Today I went to see a psychiatrist. It wasn't my first psychiatric visit ever, but probably the first useful one. I went to see a shrink for a year and a half starting when I was 15, for talk therapy. It helped a little, but not very much.
This new psychiatrist, Dr. A, doesn't do talk therapy. He assesses and prescribes. Fortunately, he's covered by OHIP so I don't have to pay anything for my visits. Today we started the assessment process, which he said usually takes three sessions. His very confident initial diagnosis is that I have an anxiety-depression disorder which is causing ALL of my physical symptoms. He seems very sure that I can be completely cured. I pray to God that he's right.
His first recommendation is to increase to a full therapeutic dose of Paroxetine, which means I should stop splitting my tablets in half. I am a tad nervous about trying this, in case of side effects, but ideally this could double the benefit I'm already getting from it. I still haven't managed to go 24 hours without a panic attack, so that'd be a welcome change.
His second recommendation is that I go for talk therapy. He doesn't do talk therapy, unfortunately, because OHIP pays crap for it. It's not worth his while. However, he does have a wife in the business, whom he highly recommends. He could be a little biased? It would be convenient to have them working as a team, and he is so well-recommended that I have some trickle-down confidence in his wife. At any rate, I am going back on Thursday for a free trial session with her. We'll see how that goes. If it goes well I'm in for some expensive talking, but I have saved for a rainy day, and it sure as hell is raining now, so I guess this is what I saved for.
Actually even if it doesn't go well I'm still in for it; it just means I have to look a little further afield to find the right person. I have at least one more recommendation I could look into.
In general it's all great news. I won't hesitate to invest whatever it takes to get well. I couldn't be more thrilled to be mentally ill. Anxiety and depression are well-known and widely-treated. They are infinitely preferable to having a mysterious physical condition which is little-researched and has no known cure. Stigma? Whatever. I would walk around every day wearing a bright pink T-shirt that says "I have mental disorders!" if that was what it took to put hope on the horizon.
Aren't I just the most optimistic and cheerful chronically depressed person you ever met? Man, the brain is a funny, funny thing. I'm already looking forward to doing stuff I've never been able to tolerate. If I can tame my fears I could learn to drive, enjoy travelling, try all sorts of new things... Please God let this work! I have my hopes up.
Finally, I must mention that Ken's father finally passed away this morning, shortly after midnight. It is a mercy that he's gone. He was suffering horribly in his last days. Ken is doing alright so far. He was as ready to let go of his dad as anyone can be. I'm glad that I'm feeling well enough now to be of some support to him. These times have been rough, but I think the two of us are going to be OK.