Thursday, June 19, 2008

A Victory of Sorts

I went to see my psychiatrist, Dr. L., yesterday. We are on a 3-month check-in schedule right now, with me now off all meds except trazodone, and having been stable for the past four years.

It was actually a good visit. I was afraid I might be feeling rather hostile and bad-attitudinal, especially with all the feelings that my art-journaling experiment the other day stirred up. But I was in such a good mood yesterday when I woke up that I was quite well behaved (give that woman a cookie!).

He asked me what I was currently taking, and I told him I had cut my trazodone down from 200 mg to 50 mg since my last visit, and he was fine with that.

I asked about the aspartame connection and whether or not we ever get to talk about undiagnosing me, or misdiagnosis. He said not really, because regardless of the cause, I did have all the symptoms of a manic episode, and I have had several depressions. Neither of which I would deny, because, well, they did happen. However, he did concede that given my sensitivity to medications it is certainly a possibility that aspartame contributed to my mood issues. And he added that given what we are learning about different food additives and some of the effects they can have on people, it would not surprise him if aspartame was at least partially responsible.

So I felt like that was a victory of sorts: he listened to me, he heard me, and he admitted that I could be right.

And he didn't once mention Abilify!

18 comments:

Gianna said...

sounds like he's coming around and you just may be educating him...

My doc who prescribes for me here at home is very supportive but still a traditional doc...

he listens and learns too...

he stopped pushing the "you know there is nothing wrong with discovering you need to be on some meds" theme quite a while ago now.

and he teaches the Western Psychiatry course at the local Chinese Medicine School and has asked me to present there twice and all I do is trash psychiatry---so I'd say he's on the cool side---

it still sickens me though to know he doles out the ritalin to kids etc....and I know he does...this is small community.

Jazz said...

Gianna--
This is only my 4th or 5th visit with him, so he is still learning how to deal with me! But you are right, he is coming around. He seems so surprised that I have been stable for so long...but when I look at all the lifestyle changes I have made, it doesn't surprise me at all. But he has not really asked about those. When he asked what meds I was on I told him synthroid, trazodone, and supplements. He never even asked what supplements.

Jazz said...

Did your doc still speak to you after you trashed psychiatry?

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

Jazz,
It sounds like a very satisfying visit. It's so nice to be "listened to" and "heard."

My feeling is that if the "label of bipolar" wasn't so negative, and didn't carry with it a "life sentence," it would be okay to have bipolar symptoms in the same way it's okay to be diabetic or have high blood pressure.

But then if you "cure" yourself, no one would suggest you should be on medication for life, just as a diabetic can get off insulin, and someone with high blood pressure can get off her medication if she heals herself by reducing stress, changing her diet, and lowering her blood pressure.

Susan

Gianna said...

well that's no surprise...they don't think nutrients do anything...diet either for that matter...

which is really hard for me to comprehend...

I mean the old cliche you are what you eat makes sense even if you don't know anything about nutrition...

perhaps most people are just afraid of taking that sentence seriously because then they'd have to take a good luck at what they eat!!

Gianna said...

oh yeah...he asked me back a second time after trashing psychiatry...

I don't really get him....

Jazz said...

Susan--
We actually talked about the label, as well, and I told him I was concerned about that, because it could make it difficult for me to get a job later on. He said at that point, if my stability continues, we can indeed discuss misdiagnosis, and he would write a supporting letter for me.

Jazz said...

Gianna-
I suspect what you say is true--most people are afraid of really looking at what they eat, because the western diet is so unhealthy that for most people, eating healthy would be a pretty serious lifestyle change. It takes time and effort to eat healthy, that's for sure!

Jazz said...

Gianna--
I love it that your doc asked you to speak again, even after you trashed psychiatry!

Perhaps that's his way of salving his conscience after putting all those kids on Ritalin?

Gianna said...

gosh, if I'm just being a salve, maybe I should cut it out!!

I want to make him UNCOMFORTABLE!!

he's pretty darn confident...which is why he lets me trash psychiatry..he says students should get all sides to the story...

I actually love the guy while still having a deep fear of him...he controls the money coming in...he supports my disability...i need him and that is scary.

and he is a psychiatrist...the same breed that hurt me so much....he has power...whether he chooses to use it or not

Jazz said...

Gianna--
That's a tough place to be. You were very brave to trash psychiatry when you need him on your side so much.

Clueless said...

Your life in six words MEME at http://clinicallyclueless.blogspot.com/2008/06/your-life-in-six-words.html

Gianna said...

no..not brave...we have an understanding...I'm respectful of him...I didn't trash HIM I trashed the care I had gotten before I met him...he understands the difference.

I took no risk...and I told him exactly what I was going to do before I did it...

Jazz said...

That's good that you have a relationship that sounds like it's based on mutual respect. I didn't have that with the first guy I saw, but I think something like that might develop over time with the one I'm seeing now.

Annie said...

Wow! You did a great job of asserting your self. It is a definite victory! Good post. Annie

Jazz said...

Thanks, Annie!

Lynn said...

If you are interested in being undiagnosed, you could wait until you have had several stable months off trazodone and start looking for a new doctor. I think it's BS that you can't be undiagnosed. I mean, c'mon, if it's truly bipolar, which is supposed to be a chemical imbalance that makes meds crucial, then how can you have it? I think it's a load of you-know-what. Of course he doesn't want to undiagnose you! He's a psychiatrist. He needs you and lots of other folks to be convinced that they have to come and see him to get medication for the rest of their lives. He doesn't care about the supplements because you don't need a prescription to get them. That's the bottom line for those people.

OK - I'm glad I read comments before posting this. He will undiagnose you if having bp stops you from getting a job? Yes, it does appear that diagnosis depends on 'need'. *He* 'needs' to write prescriptions for as many people as he can for as long as he can, so - you are still bipolar. You can be undiagnosed when *your* 'need' for employment signals that his gig is up and he realizes that his need to label and drug someone has been trumped by that person needing their identity back. This is precisely why I don't trust psychiatrists.

Oh, and also because of the one that helped kill my best friend. Nope. Her mania could not possibly have been because of cocaine. Had to be bipolar because there are lots and lots of expensive appointments in that. Her depression couldn't possibly have been because of the sexual abuse. Nope. It had to be a chemical thing that required pills even though she was a diabetic with impaired kidney function. She died waiting for a kidney. No skin off the shrink's butt, though. Nope. Lots more folks just like her. Next victim, please. I see her kids all the time. I'm sure they miss her. Her name was Debbie. She had a really hard life and sexual abuse, cocaine and a vast array of powerful psychiatric drugs killed her. She was only 36. She died all alone and no one found her for five days.

I'm so glad you saw through the lie, Jazz. You have been spared. You saved yourself. YOU are doing that. That is not a victory of sorts. That is a flat out victory. Asd far as the shrink goes - I think you know what that is all about. I think you have the tenacity to get 'undiagnosed', too.

Jazz said...

Lynn--
You're right about it being BS--I know these guys are all in bed with pharma...it's quite a racket, isn't it? The main reason I'm continuing to see him is that I just might, someday, need someone who can say, "Yes, she's been seeing me for years without and episode and has been unmedicated all that time." That's it. I'm not seeing him for me. I'm not seeing him because I'm afraid I'll need meds again. That may have been my original rationale, at the beginning of the year, but now I really don't feel that I need a psychiatrist around for meds.

I am sorry to hear about your friend. That is tragic, and cases like that are one of the reasons I am so angry at psychiatry as a whole. Most of those doctors are blind to anything but a set of symptoms. They are so eager to label and medicate, and so unwilling to look at the whole person.

I believe that I would have benefitted more from therapy than from the whole "meds for life" approach...nobody even asked me what kind of stresses I was under at the time of that "manic episode", and when I look back on it, I can't help wondering if perhaps it was just an extreme manifestation of anxiety rather than true "mania".