I lived for three years in a large city in Florida. Prior to moving there from NY in 2015 I had set up appointments well ahead of time to avoid any waiting times. It worked out well and I was lucky to have found some amazing providers.
My most important services were mental health related. Continuation of therapy and medications were naturally paramount. My physicians were all connected to a medical research university. I was extremely fortunate to find both a psychiatrist and a psychologist with who I immediately felt at ease; comfortable with them and their abilities.
At this time I was literally at my lowest point. I hardly left the house and panic attacks occurred often and intensely. I had traumatic flashbacks and nightmares often. I tried to work but found out the hard way that I couldn’t maintain it.
I did a lot of work with these doctors. I could not have come as far as I did without their support, guidance, caring and knowledge. Some of my experiences are in my previous blog posts.
Having debilitating mental illnesses and not being able to work took a huge toll on me and both providers were extremely supportive of me and to my SSDI case. My partner had to put off graduate school to support us while I worked on my health. I couldn’t let him put it off forever so in early 2018 we began planning on him pursuing his degree without waiting for my SSDI determination. This ultimately led to us having to move for the fall as he chose a school that had a good program and provided some financial help in the form of an assistantship.
Planning an out of state move presents many challenges and is quite stressful as I’m sure anyone who has ever moved will attest. Stress triggers anxiety/panic disorder and mine was definitely higher during this period. One of the biggest stressors for me was having to leave my doctors. I was both saddened and fearful I wouldn’t find the quality of care I became accustomed to.
I followed the same script from my prior move and began calling around to try and set up appointments with providers to coincide with my arrival at my new location. At the time my SSDI case wasn’t yet adjudicated so I wasn’t sure if I’d have Medicare or Medicaid, which made finding providers harder. Every independent practitioner I called was either not taking new patients or wouldn’t take Medicare/Medicaid, one of which I was ultimately going to have. Days turned into weeks of phone calls to practically every mental health professionals office and I still couldn’t find providers.
This is a much smaller city without a medical university. I quickly discovered there was a mental health provider shortage in the area. I could find therapists (mainly social workers) affiliated with the two local hospitals and a mental health clinic but each had their own rules and procedures. Differing a little it was basically you must see their therapist for so many sessions before getting a referral to their psychiatrist, which could take months.
This clinic structure wasn’t something I was used to and I felt like I had no choice but to simply pick one and go with it, which is exactly what I did. I chose a mental health clinic affiliated with the largest hospital/doctor group in the area. I used this group to blindly pick a primary doctor as well as two specialists for Crohn’s disease and hypothyroidism which mirrored the providers I had. I scheduled appointments with all of them within the first month and a half of my arrival. Everyone of them had excessively long wait times for a new patient appointment so it was good that I was doing this so far ahead of time.
With my continuation of care set up I finally felt some stress lift. I made final appointments with all current my doctors to see them one last time and to let them know I’d be moving.
Of course my therapist was helpful in listening to my frustrations throughout this process. It was her I was most saddened to leave. We had such a bond and her help bordered on life saving. She assured me I was stronger than I thought and would be alright. She also offered to personally speak to my new therapist to help ease my transition. I cried during our last session. I was going to miss her. She was the most important person aside from my partner in my journey of recovery.
Letting go of things has always been a struggle for me but I did my best to believe that one part of my journey was ending but another was beginning. The next chapter in my life was just 21 hours north. I had with me a toolbox full of tools, methods, strategies, and knowledge that we had worked on for three years.
Away we went… me, my partner and Gracie, our Yorkie and my support dog.