THE SHRINK (PART I)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

At any given time, I could sit and write a blog post (That is if that time wasn't already taken up with a million other things). An event will take place, inspiration will strike, or a melt down will occur and I will think, "I need to blog about that." Sometimes I have so many thoughts in my head at once that I avoid writing a post all together. Just this morning I started a post and now it's 6 p.m. and I've deleted that one and started this one. That's how quickly my mind races from thought to thought, idea to idea. Somewhere between this morning and now, the first post became all wrong....not good enough. I'm kind of an all or nothing person.

My house is either really clean or a complete disaster; I'm either full on make-up/hair done mode or a homeless person look-a-like; I eat uber healthy and exercise every day or I don't do either for long periods of time. And if I am doing one of the above well, it's a safe bet I'm falling short in the other mentioned areas.

I've always brushed off this all or nothing life style as a quirky personality trait, but in reality, it's not normal. Normal, a word I hate but I'm using for a lack of a better term, is staying on top of most household chores, exercising a few days a week, eating moderately well, not letting mail stack up longer than a few days, etc. etc. I'm not talking about perfection, but I am referring to a fairly consistent way of life.

Now, let's set aside the above while we go back in time a few years to the first time I ever took any medication for my depression, anxiety, and all that crap...

I had a baby, a toddler, and a husband always gone working hard on building his business. I was constantly overwhelmed. We had a family friend who was a doctor. He was kind, knowledgeable, and trustworthy. He listened to my problems and I asked him to prescribe me an Rx for my "issues". He prescribed me something that helped for years. I still struggled with symptoms, but they were largely muted...for the most part, manageable. I will always be thankful for this Rx and my friend. In January I changed meds, went through a nightmare, and now I am off medication except to help me sleep (To be brought up to speed on said nightmare...click HERE).

My point is that I'd never been to a psychiatrist, had a psychiatric evaluation, or seen a therapist. I've only ever relied on doctor friends, and recently my primary care physician. I guess, in a way, I've been self diagnosing and my doctors have been inclined to agree with me. But when my waking nightmare occurred, all of this changed.

When I was in the midst of this enormous challenge a few weeks ago (it feels like a life time ago) I was desperate and called to set up an appointment with a psychiatrist and therapist (At this particular practice they require you meet with a therapist first then the therapist refers you to one of their psychiatrists). By the time they got back to me to set up a visit, I was feeling much better. My PCP had prescribed something that actually helped me sleep and I went off the medications that must not be named (unless you write to me and ask me about them:).

I'm ashamed to say I felt above going to a psychiatrist and/or therapist. I felt like I didn't need that. It some how felt too drastic. But, I immediately chastised myself. I said, "Self, there is nothing wrong with seeing a psychiatrist or therapist. In fact, it's smart and you're a big dumbie for not doing it sooner. Think about the nightmares you could have avoided if you would have spoken to psychiatric professionals sooner."


I'm a pretty good guilt tripper and made myself set up the appointments even though I felt awkward about it (Yeah, I know...I write a public blog about this stuff, but I felt awkward...whatever...).

Well people, I went for my visits and they have given me a lot to think about. I want to share my thoughts with you, but I think this post has gone on long enough. Stayed tuned until tomorrow to read all about my visit to...dun, dun, dun...The Shrink.
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3 comments:

  1. Hey Jody,
    I have those 'I should blog about that' moments all the time. Normally at very inconvenient moments (while jogging, cooking dinner, on a train, in the supermarket..) and by the time I get around to writing I've either forgotten what I was going to say or got so many questions it doesn't make sense.

    Looking forward to your next post about visiting the 'Shrink' having seen a few and training in that direction myself. I really hope that writing about it/and the event itself are positive events for you.

    Thank you for writing, even in your very busy days! Take care lovely.

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  2. Jo, I too relied entirely on general practice docs to prescribe me my depression and anxiety and sleep meds for well about 8 years. Once one stopped working, they'd switch me to the latest greatest anti-depressant, would raise my anxiety med dosages and prescribed me a few different narcotics for unexplainable pain and for my back pain I was actually convinced that a very invasive surgery would "cure" me so I had a breast reduction and just 5 months later needed to have a hysterectomy b/c of pelvic organ prolapse(which just sky rocketed my hormonal imbalances. I had been on EVERY single anti depressant on the market just within 8 years and when moving here to OR was on an extremely high dose of a benzodiazapine which shall remain nameless unless you msg me and wanna know. I FINALLY found a PCP here in Oregon that said "Jen, you have been shoved from med to med by general practice docs without ever being evaluated for anything...let's get all of this figured out the correct way and it sounds like your pain could be caused by something called fibromyalgia which also causes depression and anxiety." Within 6 months I saw a sleep specialist and had 2 sleep studies done and was diagnosed with obstructive airway sleep apnea, and also a rare sleep disorder called alpha wave intrusion (very common in fibromyalgia sufferers) I saw a rheumatologist who took blood and scans and was diagnosed with moderate osteoarthritis. I saw a fibromyalgia specialist who confirmed my dx of fibro and reviewing my medical history concluded that I've been suffering from the disease since 2006 (which looking back makes complete sense) and I saw a psychiatrist who diagnosed me with bipolar II (different than regular BP disorder), General Anxiety Disorder and Complex PTSD (different than the conventional PTSD), and last but not least saw a urogynocologist who dx'd me with PFD (pelvic floor disfunction). My PCP, myself and all these many docs is what it took to get me the proper dx's, the proper meds and the proper therapies including Physical Therapy. Even though I am very busy with medical appointments I feel very blessed to have insurance to be able to make all of this possible and I no longer feel like a guinea pig at the mercy of one doctor who is pressured by pharmaceutical companies to throw drugs at me they aren't sure are going to work b/c they just aren't experts in the many different fields I needed. It's unlikely that I'll ever be med free for any of my conditions but that's ok with me and it's ok with God (it took a long amount of years for Him to get that threw my thick skull). What makes it alright is that it's no longer a shot in the dark w/ everything. There are real dx's and the medications work fairly well for all of them! So I'm so glad even though there is still a stigma attached to psychiatric care and especially being diagnosed with a form of bipolar disorder...I'm so thankful that I now have one!!! And I'm not ashamed of any of my dx's. The only way stigmas and taboos are removed from peoples mind is for us to be open about it and let them see that we too are people and lead functional somewhat "normal" lives! I love you and your honesty and your willingness to blog to educate people!!!

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  3. Hi
    This is the first time I visit your blog. Loved this post especially, because it related to me in a odd way. I´ve been to three shrinks. The first time I went I felt really embarrassed and hardly dared speaking to her. But it helped a lot, at the same time I got my first experience with antidepressants.

    The next one was years later, I was having a serious relapse and felt I needed to get out of it. The women I had spoken to didn´t work as a clinical psychologist anymore so I asked around (on the internet, don´t want people to know I am crazy). I spoke to him and it helped but yet again I held back.

    The third one. Well I had a terrible lifethreatining episode a few months ago. After weeks even months om immense stress, lack of sleep, sadness and anger I felt that I´d had enough, I was alone in my living room, my husband and daughter sleeping. I couldn´t sleep, I was crying, every hurtful moment, every rejection, every failure that has been a part of my life became vivid in my mind. I put on a television show but couldn´t watch, tried to read impossible, walked back and forth in the living room. I was terrible scared and upset the whole time, thinking my life had been and would be a constant struggle. I thought about jumping off the balcony and then it hit me. I had pills, parazetamoles, I took loads of them, thinking I will fall asleep for sure and if I die so be it. I didn´t fall a sleep, I felt nauseus and terrified. I woke my husband up who got scared, he called me an ambulance. At the hospital the gave me medicin coals, checked my heart rate etc. I was physically fine. The next day I was told I needed to see a psychiatrist. She talked to me, prescribed sleeping pills and antidepressants and advised me to see a therapist.

    I felt like such a moron, my shrink (nr. 2 ) was practicing far away, I had moved and I don´t have a car anymore, don´t need one live close to a city center and can walk to work. I started searching again, this time only using the phone book. I found someone I like and has her practice in my neighborhood great, but I always have the same dilemma I can not be completely honest, I don´t want her to think I am crazy. Anyway I am not seeing her anymore and she thinks I am fine.

    Anyway this is your blog. Good luck with everything.

    ps. started blogging my self yesterday and am now looking for good blogs on depression and anxiety.

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