I am trying to be better. I am trying to understand how to be a normal person but I have been me so long that I don’t remember where all those lines are. I am trying to spend my entire out of pocket max ($$$) on my mental health because I think things like this are progressive and I don’t know what my life would be like in a decade if I didn’t stop for a month and work deliberately on this stuff.
A weird thing about working on your mental health is that it’s very stressful to do the work required in order to work on your mental health!!!
For instance, I am trying to see a specialist and my insurance (Aetna) says all of the specialists in my state are out-of-network, which make them too expensive for me to see. (I can go to one 174 miles away in Waterloo, Iowa though!) To get to the point where I realized this, I have been calling or emailing someone from my insurance company every few days for the last two weeks because everyone I talk to gives me a different answer and all of them seem equally unsure.
My insurance company advises waiting until a claim is sent to see if it will be in or out of network, which seems insane because the difference is thousands of dollars and it’s very stressful to think about accidentally spending thousands of dollars!
The first time I called they told me everyone was out-of-network but I could download an app that might help. (Serious).
The second, third, and fourth time they told me it was in-network but seemed so clueless about it I kept calling trying to get confirmation in different ways so I could be sure.
Today I was on the phone with my insurance for 53 minutes!!! I conferenced in the provider I want to go to hoping we could land on a straight answer. It didn’t even work!!! They told me it was in-network and then brought another person on the phone who said it was out-of-network. Finally, the first helpful person I have talked to in weeks told me to proceed as if it is out-of-network because then I can petition for an exception since there’s nothing they *do* cover in my state and then I would have a solid answer.
Over the course of these calls and in setting up appointments I have had to tell the (very embarrassing!!!) origin story of what I am trying to get help for at least 10 different times. This is very exhausting!
I need a mental health specialist to help me recover from trying to find a mental health specialist.
I am reading a book called The Chemistry of Joy Workbook that is pretty helpful so far. There’s a mindset in it called “the 51% solution” which means you tell yourself that you don’t need to make drastic changes in your life — you just need to get 51% better. The thinking is that this is easier to do, and once you’ve mastered it you kind of automatically do 70, 80, 90% better.
This is helpful for me because I don’t like moderation. When I do self-improvement I want to do binge self-improvement. My ideal self-improvement is reading Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and spending the next 72-hours throwing away half my stuff. I don’t want to do a little bit every day but this mindset seems so simple and easy it’s hard not to adopt.
Here’s an example from the book of someone who isn’t using the 51% mindset. I pretended this was an Instagram meme and sent it to all my friends along with the message ‘lol me’.
I’m also reading Ryan Adams’ Infinity Blues which is his first poetry book. Ryan’s music is my #1 Spotify bae but his poetry is just okay. I think I would like it more if I was a guy, it’s kind of butch-y man poetry like Bukowski but not as good (imo).
But his poetry is real. Ryan’s an artist. He’s not writing it because other people are writing poetry or because he wants to be seen as a poet. You can tell he’s just a fundamentally creative person and he could pick up any medium and feel a sense of satisfaction pouring himself out through it. And the results would have a sense of originality.
I’m fascinated by the way he and another one of my Spotify baes Joni Mitchell describe themselves as primarily visual artists who perform music because they got distracted by it, or as a means to finance their real art. Imagine having wild over-the-top commercial success as an artist and being like “nah, this isn’t even my real art.”
A bunch of poets are mad at this famous Instagram poet r.h. Sin which makes sense to me since he’s seemed like a total s l i m e r to me since I first started seeing him on Insta. He’s a man who writes only to and for women, which grosses me out. I don’t understand men who want to write primarily for women. It comes across as so tone-deaf and performative.
I have been trying to think about why I have been agreeing so vehemently against this backlash and I realized this guy reminds me of the transgressor that inspired a few lines from Warsan Shire’s Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth:
I’m not sad, but the boys who are looking for sad girls always find me. I’m not a girl anymore and I’m not sad anymore. You want me to be a tragic backdrop so that you can appear to be illuminated, so that people can say ‘Wow, isn’t he so terribly brave to love a girl who is so obviously sad?’ You think I’ll be the dark sky so you can be the star? I’ll swallow you whole.
I’m going to Chicago this weekend and I am going to stay in a fancy hotel and go to fancy restaurants and be with my friend the whole time. We’re going to go to clubs and dance all night and buy drinks made with chamomile tea ice cubes and probably lay in bed until noon laughing all morning. That will feel good. Something light after all this heaviness.