Time Limit on Mental Health Recovery

Why does mental health recovery have a time limit? It’s one of the things that bugs me the most. Many people put into therapy get 4-6 weeks of therapy and then they are cast out into the world again. Some people get 12 weeks if they are lucky, but that seems to be the maximum. Why is it that mental illness comes with such a limit?

Would we treat a cancer patient and say well you’ve got so many weeks of chemo, but after that you’re on your own? Or tell someone who is recovering from something like a stroke that they have 12 weeks to rehabilitate and then off they go to do it themselves? I don’t think so. Why is it okay with mental health? It’s just as debilitating as any other illness. The difference is, is that it can’t be seen.

The reason from my rant today comes from my own experience. When I had taken an over dose those few weeks ago and gone to my doctor after the hospital had discharged me and for the first time I said to someone that I think my thoughts are wrong. I need some help, did I get some and felt relieved.

I was assigned a therapist. I have had therapists before and for various reasons either I didn’t stick or my time was up. This time I tried to give everything I had. I tried to be honest about how I was feeling. I even showed him my many self-harm episodes across my skin. tumblr_mjvm92IrOr1s8qsclo1_500

It was heart-breaking to hear at my last sessions that I only have three left. His manager said I could have 14 sessions. I’ve done 11 so far, because I needed so much, but that’s it for me. I feel let down again. I feel lost again. I keep hearing those words in my head and it makes me upset.

I am not a stupid person, but I am an ill person. I don’t understand how the doctors can say to someone who –

Who is suicidal and has tried many times before.

Who self-harms almost daily (although at the moment it’s been 8 days)

Who has flashbacks, sometimes so bad he has to leave the house.

Who suffers disassociation and often doesn’t know if he is a real person.

Who has BPD and breaks down and wants the world to end at something as simple as a cancelled lunch date.

Who suffers DDNOS and flits between different parts of himself at different ages because he is fragmented.

How can someone with so much to recover from be told they have 14 weeks and then they’re on their own again.

No wonder people don’t tend to get better. You can’t put a time limit on recovery from anything. That includes mental health.


6 thoughts on “Time Limit on Mental Health Recovery

  1. James, you have addressed something so important in this post. In the USA, our insurances usually cover 25 visits a year. That means only one every other week for most people. Most therapists will use more in the beginning; one or more a week, and then taper off as the visit number remaining dwindles. I am blessed that my recovery this time has gone well. But at other times, I was adrift for months until the next year and 25 more visits were available. There is such a stigma to mental health in many ways. This is just one example of how we don’t treat it as a “real” illness. As a side note, for physical therapy in the US, the therapist is in charge of the number of visits, but they have to have a good reason to ask for an extension as they are supposed to be qualified to guesstimate the number of visits needed up front.

  2. Well said, James. And all too true.
    Unfortunately, this world and everything in it, depends upon money. It is the deciding factor of most everything; who gets the help they need, and who does not. This includes our physical, and mental health, and sometimes, even life or death.
    There is nothing that money doesn’t affect. I am sorry that you have become another casualty of that sad, and shameful fact.
    One can only hope that the therapy that you have had, and the knowledge that you have attained through your studies, your research and your own experiences, will be enough to get you through until there is another avenue of help.
    Until then, I hope that in those times where you feel alone, where hope seems unattainable, and when those demons rear their ugly heads, that you will remember, and embrace, that you are not, nor will you ever be, alone. Sometimes knowing that, can also be a deciding factor… a good one. I hope it is for you.
    Love you.
    ~ Hugs ~

  3. Yes, and unfortunately, these are the times when we realise there is something dreadfully wrong with society and the way it works. 😦 I’m very sorry for people’s blindness and just plain stupidity.

  4. It bothers me that there is a time limit put on mental health “recovery”. For those of us with clinical depression, as well as other disorders, there is no “getting better” or “cure”. We will have these disorders for the rest of our lives.

    I didn’t realize that so many insurances and companies put such a strict limit on therapy. I realize I am lucky that my insurance will cover up to two visits a week every week for the year so long as my therapist can prove I still need to see him. We took a month long “break” to see how I would do, but it didn’t work out. I was back in there as soon as I could be and am on a weekly schedule now, going up to twice a week and/or seeing my psychiatrist as well when my depression gets really bad or I self harm. I wish everyone had this same opportunity as I have had.

      • Insurance companies need to have a panel of mental health disease patients who vote on how long they should cover treatment, and they need to poll mental health agencies on how long the average patient stays with them and adjust accordingly. I’ll likely be with my therapist for the rest of my life (ok, not the same therapist because he is older than I am) because I have more issues going on than my abuse. I’ll be with my psychiatrist for the rest of my life as well because after my third antidepressant that my primary healthcare doctor prescribed, she informed me that she could no longer help me and I needed to see a specialist. Someone with cancer is covered from start to finish of their treatment, same with people who have chronic physical illnesses. Why can’t people with mental health diseases get the same respect?

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