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.
Labels: Medication, psychiatrist, self doubt, support, symptoms, tapering, therapist, withdrawal