Friday, December 14, 2012

Guns, health care, and this country is stupid.

Today is gross. I swore I wouldn't be an obnoxious Henry James character of an ex-ex-pat -- one who constantly speaks about "how things are in Europe." I've found the cultural jetlag difficult, and I've never wanted to return to the comfort of Scotland more than today -- with the news of yet another tragedy in America.

I won't even go into the gun control issue, though I do hate guns with a passion, ever since my dad had to stay hidden in a walk-in refrigerator to keep away from a madman with a gun at his local pub, 17 years ago this month. One of his best friends -- a man who was already in a wheelchair --  was killed that day, and I'll never forget how my uncle called our house that afternoon and to ask where my dad was. I told him, innocently, that he was up at the bar. I've never been so thankful to not watch the news and never so thankful that my uncle did not tell me why he'd asked.

But despite gun control ... let's talk about mental health.

I've been quiet on the blog lately, mostly because I've been dealing with postpartum depression. How's that for airing my personal life? People don't talk about PPD enough and seeing Facebook posts from other new moms ooohing and aaaaahing over how their 'hearts overfloweth' and they've 'never felt so happy in their lives' only makes me feel worse -- more of a freak, for sure. I know it's normal, prevalent, and chemical, and I know I'll get over it.

I also know that America is THE WORST when it comes to getting mental health care.

And if I -- someone who is educated, pro-active, and wants to get happy (like Judy Garland says) -- can't find and certainly can't afford mental health care on my shitty individual health care policy, how in the world is someone who is severely mentally ill going to even be diagnosed? I would never have been diagnosed had it not been for my home health visitor -- yes, that's right, they send someone round to people's homes to check in on new mothers to look out for and treat just this type of mental issue. I'm quite sure I would have just dug a winter hole and cried myself to sleep every night not knowing what the hell was wrong with me.

Anyway, I don't want any pity here, I really don't.

I'm just sick to death over yet another school shooting. I truly believe things like this could be prevented with universal health care and a country that cares enough to help people who need help rather than making everyone fend for themselves.

You want to know about the cultural jetlag? For me, the American way-of-life of fighting-for-what-you-need hit us hard the minute we landed. I'm all for hard work and paying your share, but I do believe that things like health care should not be part of the fight. Just because you're poor doesn't mean you don't get sick. And if you're sick, it's really hard to be a good worker, much less a contributing member of society.


  1. Thank you, Brigid. I hope you get over the PPD soon.

    I've been echoing the same cries since my wife was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. I'm so tired of hospitals and threat letters... it almost makes you give up; America is a land in which the measure of a person's worth is based solely on how many pieces of green paper he or she has at any given time.

    1. So true! It was truly amazing to live in a land where health care was a given. It's amazing how much free time you have to concentrate on improving the world when you aren't constantly in a battle to figure out how to pay for basic checkups and such. It's also amazing to talk to the rest of the world and explain that I just paid $80 for a prescription for my son. They were in SHOCK that a baby's health would cost that -- that for the currently unemployed (as my husband and i both are), we would have to think twice before taking a sick baby to the doctor. It is INSANE.
      I hope your wife gets better soon. I'm sure you've heard many similar stories, but I have a few friends who have come through thyroid cancer rockin'. It's no fun, but it's highly curable. I'm sorry that it must be costing a fortune -- and even more sorry that money even comes into the equation when you're talking about your wife's health. THAT makes no sense at all.

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