When Rejection is a Good Thing


Protest against Obamacare repeal. Flickr

My favorite local brewery. Thursday night. Sipping on an IPA. I am a regular here and always on my own unless I casually run into friends. As I am simultaneously scanning my Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, I see a news update from The Washington Post:

Screenshot of notification from Washington Post. Brigette Lugo/SAConScene.

I received this update at 10:45 p.m. This will be a day to remember because it was the first day (surprisingly) I have ever cried in the middle of a brewery. My fingers kept touching the inner corners of my eyes and my lids closed and opened rapidly so that it would look like I was adjusting my eyeliner/mascara. Because even though I usually do not care what people think of me at this brewery, I did care a little. No one in that place knows my pain or the abuse I’ve endured. No one would have been crying tears of joy like I was at the result of the rejection of the “skinny repeal” proposed by Senate Republicans. No one would have cared. OR MAYBE SOME WOULD HAVE. But I wanted this to be my own private celebration that no one could take away from me.

It was at that moment that I realized I could breathe a sigh of relief that I can still go to therapy when I am ready; that women and men who have Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, which can result from abuse, will not be treated as patients with a pre-existing condition and be charged when seeking services.

Despite my tough exterior and RBF (Resting Bitch Face,) I’ve been through some shit. I am a survivor of domestic abuse. My ex husband hurt me physically during our three years of marriage, and, unnoticed by me at the time, emotionally and mentally during the four years before that. I was alone. I lost every friend and family member around me. I isolated myself. During that time, I had one friend to vent and cry to over the phone to. However helpful, supportive, and protective he was of me, and however much training he had handling highly intense and emotional situations, he was a veteran and a police officer; not a therapist. I had to find a therapist because I needed someone to help me understand what I was going through and why.

Then, Obamacare came into my life.

There was a grip of paperwork. I was handling grown up shit. I needed therapy and I needed it cheap so I didn’t care how much of it I had to fill out. I had to keep checking to see if I qualified, bring in this document, make copies of this paper and an ID. After I finally qualified for what was then called Covered California (which is now Medi-cal,) I was in. It was like an exclusive club that my abusive piece of shit ex was not part of. He would never know what I said, he could never beat me up or make me feel like shit for telling the truth. For that hour, I was free.

Then, the pills came.

Covered California not only allowed me to see a therapist where I let out all my hate, frustration, lament, and even defend what my ex was doing to me, but they also gave me medication. Pills. Pills to make me feel better than I was feeling. The nurse practitioner recommended anxiety medication and antidepressants.

Soon enough, two tubes small plastic cylinders were in my hands: Prozac and Abilify–one to help with the depression, and one to help calm my anxiety–one of which I had before I met this fucker, not even when I was being bullied all throughout middle school.

And I needed these drugs during my relationship and I didn’t even know it. They helped numb me during the blows, the pillow smothering, the yelling that made my heart jump and my stomach turn in the most sickening way. They helped numb me during the abuse and relaxed me after. I think I took them for a year.

The few friends I had left told me I was zombified. I didn’t care. I knew the medication was affecting me but they helped me during the hell I was facing. That help alone was enough to convince me to stay, both on the pills and with the demon that was my ex husband.

Well, guess what? I made it. Two Octobers ago, my ex and I split. The second I got out was the moment that I quit the pills. I felt better once  the cause of my anxiety and self doubt, depression, and fear were out of my life. I grew the courage to get the fuck out and kick my ex out of my parent’s place (yes, he was living there.)  In September, I’ll have been divorced for a whole year (hell ya!) but I could have future mental blocks than the occasional ones I fall into now. These mental issues could progress by the time I find someone that I am interested in. I could face anxiety once again, and the fear of believing my next relationship will be like the one with my ex, or I may experience depression on account of not being where I want to be from all of those lost years I had away from school and being with the ones I love.

I’m good now. I’m happy. But I could always go back to that dark hole my ex dragged me into. And because of the vote to not repeal the ACA, I am thankful that I have the option to get back on my medication and get prescribed what I need and it will be covered.

The millions of women and men that need the help, who were about to be fucked over by the Republicans by almost being discriminated against as PTSD patients by things we couldn’t help. Oh ya. Doesn’t that feel just awesome? Having a bunch of conservatives vote against you and have no empathy for something that you could not help? Yes, I’m talking to you: women who had a c-section, women who were sexually assaulted, women who were dealing with postpartum depression. You were close to being fucked over, too.

Under the American Health Care Act, states were going to let insurers charge those with pre-existing conditions more for health insurance, something the Affordable Care Act would not allow. One of those pre-existing conditions would be Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, defined as “A mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault.”

PTSD can usually affect domestic violence victims/survivors and those who were sexually assaulted. Those suffering from postpartum depression, and those who had gotten a cesarean section would also be considered to have pre-existing conditions. Yeah. All of these individuals who did not have a choice in what they faced and conquered, would have been charged and treated as individuals who had pre-existing conditions.

Planned Parenthood patients were also going to be screwed with this Skinny Repeal. Part of the repeal was to defund Planned Parenthood. I go to Planned Parenthood a lot and it is for more than just to practice safe sex or to have abortions. I, as well as 2.4 million men and women utilize PP services in a year. Pap Smears are administered free of charge which are used to detect cervical cancer. Planned Parenthood also offers breast exams to check for abnormal lumps that may be cancerous and provides referrals for mammograms. There are also examples that women who go into PP are seen sooner than going to their regular provider after finding a lump. Early detection of cancer is obviously something essential for a person’s well being (I honestly cannot believe I just typed that sentence, as if it is not an obvious statement.)

So if by now you do not realize that people like me and millions of others  have a right to get the help and treatment they need, then you need to question your empathy button cuz you’re obviously a selfish robot. A tin-man, pre-heart, if you will. Women and men (yes, men get hit by women as well) who have been victims/survivors of domestic violence need coverage and their PSTD should not be treated as a pre-existing condition. Sexual assault victims have been through enough. C-section patients and patients with postpartum depression should have any concerns of going in to  be treated or to have to worry about being treated as an individual with a pre-existing condition. Those mentioned need this coverage.

Granted, Obamacare needs to be worked on. Something as important as coverage for millions of people can have its flaws. But it does not need repealed. Fight against all efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act unless bipartisan politicians can work together and care more about thousands of people’s lives than just selfishly undoing Obamacare.