bipolar, disease, doctor, journey, life, mental health, mental illness
I haven’t been writing recently. Mostly as a response to the new medications I am on and the absolute desire to determine if these new pills are right for me or if they are doing more damage. It almost always seems that new pills do damage; my track record with adding and subtracting pills from my daily routine is not promising.
The unfortunate part of mental illness is that everyone has to see you. While on one hand I can see that looking into a person’s eyes certainly makes a difference and can often help those hurting before it really takes hold, on the other hand the mentally ill are forced to go to doctor after doctor to not only get their medications but to get the therapy they need. Somehow the primary care doctor is left to the Gods. And if those doctors aren’t working in your best interest than quite frankly you can end up screwed…or at least thinking about it.
I have seen all kinds of doctors in this mental health journey. I have had doctors who wanted me to continually sit and listen to the sound of the ocean for fifteen minutes before they saw me. I have had doctors who brought their dogs into the room for some odd reason that I never figured out. I have had doctors who have patronized me and treated me like I am an idiot, and I have had doctors who have literally refused to treat me at all because of some reason only their own self will ever know. I have seen men and women, young and old. I have fought to be heard and fought to stay so far in the background that the doctor in the same room as me couldn’t see me. I have lied to them and I have been brutally honest.
I have answered the same questions fifty-thousand times and none of those questions ever change. “Do you have suicidal thoughts?” Of course, I am mentally ill. “Have you ever tried to hurt yourself?” Again, I am mentally ill. “How is your sleep, how is your behavior when you are awake? Do you have any other diseases/illnesses?” The same questions over and over. I am the first to admit that there was a time I was childish enough to lie about these absurd questions and their answers but I have since grown from that. But the truth is, the person who came up with all these questions that anyone who has a mental illness is forced to answer, truly, truly had no clue what mental illness was and what exactly their little tests never actually told. Maybe those predictable questionnaires help those who feel a little blue, but take a major depressive state and the questions become irrelevant.
Today I saw a new doctor, hence why I am finally writing. First the doctor made me wait 45 minutes before seeing me (I already did my questionnaire), which is just lazy in my book but then once I entered her office she did something I have never seen before. She took out a series of already printed articles and began lecturing me on why my life was so dangerous. Between you and me, about as dangerous as I get these days is taking a photo of a dress I was trying on in a dressing room. This doctor, without knowing me or my story began dissecting what she thought I was and what she would not do to help me. Any doctor who says to me they can’t help me…I am so out of there.
This doctor first presented me with a stack of so called “evidence” regarding the dangers of using marijuana. Without knowing whether I actually used those drugs I was being drawn and quartered. The evidence consisted of numerous articles that proved not only the dangers of the drugs but what exactly it actually did – you know, loss of brain cells. I don’t mind learning and I could have gotten over this lecture except for one little thing: she was so passionate about the subject that she sounded literally like a phobic, nervous idiot who has gone online and research the first three articles and decided that her information was therefore, complete and honest. I literally wanted to take out my phone and show her articles that countered all her arguments but why waste the time? She was a fanatic and nothing I said or the arguments I could have given would have helped; trust me she even brought in her own personal life which is an absolute no-no for a mental health doctor.
I could have left, rolling my eyes, but okay with her passionate views easily – if it had stopped there. Unfortunately for me, it did not stop there. It went on and it went on to the one place that no doctor is allowed to arbitrarily go. She began to passionately argue (with more articles) why the medicines I was taking were not only dangerous to my health but were drugs she would not prescribe.
I recently went through a huge change with my medications, with a doctor that I trusted. And while he decided to abandon his practice, I still believe that the drugs he prescribed were the best that he knew of; I believe to my soul that he would never intentionally give me any medicine that could hurt me. I have a set of medications that he and I found that seem to be working and I am not interested in changing that. If you are mentally ill, rule number one is you never change what is working. It doesn’t take a degree to know this.
But she was going to change my drugs because she so righteously believed that they were dangerous to my health. None of these conversations about the drugs or the meds were spoken to me, they were spoken to every person who sat in that chair. The lady in question was not interested in my well-being but rather that her own agenda was forwarded in another patient.
She may be right about all her information or she may be reading the equivalent of WebMD. I don’t know and truthfully I don’t care. My medications, my health, is vitally important not because of some random study, but because they ensure the safety of my family and myself. The moment she threatened that safety, I was done. No one gets to hurt me for their own gain. It might have taken me years to understand this, but I finally got it: as a patient, as a mentally ill person, I have as much right to having a voice in my health as any doctor with multiple advanced degrees. My body, my safety, my life; and I am keeping them.