Time For A Fresh Look

This coming Friday I have an appointment with the doc to go over my medication. The Wellbutrin has helped a great deal. For the first couple weeks I felt brain dead. It was hard to concentrate and I sometimes felt a little disoriented, but all that has passed, and while not 100% I feel much better than before. This short lived foray into a drug free life has raised some questions. I think my official diagnosis is Severe Depressive Disorder without Psychotic Tendencies, or something like that. I remember the first time I heard it I thought the word “severe” was stretching things a bit, but he was the doc so I let it slide. Over the past couple months as things started to come apart a depressed mood was not the problem. Everything started with, and was centered on, anxiety. I was having these crazy thoughts about the purpose of life and what happens at the end of life, and even then I wasn’t sad about those things as much as I was scared of them. I could tell that if I allowed things to continue a depressed mood was going to be the result, but the problem was anxiety. I mentioned this in passing at my last appointment and was told that early onset of depression in men takes the form of agitation and anxiety and that he didn’t think a new diagnosis was warranted.

Initially I accepted that, but as the weeks have passed I am not so sure. I don’t remember exactly what my original diagnosis was, but I do know that I wasn’t sure what was happening to me, and I waited a long time to get help. When the picture began to clear I knew that use of medication would end the career I had just spent a great deal of money and effort to attain. As a result I went to talk therapy, but I held off for nearly a year taking any medications. I was initially hit with symptoms in early May, and did not take any medications until mid-March of the following year. By then I was surely depressed by a number of things including living with the elevated level of anxiety and the loss of a career path I truly enjoyed. Given the amount of time that passed from the start of the problem to the effective treatment I am no longer convinced that depression was the problem so much as a symptom. My recent discovery concerning emetophobia also sheds some light how long I was actually living with these high anxiety levels and really didn’t even know it.

I think that on Friday I am going to present this line of thought to the doctor and see if he is open to revaluating what is happening with me. This particular doc never knew me before I was on Klonopin either. He always said it was a mood depressant. I have had problems with depressed mood over the years there is no doubt about that, but could I have been more susceptible because of the Klonopin? Again this makes the depression more a symptom than the core problem. If he is not open to a revaluation I am going to consider switching docs. I really think there may be something to this.

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5 thoughts on “Time For A Fresh Look

  1. Follow your instincts and speak up for yourself. That is the best way to get what you need in a patient/doctor relationship. The doc may not care whether you have anxiety or depression, quite often the meds are the same.

    When I say a psycho pharmacologist he gave me 15 minutes for medication consultations. It always felt a lot more hurried than I would have liked. Of course, one walks away with a new rx but is that always the best thing? I have a clinical nurse/therapist who offers me both medication review and therapy for 45 minutes when I see her. Just a thought, if you could get your insurance to cover such a person you could get help working out the logistics of your phobia/anxiety while tweaking your medication.

    Positive thoughts for Friday. xoxo — Daylily

    • I have wondered if the diagnosis really matters because as you said the medications are pretty much the same. I too get 15 minutes from the doc to go over anything new and walk out with a new Rx. Not a big deal when things are going smoothly, but when they aren’t it feels rushed. Tak therapy is about the most difficult things on the planet for me the schedule and even with good insurance is sooo expensive. It has been a couple years since I have spent anytime doing it, but maybe when things quiet down this fall.

  2. I think that, in the end, you are your own best advocate, and if you want a second opinion–get one. What I can tell you now–what I am learning–is that diagnosing a mental health condition is an art. It is not a science, and I’ve heard that from psychiatrists, too. You know from my blog that my daughter is receiving services in a day treatment facility at a children’s hospital, and the team working with her has been just as confounded by her presentation as I and my husband have been. They have been trying to “tease apart” her symptoms and properly diagnose her for three weeks, and she has been with them Monday through Friday, from 8:30 AM to 1 PM. I tell you this because it really sheds light on the diagnosing process. It’s hard. Just because a person looks one way, appears to be presenting with symptoms consistent with one diagnosis, doesn’t mean that they, in fact, have a specific dx. My girl appeared to present with symptoms consistent with bipolar disorder, and now it appears that she does not have that at all. And, the team had to rely heavily on my insights to get the dx right. We have had to collaborate heavily. It takes a wise psychiatrist/therapist graced with humility to step back and really listen to the patient and/or their family. People don’t always present classically. Sometimes what’s fueling a behavior or a condition can be hidden or buried, and it takes time for that to come to the surface. Much like your observations on emetaphobia and anxiety. I encourage you to go with your gut here. Your recovery, process, and journey towards healing is a collaborative effort. Finding people who will work with you and really listen to what you have to say is vital because you are the best expert on you. With what we are going through with my daughter, I am finding this out more and more. xo, LJ

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