Here’s a thing about when your medication stops working–or at least stops doing what you’d like it to do. (Or stops seeming like it’s doing something. Whichever it is.) One day, usually around late afternoon, you realize that you haven’t taken your medication today. “Oh, well,” you think, “it’s late, I’ll just remember to take it tomorrow.” Then the next day, sometime in the evening, you realize that you forgot to take it again. “Well, whatever,” you think. “It doesn’t help anyway.” Then the next day you don’t think about it all. Neither do you think about it on the next day. And on the next day–or the day after that…it gets harder to keep track–when you’re freaking out for no good reason and/or having hour-long bouts of weeping several times during the day, for no discernible reason except that it just seems to be the thing to do, you might think, “What is happening to me? Why am I responding to the usual stimuli in such an atypical fashion?” (Okay, maybe you don’t think those exact words. Maybe your exact words are “AAAAAAUUUUUGHHHHHHHHHHHHmakeitstopmakeitstopmakeitstop!!!!” But don’t worry, we know what you mean.) Then, out of nowhere, it occurs to you that you haven’t had your medication in at least four days. And it also occurs to you, though you hesitate to think it out loud, that the first day you forgot to take your medicine might not have been the first day after all. So, yeah, that could explain a couple of different things. But what does any of it matter now, when you’re clearly KA-RAY-ZAY?
This is the point at which people are eliciting promises from you that you will call your doctor (i.e. psychiatrist) and make a freaking appointment already. But do you really need to call your doctor, or do you just need to remember to take your freaking pills? Because even when you thought they were doing nothing, clearly they were doing something, or the absence of them would not make you crave their banal and unremarkable benefits. How much magic are you entitled to expect out of chemical dependency, especially the legal kind? That, I think, is a fair question to ask, even if you are insane.
Just so you know, I choked down my own pills just a few minutes ago. But I haven’t called my doctor yet. I’m thinking.
I took Princess Zurg to her doctor this morning, because PZ’s pills don’t seem to be working for her, either. Of course, she has been on the same prescription for the last four years or so. She’s thirteen and about 50 pounds heavier than she was in the fourth grade. It seems logical to get a new psych consult. We’ve been “between psychiatrists” for PZ ever since she left the day treatment program, relying on her pediatrician to write prescriptions for her, since she was so stable and all. (PZ was stable, that is. I mean, her doctor seems stable, too–I didn’t mean to call that into question. I just wanted to clarify the pronoun usage.) I didn’t want to go back to her original psychiatrist (the one we saw before she entered the day treatment program) because, although he was a very nice man and by all accounts a fine doctor, his doctor style didn’t quite match up with my patient (or mother-of-the-patient) style. What he would do was lay out all the different options before us, explaining how the drugs worked and the pros and cons of each, and then ask me what I thought–which I imagine would work great for a lot of people. I mean, it’s very empowering, I’ll give you that, but a little too empowering for me personally–because I would never have any idea what I thought. All the options sounded equally good and equally awful to me. And I would think, “What about his professional opinion? Isn’t that one of the reasons people go to medical school–so they can have a professional opinion?” So, yeah, I am grateful for his help in eventually finding the correct medication for my child, but it was not a process I wanted to go through with him again. So I was putting off finding a new psychiatrist–happily putting it off while the medication seemed to be working, and unhappily putting it off when I thought I might have to go back to Dr. Empower-Me again.
Do you remember me telling you how difficult it is to find a psychologist who treats adolescents, is taking new patients and is also covered by my insurance? I’m sure I must have told you, but I don’t blame you for forgetting. It might not have been one of my more interesting blogs, but to recap: it’s really very difficult. Take that difficulty and magnify it by a really large number if you want to find a psychiatrist who treats adolescents, is taking new patients and is also covered by my insurance. And I knew if I asked her psychologist or her pediatrician for a referral, I would probably have to answer the question, “Why don’t you go back to Dr. Empower-Me?” and being that Dr. Empower-Me is a very well-regarded child psychiatrist in this metropolitan area, I didn’t want to admit that the thought of working with him again made me feel very frustrated before even beginning.
Imagine my relief when I broached the topic of a referral with PZ’s pediatrician this morning and she said, “Oh, yeah–because you can’t go back to Dr. Empower-Me. He went over to Kaiser.” He did? Why didn’t anyone tell me? I would have asked this question months ago! Ha ha. Ah, now I feel really stupid. But relieved. So now I have a list, and I can begin working my way down that list–which shouldn’t take long, since there are only two names. Ha ha. I told you this was difficult, and you didn’t believe me, did you? Well, now you know. Or you will know, as soon as I report back whether or not any of them is taking new patients and/or is covered by our insurance.
My mother was very good about getting me treatment for my mental illness, but getting her to seek treatment for her own was like pulling teeth. Does that strike you as odd? It sure struck me as odd, back in the day, but now I understand completely.
There might be a nap in this afternoon for me. But only if I get off the computer. So adieu, gentle readers. Do you think I should take a Valium, or not?