I saw the psychiatrist this morning, another new one. There’s no getting away from it. Since talking to her, I’m feeling a crushing sense of failure. I didn’t recognise it at first, but it’s been building ever since. Why? Because in her opinion (and yes, I know it’s just one opinion) I have neither clinical depression nor bipolar, rather I just have a very busy life and am inclined to get overwhelmed and burnt out. (So apologies for talking utter shite for the last 8 months, I clearly don’t know what I’m on about). She recommended that I stop antidepressants altogether and see how I go as she’s reasonably confident my current brain fog is caused by medication. That said, I’ll be stopping much more slowly than the last attempt. Instead of cutting to a half dose overnight, I’ll do it over 4 weeks, and then review. She did add the caveat (repeatedly) that she could be wrong about this, that I do in fact have clinical depression or possibly a form of bipolar. Encouraging. She also expressed surprise at the difficulty I had coming off the last drug, as she would consider my current one much harder to stop. Again, spectacularly encouraging.

The biggest thing I’ve taken away from this consultation is that I’m not trying hard enough. There are things I could be doing to help myself (mindfulness, yoga, making time for myself etc etc) but I’m not doing them (how often have I written about the difficulty I have motivating myself, and the ensuing frustration??), ergo, my state of mind is my own fault. I feel sick. This is exactly, EXACTLY the thought process that Therapist has been working so hard to get me away from. And now, someone who should know more about mental illness than the vast majority of us, has more or less confirmed what I’ve believed all along, in the worst possible way.

She also questioned how long I’ve been seeing Therapist, and whether that is of any use any more, although didn’t offer any alternative. I will not be changing therapists any time soon. She’s been the one source of consistent support and understanding in all of this and I’m not prepared to change that, despite what I might sometimes think. She wanted to know what my baseline normal mood is – between almost two years of changing meds, and the previous 3 years of babies and all that associated trauma, I have no clue whatsoever, and told her as much. I’m apprehensive about coming off meds, but only in so far as I’m worried about withdrawal symptoms. Otherwise I’m glad to be given the opportunity. But, I’m concerned about keeping up with life as normal, as well as adding in the extras that I’m supposed to be doing while in the process of tapering.

After writing the above, I saw Therapist, first session since before Christmas. To say she was taken aback at the opinion of the psych was an understatement. She shares my frustration at the level of chopping and changing that’s been going on, as well as the total lack of consistency in terms of who I’m seeing – since getting into the system I’ve seen no less than 7 different psychiatrists. Seven. All working on the same team, which apparently makes it ok, but honestly, it’s not good enough. She asked what supports they had offered me while I’m tapering – duh, none. I’m confident that the doctor I saw today hadn’t read my file – she was unaware that Hubby had provided his perspective in writing at my last appointment, despite the fact that I could see it stapled to the previous page. When I suggested she read my post from yesterday, as well some notes Hubby had made, she looked at me like I had ten heads, although granted, she did read them. She also spoke to Hubby over the phone, as I wanted her to relay all of this to him in case I couldn’t articulate it properly. We spoke about it this evening, he’s been getting increasingly more wound up about her attitude as well.

So where does that leave us? Earlier I felt defeated. Her opinion was like a massive slap in the face, and so dismissive of everything we’ve gone through the last few years. Ok, maybe I’m not severely depressed at this precise moment in time, but I don’t think a half hour consultation gives her the right to sweep everything else, and the opinion of 7 colleagues, Therapist and my GP under the carpet. So, once more, we’ll wait and see. I’ll follow her advice on the tapering, and try to get myself back to yoga and meditation. I’m joining the local running club this week. I’m going to try, really, really hard, to look after myself. I have to believe that this tapering process will work, because if I go in expecting a disaster, that’s exactly what will happen. That’s not an option.

This article has 10 Comments

  1. You got a sucky lazy, arrogant doc by the sounds of it. Take it with not a pinch if salt, but a boulder. Have faith in you and hubby. You are both right x

  2. Arrgghhhh Fiona I can understand your frustration! Jesus christ those doctors would drive you demented. My mother suffers from mental illness and I have met her psychiatrist with ehr a few times and it is so bloody bloody frustrating trying to talk to them as either a patient or a relative. They friggin seem to brush everythign you say under the carpet and deflect to what they want to say and seem to totally disregard your concerns with regards adjusting medication. I have lost faith & trust in my mum's psychiatrist at this stage as they seem to have no heed on what the day to day living with mental illness is like. And I have said this to them but again no joy!! I may not be able to understand from a patients point of view but as a relative I am angry with their treatment & methods and frustrated for the patient who is supposed to under their care. Fiona I think you are amazing and admire your strength and courage to face this spiteful illness head on and educate us while doing so with your blogs. Take care of yourself x

    1. Thank you for the encouragement, it is incredibly frustrating. But I've had some fantastic responses to this post, both here, on facebook, and in private, and it's helped me to realise that I don't need to put all my faith in this one doctor. In fact, I will be going back armed with a lengthy list of questions!
      Hope your Mam is doing ok.

  3. One thing I have learnt over the last ten years with depression and several therapists, psychiatrists etc.: Not really much smarter than yourself. Maybe if you have no idea about depression, but after a few years of managing depression you are as much of an expert as they are. Better trust yourself on this, not some random psychiatrist.

    1. Thanks Steffen. I'm so confused about it all at this point that I'm not sure who to trust/what to believe. But, I feel much clearer today than yesterday – therapist helped, and all the support I've gotten here and on fb has helped as well. It's comforting to know I'm not the only one who thought she was being offhand.

  4. Gahhh! Cannot find anything more articulate to say about her opinion. Did she have any coherent thoughts on why a whole host of medical professionals that know you better have been prescribing you drugs and admitting you to hospital and the like?

    In a way I don't think it matters if you feel awful because you're burnt out or because you're bipolar or because you're depressed,(although that may affect treatment choices) it mainly matters that you feel awful. And you clearly do. But you already try hard to help both yourself and others with walking and yoga and blogging and the like and you clearly have great support from hubby and therapist and family and online, and it's through all this effort and help that you appear to be coping well enough that it doesn't seem so bad (at the moment). And does she not know that the cruellest symptom with thes sort of feeling awful is that it makes it so much harder to do the things that will start to help.

    So Gahhhh to her. And hugs to you. If I get time I will read the past year's worth of blog entries and write you a list of all the things you have been doing to help yourself, just so you don't forget.

    R. (P.S. not dropped by in a while, happy new year and all that).

    1. Hi R, welcome back!! I'd noticed you were gone quiet, hope all is ok. Thank you for the gahhhh (very eloquent 🙂 ) and the hugs. My GP is referring me to a private psychiatrist, so if I'm not happy next time I visit the hospital (under the public system) at least I have an alternative. More wait and see!!

    2. I'm lucky enough to have periods of time without symptoms when I can stupidly pretend to myself I don't have a problem and not think about it. So I distract myself with fun things, like sewing, and don't deal with stuff I find difficult, so things builds up and sooner or later they make me anxious again and I'm back at square one. Had a minor wobble today (o.k. now) and realised that I'd been unconsciously avoiding things like your site (and my own) to help me pretend I didn't need to think about it. I act really dim sometimes. Still, I guess recognising that you're going round in circles is the first step towards breaking out of the pattern.

    3. Yup! The recognising that you're going around in circles part, not the dim part. I don't see any harm in walking away from these things for a while when you're feeling good, it's nice to give your mind a rest. It can be so all encompassing dealing with all the crap that depression etc throw at you, so if you need a break, and can allow yourself to have one, go for it!!
      Me? I seem to spend the vast majority of my time traipsing around those very familiar circles. But I know I'm doing it, so it's a start.

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