the end of the ‘affair’?
T minus 23 hrs. 43 minutes and counting.
I wrote about my last appointment with my psychiatrist two months ago, seeking advice from others about how to deal with a situation which over the years has morphed into a relationship which at times stretched the boundaries of therapeutic. The focus of my diary was about how the cultural divide which has so dismantled the bonds between families and friends, the viscioius mind-altering rhetoric of the right wing media and Faux News, had extended into the confines of my therapeutic haven. My therapist expressed her fear about the dismantling of our financial system and the threat the Obama tax policy poses to the life she and her husband have built for themselves.
I was anxious about yesterday’s session, struggling with whether I should discuss with her my feeling that her calling my beliefs “fringe” as well as the feeling that our worldviews were so distinctly different as to be incompatable in terms of continuing ‘treatment.’ Frankly, I felt as if I could no longer trust someone with my mind whose own mind has been so compromised by inundation of right wing talking points that she has lost the ability to think independently.
Our session yesterday, was extremely guarded. Chit chat. And at the end of the 45 minutes, a great deal of which was dedicated to discussion of our changed world, the slipping away of safety nets, and the fear of what lies ahead, she ended the session saying “Well, you know where I am if you need me. I’ll be here.”
On an overt level, this was her acknowledgment of the fact that it is extremely difficult for me to continue paying $200 a month. But the undertone (and as someone with Major Depressive Disorder, I am blessed and cursed by having an acute hyper-sensitivity to the emotions, vibrational energy, and sub-verbal cues) I believe she was acknowledging that that I have moved on. After 16 years!
After returning home and reading a post on Brainzaps from Adinah about her problems with her psychiatrist in which she linked to a prescient article written in the 90s about the ‘scientification’ of the social science of psychology, I was jolted into an awareness that I have been one of the subjects of this drastic shift in perception of mental illness. I flashed back to the onset of my last and worst psychotic break 16 years ago. It was precipitated just like the previous breaks by a major disruption of my sleep patterns. As a recovering alcoholic, back in the day when recovering alcoholics where told they could take NO mind altering substances (and when many fervently beleived that even novacaine was taboo), I had always relied on meditation, acupuncture, herbs, nutrition and supplements to regain equalibrium. But my last episode was visious, responding to nothing. It progressed, gaining momentum through sleep deprivation to the point where I was experiencing electrical shocks through my entire body, lost sensation in my outer limbs, visualized rabid wolves chasing my car, and was overcome with horrifying images of bloody suicides and deaths.
I believed I was suffering from major anxiety brought upon by sleep deprivation. But when I finally arrived in my psychiatrist’s office, I was told I had major depressive disorder and was experiencing a psychotic episode. When I said I wasn’t depressed, I was informed that anxiety was a byproduct of depression.
Thus began my 16 year affair with psycho-pharmacology. An affair which has moved me through a wide spectrum of anti-depressents coupled with anti-anxiety meds and the good ole standby Trazadone, to ensure I continued to sleep at night and not risk a relapse.
And so the ‘what ifs’ begin again …. what if I had been able to disrupt the syndrome of sleeplessness before it took on a life of its own? What if I had refused to accept the diagnosis? What if I had trusted myself enough years ago to follow through on weaning myself totally off meds? What if I hadn’t bought into the notion that my biochemistry, my genetic background, and the fact that I had lived through multiple episodes of psychotic breaks sans drug intervention guaranteed that the damage to my brain was irreperable?
t minus 24 hours and 7 minutes and counting. I am now 57 years old. My life is in my own hands. My therapist has given me license to choose my own course. And frankly, I have no idea where to turn.