I enter the lobby of a small waiting room. I check in with the receptionist and pay my fee in advance of my appointment. Why does psychiatric care cost so much? I literally work to pay for my mental health care.
The waiting room is empty, so I choose the chair that I usually sit in, the one by the stairs. It’s where I have an unobstructed view of the whole waiting room. I quietly scroll through Pinterest on my cellphone. I find a silly ecard: “You can exercise all you want. You’re never going to burn off crazy.” It makes me laugh under my breath, that’s so me! I needed the humor because my nerves are getting the best of me.
I check my purse for the third time to ensure that I have my paperwork. Today, I am meeting with a new psychiatrist as my doctor is on maternity leave. With the recent rapid cycling (having four or more episodes of mania and depression in a year) that I’ve experienced I am unable to go without psychiatric care throughout the duration of my doctor’s leave. In preparation for the appointment, I went through the painstaking task of documenting my life’s history via a three page, single spaced, narrow margin document. When you take a step back and look at your life and all that you have been through, it can kind of rocks your socks a bit.
It’s nerve wracking to meet with a new doctor. To recount your life history is one aspect, but you are interacting with a stranger when you are open and raw. What are their credentials? Who are they? Can they be trusted?
Questions are running through my head… How should I act? Can I curse? I must make sure I don’t talk too fast or she’ll assume I’m manic? But can’t be too solemn because she’ll think I’m depressed. What if she wants to change all my medications? Will I be able to trust? What if she leads me astray?
Then the moment of truth, she comes out and greets me. She has a warm smile, I slightly relax. I sit on the long black sofa that faces her walnut finish desk. She sits across from me in her office chair, looks at me and smiles.
Much to my surprise she accepts my request to remove a medication that I feel is non-effective and then provides me an alternate medication in place of my base medication. This new medication has less side effects and is new on the market with impressive results from the studies that were done.
So, what do I do? I hate my medication, so do I jump ship and try something else? Take the risk that it may not work and I could end up depressed or manic again? Open myself up to the potential side effects of involuntary muscle movement in my face? And why didn’t my regular psychiatrist recommend this medication?
This is part of managing a mental illness. You must make decisions, decisions that are hard and contain risks. There are potential benefits, but there is always the chance of negative consequences. I feel like I must choose one evil over another. Is losing five pounds worth vomiting every morning? Is having a pill that is not sublingual worth the potential restlessness effect?
So, today I am lost in my head. Think, think, thinking… what’s a girl to do?
#mentalillness #bipolar #anxiety #depression #medication #psychiatry #stress