Depression

fotolia_42927929_subscription_monthly_xxlOn December 31, 2016, I lost my health insurance. Ever since June of 2016, I have been fighting with the Social Security Administration to appeal their decision that I am no longer medically disabled.

Losing the insurance has led to me being unable to get several of my medications, which led to my depression worsening. The depression progressed to the point where on January 20, 2017, I attempted suicide. I took a couple extra of two of my medications then realized shortly after what I was doing and understood that the thoughts I was experiencing were not healthy, and I would be letting someone else win. Therefore, I went to the Emergency Department at the University Hospital.

At the hospital, I was evaluated and observed for several hours. They were not able to prescribe new anti-depressants to see a psychologist. Thus, they set up an appointment, and I went on my way.

The depression did not just go away. The following Sunday, I went to the National Institutes of Health in Maryland.

At the NIH, my depression was made worse because the NIH had not updated their records and still had me listed by my old name. And at the security gate, they printed my pass with that old name, and I had to explain that yes that was me.

Furthermore, when I signed in at the clinic, I had to sign in using the old name. When the nurse called, me she called me “Mr. Covington.” I was humiliated as I walked up to the nurse and she told me that no she was looking for a “Mr. Covington” and that she wanted to know where “he” was.

I was forced to stand there in the lobby and try to inform her that I was indeed the patient. She just stood there looking me up and down before she had me follow her to a room where she became defensive while asking me to show her my ID, which of course said Mika Jayne which is the legal name. This led to more questions and a terrible attitude from the nurse.

Throughout my time at the NIH I was called by male pronouns even after I asked them to call me by female pronouns. Some even went out of their way to be loud when talking to me about why the system still has the old name.

Therefore, my depression and gender dysphoria were made even worse, and while I was there, I had suicidal thoughts again.

I previously loved going out to the NIH. I loved flying and going to a beautiful city. This time I was feeling angry and even hurt throughout most of the visit. This led to an emotional breakdown at the final appointment with the whole team and the nurse I had been seeing since I was an infant.

synergy-research-centers-major-depressive-disorder-infographicRecently, I have been seen by a psychologist who diagnosed me with major depressive disorder (MDD). According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V), MDD presents with depressed mood or a loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities for more than two weeks and impaired function in social, occupational, and educational activities. Additionally, MDD is a significant mental health condition that can affect every aspect of life.

I am not proud of my suicidal actions, but I know that mental health care is important and I know that it is not easy to just deal with it without help. My advice is to seek help and if you are having suicidal thoughts go to the nearest Emergency Department. You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or call the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386.

Do you want to help fight for mental health care? Then, here are some ways to help out. Call your U.S. Representative and Senators to tell them you support the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Currently, the Trump administration and Congressional Republicans want to repeal the healthcare law. Keeping the ACA is important for mental health and substance abuse treatment as one of 10 “essential benefits” that health plans must include. It also included a ban on excluding people with pre-existing conditions.

Speak out, call and write your Reps and Senators tell them to support health care.

Call your Rep or Senator here: HouseSenate

 

I really liked this video and how depression feels, it is not PG.

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Join the Resistance!

The U.S., a standard-bearer of democracy for the world, has become a ‘flawed democracy,’ as popular confidence in the functioning of public institutions has declined – Democracy Index.

If you ask me, I think that we are quickly falling into a fascist state run by an authoritarian President.

Week one of Trump’s rule is full of lies about the total number of attendees at his crowning, supposed “voter fraud” and attacking the media for calling him out. He also proceeded in deleting White House website pages on civil rights, the LGBTQIA+ community, climate change, and persons with disabilities. He even demanded a list of all who worked to combat climate change and recently told top State Department officials to leave.

Within the first week, he signed many harmful executive orders including authorization to build a U.S. – Mexico border wall; stripping federal money from sanctuary cities; reinstating local and state immigration enforcement; reviving the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines; one that would expedite environmental permitting processes for infrastructure projects; an order imposing a hiring freeze on the federal government; an order that directs federal agencies to ease “regulatory burdens” of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Additionally, with the Republican-controlled Congress Trump’s cabinet appointees seem to be gliding through the Senate. Further, it appears that their major achievement, the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is at full speed ahead. Repeal efforts have already passed in the Congress, by a vote of 51-48 in the Senate and by 227-198 in the House.

Let me repeat what will happen if the ACA is repealed. It would mean that 57 million senior citizens and disabled Americans with Medicare would see higher premiums and deductibles. Repeal would increase Medicare spending by $802 billion over the next ten years, according to estimates by the Congressional Budget Office. Repeal would also take Medicaid away from nearly 17 million people.

Next up for the Republicans and Trump could be your civil rights. For example, rounding up an entire ethnic group and deporting them or reinstating “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” or passing a federal marriage ban.

If we look specifically at Iowa, LGBTQIA+ people have a lot to lose, for instance, the amended civil rights code that includes sexual orientation and gender identity, the Iowa Safe Schools law, and adoption rights.

So, what can we do about this!?

Join the resistance! Join local organizations that are fighting back. Join the Democratic Party in their fight against this fascist administration.

Hold campaigns are calling and writing your government representative be it local, state, or federal. Hold sit-ins at their offices. Demand answers for why they are supporting this administration and their actions. If your representative is fighting with you, thank them and encourage them to fight on.

Just do something!

Go here to join Our Revolution: https://ourrevolution.com/
Go here to join Organizing for Action: https://www.ofa.us/
Go here to join Planned Parenthood: https://www.plannedparenthood.org/get-involved
Go here to join the National Organization of Woman: http://now.org/
Go here to join the ACLU: https://www.aclu.org/
Call your Rep or Senator here: HouseSenate

Remember one of the best Presidents in U.S. history

and something to make us laugh

Effects of Repeal

aca-imageThe Senate has passed the first step of repealing the Affordable Care Act on a vote of 51-48, and the House did the same by a vote of 227-198. This first phase included a budget blueprint that includes the repeal.

Democrats in Congress fought this budget blueprint and even tried to pass amendments which would allow imports of prescription drugs from Canada. However, some Democrats for whatever reason voted down that amendment. Amendments that would protect rural hospitals and ensure the continued access to health insurance for people with pre-existing conditions (The New York Times).

Specifically, repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would mean that 57 million senior citizens and disabled Americans with Medicare would experience higher premiums and deductibles. Repeal would also increase Medicare spending by $802 billion over ten years, according to estimates by the Congressional Budget Office.

With the repeal of the ACA, companies would no longer have to keep young adults on their parents’ plans until they turn 26. Additionally, with repeal employers would be allowed to impose annual or lifetime limits on benefits and caps on out-of-pocket spending. Further, insurers could ban works with a pre-existing condition or ask them to pay more. Even further, with repeal insurers could charge a woman more than men just because of their gender. Repeal would also take Medicaid away from the nearly 17 million people who gained access because of the ACA (CNN).

Repeal of the law would result in the number of uninsured people to rise by 24 million by 2021. It would also mean the increase of State spending on health care by $68.5 billion, according to the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

Therefore, repeal of the ACA is costly, and we will leave millions of Americans without health insurance. We must stand up against this Republican attack on health care in America.

I am one of the Americans who benefits from the ACA because I live with a pre-existing condition, cystinosis. The disease is a rare orphan disease that causes the amino acid cystine to accumulate in the cells, and it slowly damages my organs including the kidneys, liver, thyroid, eyes, lungs muscles, and brain.

If the ACA is repealed, I will suffer. I may not be able to access health insurance to cover my care and prescription drugs. Without it, I would never be able to pay for many of my medications because of the high costs.

The ACA is a significant step forward, and we must fight to protect it. However, even with it one of my medications, Procysbi costs over $75,000 for a 30-day supply. That is just one medication not including the 28 other medications I am taking.

We must do more, but first, we must defend the ACA from Republican attacks.

Join me in calling, writing, and visiting our Congressional Reps. and Senators to tell them to stand up for Americans and vote down any repeal effort.

Call your Rep or Senator here: House, Senate

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Defend the ACA

It has been six years since the passing of the Affordable Care Act, and it is working. Because of the ACA, Americans have access to benefits like free preventive care and more coverage for prescription drugs; young adults can stay on their parents’ plans until they are 26; no lifetime limits on their insurance; and no unfair costs for women, or denials based on pre-existing conditions.

I am one of the Americans who benefits from the ACA because I live with a pre-existing condition, cystinosis. I was diagnosed with cystinosis around the age of 10 months old. The disorder is a rare orphan disease that causes the amino acid cystine to accumulate in the cells, it slowly damages my organs including the kidneys, liver, thyroid, eyes, lungs muscles, and brain.

Additionally, because of the ACA insurance companies cannot force lifetime caps on how much they are willing to pay.

If the ACA is repealed, I will suffer. I may not be able to access health insurance to cover my care and prescription drugs. Without it, I would never be able to pay for my prescription drugs because of the high cost, which is a challenge we are still faced with.

The ACA is a significant step forward, and we must fight to protect it. However, even with it one of my medications, Procysbi costs over $75,000 for a 30-day supply. That is just one drug, not including the other 28 medications that I am on.

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We must do more, but first, we must defend the ACA from Republican attacks.

Join me in calling, writing, and visiting our Congressional Reps and Senators to tell them to stand up for Americans and vote down any repeal efforts.

Join one of these events to Save Health Care: Council Bluffs, Des Moines, Cedar Rapids
Call your Rep or Senator here: House, Senate

Moving Forward

Hello Fellow Democrats,

Today, I am dropping out of the race for Vice-Chair of the Iowa Democratic Party.

I jumped into the race for Vice-Chair because I wanted to grow, heal, and strengthen the Democratic Party. I wanted to give back to the party that has fought for my civil rights and fights for health care for all.

This doesn’t mean that I am going to end my work within the party to help build it and heal it. It just means that I am going to focus on other areas.

For instance, we must heal the wounds within our party from the 2016 primary; otherwise, we won’t be able to fight the Republicans in 2018.

Yes, we are a diverse party with people on different points on the political spectrum, and we must recognize that the bottom line is that we are all Democrats. The Democratic Party is a Big Tent and that includes political ideology, from being progressive to moderate. Let’s recognize that and move on.

Nevertheless, to move forward and come together we must listen to everyone and hear their concerns even if we don’t agree with them. We must give everyone a seat at the table. We must acknowledge what their concerns are and act where necessary. We must work together to empower new people and especially young people.

Additionally, I only see us succeeding if we work together as a team, meaning that our leadership must work with one another to accomplish the party’s goals and they must be there for one another to lean on. We cannot expect one person to do it all alone.

An essential part of that team I think is the relationship between labor and the party. I believe that we need as a party to continue to stand up against trade policies like TPP and future NAFTA-like agreements. Free trade is not fair if it throws our workers under the bus and we need to make that clear as a party.

Moving into the next election season, we must work together to rebuild our party and remember that our county parties are vital to our successes.

Furthermore, Constituency Caucuses play a major role in the Democratic Party, and they should be given more support to fulfill their duties. They also should be our first connection to the communities that they represent. Thus, going forward, I will make it a priority of mine in whatever compacity to make sure that the Constituency Caucuses have a voice and are being heard.

I want to continue to fight for a better future, and the only way to do that is through a strong united Democratic Party. I don’t want just to talk about it; I want to do something about it.