Last Wednesday I saw my psychiatrist, the one I’ve been meaning to fire. I went in and new exactly what I was going to say: treat my depression or else, and take me off a medication that puts me at higher risk for cardiac events. Things do not start off well. He asks me how I’m doing and I tell him that I’m not well. He says I can’t be that bad since I’m smiling and that’s the first time he’s seen me smiling. (Depressed people don’t smile?) I told him I’ve been “faking it until I make it.” He didn’t understand. What isn’t there to understand? I put on a happy face so I don’t look so sad and grumpy when out in public. I then got as specific as I could. I wanted things to stop. I didn’t want to die, I just wanted everything in the world and everything around me to stop. It was hard for me to give an example, but I gave the one that’s been bothering me most. Physical pain. When I said this, I was again dismissed and was told I’m not depressed due to bipolar depression, I am depressed because my pain is making me depressed. I always thought my pain increased while being depressed, and I’m being ignored.
I’m asking for help and I wasn’t getting it. I was told I needed to go on pain medications (opiates) because an antidepressant medication wouldn’t help me. I explained why I didn’t want to be on medication for pain and my reasons were dismissed. Besides side effects of constipation and lethargy, I was addicted to them years ago. I haven’t had any since April, and for the first four months of this year, I was taking them constantly. I went from 5mg every 8 hours to 10mg every 4 hours. I became dependent on them. I hated how they made me feel. My mom would “feed” them to me to make me shut up. I would fall asleep. Even recently, I’ve wanted to take one. I have a strong support system and when I had that feeling and I was desperate to take the pain away, I talked to my support system and they reminded me why “one” would be a bad idea.
I was being dismissed. Great. I didn’t think I would get the treatment I needed, which is why I came into the appointment knowing that it would be my last, effectively “firing” my psychiatrist. I talked about how even though my mania has been managed very well, I didn’t want to be on a medication that put me at higher risk for cardiovascular events. He said this wasn’t true, but I’m going to believe a pharmacist and the black box warning on the medication over this doctor who seems to be clueless. He asked me what I proposed. I told him. He obliged, to my surprise, to FINALLY put me on my treatment plan that had been working well for me before the whole “stuck in bed” period of time.
YES. It’s about damn time.
Before the appointment was over I let it slip that I moved and would be making my follow-up appointment with the other clinic, seeing a different doctor. My psychiatrist said he would be sad to not see me any longer. He said he’s seen a great improvement in my mood (??) and would miss dealing with a strong individual who goes after what they want. Well, yes. I’ve been doing that for the past few months and I guess it took that long for him to take me seriously? I’ve been asking for this treatment since day one and have been given every excuse why he wouldn’t help me.
Don’t back down. Pick your battles. (There have been many of them.) It’s why I thank my mom for teaching me such a great life lesson.