Why the hell do I need to see a psychiatrist? I don't. When I booked the appointment, it was because I was tired of the throw this against the wall and see what sticks kind of approach. I was hoping that maybe someone who dispensed anxiety meds might have some sort of experience with drug combinations or dosages or something. Perhaps all I needed was a little bit of this and a dash of that. And maybe, he could even offer counselling. However, I think I already realized that I was willing to walk the unmedicated route for a little while cause I was feeling much more motivated about my life. Watching one of my dearest friends in the world die in front of me gave me a certain perspective on life. I've seen my Buddhist friends look head on into BIG FUCKING ILLNESSES and glow with such high life conditions. I'm not looking for any big illness wake up lessons. No thanks. I'm full thank you. So I went to my specialist appointment and he asked me a bunch of questions and I answered.
I told him that I had recently come off of Effexor because the side effects were outweighing the benefits. I had reached a big question mark, not quite clear of the withdrawal, but given my grief issues, I was certain to be a little emotional. Yes, it did its thing, my mood improved and I got a lot of stuff done. That's always a good thing. Getting out of bed is always a good thing. Pretending you have life under control when really you don't is not a plan. It's a disguise. But I don't see why I have to put with intense itching, dead taste buds (wait, that was a good thing cause skinny tastes good), no libido, crazy ass dreams that make you wake up in DREAD and the threat of burning up on a spin bike. He made a comment that perhaps some of the side effects were psychological. Oh. No. He Did. Ent.
I smiled sweetly. I told him what difference did that make? If one feels the drug is giving you a nasty side effect, it's still real to the person affected. He conceded quite graciously on that point. Or maybe my smile looked homicidal, I don't know.
And then he gave me his professional opinion. He told me I probably could use some psychotherapy cause I had some "life issues" but that I wasn't suffering from severe depression and I didn't need medication. If I had indicated that I just wanted to try something else, he would have gone with that. (That was something he could "fix". ) I asked him if he could refer me to any low cost or free therapists. He told me he didn't know anyone and the last psych at the clinic that did that had retired. So. Ah. I'm good to go.
I told him that it's always nice to have a symptom addressed and treated but it rarely addresses the total health and wellness of a patient and I impressed upon him that it would be really nice if one could really do further research to offer assistance and reassurance to those who might not know how to proceed next if one might find themselves in a situation similar to mine. Not suicidal, just "neurotic". Was that polite?
Yeah, I guess you could say I have some issues with medical professionals. Given that I have more than just a casual acquaintance with the medical system for a pretty healthy individual (mainly for hoo haw malfunctioning and maybe that's why I'm bitter/cranky/sensitive). I feel like I can say with confidence that GENERALLY SPEAKING western medicine is only focused on the eliminating the symptom or treating a disease. Not preventing a disease, or getting to the real cause of a symptom. Don't get me wrong, I love pills. They don't call me the pharmacist for nothing. I won't tolerate discomfort if I can take a pill for it. But did you ever notice that when someone really hears and acknowledges what you have to say (even if it's only in 5 minutes) you actually FEEL better? Especially with your spouse. Even if it's just "all in your head". What's wrong with seeing a doctor and feeling less "stressed" coming out then when you went in? Did you know that some people's blood pressure actually goes up a bit just from simply seeing a white lab coat? Do you know the real reason why some cancer patients just turn away from the medical establishment. It's not that they don't want to live. It's not that they don't want treatment. It's because sometimes the treatment feels WORSE than the disease. So. Don't. Even.
That's my rant and thanks for listening. I feel better already.
I thanked the doc for his time and on my way out I formulated an action plan for myself. I felt grateful that at least he saw me as perfectly capable of handling my own mental health. That's a positive. I really can't afford to spend several hundred dollars a month to see my old shrink, sweet as she is, but I do have a program through my actor benefits that will allow 6 visits without any money down. Of course, you spend a couple sessions bringing the counsellor up to speed and then wrapping up, but hey, I might just be able to find a good "coach". Maybe I'll drag up a new skeleton out of the closet. I actually know what most of my "issues" are and how they came about, I'm actually good with that - it's just the how do I change that thing that is no longer working for me - that's the sticky part.
So here's my plan, stick with the chanting, exercise and treating myself well, I've got some amazing creative work to look forward to (yes!!!!) and acknowledge that crying about my friend and my dog is grief and it's okay to feel sad. I will continue to write action plans and post up positive notes and Buddhist encouragement on my bathroom mirror and tell people to back off when they get on my last nerve. I will own up to bad behaviour and apologize where needed (cause I hate apologizing cause I'm HARDLY EVER WRONG) and I will work on demonstrating the love, understanding and compassion that I so desire. I am also a bit cranky and will firmly but lovingly place my foot up the ass of the person who gets on my last nerve.