Sick Note is ending for now
I’m writing today to let you know that Sick Note is ending for the foreseeable future.
As you might know if you’ve read for a while, my mental health has not been the same since my mum died last year. Please don’t worry about me—I am fine. I’m just not quite fine enough to do this newsletter as well as I want to. In fact, that’s a large part of the problem: If I hit a rough patch, the newsletter suffers, and that makes me feel bad, which makes the rough patch worse and longer. Being depressed makes it harder to do things, and the more I struggle, the more depressed I get.
I don’t like saying goodbye to this newsletter. I really wanted to make a living writing about the injustices of American healthcare, but I don’t think I can write regularly enough to justify charging for it. I’m not sure how to get out of this cycle—other than therapy, which, appropriately enough for this newsletter, is hard to find and afford in the United States—so I am quitting. I’m going to do nothing for as long as I can, and then figure out what to do next.
If you’re a subscriber, thank you so much for your support. I paused subscriptions a couple weeks ago, so you won’t be charged again. If I ever decide to go back to posting regularly, you’ll have ample notice before I turn subscriptions back on, and it will cost less; you can always unsubscribe if you don’t want to be charged ever again. (And if you want a refund, I totally get it; just email me.)
Here are some of my favorite Sick Note posts:
Beatrice Adler-Bolton on the horrific odyssey of getting Social Security Disability Insurance
The stupid bullshit involved in trying to get patients in drug addiction recovery on Medicaid and other programs
My argument that fuck-ups should get healthcare too
The hospice social worker, who helps dying patients and their families
My conversation with Rachael Bedard, on the horrible task of securing a dignified death for the incarcerated
Bernie Sanders’ brother, who rules
The DC woman whose moldy public housing made her sick
What I really wanted to do with Sick Note is record people’s experiences with the healthcare system, and I still believe that is both valuable and especially suited to this format. In particular, the minor-seeming administrative bullshit that so often stands in the way of obtaining care doesn’t appear in a lot of healthcare coverage in major media outlets. Journalists understandably focus on big, clear examples of policy failures—that’s just how the news media works. Yet a lot of the time, something as simple as a missed letter or an insufferable customer service phone tree can lead to catastrophic losses of healthcare down the road. It’s hard to write a compelling story about those, but it’s also sometimes the most significant part of someone’s story.
I hope I’ll get back to telling those stories. After a break, I’ll try to post every now and then. But I think I’ll be better at it if I’m not trying to make it my job.
Thanks for reading, subscribing and sharing these posts along the way. I can’t tell you how much it’s meant to me. I hope we’ll see each other again soon.