Got about four hours of sleep last night.  Feeling a little more in control this morning.

Am on the phone with a counselor now.  I can admit myself, but there’s a $1500 deductible with my insurance that, frankly, I can’t afford.  I don’t want to take money from you guys.  I’ve asked you to donate to SSA, Camp Quest, and FSM-knows how many other causes this year.

Might see if they have a payment plan.

I’m going to finish with the counselor and go to work and keep digging on this.  My family knows, as do people close to me.  I’m being taken care of and watched.

I’m not tempted to self-harm right now, and I’ll likely be ok.  But, as my dad always said an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  That’s what I’m after right now.

When you’re in a bad place with this type of condition, you shouldn’t generally trust your own judgment.  This, of course, means admitting there’s something wrong in the first place, which took me years and lots of effort from my friends.  Thankfully, now, I realize it’s difficult for me to be objective and I’m just listening to those I’m close to, and they’re telling me to admit myself briefly.  I truly feel for people who haven’t yet admitted to themselves that they have a problem and are still trying to “gut it out” on their own.

This article says it best, and sums up why I write openly about my own struggles.

There is a powerful stigma associated with being hospitalized. Many people feel ashamed, as if it’s a sign that they are “crazy” or “weak.” Some people fear that being hospitalized is the same thing as being institutionalized or sent to an asylum.

But that’s not the case. Usually, a stay in the hospital is just a way for you to recover in a safe and stable environment. This allows you to take a break from some of the daily stresses that contributed to your depression. Your health care providers can work with you to try different treatments and figure out which are best.

I know all of this is true, but all the same I still feel the stigma and it’s still difficult to write about.  Kind of like being on an airplane for me: I know I’m safe, but I’m still scared.  Well, I know mental conditions are physical conditions, but thanks to a society largely ignorant about how they work, I still am tempted to feel ashamed.

This is compounded by the fact that I know there are lots of people who would love to hang this over my head (a couple such comments have already been caught in moderation).

I’m gonna head into the office.  Will keep you updated.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • http://sexyheathen.com/ Mandagator

    For those trying to hang this over your head, that seems fundamentally sick. There will always be bullies and downtrodders, people who feel they need to use your health as some form of bargaining chip. One of the things I really admire about you is that your focus seems to be on doing what is best for you, rather than allowing people to try to run your happiness.

    I hope everything works out for you, JT! You’re worth it.

  • http://peopleofpublictransport.wordpress.com Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

    You have my quiet support, JT.

  • http://www.improbablejoe.blogspot.com Improbable Joe

    Good luck, JT. I suffer from major depression and I know damned well that there’s no words that make it better, but I figured I’d remind you that it DOES get better. Not as quickly or as smoothly as you’d like, of course.

  • ibelieveindog, the silent beagle

    I have depression; I’ve checked myself into the hospital twice.

    I don’t want to take money from you guys. I’ve asked you to donate to SSA, Camp Quest, and FSM-knows how many other causes this year.

    SSA and Camp Quest need you. They need you well and healthy. Set something up and I’ll bet you get more than you need; I’ll kick in a chunk.

    Be well. Hugs.

  • kaboobie

    JT, my heart goes out to you. I hope that the financial aspect can be worked out and that you can admit yourself if needed. I wish I could do more than send you a virtual hug.

  • neatospiderplant

    I’m glad you got some sleep.

    I hate that you have to factor in cost to see what kind of help you can get. That sucks.

    Like ibelieveindog, I too would help out if you set something up. And it’s not you asking, it’s us offering.

  • http://mamamara.wordpress.com Mara

    ::hugs:: I’m so sorry you’re having a rough time and I wish I could share some strength with you. ::more hugs::

    It sucks that you need to worry about the cost. Ugh.

  • Mriana

    You know, when I worked on a degree in Psychology, they said depression is the common cold of mental health. If only society viewed mental illness and physical illness as being one in the same. Except it’s not quite as easy to find a decongestant to clear you head as it is your nose nor does it get better in a week.

    In other words, my mother said, what affects the mind affects the body and vise versa and it’s true- if you have a cold, you aren’t a happy camper mentally and if you depressed your immune system is lowered. Even cancer can trigger depression, but people cannot see the health issue the other way around, where depression causes physical issues and not stigmatize it in a manner that people struggle with getting help.

    Instead of an archaic stigma, I wish people looked at mental illness as any other form of illness, even though it’s not viral or bacterial, in many cases, but rather a chemical imbalance, which can be just as bad, if left untreated. People view auto-immune illnesses, such as arthritis, lupus, diabetes, allergies, etc, as illnesses and don’t stigmatize them nor do they tell someone with arthritis, suck it up and get moving (OK maybe the do, but not necessarily while they are in pain). The dr gives them an anti-inflammatory or other med, and then when they feel less pain, tells them to get moving, but the illness is being treated with meds and few people criticize or look down on those with arthritis.

    I don’t know. I might not be saying this as well as I could, but I really get tired and sadden when the mental stigma is mentioned in some fashion.

    I’ve ranted long enough. If you feel that badly, JT, stick close to your therapist and psychiatrist and find out how you can get the help you need, so you can get to feeling better. Don’t let people who view mental illness as a sign of weakness get to you and keep you from getting the help you need, because they don’t know a flying fart about mental illness, if they believe that. The cure isn’t always, if ever, picking yourself up by your boot straps and doing something to distract yourself mentally. With the right help you can feel and do better, but I’m probably preaching to the choir.

    Well wishes and feel better soon, JT.

  • Brian

    Good luck sir.

  • http://teethofthebuzzsaw.blogspot.com Buzz Saw


  • robb

    what Mriana said.

    if you have a broken bone sticking out of your body and you are bleeding out, there is no stigma to getting medical attention. it is too bad it isn’t the same for mental health too.

    hope you feel better JT!

    • A ‘Nym Too


      JT- If you were bleeding, or had a broken bone, or you were. having an asthma attack, you’d go to the hospital.

      Your brain’s having an asthma attack, it can’t breathe, it needs help.

      I’m so sorry your country forces you to check your bank balance and put your finances before your health.

      There’s no shame in wearing a cast, using an inhaler, taking insulin or getting psych help. You do what you need to, to save your life.

      Good luck man.

  • sphex

    Keeping you in my thoughts.

  • IslandBrewer

    I turn the internet hugz to 11!


    And stop telling me what I can’t do with my money and set up the damn “Keep JT Healthy” fund!

    And fuck the fucking Amerifucking healthfuckcare fucking system. Fuck.

    • kagekiri

      I concur! Shut up and take my money!

      Really, I mean, your speech on mental health pushed me to get help for my own issues, and it pulled me back from the brink of total self-destruction. You had my back when I needed it most, I’ve got yours.

      Do whatever it takes to get better, you are absolutely worth it.

  • PatrickG

    I still feel the stigma and it’s still difficult to write about

    As someone who can only bring himself to write about his issues in the most vague way and usually in the third person, I just wanted to say how much I admire you and others in this thread being so up-front and willing to talk about these issues publicly.

    Just.. thanks. It’s inspirational and makes me kind of choke up thinking I might be able to get over my fear of stigma some day.

  • CC

    Been there, done that. I’ve signed my name on that line, giving doctors the right to decide whether or not I get to leave the hospital, and turned in my shoelaces, without knowing how I was going to pay for it. I’m glad I did. In retrospect, it was the best move I could have made. It gave me the time and space I needed, first, to be sick, then to start getting better.

    It was frustrating to deal with the bills afterward, but in a crisis, you do what you have to do. Don’t worry about the money now.

    I’m wising you the best.

  • Today_I’ll_Be_Annonymous

    As someone who struggled with depression in my teen years, and was involuntarily committed after a serious suicide attempt, I feel your pain and hope you are able to get the help you need. I can’t understand why insurance covers life saving medicine but not life saving psychological treatment.

  • trucreep

    Hey JT, not sure on the specifics of what you’re going through, but you might want to look into a Intensive Outpatient or Partial Hospitalization Program (IOP and PHP, respectively). A lot of times people are in a situation where regular outpatient counseling isn’t offering enough (meeting once a week/biweekly for an hour for example), but the alternative, inpatient at a hospital, might be too intensive. IOP/PHP are sort of a middle ground between the two.

    The best thing to do is to call the customer service phone number on the back of your insurance card and ask about those – they typically will take place at a hospital, but it’s not an overnight stay. It is also voluntary, so you don’t need to worry about signing yourself over under the care of someone else.

    As far as payment plans, most places are more than willing to work with you on that – also check to make sure your deductible is the same for both your outpatient and inpatient benefits – it might be different!

    I work in this field and I know it can be daunting – but the number one priority is your well being – money comes second. Not saying money isn’t important, but if you think you need help, don’t be afraid of social stigmas or cost – none of that matters when it comes to your health!!!

  • neXus

    And stop telling me what I can’t do with my money and set up the damn “Keep JT Healthy” fund!

    I second that motion! I’ll gladly give send some money for a while to help you out JT. You’ve been so inspirational to me with your SSA work and speeches on mental health that you’ve more than earned it.

    And I’ll throw a few more cyber hugs onto the pile. :)

  • invivoMark

    JT, you are about as far from “weak” and “crazy” as anyone I’ve ever met.

    If you’re on an airplane, you’re not on it alone. Those who would hang this over your head are small, sub-human, and far fewer in number than the rest of us who support you.

    Do whatever you need to do, and if any of us can help in any way, we’re there.

  • Droopy

    I recently decided to take two weeks off from work to go to a Partial Hospital (day program). It was probably the best decision I’ve ever made and I’m willing to bet it was a lot cheaper than overnight stays at a full institution. Maybe this is an option that could work for you, too?

  • Cunning Pam

    And stop telling me what I can’t do with my money and set up the damn “Keep JT Healthy” fund!

    Thirded, fourthded, whatever. Set up a tip jar already. People WANT to help, don’t be all stubborn and make us find other ways to send you money, ‘k?

  • Dana Hunter

    *hugs +HUGS* & <3!

    Also, motion carried on setting up the fund.

  • Pro_bonobo

    Wow, sending you hugs over the internets right now! Please feel better and I hope you reconsider taking donations. You say that accepting help is one of the most difficult things for people with your condition to do. Financial help also falls under this category I think so please don’t hesitate. You have a lot of friends out here!

  • invivoMark

    I have no idea if you would get anything out of this, but it resonated with me when I first watched it. It’s just a brief discussion of emotions by a minor hero of mine.


    • invivoMark

      Oh! I didn’t expect that to automatically embed. I hope that’s not getting in anybody’s way.

  • Randomfactor

    What they said. Asking for help if you need it is not a sign of weakness–it’s a sign of recognition that we’re all in this together.

    It’s a strength of the atheist community that like a church they’ll help their own.

    I note that your “send me to the poker tourney” appeal didn’t seem to go over well. This is completely different.