How ****ing Awful Is My Life - Page 2 - Social Anxiety Forum
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post #21 of 69 (permalink) Old 09-13-2019, 09:21 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Chris S W View Post
Your life does sound awful, truant. I'm sorry that you suffer. I hope you'll be able to cross some of these complaints (like your health problems) off the list, at least.
Thanks. I hope so, too. Eliminating any problem would help. Most of the reason my life is so messed up is because all my problems intersect and feed on one another. It's just a nasty vicious circle. If I weren't trans, or I weren't poor, or I had some kind of support network, etc., etc., things would be different. Individually, probably most of these problems could be solved. It's just that trying to solve any of them while they're all going on at the same time feels impossible.

For forty-seven years I've put up with it now. I must stop Christmas from coming ... but how?
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post #22 of 69 (permalink) Old 09-13-2019, 09:35 PM Thread Starter
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. It's so sad you have such a sh!t-ton of problems, mostly health ones. I sincerely hope that at least some of these problems get better for you.

What's causing your vertigo? Is it intermittent or constant? do you fail a Romberg test? Ismit better lying or sitting? Does changes in posture or head position make it worse? Could it be anxiety-based or depression-based dizziness? Do you have vestibular problems or menieres? Is it like a tension headache with "brain fog" with the disorientation?
Pretty sure it's Meniere's. I haven't been diagnosed, but my dad has and we have all the same symptoms (can strike suddenly, can last for hours or days, tinnitus, plugged ear feeling, hearing loss -- so yeah, I'll probably be deaf some day, too. Awesome.)

But it's also worse when I lie down, or turn my head abruptly, which is characteristic of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. ("Benign", lol.) But it's possible that I have both. Or that doctors are **** at categorizing problems and they're actually the same problem. In any case, I often walk into walls, I'm constantly almost falling over, and I can't drive. It would be like driving intoxicated. I must look drunk when I'm walking around town, lol.

I'm pretty sure it's not anxiety-related, though the anxiety might make it worse. It was so bad one time I was confined to bed for 2 days. I literally couldn't stand up. The whole world just spun and spun and spun like I was really drunk the whole time.

Tbh, I'm not really sure what people mean by "brain fog". I keep seeing that mentioned as a symptom for anxiety/depression, but I've never had anything like that. My thinking is generally (painfully) crystal clear all the time. Though my memory is pretty ****ing awful.

For forty-seven years I've put up with it now. I must stop Christmas from coming ... but how?
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post #23 of 69 (permalink) Old 09-13-2019, 09:38 PM Thread Starter
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I'm sorry you're suffering so. I really hope, at least, a doctor becomes available for you so you can, perhaps, try the medication you spoke of. Sending good vibes. Hugsz.
Thanks. I'm really feeling the good vibes in this thread. Think it's the most support I've ever gotten. The perks of being an old-timer on a dying forum, lol.

For forty-seven years I've put up with it now. I must stop Christmas from coming ... but how?
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post #24 of 69 (permalink) Old 09-14-2019, 03:15 AM
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Sounds like a $h!storm, It's sucks you can't do some other type of work that maybe pays better so you could have days off so stress wasn't killing you, my life was pretty hard but I was able to pull myself up somewhat & I also got help from family I wasn't just kicked out at 18.

I'm sorry it has to be this way but what can anyone do ? Especially someone thousands of miles away that can barely help themselves sometimes ? sending a hug emoji seems empty but..<a href="http://www.socialanxietysupport.com/forum/images/smilies/hugs.gif" border="0" alt="" title="" >:-)</a>






And all our yesterdays have lighted fools the way to dusty death
Out, out, brief candle! Life's but a walking shadow,
A poor player that strut's and fret's his hour upon the stage and is heard no more,
It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
- Macbeth
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post #25 of 69 (permalink) Old 09-14-2019, 05:50 AM
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Pretty sure it's Meniere's.

Tbh, I'm not really sure what people mean by "brain fog". I keep seeing that mentioned as a symptom for anxiety/depression, but I've never had anything like that. My thinking is generally (painfully) crystal clear all the time. Though my memory is pretty ****ing awful.
Sounds like the symptoms of menieres. I think menieres can be treated. Altho, the head movement thing you describe sounds like BPPV too. A Dix-hallpike test would help diagnose that and BPPV can be sorted by doing Epley maneuver excersises. Another thing you can do is an Unterberger test which can help diagnose in which ear the problem is, n altho this might be unsafe for you as you sound likely you'd fall over and could hurt yourself unless you're supervised.

Brain fog feel like your head isn't clear. It's like a vague, annoying feeling as if your head feels like it's full of cotton wool or it feels heavy. Sometimes it even can feel like your vision is somehow off a bit or things seem dimly lit. Or maybe a bit tensiony-headachey.

Does your dizziness get worse in crowded environments or supermarkets? Do strongly patterned places such as carpets or movement of things like traffic make it worse?

Things like mild and transient episodes of lightheadedness and feeling like you're going to fall over or fear of fainting is something I have suffered from in the past. It's something I had years ago which went away for years. Most days now for the past year on and off I've been getting it. I hate it. Sometimes I can get it to go away for days or even weeks. So obviously I know all the things and terms above because I've been researching it and ruled out everything from BPPV to menieres myself. I'm really sure it's just something related to low mood or anxiousness about that specific symptom. I don't even feel anxious at all, but I have read that sometimes the ONLY symptom of anxiousness is lightheadedness or dizziness. I even think it could be triggered by lack of sleep. I don't think I quite get enough sleep.

I feel mostly okay walking. I'm fine sitting or lying down. (Walking is is a more neurologically and physical complexity involving proprioception and balance than standing ) It's when I have to stand still in a queue or if i meet someone outside to stop and talk . I have to be near an object such as a fence or wall or car or tree etc so i know I have a psychological comfort of being able to rest me hand or foot or lean or even just be near that object which provides relief from the thought I might feel off balance. If I meet them in the middle of an open space that's hell because I have nothing to grab onto or rest against and that's when the fear of fainting or losing balance feelings happen . Sometimes all this goes away. I have managed to think myself out of this. It's the anxiousness-dizziness-anxiousness-dizziness cycle. It's so ****ken hard to break it. Ugh. Yet have I ever ever fell over or fainted? No. If it was going to, it would've been many times by now.

What's so silly and paradoxical is that my work is I'm always on me feet. I don't work in a place where it's sitting. So I spent a lot of hours on my feet walking around operating stuff , lifting, carrying, communicating to people all the time, and a shift once a week being in the front line in a busy, noisy, hot environment in front of many members of the public and I've never fell over or lost my balance. Ok, in not out in a wide open space as it's a fairly tight space inside the workplace but you'd think that'd reassure me that I'm not going to lose balance standing for maybe a few minutes in a queue or talking to someone standing still for five minutes outside? That makes no sense.

Waiting for a beam to break through here,
A chain-way vision bright and clear,
This must be it,
Longed for Bliss,
First it was so quiet and now I know I am not alone in here.

___________
Ain't nothin' gonna break my stride, nobody gonna slow me down. I gotta keep on moovin!

If you can read this, you must look at my profile page. I like people who have attention to detail, and curiosity. Have a look, the lion's torso is on diplay :-p
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post #26 of 69 (permalink) Old 09-14-2019, 04:17 PM Thread Starter
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Sounds like a $h!storm, It's sucks you can't do some other type of work that maybe pays better so you could have days off so stress wasn't killing you, my life was pretty hard but I was able to pull myself up somewhat & I also got help from family I wasn't just kicked out at 18.

I'm sorry it has to be this way but what can anyone do ? Especially someone thousands of miles away that can barely help themselves sometimes ? sending a hug emoji seems empty but..<a href="http://www.socialanxietysupport.com/forum/images/smilies/hugs.gif" border="0" alt="" title="" >:-)</a>
Every hug helps! Thanks, blue.

Writing is probably the thing I'm most qualified to do. It's unfortunate I can't seem to make a go of it. I don't know what I can do other than retail. And tbh, I'd rather die than go back to that. (Which sort of explains why I've reached this point, I guess.)

For forty-seven years I've put up with it now. I must stop Christmas from coming ... but how?
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post #27 of 69 (permalink) Old 09-14-2019, 04:54 PM
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Truant this sounds really bad. I'm so sorry to hear it. I don't know what to say, but I remember one of your previous bits of advice where you said that the best thing we can do in hard times is keep a good attitude. No matter how bad it is.....if you keep a good attitude, life is worth living.



Also I'll pray for you
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post #28 of 69 (permalink) Old 09-14-2019, 11:35 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by KILOBRAVO View Post
Sounds like the symptoms of menieres. I think menieres can be treated. Altho, the head movement thing you describe sounds like BPPV too. A Dix-hallpike test would help diagnose that and BPPV can be sorted by doing Epley maneuver excersises. Another thing you can do is an Unterberger test which can help diagnose in which ear the problem is, n altho this might be unsafe for you as you sound likely you'd fall over and could hurt yourself unless you're supervised.

Brain fog feel like your head isn't clear. It's like a vague, annoying feeling as if your head feels like it's full of cotton wool or it feels heavy. Sometimes it even can feel like your vision is somehow off a bit or things seem dimly lit. Or maybe a bit tensiony-headachey.

Does your dizziness get worse in crowded environments or supermarkets? Do strongly patterned places such as carpets or movement of things like traffic make it worse?

Things like mild and transient episodes of lightheadedness and feeling like you're going to fall over or fear of fainting is something I have suffered from in the past. It's something I had years ago which went away for years. Most days now for the past year on and off I've been getting it. I hate it. Sometimes I can get it to go away for days or even weeks. So obviously I know all the things and terms above because I've been researching it and ruled out everything from BPPV to menieres myself. I'm really sure it's just something related to low mood or anxiousness about that specific symptom. I don't even feel anxious at all, but I have read that sometimes the ONLY symptom of anxiousness is lightheadedness or dizziness. I even think it could be triggered by lack of sleep. I don't think I quite get enough sleep.

I feel mostly okay walking. I'm fine sitting or lying down. (Walking is is a more neurologically and physical complexity involving proprioception and balance than standing ) It's when I have to stand still in a queue or if i meet someone outside to stop and talk . I have to be near an object such as a fence or wall or car or tree etc so i know I have a psychological comfort of being able to rest me hand or foot or lean or even just be near that object which provides relief from the thought I might feel off balance. If I meet them in the middle of an open space that's hell because I have nothing to grab onto or rest against and that's when the fear of fainting or losing balance feelings happen . Sometimes all this goes away. I have managed to think myself out of this. It's the anxiousness-dizziness-anxiousness-dizziness cycle. It's so ****ken hard to break it. Ugh. Yet have I ever ever fell over or fainted? No. If it was going to, it would've been many times by now.

What's so silly and paradoxical is that my work is I'm always on me feet. I don't work in a place where it's sitting. So I spent a lot of hours on my feet walking around operating stuff , lifting, carrying, communicating to people all the time, and a shift once a week being in the front line in a busy, noisy, hot environment in front of many members of the public and I've never fell over or lost my balance. Ok, in not out in a wide open space as it's a fairly tight space inside the workplace but you'd think that'd reassure me that I'm not going to lose balance standing for maybe a few minutes in a queue or talking to someone standing still for five minutes outside? That makes no sense.
There's no cure for Meniere's, I don't think, though there's stuff like Gravol for treating nausea. And I can't really afford to go see a specialist about it anyway.

My dizziness doesn't seem to be tied to other people at all. It's just always sort of there. Though it's worse some days than other days. My vertigo is as bad when I'm at home alone as when I'm out dealing with other people. And it's not related to patterns at all.

It sounds like yours is related to anxiety (probably aggravated by fatigue). You can have physical symptoms of anxiety without being consciously aware that you're anxious. If you're preoccupied with something else, like a rush of customers at work, for example, you're not paying attention to the anxiety, but it is still there in the body creating symptoms.

The other possibility is low blood pressure, which I also have. That makes me black out if I stand up too fast, and I've almost fainted quite a few times because of it. But it's not related to my vertigo.

For forty-seven years I've put up with it now. I must stop Christmas from coming ... but how?
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post #29 of 69 (permalink) Old 09-14-2019, 11:47 PM Thread Starter
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Truant this sounds really bad. I'm so sorry to hear it. I don't know what to say, but I remember one of your previous bits of advice where you said that the best thing we can do in hard times is keep a good attitude. No matter how bad it is.....if you keep a good attitude, life is worth living.



Also I'll pray for you
Hm, don't think that's a direct quote, lol. I think I vaguely recall making the post you're referring to, though. This has always been one of my favorite quotes:

 




I do always try to make the best of my situation. I don't think I'd be here if I didn't. My life is hell, but at least I never get bored. I try to think of it as a particularly challenging game and all my big problems as end bosses that can be beaten if you know the right tricks. Iow, as Dark Souls. But then, that might be a bad analogy, because I'm terrible at those games, lol.

I appreciate the prayers.

For forty-seven years I've put up with it now. I must stop Christmas from coming ... but how?
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post #30 of 69 (permalink) Old 09-15-2019, 01:54 AM
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My health problems are terrible as well. I was born with glass bones and paper skin. Every morning I break my legs, and every afternoon I break my arms. At night, I lie awake in agony until my heart attacks put me to sleep.
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post #31 of 69 (permalink) Old 09-15-2019, 03:26 AM
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At night, I lie awake in agony until my heart attacks put me to sleep.






And all our yesterdays have lighted fools the way to dusty death
Out, out, brief candle! Life's but a walking shadow,
A poor player that strut's and fret's his hour upon the stage and is heard no more,
It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
- Macbeth
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post #32 of 69 (permalink) Old 09-15-2019, 02:58 PM
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There's no cure for Meniere's, I don't think, though there's stuff like Gravol for treating nausea. And I can't really afford to go see a specialist about it anyway.

My dizziness doesn't seem to be tied to other people at all. It's just always sort of there. Though it's worse some days than other days. My vertigo is as bad when I'm at home alone as when I'm out dealing with other people. And it's not related to patterns at all.

It sounds like yours is related to anxiety (probably aggravated by fatigue). You can have physical symptoms of anxiety without being consciously aware that you're anxious. If you're preoccupied with something else, like a rush of customers at work, for example, you're not paying attention to the anxiety, but it is still there in the body creating symptoms.

The other possibility is low blood pressure, which I also have. That makes me black out if I stand up too fast, and I've almost fainted quite a few times because of it. But it's not related to my vertigo.
We'll low BP is a thing which can cause fainting or dizziness because fainting is insufficient blood to the brain. Standing up causing a faint or diziness is just orthostatic hypotension where the blood is pulled down to the legs by gravity and away from the brain. It should equalise in time to prevent fainting completely but it's what people call a headrush. It's very common. When I was a teeneger, I got that A LOTbut only ever fainted once. I never get it anymore.

Dizziness or fear of fainting brought on by anxiousness is a totally different thing. Anxiety almost never ever causes a faint because the panic of the oncoming "faint" increases the BP enough to physiologically make a faint almost impossible. The anxiety or panic is making your BP do the exact opposite of what you need to faint or fall over. This I always try to remember.

The other thing I forgot to mention is PPPD which is persistent postural perceptual diziness. That can be a lagging of prolonging of dizziness that doesn't seem to clear up once a pathology had been treated. An example might be an inner ear infections that goes away after treatment but for some reason the dizziness or vertigo doesn't go away. I think it's to do with the brain "forgetting" how to resynchronize itself after an upset to balance or vestibular system. I think the person needs rehabilitated. So maybe you should think back to if you had something medical, like an ear infection, they maybe you've forgotten about a long time ago where your balance hasn't reset.

Waiting for a beam to break through here,
A chain-way vision bright and clear,
This must be it,
Longed for Bliss,
First it was so quiet and now I know I am not alone in here.

___________
Ain't nothin' gonna break my stride, nobody gonna slow me down. I gotta keep on moovin!

If you can read this, you must look at my profile page. I like people who have attention to detail, and curiosity. Have a look, the lion's torso is on diplay :-p
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post #33 of 69 (permalink) Old 09-16-2019, 02:16 AM
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Damn thats alot to go through. If youre in the states-- you can't get on Medicaid?

Also im officially a dental assistant..just need some practice and ill be able to hook your teeth up for you lol

But i do hope your situation gets better.

We are in a reverie/ And everything you thought you knew isn't what it seems/ Only truth will set you free/ And I would never lie to you
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post #34 of 69 (permalink) Old 09-16-2019, 12:40 PM Thread Starter
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We'll low BP is a thing which can cause fainting or dizziness because fainting is insufficient blood to the brain. Standing up causing a faint or diziness is just orthostatic hypotension where the blood is pulled down to the legs by gravity and away from the brain. It should equalise in time to prevent fainting completely but it's what people call a headrush. It's very common. When I was a teeneger, I got that A LOTbut only ever fainted once. I never get it anymore.

Dizziness or fear of fainting brought on by anxiousness is a totally different thing. Anxiety almost never ever causes a faint because the panic of the oncoming "faint" increases the BP enough to physiologically make a faint almost impossible. The anxiety or panic is making your BP do the exact opposite of what you need to faint or fall over. This I always try to remember.

The other thing I forgot to mention is PPPD which is persistent postural perceptual diziness. That can be a lagging of prolonging of dizziness that doesn't seem to clear up once a pathology had been treated. An example might be an inner ear infections that goes away after treatment but for some reason the dizziness or vertigo doesn't go away. I think it's to do with the brain "forgetting" how to resynchronize itself after an upset to balance or vestibular system. I think the person needs rehabilitated. So maybe you should think back to if you had something medical, like an ear infection, they maybe you've forgotten about a long time ago where your balance hasn't reset.
Well, the blackout thing happens to some degree basically every time that I stand up. I didn't think that was normal, so I thought it was more of a problem for me than most people because I already have LBP. But yeah, I'm not a doctor.

When I get anxious, my vertigo doesn't get any worse. They seem unrelated. Though, since chronic stress (anxiety) can lead to all kinds of physical problems, it's entirely possible that my vertigo was triggered (epigenetically) by chronic anxiety. Both my GI problems and my vertigo started when I was at my last job, which was intensely social and insanely stressful.

I don't recall having any serious ear infections since I was a child. Also, both my dad and I have the same symptoms, he's been diagnosed with Meniere's, and it's probably genetic. So there's that, too.

For forty-seven years I've put up with it now. I must stop Christmas from coming ... but how?
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post #35 of 69 (permalink) Old 09-16-2019, 12:56 PM Thread Starter
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Damn thats alot to go through. If youre in the states-- you can't get on Medicaid?

Also im officially a dental assistant..just need some practice and ill be able to hook your teeth up for you lol

But i do hope your situation gets better.
I live in Canada. We have "universal" healthcare, which means, you can go to the ER, clinics, or family physicians for free. (Good luck getting a family doctor, though.) Unfortunately, it doesn't cover anything else: prescription medication, dental, eye care, dermatology, therapy, etc. If you need any of that, you have to pay out of pocket. Most people have health insurance through work or school, which covers some of these costs, but I'm self-employed and can't afford health insurance. I also don't qualify for any kind of govt assistance. So, for me, medication, dental, new glasses, therapy, etc., are essentially inaccessible.

I think the work I need on my teeth might go a bit beyond that, lol. I had a crooked dentist when I was a kid who gave me tons of fillings I didn't need and basically destroyed all my molars. (He did that to a bunch of people and lost his license.) So now my teeth are constantly cracking and breaking and my dentist says I need to get crowns. Also, my two front teeth are fake, because I broke them a long (long) time ago, and they're badly stained because I can't afford to replace them. So I have a pretty disgusting smile. But I don't have thousands of dollars for dental work. Do they teach you how to correct TMJ? Because I could use a fix there, too, lol.

And thanks.

For forty-seven years I've put up with it now. I must stop Christmas from coming ... but how?
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post #36 of 69 (permalink) Old 09-16-2019, 02:21 PM
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I live in Canada. We have "universal" healthcare, which means, you can go to the ER, clinics, or family physicians for free. (Good luck getting a family doctor, though.) Unfortunately, it doesn't cover anything else: prescription medication, dental, eye care, dermatology, therapy, etc. If you need any of that, you have to pay out of pocket. Most people have health insurance through work or school, which covers some of these costs, but I'm self-employed and can't afford health insurance. I also don't qualify for any kind of govt assistance. So, for me, medication, dental, new glasses, therapy, etc., are essentially inaccessible.

I think the work I need on my teeth might go a bit beyond that, lol. I had a crooked dentist when I was a kid who gave me tons of fillings I didn't need and basically destroyed all my molars. (He did that to a bunch of people and lost his license.) So now my teeth are constantly cracking and breaking and my dentist says I need to get crowns. Also, my two front teeth are fake, because I broke them a long (long) time ago, and they're badly stained because I can't afford to replace them. So I have a pretty disgusting smile. But I don't have thousands of dollars for dental work. Do they teach you how to correct TMJ? Because I could use a fix there, too, lol.

And thanks.

How do you do with expensive meds? I know that in the US (and probably Canada) meds are very expensive compared to here. I checked randomly the price of a med called "Arcoxia 120mg" and the prices are simply laughable. Even the lowest price I have seen is 4 times the price we pay here.

I can't even imagine the price of expensive meds like "Cosentyx" which costs nearly 2000 euros over here ...

Makes me realise how "socialist" Europe has become. You nearly get everything for free and people who work pay for that and get "**** on the face" in return.
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post #37 of 69 (permalink) Old 09-16-2019, 04:54 PM Thread Starter
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How do you do with expensive meds? I know that in the US (and probably Canada) meds are very expensive compared to here. I checked randomly the price of a med called "Arcoxia 120mg" and the prices are simply laughable. Even the lowest price I have seen is 4 times the price we pay here.

I can't even imagine the price of expensive meds like "Cosentyx" which costs nearly 2000 euros over here ...

Makes me realise how "socialist" Europe has become. You nearly get everything for free and people who work pay for that and get "**** on the face" in return.
You just don't get them.

Quote:
Many Ontarians with mental-health issues must choose between food and meds

When her medication got too expensive, Theresa Schrader just stopped taking it.

Schrader has anxiety, Type II bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. She’s also struggled with addiction and takes medicine for diabetes and blood pressure.

When Schrader had a social work job in Toronto, her employer-provided drug plan covered her medication costs — over $200 per month for the psychiatric drugs alone.

Then she relapsed into addiction and her mental health spiraled. Schrader lost her job and her drug coverage.

Medication is often an integral part of mental-health treatment. But many Ontarians must pay out of pocket for their prescription drugs. And not all of them can.

Forced to choose between medication and rent for herself and her young son, Schrader stopped taking her drugs, even though it meant panic attacks and reckless behaviour brought on by her mental illnesses.

“I went without medication for a period of time,” Schrader says. “Until my psychiatrist insisted that I needed to get back on them (as) my mental health was deteriorating.”

OHIP generally covers drug costs for people in hospital, but not for outpatients. And while many employers offer drug coverage to their employees, a growing number of workers have no health benefits at all.

“Work has become more and more precarious,” Dr. Kwame McKenzie, CEO of the Wellesley Institute urban health think tank, says. “Low-paid, non-professional, non-unionized environments tend to be the environments that don’t have health coverage.”

When people can’t afford their drugs, they usually just go without it, McKenzie says.

“Prescribed medication is prescribed for a reason,” he adds. “If you don’t have that medication, you get ill.”

Cost is a factor for anyone taking medication, but mental-health patients experience some unique barriers to affording their drugs.

People with mental illness will likely need to stay on medication for years, McKenzie says, while many prescriptions for physical ailments may only be needed for a week or two.

Patients may also need multiple medications at once.

“Often people with mental-health problems are on one or two or three medications for their mental-health problem and then other medication because they’re more likely to have physical problems,” says McKenzie, a psychiatrist and Director of Health Equity at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).

It can also take several months of experimenting with different medications before finding the right one.

“The brain is a very complicated organ,” Mood Disorders Society of Canada executive director Phil Upshall says. “Changing the brain’s behaviour, the chemistry in the brain, takes some time and it takes finding the right chemical formula.”

Meghan Coolen has depression, an anxiety disorder and an eating disorder.

In November 2015, her family doctor prescribed her an antidepressant similar to Zoloft. It helped alleviate some of her mental-health issues but also put her into a kind of dream state, she says, like she wasn’t experiencing her life first-hand.

The doctor gave her a new prescription for a different antidepressant, but Coolen was left with several tablets of the old drug, which she had paid for but now couldn’t use.

Coolen currently pays about $50 a month in medication costs. But she also pays about $480 per month for therapy, which is not covered by OHIP or her employer either. It all adds up.

“Some months it’s tight,” she says. “I’m spending money on medication that I could be spending on food, and I’m eating cereal for dinner.”

Coolen is a young professional with a university degree and a full-time job at a major media company in Toronto. But, because she is a contract employee, she does not qualify for her employer’s health benefits.

“There’s a ton of things I’m missing out on by working contract, yet I’m working the same hours as the [permanent] staff members,” she says.

Coolen is just one of the thousands of working Ontarians without health coverage through their jobs.

In 2015, the Wellesley Institute reported that 37 per cent of workers in the province have no employer-provided health coverage at all. [So much for "universal" healthcare.]

The government of Ontario has safety-net drug programs for people in dire financial need, but thousands of others are stuck in the strange situation of earning too much to qualify for drug coverage, yet not enough to comfortably afford their drugs.

“While Ontario provides a patchwork of health benefits that cover prescription drugs . . . to selected populations, people who are working but who have low earnings are likely to fall through the gaps,” the Wellesley Institute says in its report. “They are not eligible for public benefits [This is me.] and are less likely to have employer-provided benefits.”

The Trillium Drug Program is for people whose medication costs are at least 3 to 4 per cent of their household’s after-tax income. Recipients of Trillium are still on the hook to pay the deductible for the drugs they take.

The Ontario Drug Benefit covers medication costs for senior citizens, patients in long-term care homes or receiving home care, people on provincial assistance for disability and people on the Ontario Works financial and employment assistance program.

To qualify for Ontario Works, a person must “need money right away for food and shelter,” and be willing to participate in “activities that will help you” find employment.

“Individuals that are on Ontario Works automatically qualify for the Ontario Drug Benefit,” Ministry of Community and Social services spokesperson Joshua Henry says. The ministry runs Ontario Works.

But McKenzie says that navigating government channels to get drug coverage can be prohibitively complicated, and that many patients may not even know what options exist.

“The problem is that we’re (dealing with) people that are really ill and vulnerable and rather than making it a really easy process, some people find it quite difficult,” McKenzie says.

And not all drugs are covered under these public programs, or even the private ones.

“When drug plans are assessing whether they’re going to cover (specific) drugs, they tend to look at whether the drug works or not rather than the side effects,” McKenzie says. “And so what you sometimes find is you get a new drug that’s much more expensive than the old drug . . . The side-effect profile is so much better, but it’s not going to get covered.”

Months after losing her job, Schrader got onto Ontario Works and qualified for the Ontario Drug Benefit. But the drug her psychiatrist had prescribed for her bipolar disorder was not covered by the ODB.

She tried an ODB-covered alternative but fell victim to one of its side effects, a severe skin rash that, in some rare cases, can be fatal.

Her psychiatrist kept her on the initial drug, getting free samples from the manufacturer a few weeks at a time, until the government added it to their list of covered drugs.

Steps are being taken at the federal and provincial levels to limit the cost of medication.

The provincial, territorial and federal governments have united under the Pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance, negotiating with drug companies to reduce the price of drugs under public drug plans, Ontario Ministry of Health spokesperson David Jensen says.

Jensen also pointed out that the federally run Patented Medicines Price Review Board works to cap prices of patented drugs across the board.

But for care providers, national drug coverage is the only solution.

“We need a national pharmacare plan right now to help Canadians access needed prescriptions, not just for mental health,” Dr. Vicky Stergiopoulos, physician-in-chief at CAMH, says.

“A national pharmacare plan should also provide guidance about which medications are effective at the lowest possible cost.”

In general, McKenzie says, governments should be taking greater steps to make mental-health treatment accessible.

“We’re in a position in mental health where we can do more for people than we ever could, but that doesn’t mean you can get it,” he says. “That’s a big frustration in Ontario. We could be doing so much more.”

For forty-seven years I've put up with it now. I must stop Christmas from coming ... but how?
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post #38 of 69 (permalink) Old 09-16-2019, 10:52 PM
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I'm sorry to hear you have so many awful problems in your life.

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post #39 of 69 (permalink) Old 09-17-2019, 12:44 PM
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You just don't get them.
Pretty dumb system. It is pointless to pay the medical consultation but not the meds the Dr prescribes.

The only solution for you is to find a job that would get you "health insurance". I know it is difficult, but could improve your life.

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post #40 of 69 (permalink) Old 09-17-2019, 07:24 PM Thread Starter
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I'm sorry to hear you have so many awful problems in your life.
Thanks.

For forty-seven years I've put up with it now. I must stop Christmas from coming ... but how?
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