear takes over my mind. I decided to force myself past this fear. I looked up local therapists. I spent about 2 hours researching different therapist offices near me. Finally, I settled on one. I will not be naming this company for my own privacy reasons. Yet, I am happy with this place. It has three offices across my state. This will make it easier to transfer any information if I choose to move.
- July 22nd: I got an email back from the company telling me there is a $20 deposit I have to pay. This is not apart of the bill at all. My anxiety rose, but once again, I pushed through it. No information has been given about an appointment time or place, or person.
- July 23rd: I got another response. This is a bad one. I was told that there are no providers available right now at my preferred location. The only possible therapist is out of network. This would mean roughly $150 out of pocket each visit. I cannot afford that. I barely make my rent each month. Within the email, it asks if I am okay with doing telehealth with a provider in another location. I say, yes. The emails are getting short. I feel like the person I am communicating with is angry. I can’t tell if that is true or just my brain wanting me to abort the mission.
- July 24th: The appointment person has responded. I have begun wondering why I only get an email a day. I tell myself I need to calm down. I have worked in hospitals; I know how busy things get. I can only imagine a therapist’s office during a pandemic. I tell myself to calm down and follow-through. The email gives me a provider and a list of dates….all two or three weeks out. I know I am on the verge of giving up. I sign up for the closet date. Once again, no other email was sent back to me today.
- July 25th: Another email. This time I am giving an app I have to download on my cell phone. This is how I will video call my new therapist. I am also given a confirmed time and date. August 4th and 10 AM. A little over a week. I can do this. Every single part of me wants to cancel, but I push through. I am given a link to pay my copay… expect I was not given an amount. Panic. Panic is filling me. Do I have to call my mom and ask? That would mean I have to tell her. I decide to call and ask them to give me the amount. Why wouldn’t they tell me? What if I cannot pay? I feel hopeless.
- July 26th: I still have not called and yet have not received an amount. No email has been sent back to me.
- July 27th: I still have not called and yet have not received an amount. No email has been sent back to me. I did download the app and made an account.
- July 28th: I still have not called and yet have not received an amount. No email has been sent back to me. I am starting to really fight myself to not call and cancel. This feels pointless. I have no idea how much this cost. What if this person is out of network as well? What if I cannot afford this anyhow? I am wasting my time. I want to quit. I won’t. I can’t stop again, but I want to, god do I want to. I will call tomorrow and pay the copay. I am just too scared to find out the amount today.
- July 29th: I had a panic attack and wanted to cancel the appointment. I don’t want to do this anymore. I just want to crawl in bed and never leave. I decide to push past this and call. If I pay the copay, then I will feel too guilty to cancel. That is lost money. So I call. Once on the phone, I am THEN informed my insurance never went through. To them, I am paying out of pocket. I panic. Paying out of pocket will mean about $150 PER session. I cannot do this. I was about to cancel when she explains to me how I can send the information to her now, and she will set me up. She then tells me her response will include how much the copay is.
- My anxiety is at an all-time high. My mom is the insurance policyholder. Because of this, they had me send a lot of her information. I’m scared. What if she finds out. I do not want to answer the questions I know she will have. I want to quit. I think at one point, my mom told me that since I was over 18, I can put my information as the policyholder because of our insurance type. I cannot remember. I cannot think straight. This feels like a mistake. It has been three hours, and I just now received payment information. It will be $30 each visit. I went ahead and paid.
- July 31st: I thought about canceling the session today. Not because of nerves or anything at all. I just feel good. I do not want to talk about myself or my feelings. I ignored this, though, because I know soon I will crash. I just officially moved into my own apartment. The joy that is producing will quickly fade away, and the intrusive thoughts will return—only a few more days. Update on today, I am now googling how to act during your first session with a new therapist. It has been four hours, the high of moving has faded. I am in a hotel room next to my parents. I want to cry and hide. I am currently hugging my dog while she sleeps on my lap.
- August 1st: I was placing decorations in my new apartment, and things began falling off the walls. Before I knew what was happening, I panicked and started crying my eyes out. It was the gross cry. Snots and tears mixed as they ran down my face. I couldn’t control it. I had no control over myself. At one point, my parents began wondering if I was having a full break/ Over the next few hours, I randomly burst into tears whenever things did not go exactly as planned. This just confirmed that I needed to speak to someone. This isn’t normal.
- August 3rd: When I made my appointment, I was given instructions that a hyperlink with the video calling information would be sent out up to 48 hours in advance. The appointment is less than 24 hours away, and I have been told nothing. Yesterday I received an email with a reminder of my appointment, but that is it. The email made it look like the appointment was in person. I cannot do this. The therapist’s office is about two hours away. I am getting really nervous, now add that on top of wanting to cancel to avoid talking to anyone. I just want to cancel. But it is too late. I need to see this through.
- August 3rd: Still want to cancel. I have this irrational thought that she is gonna judge me and hate me. But in a way, her job is to judge my mental state. I received the email with the link I have to join. I am so nervous.
- August 4th: It is 9:14 AM. Pretty soon, it will be time for my first session, then I can make the decision to continue or stop. At this exact moment, I’m leaning towards abandoning ship. I feel myself over-analyzing everything and creating problems for myself. For example, last night, I spent an hour convincing myself that my school schedule is too busy for therapy. Which I believe to be accurate at this point, and instead of waiting to see, I already want to just say never mind. It is 10:01 AM… she is late. Nerves are firring.
Initial Therapy session: It went good actually. I felt comfortable. At the end she said that she felt a specialist would be beneficial to me and asked to share my information with her supervisor to see what could be done. I am sad that it will not be with her as I felt comfortable with her. Overall, I am glad I did not cancel.