I often feel like an expert in being chronically ill. I know how to look up doctors on my insurance company’s website. I know to ask if they cover me just in case when I make an appointment. I know to ask if the tests are covered as well when they suggest something. I know how many physicals and dental check-ups I get a year and I know what out of network versus in network means. I know how to get reimbursed for out of pocket expenses. I know what an FSA is. I know I can ask my pharmacist if the medications I take could have dangerous interactions.
It’s rare for me to have an anxiety or OCD crisis nowadays. I see my therapist regularly. I have a medication regime that on the whole is working. I have changed a lot of things in my life to support my mental health. All of these things keep me fairly on an even keel.
Yesterday afternoon I was lying on the acupuncture bed, trying (and failing) not to wince when the acupuncturist lightly touched a tender muscle before putting in a needle. I had been traveling for family and was still stiff, sore, and knotted up after the long flights.
I’ve spent a lot of time, energy, and money trying to buy health and wellness, especially this past year. In some ways I’m an easy sell—as are many people that suffer from a chronic condition—I want to believe that I’m just one purchase or undiscovered treatment away from better health.
People use the phrase “life changing” all the time to describe products or practices, but the only thing that I’ve experienced that was truly life changing was going from taking birth control pills—placebo pills and all—to skipping the iron pills and using the hormone pills continuously. Doing so cuts out the faux periods I got every month.