Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Mind Games

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.


Warped Mind of Ron said...

So sorry to hear of Ken's father passing, but when a person is in pain it's a merciful thing for them even if painful for those left behind. Good luck with the mental illness, I'll save you a seat at the meetings. (I'll be the guy with the aluminum foil hat)

LL Cool Joe said...

I'm really sorry to hear about Ken's Dad. I'm glad he is at peace now. I'm delighted to read that things seem to be improving for you. I think we are all mentally ill to some degree anyway, so join the club.

Jameil said...

((hug)) for you & Ken.

Lynn said...

I'm sorry to hear about your father-in-law, but it does sound like a mercy that he has passed.

Someone very close to me suffered from debilitating panic attacks. She still doesn't like to attend events alone and routinely checks out where the restroom is so she can hide if necessary. I hope the medication increase does work the wonders the doctor says. That medication worked wonders for my dad.

Granny Annie said...

I hope you can see through the haze of your depression to be strong for Ken. No matter how ill our parents are and what a relief it is finally at their passing, they are still greatly missed as fond memories pour in. It seems Ken is tremendous support for you and now you can return the favor.

Jenski said...

So sorry to hear that you guys lost Ken's Dad.

Yay for mental illness! ;-) Hope the new Docs help you face the world. Time to get a passport?

DarcKnyt said...

I'm so sorry about Ken's dad. My condolences to him, hon. But for you, HUZZAH to progress!

Sparkling Red said...

Ron: I'm planning to make my hat out of plastic wrap.

LL Cool Joe: I agree; scratch the surface and very few people are completely "normal". How boring would life be if there were too many normal people?

Jameil: Thanks hon!

Lynn: Thanks for the encouragement. You mentioned your dad when I first started taking the medication, and I have kept that in mind along with a success story from one of my mother's friends as my main sources of hope.

Granny Annie: I wish that I could be even stronger for Ken, but I have managed to pull myself together and be there for him when he is feeling overwhelmed. It's a bit of the blind leading the blind over here, but at least we are mostly taking turns breaking down, and managing to be there for each other as best we can.

Jenski: I always keep a current passport; ironically it is my only photo i.d. since I do not have a driver's license. I'll be ready to jet off and see the world pretty soon!

DarcKnyt: Thanks! It's always a big cheer-up for me when you and DarcsFalcon drop by with encouragement. You guys know how to say all the right things.

G said...

My condolences for your loss.

Good luck with the therapy. Hopefully you can become your cheerful abnormal self once again. :D

DarcsFalcon said...

Oh no! I'm so sorry about Ken's father! Please give him, and yourself, my condolences and sympathy. Losing someone you love is never easy, even when you're prepared for it. You are both in my prayers through this time of grieving.

As for you, young lady, I'm so glad things are progressing for you. I was getting a little alarmed, since it seemed like as soon as you got your ME diagnosis, things just seemed to slide downhill faster and faster for you.

I am imagining total healing for you, imagining you living your life on YOUR terms, like you want to, going out and having fun, being the energetic kind of person you've always wanted to be. This has all just been a detour I guess, perhaps there is some lesson you're to learn through all of this.

To your health, dear Spark! *hugs*

DarcsFalcon said...

I just saw your response to Darc. You're such a sweetie. Thank you. :) *hugs*