Opting for this shortcut left me long on reasons not to take it anymore.
Look, I get it. It’s cost, convenience and to some extent, an instinctive need for familiarity.
Who knows us better than our Primary Care Physician?
When I had my first manic episode, I was hospitalized, stabilized and diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
When I got out, the doctors assured me I’d be fine as long as I was med-compliant and didn’t drink too much.
They didn’t think I had a drinking problem. Neither do I.
I don’t drink.
There’s no problem.
My bipolar disorder is a health condition like any other. It deserves special attention. So do I.
I need an adept psychiatrist ‘in pocket’ who knows me, my baseline and fluctuations. Without that support, I wouldn’t feel secure.
I learned this the hard way.
During my radio career, I led a nomadic existence. I had to go where the work was. LA, Salt Lake, Denver.
I was successful, consistent in my job performance and frankly, forgot I had manic depression.
When I settled in Phoenix for five years, got married, and bought a house I got a new primary, but never saw a shrink.
So when I got hit with my first relapse I didn’t know what had happened. I’d never been depressed before. (Only manic)
In despair, I turned to my primary. She’d been giving me my psych meds for years. Her eyes widened with fear. “I don’t know what to tell you,” she said, and abruptly ended the appointment.
You’d have thought she was the patient!never recommended I see a psychiatrist. I wasn’t in my right mind, so it didn’t occur to me, either.
My Primary never recommended I see a psychiatrist. I wasn’t in my right mind, so it didn’t occur to me, either.
That first relapse lasted for three years. Psychotic and paranoid, I’d go food shopping and cook dinner for kids I didn’t have. I tore up an escrow agreement, convinced my realtors were cheating me.
I lost my house, husband and professional reputation. I’m lucky I didn’t die.
Desperate for a new start, I moved to Florida. I got what I wanted. I was involuntarily hospitalized and I got a psychiatrist who loves his work.
He immediately put me at ease. That was 17 years ago.
But to stay on the safe side, I’ve gotten ten ‘second opinions’ over the years and done intensive outpatient group therapy, (IOP) four times.
Psychiatry’s changed over the 27 years I’ve had bipolar disorder.
Longer talk-therapy sessions have been replaced with ten or fifteen-minute med checks. My appointments with my Doctor are longer than most because he’s ‘old school.’
He’s also ‘all cash.’
He’s not alone. Twice recently I’ve read that only 49% of U.S. psychiatrists take insurance. (This varies, depending on where you live).
Things are far from perfect right now. I “Have Company.” My bipolar depression is baaaccck!
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t frightened. I’m terribly frustrated, too.
I’ve cried once and may again. Oops, there I go…I’m crushingly disappointed with this illness…angry even.
This is the first time I’ve let myself cry.
It’s time I had compassion for myself.
I’ll feel better once my doctor and I have hashed it over. I always do.
Holding onto that thought gets me past fear, which has limited benefits.
To give in to it is to live in it.
And we can’t have that.
via bpHope – bp Magazine Community