Tag Archives: medication

The Heart of Depression


 

Depression is not a state of being sad. It is not caused by loss or difficult times. Some of the people who seem to be the happiest people you know are in fact depressed. There is no quick fix for the disease and there is absolutely no cure. It is an ebb and flow which follows the depressed person throughout their life.

Often outsiders assume that they can fix the problem. They have already taken the first step in the wrong direction when assuming this approach as valid. There have been studies done which show that positivity given to a depressed person only serves to make them angry and hostile towards the person presenting to the un-thought-out cure. There isn’t a magic rainbow sprinkling of positivity that helps the depressed person. Also, the problem with understanding them lies in the way the outsider sees them.

The outsider sees depression as being sad. They then think that if the person in question is just sad that they can cheer them up. You cannot cheer up a depressed person. It is often assumed that if a depressed person smiles or laughs that a great breakthrough has been reached in their mental state. The reality is just that, depressed people can find things funny too. Also, sometimes we laugh because it is the socially acceptable thing to do. When those around you laugh, something is funny, you are supposed to laugh as well. This is how young children learn what is and isn’t funny, from the social clues of those around them. Surprise, depressed people use those same social cues to fit in.

Not all depressed people want to fit in. Sometimes we do and sometimes we don’t want to waste the energy on making everyone around us feel okay, because guess what… We don’t feel okay. No we are not sad, we are depressed it is different. Depression is so much more complicated than sadness. To simplify the disease to something so base as one emotion alone is to rob the depressed person of their right to feel as they do. It then makes depression a choice, which it is largely not. I have never met a depressed person who when asked if they would prefer to not be depressed said “no.”

There is not a one size fits all cure for depression, just as there is not one way to be happy, only one job in the world, or even one religion. We might believe that there are only one of these things which work for each of us individually, and this is true of depression as well. Just because it worked for your cousins-sisters-friend Sally however doesn’t mean that it will work for me, or the next person down the list of depressives which you will encounter in your life.

While depression is not about being sad, at times it can feel like sadness. Depression for me, and many others, is more about the lack of emotion. Where I was once a passionate person eager to change all the wrongs and injustices in the world, since depression came to live with me, I just try to remember to shower and eat some days.

Also, depression isn’t all the time every day. We don’t walk around with the intent of being or acting depressed. We occasionally feel emotions just like we did before the depression and instead of catching us off guard we just go with it, those are things we are supposed to feel and so there is no reason to stop and analyze or rejoice in the fact that we are smiling or laughing or not worried about something. I don’t believe that non-depressed people put any extra emphasis on these feelings, and neither do we. Every once in a while we will stop later and think about the fact that we felt something akin to happiness. It isn’t false happiness, just something slightly different, our brains process these feelings and emotions differently because our brains process everything differently.

Depression is like the ocean. It flows like water and with the tides it changes its effect on the depressed person. When we are in a low tide place in our depression we feel mostly normal. The chemicals in our brain are receiving almost normal signals, we are like we were before, and this causes those around us to feel like there is hope to this disease coming to an end. Then the tides change and again we are under water with our brains unable to process the chemical signals sent to us in a proper way. It feels like we are swimming just under the surface, watching the world around us but unable to completely hear or translate what we are seeing and hearing. We are separated. We have a sense of what is happening but it cannot reach us.

While depression can make it difficult for us to feel happiness at times it can cause an equal difficulty in feeling anger and sadness. A depressive may not respond as others think they should to the death of a loved one. They may not get angry at the loss of a job. We may in fact just stay inside out emotionless bubble floating along the ocean where emotions live. We are kept outside this ocean at times, but always subject to the way its tides change. Only later after the fact might we be able to process the emotions of loss and sadness or even anger. At other times those emotions overwhelm us. They become the anxieties which often accompany the depressed person. It is rare to have one without some aspect of the other. So the disease becomes two fold, depressed and anxious.

Because of this two fold aspect of the disorders which a depressed person can live with it can make diagnoses of depression and anxiety difficult. Due to the ebb and flow nature of most mental health disorders a depressive with bad anxiety can often be misdiagnosed with bipolar disorder. This leads to the person being put on the wrong medication, a break-down of communication with their families and a total lack of understanding as to why the meds aren’t working if the doctor prescribed them. Not all medications work for all people and all symptoms. There is a lot of science as to why, but I will just start out with the basics.

Bipolar disorder is considered a type of psychosis, as it treated with anti-psychotics this is generally how the medical profession treats the disorder. While bipolar disorders may not actually be a type of psychoses it certainly acts enough like one for the medication to work. Depression and anxiety are not the same type of disorder and so the chemical reactions in the brain do not respond to the medication the way they are expected to with someone suffering from bipolar disorder. Once the doctor sees no change in the depressives’ problems often they will change to a different medication and approach, which can lead to a separate diagnosis.

Even if you have a great doctor it can take months or even years to find the right balance of medication for you. Once that is determined then it is ideal if the person taking the medication is not on them forever. While this may be the goal, it is not always what happens in practice. While doctors ideally want their patients to get better if they do not include an aspect of therapy into their practice then their patients end up staying on medication past the point where it continues to have the desired effect. That is where you get the new depression medications which come out as supplements to the medications which a depressed person is probably already on.

Beyond this the medications are created using out of date understanding of the nature of depression and how it works in the brain. So why the medications work at all remains a mystery to the scientists who invent them and the doctors who prescribe them seem to have missed this new scientific information. Then past this you get the outliers like me. Those are the people who cannot take depression medication at all because it has extreme effects on the personality which do not help the person on the medication at all.

When I take depression medication one of three things happens: First it has no effect on me what so ever. While this is not a big deal it does cut out a large amount of medications which I could take and have anything useful happen. Second it causes me to be insanely happy with no regard to anyone else. In essence it throws me into a complete manic phase where I cannot eat, sleep, or remember much of anything that is happening in my life. Third it causes massive suicidal tendencies, thoughts, and actions. This is the most common result when I take depression medication. Being that these are the three options I have when taking a medication for depression, I am sure that most people would not be surprised as to my aversion to the medications for myself. They work well for many people, for me not at all.

In daily life it is difficult to navigate depression on its own. Most people do not understand that it is a disease and the scientists and doctors working to cure it do not understand enough about how the brain works to have consistent results that carry the long term effect of a cure. If one has to take medication for the rest of their life then they are in fact not cured, but are just managing a disease. While depression doesn’t kill you it does make you feel often like it would be better if you weren’t around.

Since people do not understand you and you cannot understand or navigate the complex world of emotions with consistent accuracy it is easy to get into a state where you just want it to stop. This does not mean you are suicidal. Although the expression of this thought often is misinterpreted as a suicidal thought it is just the honest reaction of a person who cannot feel the things which they are told they should. There we add guilt to the depressed person, who is already carrying enough guilt of their own for being in the state to begin with. Why wouldn’t we want to get away? The idea is to disappear because it is easier to be surrounded by people who you do not know when you feel like you are alone.

That is often the state which the depressed person spends their life. They are alone and there is nobody outside other depressives who they can speak to with a relative level of understanding. It is not that we want to be alone, in fact it is quite the opposite. We want to be around people, but we want them to understand us, and we want to again join in real life outside our bubble. Trying to force the depressive to be happy so that you can spend time with them is counterproductive and will often lead to the ending of that relationship. We understand that people who are not depressed cannot understand our depression. We know that you don’t want to be around someone who you perceive as being sad, or negative. We don’t want to be around someone who is shoving rainbows down our throats. So we all get angry and defensive and it leads to the total breakdown in communication between the two parties.

Understand enough about yourself to know if you can handle being around a depressive. If you can’t don’t try to form a new friendship with someone who has depression. On the other hand if you leave a friendship which is already established because the friend becomes depressed that is negative as well, and probably more so. We understand new people don’t have time to navigate our tidal patterns, but our old friends should already have a general idea of them. The reality is that depression, outside of post-partum, does not just happen overnight. You or your friend will have symptoms possibly for years before the understanding of actual depression is known. Therefore it is unfair both to you and your friend if you just cut and run because “negativity brings me down, man.”

If you don’t like negative actions and words, then don’t use them by abandoning the depressed person. You don’t have to check in with them every day, or even see them often. Just maintain a state with them where they will understand that you are there, and you do care. Because it is all too common for the depressed person to become abandoned by their loved ones, feel as if they are not wanted, and become suicidal. The feeling that “nobody will miss me when I’m gone,” comes from the fact that the friends and family who used to be present and active in a depressed person’s life are no longer there. You can’t miss a person who you don’t interact with. So how could you miss me if I’m not here at all? This for me has been the mindset I have had when I want to run away and leave it all behind. Alone in a room of a hundred people I know. I prefer to be alone in a room of a thousand people who don’t know me, because I don’t expect them to care.

 

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When Did You Become an Expert?


I have spent the past year trying to focus my writing around issues of mental health. With this I hope that I have given some helpful advice and some interesting stories. I like to believe that by doing this I have helped at least one person to see that they aren’t alone. What I wanted to achieve by writing about these issues was to give people who don’t live with mental health problems a glimpse into the difficulties faced by those who do. What has somehow happened is that people now have decided that I do not have a mental health disorder, but instead an addiction problem. I want to know when it became more acceptable to be an addict than it is to be crazy.

I think that part of this is because crazy is something we don’t control. People who don’t live with a mental health disorder, much less multiple disorders, seem to accept addiction more easily. Addiction is something that can be controlled, or at least that seems to be the prevailing theory of those who have been confronting me lately. It isn’t my OCD that causes me to think in circles, but instead it is some addiction. The truth is that I am not an addict. I can’t say that I have never drank too much or tried things which I shouldn’t have. I have never needed a substance to survive, well other than food water and air—all of which are made up of chemicals. I can live without medication, and even if I choose not to, this choice doesn’t mean I am an addict. I do not feel as if I cannot handle life without medication, and I don’t believe that for my disorders that medication is a long term fix. It is a band aid to be used while I learn other ways to cope.

The truth is that many people with mental health difficulties do self-medicate, and often find themselves in positions of addiction. Since I do not claim to be an expert in addiction, I cannot say anything more than that it is possible for someone who starts off with a diagnoses and medication can become an addict. I only know this much because I have seen it happen. This does not mean that anyone who has gone to a doctor for help and takes medication is an addict. Nor does it mean that every person taking medication is doing so because they need to. There are plenty of people who get prescriptions legally for problems they don’t really have. From what I have been told, and experienced, if you go to a doctor who is just trying to see as many patients as possible, all you have to do is give a list of symptoms and they will prescribe what pill goes along with that set.

Recently I have been told by recovering addicts that I have addiction problems, and that I need to get clean and sober. They congratulated me when I went off medication, and proclaimed that I was taking a step in the right direction. They seemed to think that they influenced my choice in going off meds, but the truth is I went off meds because I wanted to see what affect they were even having on me. The reality is that for the most part they were affecting my memory. There were other effects from the meds, but the most disturbing to me was with the memory. Other than that they didn’t change my personality and they didn’t help consistently with my anxiety, so why take them? Well for me the only time I feel medication is helpful is when I have to be in a situation where I have no ability to avoid my stressors. These would be holidays, family events, and weddings.

The next set off accusations about being an addict came from someone who doesn’t know me outside of text messages. We text a couple times every few months and that is the extent of our communication. I have never met this person in real life, and I really don’t have any desire to. Recently, while talking to him about my current job situation he accused me of being an addict. This was based off me not having been able to find a decent job in the past nine months. Because of course only an addict would have trouble finding a job in a bad economy, therefore I must be an addict. It couldn’t possibly be that my skill set lies with writing and mental health advocacy. Or that my degree, which he also claimed I must not have, is in a field which tends to require at least a Masters to find work. My education allows me to be a candidate for entry level jobs, but my experience puts me at being a little over qualified, or a little under qualified. If I mentioned that I am crazy I would spend another ten years looking for work.

So when did mental health turn into addiction? When did people who have no experience with one or the other become experts? I don’t claim to be an expert in mental health other than my own. I know what is wrong with me, and I don’t need people to create new labels for me to make themselves feel more comfortable. If you don’t believe that OCD, and Anxiety can cause extreme difficulty for someone, then I am not someone you should be associated with.

As we change how mental health is viewed, we seem to being adding a new face to crazy. I can’t just be crazy, I must be abusing something, or I wouldn’t act the way I do. Since people tend to think that crazy celebrities are only this way because of substance abuse, why not believe that everyone is this way? Well, the biggest reason for why not, is that it is Not True. Not every person who decides to embrace their own crazy, go out into the world and live their lives is an addict—just as not every person who is on drugs has a mental health disorder.

The picture of mental health is bigger than people seem to want to accept. The rules keep changing, and they aren’t all changing for the better. Every day we have to learn how to live in a world which doesn’t understand us, and has to create some new reason as to why we act the way we do. We can’t just be crazy anymore, no we have to be on something, and even if the thing we are on is to help us control the crazy aspects of our personality this now means that we are addicts. Not everything is so cut and dry. People however don’t like messy, and mental health is messy—it’s complicated and makes people uncomfortable.

So I am sending out a big thank you to all of the people who realize that this is not easy. Thank you to everyone who doesn’t try to change me or anyone with a disorder, and to everyone who doesn’t need to have me be an addict so that I can fit into your box. Thank you to all of the people who are fighting for these diseases to be understood, and who stand by their friends and family who are fighting everyday with some form of mental illness. And most importantly a huge thank you to those of you who are yourselves fighting for your own version of sanity and doing what you can to live in a world which hasn’t learned how to accept your particular brand of sane.

I hope you all have a happy, crazy, fun filled and safe Thanksgiving.

Bad Brains


So I haven’t posted anything new in a while, and I feel like I should explain why.

At the end of last month I was told I did not have the right to write about mental health. I was also accused of being an addict because I take medication for my anxiety disorder. The combination of these two things threw me into a total crazy brains period. I got complete writers block and I have hardly been able to write a word for the past three weeks.

Now I know that I shouldn’t let other people get to me that much, but I began to question everything about myself. I learned some things from this three weeks of extreme crazy. The first being that I can write about whatever I want. I also learned that while I depend on my medication I don’t want to be on it forever. Finally and most importantly though, I learned that I am not an addict. I am a person living with a mental illness. I can live without medication, I am not afraid of being crazy, I am not afraid of my emotions. I choose to manage my disease in a way that is socially acceptable, and I am taking steps to reduce the use of medication and go back to managing my anxiety in more healthy ways.

Exercise, beating out a song on my guitar, drawing, and most importantly writing. I am a writer, and if I remember to use the tools I have as an emotional outlet then I will be able to live the life I want and not be blinded by other people’s views and interpretations of me. I have to do things my way. We all have to do things our own way, if we don’t then we don’t heal.

In conclusion I hope to be posting regularly again in August. I will be in Europe for the next two weeks, and I’m not sure how much opportunity I will have to post. Thanks for reading.

You Say it’s all in my Head?


So today at work I had an interesting conversation with a coworker about mental health. During this conversation I was informed that mental health problems were all in people’s heads. That the solution was just to relax and be stress free. Now I give this person major props for being “stress free” since he has a baby on the way and a 3 year old at home, but really how do I do that?

I know I have a disorder, and it’s not because someone told me that I did. I went looking for answers because I knew that how I was feeling wasn’t “normal.” I fought for a long time to not be medicated, because I believed that I could just get better if I believed I could. What happened was I got worse. Even during times of medication I still have bad days, weeks, and sometimes months. This to me shows me that it’s not all in my head.

Now I know that medication is not a cure for my condition, it is just a way to help control it. Medication, doesn’t always help, but it’s there, and does make a difference. When I am not on my meds I completely lose control of my world. I can’t function around people and have to be alone, which just increases the problem. Even medicated, I have days where the anxiety is so overwhelming I can’t drive, or leave my house. I have tried calming music, and relaxation exercises, for me they don’t help. The only thing that helps me calm down during an anxiety attack is reading. While this is great at home, it isn’t practical for use while at work or many of the stressful situations which I find myself in.

To “get better” I would have to completely change my diet, no caffeine, and of course no smoking. I would also have to avoid all of my stressors. Well the first part, is doable, difficult, but doable. The second part is impossible.

I have anxiety attacks for no reason all the time. However, I also often manage to stay very calm and collected when in stressful situations. There isn’t one set way which my anxiety presents itself, it likes to surprise me. Because of this disorder, simple tasks can become unbearably difficult. I would like to say that I am able to be a do it yourself kind of girl, I used to be, but now simple things can send me into panic. I couldn’t tell you why hooking up my TV could cause me so much stress, I have done it a hundred times before, but some days it does.

If this were all in my head, then I would expect the task to be a problem and then stress out about it. In my life it’s the opposite. I want to hang a picture, an easy task, but when I can’t find my hammer, suddenly panic, and for no reason. I will stand there knowing that this feeling has no basis, and no reason to be in my life, but it is still there. I try to breathe and figure out the task, but often I have to call a friend for help. It is embarrassing.

There are very few people who would choose to live like this and those people have other mental health disorders. I don’t like that I have to take medication to be around the people I love, but I have accepted it for now. One day, it might change. I know that tomorrow I will again return to a job, which is not meant for someone with my particular problems, and I will do what I have to in order to get through the day. I don’t know if I will have a break down in the next hour, or the next week, but I can guess that it might happen.

I am in a stressful place in my life. I live with a condition, which makes that stress worse, but the point is that I live. I am who I am, and I try to embrace the good, the bad, and the crazy. Sometimes I’m just fine, but that can all change in a moment. I don’t have to like it, but I do have to live with it, so I might as well accept it. This does not mean however, that I drop anchor and live out my days hiding in my apartment. I embrace the crazy, but I embrace my ability to challenge myself and my crazy brains. I will push myself forward. These are the things about me that are all in my head. I think it’s good that in my head I can make the decision to stop moving forward and give up, or keep living.

It’s not always easy, but not one of us was promised at birth that life was easy. We complain that it should be, and often we want it to be. I just want it to be a little easier at times. A little less stress and worry, a day without anxiety, and a night where I can actually sleep. That is what is in my head. The anxiety is in my chemical imbalance, and my heart murmur. If I could put it in my head, then I could chose to forget it. I can’t. It is part of me. Even if it is all in my head, it is part of who I am. As I grow as a person, this will always be an aspect of me, even if I find a cure.

Battles With Medication


I was first medicated when I was 16. My mother thought I was depressed and had our family doctor prescribe me happy pills. So my first happy pills were Paxil. I had a not so great response to the medication, well this I suppose is subjective, but for me I believe it was not a good reaction. This isn’t to say they didn’t work, they did, too well in fact.

The Paxil within a week or so had me happy and bubbly like a cheerleader or valley girl. This is not my normal personality and my friends were concerned. Nothing made me angry, and I laughed about everything. I thought it was fun for a bit, until it got worse. Now being happy doesn’t sound bad, but when it comes with an inability to focus and your grades start slipping this is bad. Also, I couldn’t eat. I would be starving, take two bites out of something and then felt so full I thought I would be sick. I lost a lot of weight from being on this medication.

My friends convinced me to stop taking the pills and I went back to normal, and pretended for a little while that I was still on them. I never regained my appetite and lost a total of 30lbs in six months. I swore off pills as a fix and decided then I wouldn’t take that route again. However, I did, and that has been a long road.

At 21 I went to my doctor for anxiety problems and he gave me a low dose of Ativan, only ten pills. It took me a year to go through this medication, and when I needed to go back to refill it was because my dog, Ballad, decided she was having an anxious day and ate my last pill, bottle included. Now when I went back, there was no record of the other doctor, who had since moved away, giving me this prescription. However, despite the fact that the nurse practitioner had decided I was a drug seeker she gave me a new prescription of Klonopin. This worked well enough and I stayed on this medication for several years. That is not to say that the doctors did not try me one several other medications first. I was on Buspar, which made me violently ill, and Lexipro, which also made me violently ill. So my doctor was stuck giving me small doses of the Klonopin. Then I got pregnant and I couldn’t take medication.

After the birth of my son, and the rise of my post-partum depression I want back seeking something to help me out. The doctors didn’t want to prescribe anything to me at this point and I went to a psychiatrist, who started me on Klonopin and Wellbutrin, they didn’t help. I was still anxious and depressed. We then switched to Xanax and Prozac, this had less results then the previous combination. Finally we settled on Time-released Xanax and Paxil, I figured it made me happy before so it should again. I was very wrong. The Xanax worked alright, but the Paxil made me super crazy and I lost it. I was so out of it one night that I had drank a few beers, got in a fight with my boyfriend and decided I wanted it all to stop, so I ate all my Xanax.

I didn’t want to die, I just wanted to feel normal again and I figured in my insane mind that if I overdosed that everyone would realize how bad off I was. After my 72 hours of observation I was sent home. I didn’t feel like myself. I felt drugged out and confused. I refused again to go back on medication and for the next year and a half I lived happily enough pill free.

I moved to San Diego and back again to Jacksonville in that year. My sanity was shot again from the return to Florida and I had to go back on medication. My new psychiatrist put me on Respidol, bad idea, all it did was make my heart race. Then I was back on Klonopin. This would have worked, but the company making the generic at the time, wasn’t outing any medication in the pills, so I went crazy again.

Over the next year I went through Valium, Klonopin, Ativan, and back again. I was also supplementing these with daily doses of other medications some of which I can’t even remember the names of. Then my doctor retired. I went back again to my old psychiatrist, new rounds of attempts to figure out what pills fix me.

We tried Xanax again since the valium was making me depressed, and then Klonopin, and then back to Ativan which is what I’m currently on. I had mention previously in another post that I had been prescribed a new anti-depressant, I couldn’t tell you how this one works because it is way too expensive to purchase. The recently released generic is $250.00, which is too bad because I have heard such good things about it. Perhaps when I get some health insurance I will have the opportunity to try it out and end the lingering depression I get from my other medication.

Until then I will leave you with this. Finding the right medication is as difficult if not more so than finding the right doctor. It is trial and error. Don’t give up. Just because one combination doesn’t work for you doesn’t mean another wont. My best advice is to remember that the pills are supposed to help and sometimes they don’t work after a little while, but there are always more out there.

I’m not promoting medication as the best choice for everyone, but for me it was, and still is. I have every intention of getting of my meds for good one day, but for now I will live with them, and try to take it one day at a time.

Killer Anxiety


For some unknown reason over the past few days I have had increased anxiety. It has become difficult to do much of anything with this anxiety. I suppose that’s why it is called an anxiety disorder. The biggest problem with this is that despite being medicated, it doesn’t seem to be working. Also, after years of anti-anxiety medications I now experience depression symptoms when I take my medicine.

I know it could be much worse, at least I can still speak to people, but today it has been bad enough that I was unable to leave my house. I don’t know that anyone enjoys feeling anxiety, but for me it makes it difficult to interact with my friends and family. I get extra moody and easily snap and people, which then increases my anxiety because I feel bad for my actions.

I attempted with my last doctors visit to add an anti-depressant to my current list of medications. However, the generic of the medicine cost $250. It is not right that medications, which can actually help people are not affordable unless you have really great insurance.

Now after writing this I am not sure that I am even making sense, but I’m posting it anyway. So hopefully my anxiety will pass soon and I can again make some sort of sense.

Psychologist vs. Psychiatrist


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            When you make the decision that you might want to find a professional to help you figure out how to deal with being “crazy,” it is hard to decide where to go.  Not knowing where to go or who to go to, often people turn to their friends and family.  Most of us know someone who has seen some kind of doctor for mental health issues.  Those who don’t know someone who has a therapist, or admits to having a therapist, often go to their General Practitioner.  While this is a place to start, if often becomes the point where people stop.

            While my first experiences with therapy and professional help began at the age of ten, many people start this journey in their teens, or even later in life.  Others never take the plunge because it is scary to admit that we might just need outside help.

            There is No Shame in asking for Help.

            Now if you start by seeing your general practitioner you should keep in mind that they are trained to help with a variety of average health issues, but mental health is not really one of them.  They can and will prescribe medication to you as a short term fix for whatever symptoms you are having.  However, it is best if you seek help from another source beyond your every day doctor.  If you don’t know where to go, ask your doctor they should know of someone to recommend for longer treatment.

            In most cases your GP will recommend a psychiatrist, this is because often you have been prescribed some medication to help with your symptoms.  However, you may feel that medication is not a route that you want to take.  If you are against taking anything for your problems your best bet is to seek out a psychologist.  The first therapist/psychologist I used as an adult I found through Google.  This is a great way to start because you can look up the therapist’s website, their reviews, and get to know a bit about them before you ever make the call.

            Talking vs. Medicating

            Now in my experience I have found that the best form of therapy is one which there is both talk therapy and supplemental medication.  While I went through several stages of discovery on this topic in my own life, hopefully anyone reading this will have a much easier time of finding the right treatment for themselves.

            My first therapist adventure I was ten.  I was having problems with impulse aggression at school.  Now I wasn’t getting into any physical confrontations, but I was walking out of class and yelling at adults whom I thought disrespected me.  (I am one of those people who never really thought they were a kid, and therefore I felt I should be treated as an equal by any person I was interacting with.)  I don’t know what this first therapist told my mother about my diagnosis, but I do know I only saw her a few times, and I got the distinct impression she didn’t like me much.  So the moral here is: If you feel like your therapist doesn’t like you, find someone else.

            My next therapy adventure was at 12, my family had moved to Florida that summer and my mother decided that it was time to give treatment another shot.  This therapist made me play with dolls.  I thought this was ridiculous because I was 12 not 7.  However she was very nice and understanding.  She told my mother that I had “an extreme personality and that she would have to learn to live with it.”  I’m sure you can guess I never saw her again.

            At 16 my mother again decided to help me and unhappy with the experience and expense of the actual mental health professionals we went to see the family doctor.  He didn’t think I was depressed, but gave me my first prescription: Paxil.  The side effects were horrible, and within a few months I took myself off the medication.  So: If your doctor thinks that you are not depressed, yet prescribes you a depression medication, Get a Second Opinion.

            I went along as my crazy self for several years and then at the age of 21 I started having anxiety/panic attacks.  Our family doctor had changed and I went to him for a solution. (To this day, I’m not sure he was the greatest Doctor, but his name was Robert Frost, so I loved him.)  He nicely gave me a small prescription for Ativan.  A year later I went back to get another prescription, but he had moved away and the Nurse Practitioner changed me to Klonopin.

            I stayed on this medication until I was 25 and I got post partum depression.  This is when I found my first therapist on my own.  She was great, but unfortunately not what I needed at the time.  Also I felt as if she didn’t really understand the problem, since she was childless I didn’t see how she could help me with a problem you only get from being pregnant.  So I found my first psychiatrist.

            The next six months were a crazy adventure into ever changing medications, which ended very badly.  So my advice here is this: If your doctor doesn’t talk to you about how to fix your problems and eventually go off medication, Find a New Doctor.

            So I quit the therapy thing, and the doctor thing, and swore off medication.  This lasted a year and a half.  Then I found it necessary to go back on medication.  I found a new doctor, who was amazing, and went through new medication trials.  I was treated with both talk therapy and medication and until he retired, I was in a very good place.

            Now I’m back to a drug only psychiatrist.  This could or would be hazardous, but since I have learned so much about my particular disorder it isn’t.  I am also seeking a new psychologist because talking to someone you do not know can be a very enlightening experience.

            So to answer the question of which is better, psychiatrist or psychologist, the answer is both.  Check back soon for the chart on the pros and cons of each.

Don’t bitch it… Blog it…