Why Spending $250 Per Therapy Session Is Consistent With My FIRE Goals
I am not okay right now. I had several traumatic events occur in the last three weeks -- all unrelated and all completely unexpected. So combine this past month with my history of anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and PTSD, and I've been struggling to function, needless to say.
I've been out of therapy for a couple years, mostly because of my inability to find a qualified therapist I really clicked with. The last one I tried (for a solid several months) accepted my insurance, but also used my therapy sessions to bounce her disgusting hot takes on recently outed child abusers and whether they deserved to be "cancelled" with me. After I cut ties, I reached out to a few more therapists I found online who accepted my insurance, none of whom were accepting new patients. Eventually I faded out of therapy and had gone without for about two years.
I was doing relatively okay. Until I wasn't.
I knew I needed help right away to keep myself functional, employed, and safe.
I had a therapist in undergrad who I loved and saw weekly until I left the area for law school. At the time, she accepted insurance, but no longer. Her tab is $250 for a 45 minute session. I'll admit I hesitated, but not for long, before I decided resuming my sessions with her was 100% worth it. Yes, it's worth it for me, even at $5.50 per MINUTE.
So why did I do it? First, it's a cliche (I think), but health is wealth. I want to be financially independent with as healthy a body and mind as I can have. My goal is to maximize the joy and freedom available in my life, so neglecting my health is not the way to achieve that goal. Second, I needed help now. Frankly, I was/am in a crisis and needed to work with someone who already understood me and was qualified to address my unique medical needs. (I have a fairly complicated neurological history that impacts the treatment of my mental health.) I could not and cannot afford to wait to try to build a relationship with a new therapist I may or may not click with.
Ideally, I could keep therapy a short-term thing to get me through this crisis. Realistically, I know that's unlikely and probably not the best decision for my health. So instead of trying to get out as quickly as I can, I'm going to my work to push for increased mental health benefits, which means a healthcare plan that offers reimbursement for out-of-network care (many plans offer this; mine does not). I intend to bring it to my firm's diversity, equity, and inclusion committee, even if it means revealing information I shouldn't be, but am, embarrassed by, because an inclusive work environment means supporting employees who need mental healthcare. I feel particularly strongly about this because even though I can technically "afford" this pricey therapy without the reimbursement, the vast majority of staff, who make much lower wages than me cannot. We all deserve affordable mental healthcare.
So, in short, my $250 per session therapy is something I intend to continue. And it supports my FIRE goals because it keeps me healthy, alive, and joyful. It is an investment in the truest sense of the word. It is worth it even if it means having to work for money for a little bit longer.