Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Adventures in Psychiatry and the End of the Forced Medication Ritual…

I had most of the morning off from work to go see my new psychiatrist.  I only worked two short hours coming in very early to get the carts caught up from overnight and I was on my way to Auburn.  She has a busy practice and I had to wait in the brightly colored and sunny waiting room for quite awhile to be seen.  I spent my time reading old Southern Living magazines.  I noticed all the plants in the waiting room needed watering, but I resisted the urge to tell the receptionist not wanting to be a busybody. 

“Andrew? You can come on back now,” the receptionist finally said.

I sighed with relief.  The most unpleasant part of psychiatry is the incessant waiting around to see the doctor as is just about the case with any doctor these days.

My new doctor was reviewing my medical records as I took a seat in her office.  The huge and deep, richly hued wood desk stood out in my mind.  A clock was ticking softly on the wall and the room smelled of peppermint which was comforting.  It was a much more quiet and pleasantly peaceful environment than my old doctor’s office which was always loud with thin walls.  

“It says here you are schizoaffective?” she asked with a smile looking over her very fashionable and svelte glasses.

“That’s what my old doctor thought, but I don’t think so,” I told her. “I don’t have any of the classic symptoms of those disorders.  I am not bipolar and I am not schizophrenic.”

“Describe for me your symptoms,” she said.

“I have extreme anxiety especially late in the afternoons.  Afternoons are always the hardest on me I think because I get tired.  I also have extreme anxiety in social situations.  Social anxiety has been a problem for me ever since I was a child.  The anxiety attacks I have can border on excruciating – incapacitating me for hours.  I think I have Asperger’s syndrome, social anxiety, and generalized anxiety disorder.”

“You are on a lot of medications – medications that can conflict with each other,” she told me looking dismayed.

“My father would tell my doctor a symptom I was having, what he thought I needed medication wise, and my doctor would prescribe it.  My father is a pharmacist and very pro medication – almost  maniacal about it,” I told her wincing as I said it.

My new doctor frowned deeply as I told her this.   

We continued on about my symptoms for a good thirty minutes in this initial visit.  She greatly simplified my medications putting me on 3mg Risperdal on top of my injection in the mornings halving my regular dosage (we are going to titrate this down to zero due to withdrawal problems over time as we both believe I don’t need an anti-psychotic),  Paxil for the social anxiety, and kept me on my Klonopin reducing the Klonopin from four .5mg pills to two 1mg pills a day.  This reduced the pills I was taking from eleven down to four. 

“The sexual dysfunction was due to the anti-depressant you were taking. It’s a common problem with Celexa,” she told me before I got up to leave.  “It will take about a week for you to feel sexually normal again.”

I thanked her profusely for her help and left the room to get my next appointment in two weeks.  I am really going to like this new doctor.  She is not a pill pusher – thinking more pills = better.   My father is going to shit a brick though.  This is the end of the forced morning medication ritual and the end of my every two week injection of Risperdal which was a method of social control for my father – his psychiatric mental illness insurance.  My new doctor firmly believes in therapy, though, and I got an appointment to start seeing a therapist which the receptionist set up for me.

I drove up from Auburn and got my prescriptions filled at my uncle’s pharmacy.  He wasn’t at work today, but my aunt, who works with him, was glad to see me.  She was kind of surprised that I was getting my prescriptions filled with them instead of my father, though.  I told her it was complicated and hard to explain.  Luckily, the cost of my medications was completely covered by Medicare much to my relief.  I didn’t even have to pay a co-pay because I am on so much assistance as my father calls it. 

I am very pleased at how this visit turned out.  This needed to be done for years, but I was too afraid to take the initiative and buck the status quo.  I think it is an inalienable right to have control of your own healthcare – a basic human right that shouldn’t be infringed upon.  My only concerns are withdrawal symptoms from the cessation of my bipolar and antidepressant medications.  My doctor said I might feel out of sorts for a few days until these medications are out of my system.  I am hoping for the best!


amelia said...

WOW!!! Good luck Andrew!! I really hope things keep looking up for you and that you can handle your fathers wrath..

glittermom said...

This sounds great....Hope it all works for you....Less is sometimes better...Dont give up till your old medications are out of your system and the new ones starting to work...Even your new dr. felt you were on too many meds...

glittergirl said...

yeah, this is just wonderful!!!

give yourself time for the meds to get out of your system. i've been through it and you can feel really "out of sorts" for days.

keep doing what you're doing, which is staying calm, making good choices, and getting your life back in your control.

it's been wonderful reading your blog!

and if things go wrong or you make a mistake, be kind & gentle with yourself.


forsythia said...

Wow! "One Flew OUT OF the Cuckoo's Nest." Gotta tell you though: even after your meds have been straightened out, symptoms still wax and wane...or, as a very competent shrink from India once said, "they vax and vane." All kinds of environmental factors come into play: hours of daylight, hot weather, caffeine, etc. So this means not getting discouraged. AS if I need to tell you that. You already know this. The medications you're going to be on now may still need adjustment from time to time.

This IS The Fun Part! said...

Sheesh - - you are on a roll! Dad may have a fit - but you've got doctor's orders and new prescriptions - along with therapy. How can he do anything about it!! Great work, my friend!

Love ya,

Happyone :-) said...

It certainly sounds like a move in the right direction. I hope all goes well for you and pray that it does.

Syd said...

Every day things seem a little better. The reduction in meds sounds promising. Good for you.

Tee said...

This change of doctor is way over due. Just stay cool and calm when dealing with your dad. Don't get in a shouting match with him, just let him do all the yelling and cussing. He can't force you to take those old meds. Give yourself time for your body to adjust to the new meds. You might have to just push through some rough spells, but you can do it. You have come so far. We are proud of you! I think you are experiencing the best of both worlds at the moment.

justLacey said...

I am going to say a little prayer for you and hope that the new meds will work just fine. Did you tell the Dr. about your sunset ritual? I think I might give that up at least until your old meds are out of your system and the new ones are working. If you don't you really aren't giving it a fair chance to see what works and what doesn't. I imagine your father will need his own meds when he finds out what is up. I can only imagine his reaction, but you'll be ok. Just stay calm.

jane said...

thrilled that you are feeling good enough to take charge! good for you! yippee!!

Mary K said...

I'm so glad it went well. Pills have their place, but they're not a cure all. Hopefully you'll find some useful tools in therapy.

PipeTobacco said...


Even though it may be very hard to do, I think you need to talk with your father about the medication changes the new doctor has give you.

But, even though it may be hard, keep in mind the idea of talking and working through the details in a moderate fashion can do wonders. Even if you father is very upset, you can still be very moderate.

I think that even though it may feel hard to tell your father right now, in the long run it is the right thing to do and you will feel better about the situation as well.


C.A. said...

YOU DID IT! :) I think all of your readers are jumping with joy right now! Congratulations on this HUGE step, friend. Endless possibilities await you, now that you've taken your life back! I am so very proud of you.



Sharon said...

I'm rooting for you that this will all work out for the best! Yes, you definitely needed to take control of your own medical care. Even if this new doctor had agreed with the other one, you still have a right to control your own care. Don't freak out if you have some anxiety or feel out of sorts while your body is adjusting, it may take time but in the end, if this is a more effective treatment, it will be well worth it. Take care!

Sharyna said...

Again, I am so proud of you! Your new doc seems on top of things. I always wondered why you took so many pills (I don't) and didn't see a therapist. Maybe Dad IS just trying to keep you (and your mom) quiet. Mom needs a change of pills too (I feel). At her age, she should not be sleeping all the time and pooping her pants. That makes me so mad!