Your first appointment with a Psychiatrist, are you prepared?

Reflecting on my first appointment, I was clearly unprepared and this article would have come in handy.  Bringing someone would have helped immensely, and when the pdoc asked if there were any questions, it would have prevented me from sitting there looking stunned. 

This article was written by: Natasha Tracy on Healthyplace.com

Recently, someone wrote me and asked how to best handle a first psychiatric appointment. This is a good question because, essentially, people are walking into the vast unknown. If you’ve never seen a psychiatrist before, how could you possibly know what to expect? And, the kicker of that is, the doctor will be asking you why you’re there. So you’re supposed to know what to say when he says that. So how do you handle your first psychiatric appointment?

Write Down What Concerns You Before Your Psychiatric Appointment

Many people get in front of a psychiatrist a freeze, completely forgetting all the issues that brought them there in the first place. This is extremely common. So, before you head off for your first psychiatric appointment write down all your concerns. Everything that has been odd and everything that you think might be odd should go down on the list, with examples.

Continue reading “Your first appointment with a Psychiatrist, are you prepared?”

Did you know that Friendship can ruin Therapy?

The therapist I worked with for seven years was amazing, we dealt with some extremely emotional issues including PTSD sexual abuse and maternal narcissism.  She validated my feelings and showed the kind of empathy that I’d never received as a child, therefore, I often craved her as a friend while in therapy.  I soon understood boundaries, and realized it just wouldn’t work; therapy isn’t friendship

A friend told me of an occurrence where friendship ruined the relationship with her and her therapist.  She had been meeting “X” every 3 weeks for roughly 2 years, drudging through many agonizing, uncomfortable, personal issues and trusted “X” entirely with what she disclosed, more than with any other therapist.

When she was pregnant with her second child, also experiencing difficulties with her spouse, “X” was there to convey her thoughts to.  By the time the baby was to arrive, they worked through marital issues, which alleviated the situation at home and for her.

Continue reading “Did you know that Friendship can ruin Therapy?”

Am I being punished for having Depression?

Rummaging through my unorganized closet, I came across an article I wrote during my years in the hospital fighting depression. A roommate during my stay, whom I became close friends with, recalled her descent into hellish depression, as well as her suicide attempt. She gave me permission to write this article (excluding her name).

Dreaming. In tranquil waters. I’m sitting in my dinghy cross-legged, floating. The sea and sky are black.

I awaken. Black. Black is black. The room is black, but it must be morning. I’m all mixed up. I thought I heard the food trays arrive. I sneak a quick look out my room, and yes it is morning, but the halls also look black. All I sense is dread. Am I in a dream world? I shuffle back to bed.

Continue reading “Am I being punished for having Depression?”

I was incarcerated because I panicked

This was my first time “behind bars” taken via a police car and booked tonight just because I panicked. One feels this is jail, tossed into a cold cell awaiting the guard to slam shut the heavy metal door. Lying there frozen, shivering, alone peering down to shackled ankles. Why do I deserve this? Jailed because I have a mental illness?

Bolted down. Incarcerated.

Eyes open slowly and encircle a dingy room. Everything is bolted; windows, a desk, chairs, and including this bed. The windows have bars attached, walls are an ugly light pink and the curtain dividing my neighbor’s bed looks hideous also, but what was I expecting; a hotel room?

Is it daybreak? A rap on the door startles me, followed by a female voice stating, “breakfast and meds”.

I prefer not recalling what happened last evening, dialing the Distress Center, talking for what felt like hours with a counselor who had a monotone voice about my obsessive suicidal feelings. Thoughts danced in my head for days, dreaming of ways to carry out my demise. Then, at some stage in this conversation, I became irritated and slammed down the phone, prompting an unexpected visit from the police. Next a knock at my door where I was unconvincing as to my state of mind, and there a decision was made, I was to be transported somewhere?

Neighbors, who don’t as a rule, walk their dogs, now saunter by the police car, peering in, along with others peeking through window blinds and curtains. The back seat of this cruiser is larger than expected, however, I am seated with my mind in a muddle, confused, uncertain of the future yet despising the present.

Both police officers chat quietly in police jargon; I assume they are awaiting word of which hospital to take me, then suddenly I’m on my way. The drive is a speedy drive, yet for me, a lengthy one. A time to reflect… a time to sob…. a time to sit in wonderment. In the back of a cruiser – how can this be? Punishment? I’ve never committed a crime in my life. Will I go before a judge; am I to be sentenced and charged for suicidal ‘thinking’ and (to some) selfishly wishing to end my life?

Continue reading “I was incarcerated because I panicked”

Is your psychiatrist helping you, or is it time for a trade-in?

Wow, I have had my share of psychiatrists throughout my mental illness journey, both as an inpatient and outpatient, beginning in 1994. I won’t list them all, simply the ones who stood out.  

#1-Dr. C. I’m convinced this man was 80, coughed his brains out with every visit, and actually asking “are you sure this is depression you have”? Hmmm…..He left me feeling desperate, confused and asking myself if I did have depression. I know I did, others doctors confirmed the diagnosis.  He was the only doctor available at the time so I was ‘stuck’ with him for a couple of years.

#2-Dr. D. He was the lead psychiatrist who was responsible for my care during the severest years of major depression and hospitalizations. Opting for quick visits while an inpatient, his attention appeared to be given to more youthful patients. Dr. D. was forever ready with a script pad for a refill or new medications and believed in the power of useless ECT’s. Continue reading “Is your psychiatrist helping you, or is it time for a trade-in?”

Bipolar Disorder ~ Were you perhaps Misdiagnosed?

 

Bipolar Disorder Often Misdiagnosed as Major Depression

Researchers Pinpoint 5 Factors That Can Help Improve Diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder

I’ve been hunting for an article just like this, perhaps info for my dilemma ‘Major Depression diagnosed as Bipolar Disorder’.

 I was diagnosed as BP II in 1997, at which time psychiatrists prescribed mood stabilizers, followed by antidepressants and a myriad of medications throughout the years. 

A number of these medications are still prescribed, so I’m puzzled by this diagnosis, considering primarily fighting off major depression for years.  Episodes of “mood swings”, “rapid cycling” or “mania”, just aren’t there.  I’m demanding a reevaluation; perhaps confirming meds that may not even be necessary.

About one in three people diagnosed with major depression may actually have bipolar disorder, researchers report.

Five characteristics, including extreme mood swings and psychiatric symptoms at a young age, may help pinpoint which patients actually have bipolar disorder, they say.

Bipolar disorder covers a spectrum of disorders in which patients may be sad and down one day and feeling on top of the world, hyperactive, creative, and grandiose the next.

Continue reading “Bipolar Disorder ~ Were you perhaps Misdiagnosed?”

Depression: Am I here in this black hole forever? Huh?

I used to ask myself, almost every day throughout my depressive illness; is this it?  Does it get ever any better?  Am I stuck here in this black hole forever?

Sounds pessimistic, but my history of recurring hospital admissions and medications that were ineffective, coupled with suicide attempts and unrelenting depression, didn’t illustrate a positive picture.  At separate hospital admissions, I was frequently greeted by the same bed, same patients and same nurses who precisely dispensed my medications.  Many years ago, hospitalization was a sort of an incarcerated life; that of daily rituals, set meal times, social activities, lights out at 11:30 pm, and scheduled visits from visitors.   Finally, discharge, after serving my “time”, which meant adjusting to home life all over again.

With zilch changing; I’m asking “is this as good as life gets?”

It’s both upsetting and scary, no one should ever have to endure this type of life, and depression, for me, proved a dreadful existence.  After spending months in the hospital, I would continually sense that I was one footstep away from hospital waters every waking day.  Continuously, just a step away from hell; surviving only on the surface.

Continue reading “Depression: Am I here in this black hole forever? Huh?”

Why I Created “Living in Stigma” and 9 Ways We Need To Stop Mental Illness Stigma

stigma_2

When I activated my first blog in 2005, it focused on humorous articles only.  During that time I was struggling with major depression, yet amazingly I was competent enough to write posts, and surprisingly these articles were a remarkable success.

I continued on and gathered many followers, all the time questioning whether to write about my mental illness, yet frankly, I was very embarrassed and uncomfortable to share my thoughts and life of hell with any of my blogging buddies, the blogging world, or should if anyone in my circle of “personal people” were ever to uncover my ‘secret’, I’d be devastated.

I eventually mentioned it to two trusted blogging friends my apprehension, and them replying, “why are you so embarrassed, it not your fault you were ill, write about it, who cares if people don’t like it, go by ‘anonymous’, not using your real name this time”.  And so I did, in 2007, I began this blog.  It’s been an enormous success from day one, with so much support from the blogging community and it was the stigma that held me back from starting this blog sooner.

I was living in stigma (shame) thus the name “Living in Stigma” –Deb

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Continue reading “Why I Created “Living in Stigma” and 9 Ways We Need To Stop Mental Illness Stigma”

Friendship Ruined Therapy

The therapist I have been working with for over five years has been amazing, we’ve dealt with some extremely emotional issues including PTSD sexual abuse and maternal narcissism.  She validated my feelings and showed the kind of empathy that I’d never received as a child, therefore, I’ve often craved her as a friend.  I soon understood boundaries, and realized it just wouldn’t work; therapy isn’t friendship

A friend told me of an occurrence where friendship ruined the relationship with her and her therapist.  She had been meeting X every 3 weeks for roughly 2 years, drudging through many agonizing, uncomfortable, personal issues and trusted X entirely with what she disclosed, more than with any other therapist.

When she was pregnant with her second child, also experiencing difficulties with her spouse, X was there to convey her thoughts to.  By the time the baby was to arrive, they worked through marital issues, which alleviated the situation at home and for her.

After the baby was born, she didn’t see X for several months, however, she did phone her to shout with joy that it was a baby girl, and X exclaimed “hooray!”  She was ‘on the fence’ about sending baby pictures, yet she did send a few via e-mail in the end and X asked to see more.

Continue reading “Friendship Ruined Therapy”

I was a guest on a Radio Talk Show!

 

Yesterday, on “Hot off the Press” @Wordpress.com, they posted an article: “WordPressers Making a Splash

We read hundreds of blogs and websites every day, from up-and-coming voices and established pros alike. We love visiting those sites on WordPress.com, but it’s just as rewarding to see other platforms embrace the work of writers, journalists, and artists who regularly publish here, introducing it to new audiences.

Continue reading “I was a guest on a Radio Talk Show!”

THE GALLBLADDER FROM HELL

In November 2012, I had slimmed myself down to 185 pounds. I hadn’t been that low since my 20’s. Mental illness, namely depression that I have dealt with for decades, now reared its ugly head and caused difficulties with my personal and work life.  I had years where I was hospitalized on and off, and now found myself repeating this with an admission to hospital on the psychiatric wing in March of 2012.

I lost some weight prior to the hospitalization, and then quite a bit throughout the 3 ½ week stay, and managed to keep it off; remaining at 185, but then disaster struck…

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YES, the extra-large SAUSAGE/HAM/GREEN PEPPER/ONION/BLACK OLIVE/EXTRA CHEESE pizza started the ball rolling into gallbladder hell…

My whole gallbladder story is a nightmare.  I had my first attack on Nov 19, 2012 (didn’t know it was my gallbladder, in fact didn’t know where the gallbladder was in my body, but soon found out).  That pain was the worst pain I have ever experienced, a rush to the emergency, and they were going to perform emergency surgery, however, after extensive tests (CT scans, ultrasound, x-rays), decided to wait until things settled down and sent me home.  Two days later, another attack.  Identical story, further tests, blah, blah, blah…but this time they admitted me where I was on  a heavy course of IV antibiotics for a week, and then sent home.  All was settled in the pain department.  I was warned:  No fried food and no rich desserts.

Continue reading “THE GALLBLADDER FROM HELL”