When did trying to access my own medical records become an epic saga?

Ok,  so I guess the majority of people applying for disability for mental health reasons might have issues with seeing their records, but I don’t.  It’s frustrating that they don’t take it on a case by case basis. I finally got the call that my disc was ready for pick-up. The caveat: someone has to go with me because they will not release my records directly to me. They fear that seeing the records will “negatively impact my mental health”. I also had to agree that I would not look at them alone. I tried to tell the woman that my professional background is in mental health, and I am well aware of what is expected to be in the records. I told her I was aware of some stuff that may be considered “disturbing” to a client, but that I knew the information in the files. I just wanted a copy for myself so I can better coordinate my care… I didn’t mention that the only reason I was trying to get the information from them was because I would likely have to pay each provider upwards of $100 for copies (I have quite am extensive history with many, many, many hospitalizations during two very difficult episodes). That cost alone would most likely total over $1k. I don’t have that kind of cash for living expenses, forget about that kind of disposable cash. The SSA provides records for free to the disabled individual (though they charge $10 to anyone else that may request them). I want my records. I want to have something to be able to prove to a provider that what I say has merit (sad that my word has none).
The woman over the phone asked if I knew what I had applied for disability under. When I rattled off my most recent diagnoses, she asked in her best “I’m talking to a 7-year-old” voice if I knew what that meant… I tried not to laugh at her as I again said my professional background was in mental health. I knew exactly what my diagnoses meant. She then reminded me that it would be better if someone came with me to pick up the records. She said she would leave a note that they could be handed directly to me, but if I wanted to avoid a hassle, I should have someone else there. Thanks lady. Thanks…
I’m reminded again why I hate mental health services in this state, and why the stigma infuriates me. One day, I will work to dispel it… but for now, I’ll settle with educating individuals when I have the energy. (And I will patiently hold my breath to get back up North where services are less patronizing and more accessible)…


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