Pledges and Seashells and Meds, Oh My!
As I may have mentioned before, my psychiatrist is a kick in the pants, and yesterday’s session was so full of fascinating discussions that I could probably write several posts on just this one visit alone. However, in the interest of not boring my readership to death, I’ll stick to the highlights…..after all, nobody but me really cares about his wife’s mission trip to El Salvador where she’s chaperoning eight teenage girls. (Although that’s an intriguing story in its own right.)
Now, I don’t often get this excited about a doctor’s appointment, but being well for the first time in years and reporting on my newly-employed state made me feel like a kid again, eagerly showing off the “A” I’d gotten on a spelling test. Of course, as my biggest cheerleader he was pleased as punch, and actually stood up and applauded. But then, true to shrink form, he became serious and began questioning me about any ambitions I might be entertaining in the area of management.
Well, after my recent job-related flameout, I’m not the least bit tempted to work my way up again; and as I found out during this session, I am forbidden to do so unless I talk to him first. Even then, he would establish strict parameters as to how much responsibility I’m allowed to take on…..in other words, he’ll insist on accommodations for my illness. And as I recall, accommodations were what got me kicked to the curb at my last place of employment.
That was when he told me to raise my right hand and repeat after him that I wouldn’t “volunteer” for any projects or duties that weren’t mine to take on. (That also meant taking on other peoples’ issues, which is something I would NEVER do…..heh.) I felt silly as hell, but he was totally serious about this procedure and I figured I’d better humor him. Besides, he’s 100% right about my tendency to bear the weight of the world, even though that’s never really worked well for me.
I also got in a spot of trouble for my habit of not reporting in when I start ramping up. As I’ve noted previously on this blog, I have to be about two steps away from being admitted to the psych unit before I call about a mood episode, and he made it clear he’s had enough of that. He also knows that I love the ‘highs’ just a little too much, but by the time I acknowledge that I might be manic, it’s already out of control. So again with the pledge: I am to call him the instant I feel myself getting over-amped so he can do something about it.
In retrospect, I have a sneaking suspicion he thinks I’m already a touch hypomanic, although I don’t think I am. I feel great, yes, and I suppose he might be a bit skeptical because he’s never seen me in as healthy a state before. OK, so I may have seemed a little excited, but I was drinking a Red Bull, for Pete’s sake—half a can gives me a raging case of verbal incontinence. That’s probably why he decided to leave me on my current antipsychotic dose for the time being, even though he’d wanted to decrease it after that acute mixed episode was over with; now it’ll be three to six months before we review that. I’m still on a baby dose, but he wants room to bump it up if I go bonkers again.
Sometime during this dialogue, I noticed that the seashells I’d brought him after my beach trip were still in the same little cubbyhole on his computer table. This has been a subject of much amusement to me, simply because nobody would ever suspect a psychiatrist of being particularly sentimental. This one, however, is an equine of an entirely different hue, and he confessed that he keeps them there to remind himself, when he’s having a lousy day or a patient is giving him a bad time, that someone appreciates him.
And I do. There, I said it. No matter how much crap he throws at me sometimes, no matter how much I dislike being called out on my denial (which is less often these days because the guy’s got my number and we both know it), I’m in this good place because of him. Hell, I’m ALIVE because of him, and I told him so yesterday. He rather liked that.
That’s why I don’t understand those so-called religions whose followers rely only on prayer to cure them of medical conditions—not that I don’t engage in it myself, because I credit God with all the good things in my life. But I know you can’t pray away something like bipolar disorder; besides, I believe God also works through human beings. And I have a sneaking hunch there are a few whom He uses as guardian angels, even though they’re quirky, profane, passionate, and have a low tolerance for my bullshit.