After trying to avoid it for over 20 years, I finally went to a psychiatrist yesterday. I felt conflicted about the concept. After all, I was groomed by my parents to believe that psychiatric drugs are terrible, awful things that make you a zombie. They taught me that you can’t seek that type of treatment because you’ll get, “stuck in the system.” Ten years ago, I had to fight with everyone I was close to just to see a therapist. I was 19, my parents and my then long-term boyfriend were totally against it. It wasn’t until I finally said, “It’s not ok to think about killing yourself every day,” that they all became suddenly supportive.
I’ve been taking Pristiq off and on for the last few years, after multiple emotional breakdowns in a doctor’s office, his nurse practitioner finally convinced me to at least try it. I had tried Lexapro several years before that, prescribed by my primary care provider after I’d cried in his office a few times uncontrollably. I remember the Lexapro fiasco vividly. A year of cutting/burning myself multiple times a day that didn’t begin until I’d started the medication. It did give me some energy and I’d be fatigued with bad headaches when I tried to stop. But it was the most self-destructive I’ve ever been. I was resistant when Pristiq was offered to me, but it did help me quite a bit for a while, when I was able to afford it. At the time I first started it, I was in nursing school without insurance. At almost 300 a month, it was always the first thing to go when I had to cut things out.
Now that I’ve finished school been working and able to consistently stay on Pristiq for a while, it hasn’t been helping as much. I’ve been very depressed and fatigued. My autoimmunity is also becoming symptomatic again. So, I convinced myself to see a psychiatrist.
The whole situation sent me away with mixed feelings. I try to be insightful when I’m attempting to decide whether that it’s the intelligent nursey part of my brain making medical decisions, or the preexisting lost broken little girl side. It’s difficult to take a step back sometimes and ask myself what I would suggest that a friend do if they told me they were in my situation. That’s hard for me, there have been times where I have not been a good friend to myself. This time I decided that I would ask my friend if he/she had considered counseling in combination with a psychiatrist to receive medical therapy in conjunction with psychotherapy.
So I sat there in the psychiatrists office wondering if I were about to go down the rabbit hole in a way that can’t be taken back. When you apply for your RN license in my state, they have inquiries in the declaration for admissions that ask about specific mental illness: If you’d been diagnosed with Bi-polar, personality disorders, if you’ve had psychiatric hospitalizations, etc.. None of those have applied to me before, but the paranoid part of my brain was concerned. I’ve witnessed plenty of crappy doctors, both in my own personal experiences and in my nursing practice. Enough to tickle the paranoid part of my brain to worry me that I could be misdiagnosed on paper and effect my ability to be licensed as a nurse permanently.
Another part of me worries that I’ll be given medication that sends me over the deep end. When I studied psych, we learned about irreversible problems that can be caused by psych medications taken even on a short-term basis. I had a semester where I attended clinicals in a state psychiatric hospital. I’ve seen “crazy” people. Was I really “crazy” enough to risk everything by seeing a doctor who could screw me up worse?
When the psychiatrist asked me why I waited so long to seek help from someone like him, I told him that, in part, I feared that I could end up taking a medication that impairs my judgment. His response was that I should be far more worried about my judgment without medication. This did not help my conflicted feelings about be there.
His diagnosis for me was major depressive disorder. He told me that it was amazing that I’ve been able to accomplish as much as I have without more medication than I’ve had. Part of me wanted to tell him all of the reasons why it almost didn’t happen. All of the days I was almost late for school because I couldn’t sleep the night before and turned the alarm off without remembering. The 3 months straight I woke up and puked with any movement for hours as soon my head left the pillow that nobody could explain. The countless migraines. The piles of laundry and empty soda cans beside my bed, empty pizza boxes on the kitchen counters and dirty dishes in the sink that make me want to give up. The times I did nothing because the thought of having to deal with anyone at all were too much for me to handle. I honestly don’t know how I’ve managed to muddle through to get where I am today. Or how I’m still turning in assignments online on time for the BSN classes I’m taking.
Most days I feel like I’m alive for no reasons. That I’m worthless and forgotten. Sad and partnerless and lost. Almost done with my 20’s, never married. No prospects for marriage. No friends that I see. Living in a place I deeply detest. I can’t stand any of it.
He added Seroquel. I’m hoping it doesn’t make me worse. I don’t know what will happen next. All I know is that I’m as alone I’ve ever been.