Tag Archives: mental-health

Why Insurance Problems Don’t End After Recovery

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After having my daughter, I immediately began to plan for her future and saving for her education.  Being the planner that I am, I also created a will and starting searching for good life insurance companies so that if anything ever happened to me, she would be taken care.  That’s all we want for our children isn’t it?  To be taken care of?  After spending time of the interest requesting quotes and talking to representatives who assured me that the process would be easy, I felt confident that as a healthy person, I would be able to obtain life insurance for my daughter.  But I was wrong, and the result has let me to fight even harder for insurance coverage for those who suffer and have suffered for eating disorders.  After hours spent on the phone with the insurance company, going over my health history, being as honest as I could be (as an attorney’s daughter, I’m well aware of the implications of lying to the insurance company about your health history), I was ready for the physical exam.  When the nurse stopped by my house, after cooing at my young daughter she let me know that she would submit the information to the insurance company and added that I seemed  like a healthy individual and wished me the best.

After a follow-up call from the insurance company letting me know that my application was being processed, I played the waiting game only to walk out to my mail box a few weeks later to find a letter from the company denying my request.  Their reasoning? To quote the letter exactly “Your history of depression, anxiety and an eating disorder.”   Even after the denial the insurance company kept calling me to follow-up with me.  I “kindly reminded” them that they had denied me and on what basis.  Thier response?  “That doesn’t seem like something we would deny coverage on.”  My response.  “Well apparently you do.”

As devastated as I was I surely thought that if I called another company I would get different results…again a few weeks after the physical exam I received a denial letter stating “We are denying your request for life insurance based on your history with depression, anxiety and an eating disorder.”

At this point I’m beyond frustrated but after talking with my dad and venting my frustrations that I only wanted my daughter to be taken care of, he suggested I approach an insurance agent.  I did and after meeting with him and disclosing everything regarding what has transpired with previous life insurance companies.  He told me that he would call around, make the companies aware of my history and see if he could find someone to provide coverage.  Needless to say I was hopeful when he told me that he had a company who said despite my past history of “depression, anxiety and an eating disorder,” they would review my information.  After a 2 hour phone conversation with the representative, I awaited to schedule my physical exam.  But the physical exam never happened.  As I took my daughter for a walk one afternoon, I checked my mail box; in it was a letter from the insurance company denying my request for life insurance–wait for it–“based on your disclosed history of depression, anxiety and an eating disorder.”

Really?  Do all of these companies have the same person writing their denial letters?  After talking to my insurance agent he informed me that this particular company told him that I should contact them in another five years.  Short answer.  No.

After all I have accomplished in my recovery, after all I have worked for and all of the hope that I have seen this was like taking a dagger to the heart.  Because the coverage is not for me, it is not for my benefit, it is to assure that my daughter will be taken care of is something ever happens to me.

The reality is I know I am not the only one who has received denial after denial from life insurance companies, my story is not unique.  As advocates we need to remind our leaders that denial is not just happening when you struggle with an eating disorder or any other mental health issue, it’s happening after you recover.

I’m still hopeful that I will be able to obtain life insurance for my daughter.  And I will continue to fight for better insurance coverage for those who suffer with eating disorders.  Again, my story is not unique, it’s just one of many.

Yup, I Still Struggle Sometimes

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I know what my mom is thinking as she reads this title…”Just sometimes?”  Okay mom, noted. Yes, it is true I have been in recovery for well over two years but I am not recovered.  There are still days where I fight the urge to revert back to my old ways, jump back into that relationship with my old boyfriend ED, it was comfortable after all despite all the abuse, oh and the fact that he almost killed me.  Actress Demi Lovato admitted in a recent radio interview in London as well as a mini-documentary on MTV,  the she still struggles with body image and self injury after treatment.  The truth is this, there is no special potion or fairy dust that is sprinkled over you when you enter treatment for an eating disorder, you have to work and work hard if you want to recover.  It’s not going to be easy, and some days it won’t feel worth it.  There were many mornings when I woke up and felt like this…

 

But I had to get out of bed anyway.  I had to wake up, get dressed and follow my meal plan and work on recovery for one more day.  The biggest obstacle to my recovery was my pregnancy, well actually after my pregnancy.  You see pregnant women, even very pregnant women, or overly pregnant women in my case (I went a week and a day over my due date) are viewed as beautiful and why shouldn’t you be, you are carrying and nurturing a life inside of you!  But after the baby is born, then the pressure is on to get off that weight that you put on during pregnancy and get it off fast!  I mean Heidi Klum was on the runway five weeks (yeah that’s right five weeks) after giving birth for the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in her underwear!  My postpartum body was so foreign feeling to me.  Like most new moms, I spent the first few months in sweat pants, or leggings hoping I could avoid everyone I saw because I know they would be looking at me and judging my body rather than the beautiful child I have just given birth to right?  There were nights that I sat rocking my daughter to sleep and refuse to put her down in her bassinet for the night because I knew the moment I would put her down I would revert back to my old behavior again to speed up the post-baby weight loss the best way I knew how, my eating disorder behaviors.  When my mom would come over and point out that my cabinets were empty I would give the excuse that I was a busy single mom that didn’t have time to grocery shop.  And on a trip to look for a dress for a friend’s wedding I was attending, I was so horrified with the body that stared back at me from the mirrors placed so conveniently throughout the store that I sent a text to a friend and mentor that read “I hate this body, I just want to go back to ED” and I did, I was ready that night to give up everything that I had worked so hard for and go back to the life that I knew so well.  Her reply (which came in the form of a note on Facebook) said “But your body loves YOU” and reminded me that I hated my body when I had my eating disorder and going back to my eating disorder would only cause more disdain for my body.  What I have learned in my recovery–and from that Facebook note–is that my body is not broken down into “pretty” parts and “ugly” parts they are all just parts and they serve a purpose.  Without a HEALTHY body I would not have been able to have the  beautiful daughter that I hold in my arms today.   If I still had my eating disorder I wouldn’t be able to chase her around and giggle and play and find excitement in the little things of everyday life because my life wouldn’t be consumed by her, it would still be consumed by my eating disorder.  Yet there are days where I am unkind to my body, days where the images that I see on television or in a magazine have me comparing myself, days that I asked my mom if she thinks I look fat.  On those days I remind myself what my body has done for me and what it has allowed me to do for myself and then instead of looking at my body with disdain…I take a step back and with deep gratitude tell my body “thank you.”

So if today you are looking in the mirror and pointing out all the things that are wrong with your body, back aware from the mirror, get out a notebook, and write what you are thankful to your body for!