Did I ever tell you Dr. Goodenough rocks?
I called last Monday to change my February 13th appointment to a later date because I have no transportation at the moment (long story) and left a message with the receptionist that I was dealing with some depression. I didn’t really want to do that, but I’ve been dinking around with this for weeks and I’m tired of it. She was very kind and understanding and said she’d make sure to tell Dr. G first thing Tuesday morning (he doesn’t work on Mondays). Feeling somewhat relieved at having got that off my chest, I went on about my day, and didn’t really think about it again till 8:10 the next morning when my phone belted out my ringtone, Ode to Joy.
I was still half-asleep, but I knew who it was. Bless him, he’d probably been in the office for all of 10 minutes before he called to ask me how I was. I woke up the rest of the way and gave him the Cliffs Notes version of what’s been going on in my life and how long I’ve been dwelling at the South Pole. He listened carefully and let me whine for as long as I needed, but he already had a battle plan that told me he’d already researched my records, including my most recent lab values. (That’s one of the things I’ve always liked about both Dr. Awesomesauce and Dr. G: they care a lot about being physicians and not just psychiatrists.) Since my thyroid levels are still a little low, he came up with the idea to try a new thyroid medication; well, it’s actually an old drug, but it’s new to me. We didn’t even talk about upping my antidepressant because I knew damn well he’d veto any such suggestion…it’s way too easy to flip into mania, and God knows I don’t need that.
He explained his reasoning and how the med is supposed to work, all in professional terms. I appreciate that he talks to me as a clinician and not just another effed-up bipolar patient. We know that the thyroid pills help with my depression; I didn’t have an episode at all last winter. Of course I agreed to try it, even though it’s another freaking pill and I get soooo tired of taking pills. But I’d go far and wide to get out of this funk, so what’s one more?
I’ve been on the new/old drug for five days now, and I think I’m ever-so-slightly better. I realize that this perceived improvement is probably due to the fact that something is being done about it, rather than any real effect of the medication, at least not yet. It’s kind of like being sick for a while and you finally decide to go to the doctor, and you find yourself feeling a little better just knowing there will be an end to it. This hasn’t been a particularly harsh depressive episode, that’s why there’s no urgency, but since I had to reschedule my appointment anyway I figured I’d let Dr. G know I’m not at my best. I think he appreciated me calling; he’s asked me several times in the past to pick up the phone if I felt myself going too far in one direction than the other, but as you know I have that thing about the phone and I almost always wait almost until things are out of control.
Not this time. I’m proud of myself.
He also wrote me a new script for Klonopin. I’ve had a lot of free-floating anxiety along with the depression, and I’ve been out of the drug for almost a year. I never abuse benzodiazepines. We have an agreement that I have to ask for them, he doesn’t just refill the prescription. And once again, I am amazed at how lucky I’ve been with psychiatrists. I have friends who have never had a really good p-doc, and here I’ve had two. (Plus a great psych nurse practitioner, but I had to stop seeing her when I went off Medicaid in the summer of 2016. That’s how I ended up with Dr. G.) I think that’s half the battle when it comes to fighting bipolar disorder—you’ve got to have competent care, and if that doctor or NP also cares about you as a person, you’ve got it made.
Of course, you’ve got to want it too. You have to take the meds and be honest and do the work, or your provider can’t help you. Just remind me of that if/when March Madness sets in…