Care gave me back my life

Care gave me back my life
Blog Stories Care gave me back my life

I’m Holly, a Caring Across activist from Ohio, and the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion saved my life. I’m sharing my story here because it is critical that we all understand what’s at stake when politicians talk about repealing our health care safety net.

I own a small business helping non-profits with communications and fundraising. I’m a really hard worker, and I love what I do. But a couple years ago, depression, anxiety, and obsessive compulsive disorder nearly took it all — work, family, friends — away from me.

Luckily, because Ohio expanded Medicaid as part of implementing the ACA, when I hit rock bottom, alone and carless in a Cleveland winter, I walked through the sleet and the snow to get to the Free Medical Clinic of Greater Cleveland and was able to receive the care I needed. My recovery started that day.

The ACA, Medicaid, and Medicare are life-saving family supports for millions of us. And our Congressional representatives need to hear from each of us. They’ll be in their home districts next week, and I’ll be joining with thousands of others to tell this to my representative face-to-face. I need you to join with me and do the same with yours.

My increasing inability to function dealt a blow not only to my bank account and my livelihood — but also to my self-respect. I withdrew from my community and my volunteer work in the arts world. I felt like I was slipping out of society. Most painfully, my relationships with my loved ones — including my mom — crumbled. I was scared for my life, not just my livelihood.

I never had health insurance before the ACA, and now that’s how I afford the psychiatric care I need. It has given me the foundation on which to rebuild my life. I take medications now and also meet weekly with a psychoanalyst, who helps me continue my progress. And I do an enormous deal of work on my own to heal and grow.

This care not only saved my life, but also gave me back my life. Thanks to Medicaid, I am becoming the professional I want to be again — and the person I want to be again. I have faith in growing my business, not just keeping it alive.

I know I’m not the only one. We cannot afford to destroy and discard the ACA and Medicaid for the millions of people that will be denied care. For me, it would have meant discarding me right when I needed support the most.

I’ve told this to Congressional staffers over the phone as part of the Caring Across Phone-In Day of Action. I testified about it in Congress. And now I’m going to tell my representative face-to-face. Join with me and thousands of others as we tell our representatives face-to-face why they must protect our care.

Thanks to my treatment I’m on the road to regaining my earning potential and health coverage purchased through the exchange, and happily supporting Medicaid & Medicare through my tax dollars. I am proud to support these life-saving programs.