I should go to bed but I have been trying to decide whether to write now or tomorrow. Now it is.
Today was another reminder that there are peaks and troughs, good people and careless ones. All the fun of working your way through the system after you are ‘hurt’ at work. I finally started trying to claim counselling expenses, at the behest of the insurance company lady. Like I’ve said, I don’t really want to be documenting my kilometres, dollars and carefully pasting my receipts together to present to some faceless drone at the insurance office like a kid with her first piece of artwork. I feel like enough of a fool already, thanks, copying pages from my personal journal from the time around the assaults and other such exposures. But I thought, hey, that’s what they’re there for. The lady is offering to reimburse me. Ok.
Three months go by.
I had scanned my receipts, added all the details of the amazing woman I see fortnightly and made sure everybody was aware that they had my permission to confirm these details should the insurance company call to check. All that blah blah blah.
Tick, tick, tick…
I shoot off a few nice emails just asking for confirmation they had received my ‘collage of counselling’.
Tick, tick, tick…
Well, it was Christmas and all. Maybe they’ve been on holidays…(for three months?). I get a response. Asking me to resend everything. Ah, where is all my stuff? It was kind of, you know, personal. I shrug and send it all again.
Two weeks pass.
Then today, after some to-ing and fro-ing, I get a call to say that they reimburse people much more money than I was asking for, but only if the professional I saw was on the list.
Now I have tried one of the psychologists on the list, and it wasn’t great. When I returned to my GP for help this time around, I was referred to a psychologist who had her own practice (you have to know your stuff to have your name on the letterhead, don’t you?). Things started well. She seemed to know what she was doing so I spewed all the gory details at her and answered questions I’d answered for so many others before. A month or two in, in the most random manner, she hands me a five question quiz. One of the questions was ‘Do you ever get home and can’t remember the drive?’. Another, ‘Do you ever forget where your keys are?’. The last question was, ‘Do you know what the term Bipolar means?’ Now I’m no brain surgeon, but I see where this is going. I’ve completed more in-depth quizzes in Dolly magazine but I wait politely. She reads my answers (is there anyone who has never lost their car keys? Really?) and smiles. Then says, “That was not a diagnostic test (?) but I believe you have Bipolar Disorder and that explains your extreme emotions here”. Not the fact that I’m here because I was seriously sexually assaulted by my boss, in the presence of another boss, and then harassed, bullied and stalked for months? That I was unable to leave my house for fear of being ‘noticed’ by someone – a man – and being attacked again. If it can happen at your workplace, how can you be safe in public? That’s not a good reason to cry here?
She went on to say that I should take “as much Valium as I felt I needed” until she got me in to see her friend who could prescribe me the good stuff. She was smiling. I just kept crying. Not because she thought I was bipolar. Because after opening up and sharing everything; the marks on my arm, the nightmares, the feelings of failure and impotent anger; she was smiling and telling me to take all my pills. Ignoring the guts I’d left sitting on the table between us. Bare. Raw. Bleeding.
I wanted to fucking kill her. Instead I took a couple of Valium and drove home in such a state, I shouldn’t have been allowed out of the office. Hysterical. A teeny bit homicidal.
I didn’t go back.
When I explained to my lovely GP what had transpired (especially the “take all the Valium you want” bit. I knew he’d love that. I have to beg to get anything off him. He’s painfully responsible like that…) he looked like he was going to choke.
I went without talking to anyone for a while. It wasn’t great but who the hell wants to go psych shopping after that? Then one day my smile cracked and I was in floods of tears. On the rare occasion I had left home to go to a mother’s group meeting, someone had innocently asked me about what I did for a living. Maybe that sounds a bit silly to be so hung up on that but I worked very hard to be that professional I was once. Not that is was required, plenty of dickheads are in the sector, but I had two university degrees. And I couldn’t get a job at McDonald’s now. I was a loser. An utter failure. Not to mention damaged goods.
Photo credit here
In one of those moments that changes your life (the good kind), another lady who ran the group put her arm around me and said, “I know someone. She’s pretty amazing. If you want to talk to someone who could help you”. I nodded through my snotty nose and red eyes. And she took me to make an appointment.
I waited in the office to meet a new person who could help me process through the shite to live like I wanted to live. Without this baggage from something done TO me by people who abused their power and made my life literally intolerable afterwards. Male and female. I didn’t want to start this all over. But I was meant to be there. This woman was all that was said about her and more. A sparkly, feisty dynamo. Straight talker. No bullshit. Challenging. But you know what else? She GETS IT. She says things like she has picked them up out of my head. Reads my mind. Heart, even. It’s crazy. Awesome. Life changing.
But she’s not on the list.
Photo credit here
I’m not a fool. I had called the company (oops, nearly typed it) MONTHS AGO to check that I was ‘permitted’ to see this counsellor. I was told WE REIMBURSE ANY EXPENSE. YOU ARE NOT OUT OF POCKET.
The bottom line is – I don’t give a shit. I said in our session today that I’d pay quadruple her (paltry) fee. It’s priceless because it’s working. Argh! Then she offers to reduce her fee to make it easier for me.
Photo credit here
I know it’s The System. I am indeed a number (which I can never remember) and I have to play the game. But the stupidity of today’s events with the insurance company just exacerbated an already painful situation.