I have to cope with depression and burnout. This is easier said than done. If you’re thinking that coming to terms with how my life and non-existent feelings played out and to worry about the future is enough, you’re wrong. There are other things coming right at me because I’m in this predicament. Next to dealing with work itself, experiencing that the mental health field isn’t big on caring for the mental health of its personnel, there are some institutions that didn’t help my recovery. With insurance I’ve encountered situations Kafka could write about.
I’ll bring you up to speed with the latest developments in my journey. First, I’ll explain the ‘rules’. When you’re ill the first month you’re on paid sick leave, which means that work will pay your wage. After that initial month you’ll receive benefits payed by the insurance. When the end of one year of being on benefits is approaching a doctor will evaluate your situation and give an advice. I needed to make that appointment myself, no problem for me but one has to know that that is required, and the doctor formulated a positive advice, meaning I’ll need more time than a year to recover. In August this period began, I received a letter stating that my case was approved and I will keep receiving benefits. The 3th of October I had an appointment with my psychiatrist. He tells me to focus on recovery, to focus on me. He approves of the therapy I’m following and says that I’ll still need to take my medication as prescribed.
He gives me a letter stating that I’m not able to return to work till the New Year. Meaning 2020.
The 10th of October I receive a letter from the insurance company that I’m crossed off the list of beneficiaries and that my benefits will end the 17th of that month. They present me with a choice to return to work or to find another job. Mind you I can’t return to work due to the sick leave till the 31st of December. What I do know is that there is no money coming in and that I’m stuck. I went to the union and they tell me to take legal steps due to being stuck.
On the one side I’m too ill to work and on the other side I’ll need to work to have an income. What to do?
Yesterday Pierre and I went to the psychiatrist. My wellbeing wasn’t spoken of, nor was there any attention to my symptoms or recovery. That was out of the window before I saw the window! The doctor paints the bigger picture and tells me that in the past this wouldn’t happen to me but that now things have changed. People on a longer sick leave can’t have their benefits that easily. He tells me that I should be on the lookout for a new job. The question if I’m able to work or what the expectations could be in regards to the illness remained not answered. When I asked for a written statement to add to my case, he says it won’t help and doesn’t give it to me. He thinks that the legal route one with an uncertain outcome. He believes I’m trying to buy time with the procedure. Time he decided during the last appointment, just 3 weeks earlier. He also tells me that things happen in life and that I’ll will react to them. The union told me that we need to take it to court because it is the only way I can receive some unemployment benefits. If all goes well I’ll receive 850 at the beginning of December. Till then there is one certainty and that is that there is no income.
Am I resilient enough to cope with this? I think so but I do worry. I know worrying won’t grow my bank account. I know different people tell me different things and that money is the bigger picture here. I know that it is easy to cut off someone with an mental illness because it is not visible. I know that they want to be able to present better figures at the end of the year. Now they can say – in the statistics – that I’m ‘cured’ because no longer on benefits. I know that I’m not the only one in this situation. I know that they are looking to save money not to cure people but to cure the crisis and grow their power.
I know I am resilient enough to live on my savings. I know that I’ll start to feel better at some point. I will focus on me and on my recovery because it is the only thing that matters. I know I have a network, maybe small but I can rely on my boyfriend and his family. But I also know that when people bent for political decisions and that when intellectuals and really smart people are afraid (or unwilling) to speak up to the regime the regime is not in the right. I hope people who find themselves in the same situation can rely on a friends and family. I know that there are many people who can’t.
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