In July 2015 I found myself in a really bad place mentally. I had once again hit the bottom of that deep dark hole that is mental illness. I found myself sitting on my couch bemoaning the fact that I couldn’t afford to get the help that I needed. Then, in a rare moment of clarity, I remembered an unusual way to combat anxiety I had been told by a therapist.
At first it seems simple and silly, but I assure you that whenever I have managed to use it my anxiety dimmed and a world of possibility opened up for me.
He suggested that instead of looking at life as a series of tests that you either pass or fail I should look at them as experiments. The beauty of an experiment is you can’t fail at it. It is true that you may not get the result you were expecting, however, it is never the wrong result.
How does this tie into my story?
Well, as I was sitting there I realized that, although I thought I couldn’t afford therapy, I had never actually asked what therapy costs! Imagine that! I had never inquired about it because I was so afraid to be told a price so exorbitant that I would be crushed even further. I decided to try an experiment.
The life changing experiment
I took a chance and emailed the old therapist. I asked him what it really did cost to see a decent “head shrinker”. I tried to remind myself that it was just an experiment and no matter what happened I would not really be any worse off. The results of my little experiment were shocking! He invited me in for a free consultation (as I found out most good therapists will do) to discuss my options.
It turns out there are many options out there for people with limited income:
The obvious solutions:
- Free therapists that are part of your health team (although there is often a long waiting list)
- EAP therapists through a workplace program (although you only get a limited number of visits)
- Councilors through a telephone help line (although you get a different person every call)
- The hospital emergency room (although usually this is a band-aid solution until you find someone else)
The not so obvious solutions:
- Church based counseling (Did you know you don’t always have to be part of the church to qualify?)
- Most therapists charge a sliding scale based on family income (It might not be as high as you think)
- Therapists in training (They have to get their practice somewhere, and are actively overseen by professionals)
- University and College Psychological services (All post secondary institutions have counselors available for students)
What happened with my experiment?
As luck would have it he had the perfect solution for me. He happened to have a Masters student starting with him who needed to build a teaching client base. She was able to see me for a significantly reduced rate that was actually affordable on my shoestring budget.
The results of that experiment were certainly not what I had expected. They in fact were radically different and for that I am forever grateful.
My challenge to you:
If you are out there struggling like I was and you think that there are no more options left to find help may I suggest that you try your own little experiments. Send out an email or two (because if you are like me the phone is too darned scary), the worst that can happen is you end up where you started.
Give the universe one more chance to amaze you!
When you try your experiment or if you even have an idea for one, let everyone know by leaving a comment below!