Monday, June 26, 2006

Cue "Gee, Officer Krupke!"

"You--take him to a headshrinker!"

So I saw my pal Pedro, also known as Doc Pedro, PCP, today.

Doc Pedro wasn't having the best of days. Somebody's grandchild was trying to systematically dismantle his waiting room as somebody's grandchild's grandmother made a big stink about nothing, and in walks his primo, pure-dee, brass-plated Headcase Du Jour.

Poor Doc Pedro. He's sending me to a headshrinker. On accounta, she says, channelling Action and Riff, I'm depraved. And on account of the "cyclical nature of my depression." Yes, he really talks like that.

Never mind that four years of good control on Effexor is the longest damn cycle I've ever seen, Jack, and maybe he got me mixed up with somebody else; I'm headed off to find a psychiatrist.

All joking aside, there's a definite period of adjustment when you come to terms with the fact that you need medication to function like a normal person. Then your medication gets doubled on the same day that your PCP tells you he can't really manage your care any more, and you're forced to look at yourself in the sunshade mirror of your car and say,

I am mentally ill.

I have a chronic condition that is not curable, but is manageable with lifestyle changes and medication.

I will be doing this the rest of my life.

Whereupon, driving up the street, it suddenly made sense to me why some people actually kill themselves.

I, of course, not wanting to deprive the Reading Public of my thoughts, did not drive my car under a bus. Instead, I went out and got an order of nachos with extra guacamole and drank a beer. Then I considered my plight.

I am mentally ill. I will be doing this the rest of my life. I will be managing, with any luck, my illness with lifestyle changes and medication. Forever.

Then I swallowed another Effexor. Doc Pedro doubled my dosage today, given that all my symptoms are those of somebody whose body has grown accustomed to Effexor. He wasn't willing to change my meds, fearing that that would merely confuse any other practitioner I consulted.

So, here I am. I'm depraved, not on account of I'm deprived (unless it's some intrinsic genetic failing), but I'm depraved. Just knowing that I have some problem that he can't help me fix makes me feel better. You know those questionnaires that you take, where the max score is 21? I got 18. I think anything over 15, for him, merits a referral.

I swear to Frog I'll find the silver lining in this. (See? My mood's improving already.) It might take a while, but I'll find it.

Meanwhile, I have to find a shrink I can handle. Good thing I work on the Brain Unit, eh?

7 comments:

BotanicalGirl said...

Jo,

I've been reading you a long time. I like your style. Hang around, kay?

I distinctly remember the moment when I realized "hey, I have a serious problem. And it will probably never stop." It was a bad day.

Find a shrink you like. Look into the different types of therapy for one you think will work. CBT is highly recommended for depression. If the therapy isn't cutting it, find a new shrink.

Keep on your p-doc if your meds are working. Effexor was ok for me, I went off it (with Dr. permission) and relapsed. Watch out for discontinuation side-effects with that one. I'm on Wellbutrin now and it isn't doing jack. May just need a few more weeks.

I'm rambling. Anyway, crazymeds is a good place, and you aren't alone. Hey, you're now a blog cliche even, the depressed blogger. Welcome to the club.

may said...

i hope you find the right shrink...it could be tough, especially because you know a lot of stuff.
i'm just curious...how long have you been on the Effexor?
i'm sending you warm thoughts...take care

Jo said...

May, I've been on Effexor for about three years now; maybe just a couple months over that. That seems to be about normal for the adjustment-to-chemicals thing I'm experiencing.

Mmmm. Something about me is just about normal. Damn.

Janet said...

I spent most of my adult life in therapy of one kind or another being treated for chronic depression until, at the suggestion of a psychologist, I went to a neuropsychiatrist and was diagnosed as bipolar. My "anxiety attacks" were really mania. It took several months of trial and error before we found a combination of meds that worked for me but once we did my life turned around. It took me a while to get my head around the idea that I have a chronic condition and it took a while longer to stop worrying about what other people might think. The only regret I have is that I wasn't diagnosed earlier in my life and had to spend 40 years bouncing off the walls and generally making a mess of things. I went off my meds once in the 10 years since I was diagnosed. Never again.

Hang in there, Jo. It WILL get better.

Anonymous said...

zoloft and therapy held me more or less together for almost a decade...boy, when it stopped working and i realized that i do have a chronic DSM IV condition..two, actually....and would need meds for as long as i want to have some joy in my life...well, i was NOT a happy camper...I am the nurse and therapist, NOT the patient....am learning to see that all three are partial descriptions of me, but they are not mutually exclusive and are all incomplete...lots of other descriptions fit, too...be gentle with yourself....the world needs you, tho you may not see it right now.

annelynn said...

Jo -

I'm still being a bonehead about going on meds; your words bring me a step closer to realizing that I really need to consider the proposition seriously. I was on Wellbutrin for two years and it worked famously... at which point I took myself off of medication (yes, I know... like I said, boneheaded). Since then I've been spiralling downward and too often my medication of choice has been of the ethanol variety.

I've just started myself on omega-3 fatty acid supplements in the hope that they will have a positive effect; if this doesn't work within 30 to 60 days, I've got a psychiatrist lined up.

You don't know me and you didn't ask for my story, but I wanted to let you know that you're certainly not alone - and also that your honesty, your words - they make a difference in my life. I'm sure I'm not alone in that. Thank you.

Kim said...

Anybody who orders extra guacamole with their nachos is not ready to "check out".

Damn, I really need to keep up with my blog reading.

Is it depression or bipolar? I ask because of the "cyclical" statement.

I had post partum depression major league, I can hardly wait for menopause - most women will have hot flashes, I'll have brain flashes.