What is it about psychiatrists which make you a) forget half your own history and b) turn you into a nervous wreck? I have a substantially different view of psychiatrists now due to my work. Whereas before they were something akin to gods floating richly on massive clouds formed out of all my psychic shortcomings, now, having sat and had tea with them, shared my biscuits with them, having had them ask me my opinions on stuff and tell me stories from their childhood, they are FUCK ME! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?! people. Same goes for psychologists, one in particular who was incredibly funny and humane, and who likes Care Bears more than is really sane.
Still. Yesterday I had an appointment with THE CONSULTANT whom I’d never met before. And two extremely charming medical students who were asking me questions that made me smile. I watched the busy little hamster in their brain, run, RUN! hamster, going down their imaginary assessment checklist… “We have to ask everyone this- any illicit drug use?” I smiled because I have assessed patients and recognise the minute long silence and scrunched up face of trying to remember what comes next. Still- nervous I. Patient I, and unused to being a patient now. I picked my cold sore while I was there and got blood on my fingertip. I did it out of habit and nerves (god, I love picking scabs) but know it will be written down as (because, c’mon, I would have done the same) as, “interfering with healing”.
He asked me how many times I had been with the crisis team (about 4, I think) and I completely forgot the massive 2008 overdose. It wasn’t a deliberate omission, it was four years ago and it was in a headspace I can barely relate to. I hope nobody thinks I didn’t mention it on purpose or was trying to hide it- it was a big thing to me then, but I don’t really think about it now.
They asked me about my family history of mental illness (AHAHAHAHAHA) and how I was doing at uni. I said I found it stressful and my sleep it out of whack due to shift-working but I am managing and doing well (I am- I got 80% in my last essay and have had glowing reports on placement).
Anyway, he agreed with me that I don’t need to be on a long-term antipsychotic, particularly on a dose that basically helps me sleep. It is not a sleeping pill, and the health risks that I already suffer from are too great to use it as such. So the plan is, I’m almost finished uni so this is a good time to stop taking it. Cut it down by 25mg at a time for a few weeks at a time until I get to 0. I am worried about not being able to sleep. They asked me a lot about my sleep and I didn’t articulate properly why I have trouble sleeping. I don’t have insomnia- it’s not lying awake. It is partly not having medication which means I can’t sleep, but it is largely that I do not get sleepy at the same rate as most people. I can quite easily knock out 24 hours awake as my natural way. It’s just the way I am, I like being awake and doing stuff so getting natural sleep is tricky- my naturally sleepy self is out of whack, and medication enforces sleep. But we’ll see.
Lamotrogrine is being hoiked up gradually to 200mg and I have been advised to keep an emergency stash of Seroquel in the house for manic stuff, which I always intended to, it does the job.
So, it was quite a positive meeting. I am kicking myself for stuff I didn’t say, but that’s the way of nervous appointments, especially when you haven’t had one in 18 months. They said they don’t need to see me again (hooray!) but will keep me open so if I have any trouble or get unwell, I don’t need to be re-referred and can be seen quickly. I’m glad they don’t want to see me again as I was a bit concerned they would try to. I don’t need CMHT input, just advice.
So hopefully getting off the life-vampire-yet-helpful-Seroquel will go smoothly, and I’m glad I have some support. As I left they said good luck with the wedding, and I bloody need it. We have approximately bugger all organised.
Filed under: Bipolar Disorder