I am citizen of the United States, and our healthcare system only properly serves those who can afford it–plus it is the most expensive healthcare system in the world. For most of my life, I have not been able to afford full treatment. Nevertheless, since I was 23 years old, I have had some access to treatment and decent access to diagnoses. The result is that I have a deep understanding of what medical treatments I need–and what seems to be just as important: what medical treatments I do not need.
For my mental health, since 2007, I have seen general practitioners, psychiatrists, and therapists in Chicago, Beijing, Western Illinois, Cairo, the United Kingdom, and Austin. The diagnoses and prescribed treatments have been consistent. All have recommended medications to help me cope with my symptoms. All have stated that drugs will not cure my symptoms, and that I must make changes in my life if I am to heal.
The recommended treatments have included talk therapy, including cognitive behavioral therapy. With a couple of my long-term psychiatrists (medical doctors who specialize in psychiatric medicine), we discussed the possibility of electroconvulsive therapy. It was never a serious option, however, because of the cost. No doctor has ever recommended inpatient programs. In Cairo, I tried to get into an inpatient program, but the doctors refused to admit me, in part because I did not fit the profile for someone who needed it.