Friday, 19 August 2011

Doctors

It's been asked of me before why I feel comfortable telling things to the whole world via my blog that I don't feel comfortable telling a doctor.

There are many answers I could give to that question. But there are two main ones.

The first is that I've had some bad experiences with doctors. For instance, when I first started suffering from depression I finally felt that I should go to the doctor (my SI had escalated to a new point for me and it scared me). I never even got the opportunity to mention this to the doctor. Upon hearing that I couldn't sleep, couldn't concentrate and was worried I'd fail my exams and then be a failure at life he told me to take a hot bath. That was the entirety of his advice. Oh, and to revise less. Considering I'd just told him that there were days I couldn't even get out of bed to go to school, I'm not sure why he thought I was revising too much!

It had been a huge step for me, going to the doctor. I already felt like it was something I shouldn't be feeling and should just get over with. Or a bit of a hypochondriac with "med student syndrome" as we'd not long covered depression and its treatments in my Psychology course. The dismissal without listening to me had a profound impact on me.

The second reason is less tangible than the first, but related. It's because I have an image in my head of who I should be. And that person is strong, self sufficient and doesn't ask for help. She certainly doesn't want to die, or be so weak as to SI/abuse alcohol or any of the other things I do. Speaking about it on here allows me to disassociate from my problems slightly. I could be writing anything, it could be fiction. But I'm still talking about it. Linked to my image of myself is my image of mental health problems. Logically I know there's nothing wrong, but for me there's a big leap between someone being a little depressed and someone being suicidal. And it's a standard I apply only to myself.

If somebody I know admitted to being suicidal I would worry for them and offer all support I could. Whereas I feel that for me it means I'm weak and selfish and should be ignored.

So, Wednesday when I went to the doctors I made a promise to myself. I would answer the questions I was asked honestly. As honestly as I do when I fill in the HAD tests and other things on the CBT site.

And then, the doctor was a locum. He listened, which was good. But there was no assessment of my mental state.

In a way, I enjoyed feeling empowered. I was asked for my opinion of my treatment and the pros/cons of changing AD were discussed. (I've been having considerably more bad days than good days lately, and I felt something needed to change).

For those who care, the result was that I'm now back up to the maximum daily dose of Citalopram, I'm back up to 3x daily on the beta blockers and I also have a prescription for co-drydamol (which I would love to hear about people's experiences with).


2 comments:

  1. It's funny, for me - because I came at ME from a point of never having had any psychological issues - my big fear was having any sort of mental health related label attached to my medical file because I was already being treated like a faker, and I didn't want to make that attitude worse.

    It doesn't really matter either way, ultimately, to be honest. Either you don't have mental health issues, and someone ignores you because they don't believe in ME and they think it's "all in your head". Alternatively, you do have mental health issues and someone ignores you because the diagnosis of such confirms that it's "all in your head".

    ME and depression are two difficult diagnosis to have - on their own or combined - even without any mental health issues I have been repeatedly ignored and treated as a faker because a large subsection of Doctors just don't believe ME is 'real'.

    I think, long story short, the kind of Doctors who listen to you will listen to you regardless of your diagnosis or symptoms. The kind that don't listen - there is nothing you can say to them, nothing you can add in or leave out, to make them listen. Sometimes you just got to cut your losses and ask to see a different person.

    I guess what I'm saying is - I've been through this exact same experience myself, and it was totally unrelated to depression - nothing you did, said or felt caused that Doctor to be a total dick.

    I'm glad this appointment was a bit better anyway - I've not tried co-drydamol (or rather, I think I have, but I can't remember what it did) but I hope it helps combined with the citalopram.

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  2. Have wanted to post, but am never entirely sure want I want to say, so, to start - *hugs* <3

    You're already on citalopram, so my experiences of being on it won't be amazingly useful, however I was on the maximum dose for 3 months to ease anxiety. If you haven't had these problems already, you'll probably be fine (also, I was only put on a starter dose for 2weeks, and then the maximum dose straight after, so I didn't really have an 'inbetween dose'). But personally, the tablets made me feel like a walking side effect (and seeing as one of the side effects is anxiety and panic attacks...), and I didn't feel they helped with my anxiety. In the end I was two anxious to go back to the doctors and get more, so just stopped taking them (bad me!).

    It's good that you felt the appointment went better though! I agree some doctors are the sort that will listen, and others just won't. Just keep being honest with him if you have a good doctor, I've heard some people say it helps to pretend your someone else with these problems when you're talking to the doctor.

    Good luck with the new drugs<3

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