How The Affordable Care Act Saved My Life

I haven’t had a nightmare in two weeks. Well, I had a dream about my ex-gf the other night but that was more of a sex dream, but if ever nightmare had a face (and a great big fat ass) it would be her’s. ANYWAY. I have PTSD and severe anxiety. I worry about things that are irrational and when there isn’t anything to worry about I FIND something to worry about and worry about it until it becomes real. It’s a mental illness plain and simple, I feel no shame saying that, and it’s one of the main reasons why I got into drugs in the first place. ONE. It’s hard to see the darkness when you’re locked in the warm embrace of heroin. It’s hard to relive terrifyingly macabre traumatic events when you have both hands on the handlebars of xanax (that’s what they call the highest milligram: Handlebars). Some of you know what I mean.

Since my brothers death in 1990 I have had the same dream almost every night of him laying bloated in that coffin in that dimly lit room with all the crosses. My parents made me see him so I would know he wasn’t coming home, and I highly suggest none of you ever do that to your children or yourselves as it will be the only way you ever think of them again. I also have another one that’s equally painful of him falling from the sky in the suit he was wearing at his graduation which was his proudest moment, and it was also the suit he was buried in soon after. I always feel this sense of relief in the dream as he is still to this day the missing piece in my life. Night after night there he is coming back to me with arms open and smiling. Acne on his cheeks. Bleached hair. Comforting me as he falls from Heaven and gets CLOSER and CLOSER to making me whole again. None of it was real. He didn’t really die. We’re going to play football after this and it’s all going to be ok. You know? I always wake up with a start right before he gets to me, I’m always crying, and my arms are always outstretched. Every single time.

This morning I woke up to a story on ESPN about a promising college football star who made some mistakes in his junior year and long and short ended up with a 30 year sentence. They started reading his letters to show how he changed and I saw myself and the source of the OTHER nightmares in his story. He wrote about how his life had changed dramatically, not just from a freedom standpoint, but from a human being who was more prone to violence, was seeing things that he just couldn’t handle, his letters got more dark, and over time (after he was stabbed) he begged the prison officials to give him a single cell which they ignored. Then he killed his cellmate and is facing murder 1.

I can honestly say that I identify with all of that. I have never killed anyone but I do identify with once you get into prison getting OUT is a lot harder than you think. I bring that up because when I haven’t been having the nightmares I mentioned at the beginning, I’m having ones about prison, or more specifically: The PRIVATE CCA prison I was in. It was the Wild West, but I’ve told all of you about that.

If you’re wondering what my point is I’m getting to it.

For the first time in my adult life I am insured, and it is directly because of the Affordable Care Act. I’ve been seeing a psychiatrist which I could NEVER afford before (30 bucks now even though he could charge me 50). I started seeing him 3 months ago. He’s a good man and a good psychiatrist, but when he first prescribed me an anti-depressant and lithium along with klonopin I honestly only took the klonopin. I had taken those other meds before and they “didn’t work,” but of course I was taking them with meth, and coke, and heroin (and and and), and when he saw me last time I was to use his term “Bouncing off the walls” and he asked me if I had been taking my meds and I was honest about not taking them, citing that my mother (who used to be a nurse a MILLION years ago and knows EVERYTHING) had said that lithium is an archaic drug and I should not be taking it. To say he was annoyed is KIND OF an understatement, and he said “Well, your mother was right about one thing. It is an old drug. I’m old. Doesn’t mean I don’t WORK. Let me ask you a question: Is your mother your doctor or am I your doctor?” Me: “You are, doc.” Dr. Suresh: “TAKE. THE. MEDS.” And I did. That was a little over a month ago and I have been taking the meds and the nightmares have stopped.

The other day my mother asked me “Baby Boy, have you been taking those meds?”

“Yes, momma.” Her: “I can tell.”

Then she started tearing up and she said, “I lost you for so many years. I’m so glad to finally have you back. I know for a long time you felt like you had nothing to live for, like your life was over because of all the mistakes you’ve made. You don’t still feel that way, right?” Me: “OVER? I’m still in my prime.” Then we hugged it out. 🙂

The moral of my story is simple: Since I have become insured my life has changed in so many positive ways that I can barely explain it, but this is one of them, now that I don’t have those nightmares my quality of life has improved tenfold, and I guess there’s really only one thing I can genuinely say about that.

Thanks, Obama. 🙂

About Jared Sandifer 30 Articles
I am a fledgling writer and a liberal democrat. My writing is about politics, but also about the things in my life that give me a unique perspective most don't possess.

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