So, as I mentioned yesterday, we met with a new potential shrink on Monday. It was weird and creepy when I got there because a circuit had blown, so the hall lights and air conditioner were off, which meant I stepped directly off the elevator into a dark, hot waiting room.
Then these two therapists walked out and started discussing the situation and it was obvious that neither of them wanted to actually deal with it. They mentioned that the superintendent should be called, but then the man therapist was like, “Well I could call, but I have a phone session…” and the lady therapist was like, “I mean, okay, but I have a client in session right now...” and it went back and forth like this until they just walked away from each other passive-aggressively.
Then another man opened the door and was like, “Hey, it’s dark out here! How long have the lights been out?” and I told him I had no idea because I just got there, but that two other people had spent a few minutes discusssing the situation without actually coming to a solution. He just said okay and shut his door. Then he re-opened it two minutes later and was like, “Okay Andi, come on in” as if he we totally knew each other. Very strange.
He was your stereotypical machismo male doctor, which I don’t love. I find it very intimidating. He was fast-paced and kinda fidgety. He kept getting up to check on the status of the lights and air-conditioner and also to get more paper from his pad. At one point, I noticed he was sweating and I was just thinking he should stay seated and grab the whole pad, so he didn’t have to keep getting additional sheets. Then maybe he’d be calmer and less sweaty?
He asked approximately one million questions, many of which were triggering as fuck. I’d brought a list of all the medications I could remember us ever being on (there were 21 of them), all of our 14 hospitalizations as well as the 12 different diagnoses we’ve received over the years. He was very thankful for such a list, but then proceeded to go down each and every bullet point to ask me about it. For every single fucking medication he asked for “positive” and “negative” effects, as well as the reason for the prescription and the time we were on it.
I honestly cannot remember all of that shit! I do (mostly) remember the bad side-effects of certain meds so I was able to let him know that information. But…dates? Seriously? I ended up just sending out ballpark figures that are probably wrong. I’m not sure it’s vitally important that he know the exact time frame anyway. He didn’t seem suspicious of the dates I gave, so I guess I was close enough.
He also asked about trauma which is by far my least favorite question, ever. Psych people have this way of asking this question in a way that makes me want to dropkick them in the mouth. It went something like this:
“Tell me about your trauma”
“Was it abuse?”
“Okay. Who abused you?”
“Uh…my parents…and…some other people.”
“Yeah. Like my grandpa and ‘uncle’ and…just other people.”
“Okay. With your parents – what was the nature of the abuse?”
“Was it physical…?”
At this point I wanted to scream. Is this guy for real? WHY is it always necessary to answer with this much detail within 15 minutes of meeting a person? Sometimes I wonder if they don’t ask these questions just to see how we answer them. Or just to be dicks.
“Meaning everything: physical, sexual, psychological, emotional, financial, spiritual…EVERYTHING!”
“Okay. And your grandfather and uncle?”
“What about them?”
“Was that physical abuse?”
Motherfucker. Here we go again…
“Yes. And sexual.”
“And the others?”
“Yes! Also sexual! It was all sexual!”
“How long did this go on?”
“Well the longest was with my father. I don’t remember when that started but it ended when I was 25.”
I literally saw him gasp and then scramble to compose himself. Gah. So fucking uncomfortable. Then, once he was sufficiently satisfied with our trauma history, he started asking about relationships. He assumed when I said “married” that I had a husband so I had to correct him, which was annoying.
Then it was basic health questions. He was impressed with how well we take care of ourselves until we got to the topic of weight. River jumped out to say that she’d like to lose 40lbs. He just kinda gawked at us and then said, “Uh…Why do you want to lose weight? Did your doctor say you needed to lose weight?” And River was just like “No, but obviously I’m really fat so I’d like to lose more weight.” And he said he could not see where we had 40lbs to lose and then River said that Wife always says the same thing but she doesn’t know what they are looking at. He said, “I suppose I wonder what YOU are looking at. Sometimes people with a history of eating disorders have something called body dysmorphia where they see a distorted image of themselves” but River was basically like blah blah I don’t care I’m still gonna lose weight and he was like, “I…I don’t think I could support that “ as if she has any fucks to give about his support. Ha.
Then he asked about current symptoms and I stumbled a lot with this one. It’s very hard to put together symptoms when you’re only Part of a whole System. So I mostly just went generic: tired, groggy, trouble concentrating, trouble sleeping, depressed, overwhelmed, headaches, suicidal thoughts, and I mentioned the dissociation part. I wasn’t going to, but the therapist said we really should bring that up when we met him so I made sure I did that. He asked what that was like, which was also a hard question to answer, but I told him it was like having a conversation with your own thoughts and feelings and he seemed satisfied with that. I was nervous to answer because when I tried to explain this many years ago, we were diagnosed with schizophrenia and put on
horse tranquilizers antipsychotic medications.
By the end, he decided to grant my request to taper off the clonazepam (Klonopin) but he increased the propranolol to somehow make up for that (?). Then he added lamitrogine (Lamictal) which kinda made me want to punch him, but he felt like we needed something to manage our mood. I didn’t really get it, so I was like “What is your vision for how this will go” and he said it seemed like I was working very hard in therapy, which often brings up a lot of pain. And although that is a necessary part of healing trauma, it can also be destabilizing. So the medications can help ease some of that by helping keep the mood more stable.
I mean, whatever. I’m not sure medications ever actually work for us, but he sold me enough on it to agree to be RE-prescribed lamotrigine. I’m not thrilled because I don’t like mood stabilizers. Actually, I don’t like any medications. I didn’t really feel like I had a choice, though. I couldn’t just flat out refuse to try anything. Well, maybe I could have, but the idea of doing that scared me too much so I just agreed to take the script with the knowledge that I technically didn’t HAVE to fill it if I didn’t want to (spoiler alert: I filled it).
He told me to text him in two weeks to let him know how the adjustments were going (Um, gross. We are not friends. I am not texting you) and we scheduled an appointment for September.
I don’t love this. I didn’t even really like him. But he asked good questions and took a thorough history. It was annoying to answer so many questions about medications, but I like that he seemed to actually give a shit about what’s been tried before. And he seemed genuinely concerned and interested in how we’ve been treated by former psychiatrists and how their decisions basically did a lot of fucking damage, both to our physical body and beyond. He seemed kind of appalled, actually.
So, you know, good enough.