Susan of Bipolar Wellness Writer asked me how I came up with my regime of supplements.

To tell you the truth, I didn’t come up with them. A medical doctor did.

When I first met this doctor, I thought he was a nut. He had a booth at a public event and he was talking about how antidepressants caused suicide, and how psych-drugs were responsible for the school shootings. My explanation for that was: depressed people take antidepressants and depressed people kill themselves; and troubled kids take psych-drugs and troubled-kids cause trouble.

My husband and I were new to town and I was still on disability, so I figured I better find a doctor in my new town.

I was pretty determined not to tell anyone in this town about my mental health history. I wanted a fresh life. Telling others in the past had backfired on me. No matter how good intended and kindly others may be.

I ventured out a bit and asked a parish nurse at my church to recommend a psychiatrist. She hemmed and hawed and seemed dumbfounded. I like this lady, but her reaction wasn’t good. I mean, if a psychiatrist is good, why wouldn’t his name just roll off your tongue? Another man in the church was working on a masters in the mental health field, so I also asked him. He recommended a doctor who was recently quoted in the news as saying his hospital wasn’t responsible for the death of a young man after his hospital staffed administered Haldol to this young man. (This young man was intoxicated and just off the street. The hospital staff had no idea what the man’s medical state was or what other drugs he may have had in his system. And it says right on the bottle ‘Do not use with alcohol’) And besides that, the doctor was quoted as saying that this was routine treatment in his practice. There was no way I was going to see someone who routinely prescribed Haldol. And especially routinely to intoxicated people. 

I wasn’t anti meds. I was just against being turned into a zombie.

I also asked one other person, a minister from another church, to recommend a psychiatrist. The reverend said one parishioner had had a very rough time and now really liked Dr. So and So, but that you had to get used to him because he was a little different. I figured “forget that, if he doesn’t know how to make a good first impression and if he is a little different, he sounds weird. I am not going to ‘put up’ with someone.”

I googled every psychiatrist in town. I even paid one of those Internet sites for information about doctors. One doc had a very strange hobby…I will just leave it at that (It wasn’t dirty…it was just something that if you or I engaged in…well, we would be called crazy or delusional.) 

Now, I was going to have to report to my extended family and disability what I was doing for care, and I truly believed that I was mentally ill so I had to do something.

Finally, I made a move. I walked into a local mental health clinic a few blocks from my home. It is associated with one of the major hospitals here.

I am a stickler for privacy, so what happened next probably was okay and appropriate. But it seemed so secretive and hush-hush and shameful. The receptionist took me to a small private meeting room. A nurse or maybe it was an office-type or social worker said, “WHO told you that you needed a psychiatrist?”

I told her that I had a mental health diagnosis and that I wanted to find someone here in my new town.  I think she told me that I needed a referral. You can’t just walk off the street and make an appointment. Before we relocated I had been seeing a county or state psych-doc. 

I really didn’t want to go through all that bureaucracy again. I wanted a fresh start. I didn’t really want to get enmeshed in “the system” again with governmental agencies or within a hospital network.

Finally, after all that searching and research, I picked a guy in private practice. I think he did not have hospital privileges, which was great because I didn’t want to be stuck in the hospital.

Before I met with him, I tried to ask his office workers if I could just meet and see if he and I could work together. I can’t remember the answer. I think on the phone the answer was, “yes.” But when I got to my appointment and again stated my needs. They just assured me that he was a great doctor.

Finally I was taken to a little room which just happened to have a great view. I sat there and waited and waited. I took my camera out and was taking photos of this great view. I thought when the doctor arrived we would chit chat about the great view and maybe photography.

The doctor burst into the room. I wanted to stand up to shake his hand. But he ignored me. I got very shy. I was scared. I didn’t want my current dosage of meds to be altered/increased or changed.

This guy just stood there at a counter with a notebook. He started grilling me like I was some type of criminal. To my own credit or luck, most doctors have really liked me. I believe that deep down inside they really cared and wanted to helped me.  I was usually pretty crazy about my psych-docs because they were the ones that I told my biggest, deepest dreams and fears. I also believed that I was one of their favorite patients too. (I know…conceited)

(Gianna wrote a whole post about doctors who think that patients become enamoured with them on her “Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal and Recovery—a journey.” I actually did fall for my docs, many times. But again, that’s another chapter. Her post is about docs who misuse and abuse this phenomenon.)

But anyway, this new doctor in this new town…well he treated me like he could care less about me. Actually worse than that, he treated me with disdain, Like he was going through the motions of some routine of a CSI episode. It was almost like he was acting like he was smart and important. He even wore a white coat. 

I told him life story because he he did an official “history.”  

I cried when I told him how much I missed my first husband and how the psych-meds had made me into a zombie that first hubby didn’t want to be around any more. Doc said, “Forget him. He was a jerk!” (This didn’t make me feel better…he wasn’t hearing my pain of losing a lover, father of my child, best friend.)

(How my ex saw through all these medications in the first place could be a whole chapter. He never believed in them. He always thought they made me worse, and he absolutely hated some of my doctors. And some hated him back. I thought he was just not buying that I had a biochemical illness and needed meds….turns out he was the smartest one all along.)

Anyway CSI interrogator-doc grilled me about my father, my ex and my present husband. Turns out they are all in the same field. Doc said, “So you got a thing about (fill in the blank) do you!”  I found it so degrading. His tone of voice was negative, like I was some woman who had to fit his stereotype. And almost like I should be ashamed if I had happened to like a particular skill in a man. To tell the truth, I hadn’t really thought about the fact that all three had been in similar fields because after my divorce I had dated many men of all types of races, socio-economic backgrounds and professions. I thought of myself as quite cosmopolitan in taste.

The more this doc talked, or should I say, sneered at me, the more I wanted to jump up out of the chair and bolt out the door! But I couldn’t because he was between me and the door. And I didn’t want him as labeling me as crazy for running out. 

As he interrogated me, I told him my life story and I told him about a time I had drank too much and had a big fight with someone important to me.  Then he asked me if I had ever had three drinks in a row. I responded, “Yes.”  He glared at me. And laid down the law that if I wanted to see him there would be absolutely no drinking!  His tone of voice was so accusing.

(I honestly don’t have a drinking problem. I have lots of problems, but that isn’t one of them.)

The last thing I remember is that he wanted to start me on Seroquel.  I thought this was nuts! The only time I had ever taken Seroquel was when I was extremely, extremely upset about something. It was like a tranquilizer for me. He wanted me on it twice a day. Whatever for???!!!  I was doing just fine. I had been doing okay for a couple years. Why didn’t he want to discuss what I thought I needed? Or even visit with my previous doc who had done an okay job of med management? (Of course I just wanted to get out of his office so I didn’t say much.)

Which brings me to the first doctor I met whom I thought was a nut. All I wanted was someone to prescribe my medicine and not dope me up. I knew this guy wouldn’t dope me into a zombie.

So I made the appointment.

I will write about him in my next post.