Today’s #SameHere Hero: @traci_pincus_lazzarini
Traci is an awesome human, simply put. She cares immensely about others. Hers is a story with a tremendous background in epigenetic and inherited predispositions that have manifested in many difficult challenges.
Her openness is awesome but perhaps my favorite part of this story is, how much she cares to help others, based on what she has learned. Her father, who is dealing with what we would call “mental injury” from his long battle with depression, needed an assisted living facility. Most facilities only take insurance for elderly folks when there is a “physical injury.” Well, Traci found a facility for her dad. She paid out of pocket for the first few months to make sure he got the treatment he needed, but she fought and found an agency (she loves and shares below) to help her to get her father’s facility covered by Medicaid.
Strong, proud, open, brave woman. Welcome Traci to the Heroes!
“Inherited predisposition for mental health complications are a big piece of my story. Everyone lives on a mental health continuum, where factors such as life experiences, lifestyle, chronic stress, and yes, genetics, add to the make-up of different types of mental health challenges at different levels at different times in our lives.
My father has clinical depression and my grandmother on my mother’s side had it as well. Therefore, I am genetically predisposed and have been overcoming the daily challenge of my condition. From the time I was 7 years old I can remember my mother having to take me with her on trips to Brooklyn for my father to go to the doctor. I later learned that they were ECT treatments (Electro-Convulsive-Therapy treatments, often referred to as “shock therapy.”.
When I am in a depressed episode from my condition, I isolate myself from all friends and all family. I do not laugh at the things that usually would make me laugh and I do not engage in my usual hobbies. I do not enjoy and embrace the things I usually do. I feel a lack of energy and lack of what I call ‘mental stamina.’
The summer after I graduated high school in 1993, at the age of 17, I knew that I wasn’t enjoying life and that my symptoms were strong and they were disrupting my quality of life. I explained them to my mother and she took me to a psychiatrist. I was relieved to know that their was actually a name what I had been feeling (or not feeling) these emotions, and a reason ‘why.’
Antidepressant medication and talk therapy have helped me but that’s not enough and I must continue to work on myself in other ways. Life doesn’t just stop – challenges continue to arise. Of course there are always days when the symptoms flare up because of these challenges.
After my mother passed away in 2014, a few years later my father attempted suicide several times. I didn’t know if an Assisted Living Facility would accept him being that he was not physically disabled. I did many long months of extensive research and applied for Medicaid to cover the monthly expenses of the Assisted Living Facility that he lived in. The lengthly application and tedious tasks took over 6 months to be approved and the first few months of his stay I had to pay the monthly fee, personally. What helps me feel better each day is to help other people with mental and physical disabilities because I understand the struggle.
Being that I was able to learn the lengthy and stressful procedures to ensure my father’s safety, I now volunteer for Long Island Family & Elder Care (LiFEC). They helped me with my father’s transition to New York Medicaid from Florida Medicaid. They are a qualified 501(c)(3) charitable organization that provides Home Care solutions that help the Disabled, Ill and Elderly remain in their home or find them a new place to call home. They help adults and children qualify for Long Term Medicaid and protect their assets and income. They provide services that help people stay in their home and save clients thousands of dollars per month on out of pocket expenses. You Can Too! They also work in the 5 boroughs. Call (516) 946-6070 for a Free Virtual Consultation. www.LIFEC.org Every time that someone says that I was able to help them and I raise awareness, I feel better for them and myself.
This is the first time that I went public with my story. Hopefully, other people who are challenged by mental health challenges will react by understanding that they are not alone and that often when it’s genetics that play a role, there is a reason WHY they are suffering and have their own #SameHere Story. Then they can find treatment for whatever challenges they are facing.”