I had another post that I started writing Saturday afternoon about this but I lost the impetus and it’s just lying languidly in my drafts folder… lets hope this one gets further along.
Last Friday I had my first appointment with the new CMHT’s Consultant Psych. To say I was nervous about it is an understatement. I had such a good rapport with my old Psych that I doubted anything could match that. I had the words “Over Medicated” firmly planted in my brain and I knew this would mean playing with my cocktail, something I am loathed to do as I have such an adverse reaction to change in medication.
As is usual with my Psych appointments they were ten minutes late in starting. Is it me or is it just the system that indicates that they have to run ten minutes behind every appointment. When we (Linda and I) were called into the meeting we introduced ourselves and they (the psych and access team member) did the same. We all sat down and the Psych lets call her for the sake of ease Dr S. once we got into the room and sat down… no one sat behind a desk, it was all very “informal in a semi formal way.” Dr S stated that we would be spending an hour in this meeting, this surprised me a little as I didn’t realise that there would be that much time (as it was we went over the hour (I must have been interesting or something.)
It was a pretty standard interview type scenario. Dr S asked questions and I did my best to answer them. I am damn sure that some of my answers were wrong, as much as you can be wrong about your own life. I answered the best as I could with my limited memory. It did feel at times like she was trying to catch me out on certain questions, I’m sure she wasn’t but it felt like it. Questions like what were my experiences with Mania like. I got confused in my explanation and it made me look foolish in my eyes. I hadn’t had a psychotic “event” when I went hypomanic which apparently is the difference. There wasn’t much talk of my depressive states, which I found unusual as that is my prevalent aspect of my illness.
It was around this time that she dropped a bombshell, and in all honesty it’s why it’s taken me almost 4 days to write this. She claimed that my diagnosis could be wrong (I am paraphrasing as I don’t recall how it was put.) It turns out that I may not be Bipolar after all. She put this down to the age I was when I was diagnosed and the baseline cause (that I gave) as to when my illness kicked off. For those unsure of what I put this down too, it was work related. I was in a high Impact call centre and I felt myself getting more and more out of my depth and finally cracked.
After some consideration I can see why she would think that work stress couldn’t have triggered a diagnosis of Bipolar, but on the other hand I have spent the last 7 years researching the illness and I fit quite nicely into that bracket. Whilst saying that I could also fall into the classic Clinical Depression diagnosis too. I don’t have that many Hypomanic episodes anymore. Most of my problems fall down to depression and to some extent Psychosis. So equalling everything out who knows what my diagnosis should be. I think Dr S saw that this had worried me some and after my plucking up the balls to ask what my diagnosis should be if it wasn’t one of Bipolar, she quite assuredly stated “I don’t know, that’s what these future assessments will be about. Let’s just say that your diagnosis is EVOLVING.”
W.T.F Evolving means I don’t know. Could I had transformed into a Schizoaffective disordered patient. I say Schizoaffective as I have been hearing voices and have visual hallucinations for the past three years and probably way before that but it’s definitely been at least three years. It’s a new minefield that I am going to have to tread very carefully through. I don’t want to start diagnosing myself with other things when it’s probably the least complicated problem and I just wind myself up even more.
The rest of the meeting was a bit of a blur. I was so fixated on not having a proper diagnosis. All the questions that ran through my head started to distract me. The main one being related to an E.S.A application form. Those bastards are just looking for a weak spot and this could possibly be it. As if I don’t worry enough about my benefits now to add this is just a total mind fuck.
The only funny thing (I mean humorously funny) is the questions about my libido and how I felt about sex. I swear I went ten shades of red and purple, at least i felt like I did, I had no idea how to answer these questions with out sounding like a sex pest or a raving Horn monster. I flustered and gave a half hearted answer about being a normal 36 year old bloke and left it at that. I know that I should have mentioned more about the subject but I didn’t talk about that with my old Psych who I had a long standing relationship with how was I supposed to op[en up to someone I met 40 minutes previously. God forbid anyone think I am a prude (FAR FROM IT) I just got tongue tied and blurted out the weakest answer possible.
Dr S asked if I had any fears… I said the usual Spiders and flying bugs (that’s my standard answer) but from out of nowhere my real fear came up. Being alone. Having mum and Linda die and leave me on my own. I have to say the thought terrifies me and whilst Mum was ill in February and it was touch and go I have to admit I had nightmares for weeks after. We had skirted around the medications I am on and how that I am taking three times more pills that anyone on her books takes, she dropped the bombshell that I should worry less about mum and Linda dying as with the amount of drugs I am on it’s more likely for me to drop dead before hand…lovely thought there Doc!
On the subject of drugs, we moved on and we discussed reducing some of prescriptions. She was very open that she didn’t want me on so many as It was unhealthy for me. To be honest as I have said before, I just took what the Psych up north gave me and gave very little thought to being over-medicated. I am a very trusting person and believe that people who have spent years training to be a Doctor should be trusted, it’s only when they make stupid OBVIOUS mistakes that I take umbridge with them. Dr S seemed to know her shit so I went along with her line of thought, in hindsight she has just done exactly what my GP tried to do when I first saw him yet I don’t bat an eye when a Psych tries to change things… must have trust issues along the way too. Before she changed anything she tested me to see if I knew what I was taking. I, surprisingly, remembered all but one of the drugs I was on and what they were for. Go me!!! Dr S asked me which drug out of Risperidone and Seroquel I thought should be altered. I had been on Risperidone for so long and Seroquel seemed to be helping somewhat with sleep at least… I think it’s still a combination of the two that is dulling down the voices in my head. I chose the oldest drug to give up as in my way of thinking, I have been on that the longest and the effects of that are probably minimal at best after years on it. So Dr S agreed that that was probably a good enough reasoning and suggested that I reduce the Risperidone gradually and increase the Seroquel gradually too. So the rough schedule is that I reduce Risperidone by 1mg for two weeks and increase the Seroquel by 100 mg and then another 100mg’s in two weeks and then over the next 4 weeks after that totally come off Risperidone and then see her again in 6 weeks, for which she gave me a slip of paper and gave me instructions to see the receptionist to make an appointment there and then. That, there, was unheard of at my last CMHT they would send for you when THEY thought it was time, often at least a month after the Psych said he wanted to see me again.
The lady from the access team (who I think was Dutch) asked me a couple of questions and then they openly conferred and recommended that I be placed on the recovery team lists as it appears that I am going to need more support over the next few months and that the Recovery team would be best placed to offer this help. They deal with all aspects of recovery and take it step by step and help you with getting out if you’re anxious and help starting the process of getting back into some kind of work routine and offer extra curricular options.. (there was a mention of a film makers course… my ears pricked up at that.)
So that was the meeting. A little over 70 minutes and far more in depth that I have written here but as I said, it’s tough when they throw curve balls at you and expect you to keep up.
After being on the higher dose of Seroquel since Sunday I have slept almost twice as much as I had in any two previous days. I am hoping my body gets it’s shit sorted soon (preferably before the next increase) as I hate sleeping the day away.
Oh dear over 1700 words I guess I remembered mo0re than I thought I did. By the way… this post (as long as it is) puts me well over 60,000 words in actual posts on this blog… a small number compared to some other bloggers but it’s a mini milestone to me. I have read books with less words…lol.
Until Next Time…