I feel like my main state of mind is “conflicted.” Yesterday I just took the day off, even though I needed to be at an appointment. I couldn’t get there. I’ve been getting my stuff done for school, taking care of the dogs, etc. The usual. But I think I’m heading into a small downward spiral. It leaves me with this feeling that I want to be around people and do things, but I equally want to stay home and be alone. It becomes fairly paralytic. I’m going to do my best to fight through it. Pdoc and I decided that I should take extra abilify when I feel these episodes coming on, so I’m going to try that today and see what happens. I got mildly manic the last couple of days, which makes the dip that much more noticeable. I hope the abilify helps because I really do not want to have to add another med into the cocktail, even if it’s just for patching things up sometimes. The trouble with all these meds and these episodes is that it makes me foggy and destroys my ability to pay attention. My best time of day is right when I wake up. I seem to be clear minded and able t to focus. That’s when I try to write and get my homework done and whatnot because I don’t have faith that I will feel the same way later in the day. My mood is so changeable, even through the meds, less so than before but enough to make certain tasks difficult.
I’ve set up some social encounters for the weekend, which I am looking forward to and also feeling daunted by. I know this means I’m in a dip because I was fine on Tuesday. So I’m going to fight through the feeling, I know it will pass, and do the things that will be fun because they will make me feel better.
So I can participate in pscyh experiments at school for extra credit in my psych class. I signed up for a study and it turned out to be about how we deal with negative emotions. I had to do a long survey about how I react to certain situations and how I felt during and after them. I also had to report how I think my mother reacts to negative situations. And finally I had to share four negative experiences in detail and rate my reactions to them. I tried to start with easy experiences because I didn’t know there would be four. By the end I finally just talked about the suicide attempt because I ran out of things that were coming to mind. I keep thinking, I would be a really fun subject to study just because of the amount of shit I’ve been through and the disorders that I have. I’m a collection of very intense symptoms. I’m my own unique brand of crazy.
Finding a good doctor is difficult. I always go through a spate of Drs. before I land on one or two that I feel like I can talk to. When I moved to NYC, I had to begin my search all over again. For a few years I went without a therapist or a psychiatrist (tdoc/pdoc). That probably wasn’t the best idea because my breakdown in school might have been avoidable, but oh well.
Dogs make great therapists. My little dogs are the cuddliest things on the planet and want nothing more than to be in my lap getting petted at all times. Sometimes they manage to fit on my lap together. That is impressive and also very comforting. The problem is that they get a little clingy (ok, very clingy). Human therapists don’t do that, but dogs are a great supplement at home.
In my search for my current pdoc, I saw a handful of other doctors before I gave up and asked for help from my childhood pdoc. One pdoc was so preoccupied with getting paid that she literally spent 15 minutes of a session one day yelling at her secretary because they needed to get insurance to pay for some other guy’s session. I sat there thinking, is this real life? My favorite story to tell is about her therapy dog, whose name was something like Moschi. She walked into her office, where I had been sitting playing with the dog for a while, looked at the dog and said, “Moschi, do roll ovah. Moschi, do roll ovah.” (She has a thick New York accent.) Then she looked up at me, made eye contact, and with total sincerity said, “He doesn’t love me.” My mind was BLOWN. Not only was I trusting this woman with my darkest secrets, I was trusting her to medicate me. She was horrible at both things. She didn’t listen and she never gave me a cocktail that worked. In fact, I had such a weird experience with one of my meds that I had a moment of memory dysfunction where I forgot how to use a revolving door. Yes. I actually had no idea what to do with it. Luckily there was a regular door next to it so I eventually gave up but oh my god that was the weirdest moment. I did not stay with this pdoc. Another one I tried out made me sit in her waiting room for THREE HOURS. I’m not kidding. That is honestly fucked up. So many times I was just going to leave, but the longer I was there the more invested I became. When I finally got in to see her, I started to explain my history, symptoms, how I was feeling then, etc. I’ll preface this by saying my New Year’s resolution that year was to wear more red lipstick because 1) it was very in and 2) it looked good on me. There was nothing more to it than that. She said to me, and I quote, “I’m not going to believe you’re Bipolar just because you’re wearing red lipstick.” I was actually dumbstruck. WHY on earth would I try and convince you I’m Bipolar?? I don’t want to be, but all the symptoms are there, lady. What…am I going to get high off of mood stabilizers? I honestly don’t know what her rationale was. I don’t even remember most of the rest of the conversation because that little moment told me everything I needed to know.
I was so much luckier with my tdoc. I asked for a recommendation from my GP, found someone in midtown, saw her, and have stuck with her for the last four years. I did finally find a pdoc I love through recommendations from my childhood pdoc. She recommended someone who I called but had just moved her practice to New Jersey, so she recommended a colleague. Now I’ve been with Dr. T for about three years and he’s awesome.
My point is that there are a lot of shitty pdocs and tdocs out there, but there are some diamonds too, and the trick is to just keep looking. Just because one, or two, or three of them don’t work out, there’s still the possibility that the next one is going to be awesome. I know this is one of the hardest things for people to do when they start looking for help and it is very easy to be discouraged. But it’s worth it. Studies have shown that simply talking about issues relieves a significant portion of psychic stress, and talking to a good tdoc/pdoc is best because they know how to help.