Monday, September 1, 2014

Treatment Gone Wrong

In the spring of 2013 I went to see a psychologist. At my first appointment I told him why I was there. We talked about my life, my job, and my family. The stress in my life was due to Jane's mood and personality changes while taking the stop-smoking medication Chantix. At the time we did not know that Jane had bipolar disorder. Chantix put her into a major hypermanic phase that changed her behavior. Towards the end of my appointment he told me that my stress level was too way too high and he was worried it was killing me. It is a scary thing to hear your counselor tell you that during your first visit.

Before I left my psychologist's office he told me he felt I could use some antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications to help me get through things. I was really shocked that he would suggest I take any kind of medications.I had come to that appointment looking for support and advice. I wanted to get help and learn how to cope with my problems. His solution was to offer me pills. He also asked if I needed a break from life and needed some time away. I thought the idea a vacation sounded nice. He followed up by telling me, "There are some anonymous inpatient facilities here in Western Washington." WTF?

I reminded him the psychologist that I had been in drug and alcohol recovery for over twenty years. I know I am not a good candidate for taking mind altering drugs. I was afraid that if I had access to those medications it would affect my ability to good make decisions. I really did not want to notify my employer about being on those kinds of medications. Being able to operate equipment and drive a vehicle is part of my job. I thanked him for his offer, but declined meds.

I knew that getting on medication would not fix the problems in my life. I believe it would make things worse. That is why I told the psychologist that I was the last person that should be taking those medications. I came out of the visit feeling mixed emotions. It felt good to talk to a professional about my wife and our problems. I feel that he wanted to treat my situational depression and anxiety. I only saw him three more times and I can honestly say it was not helpful.

Jane and I went to the next two appointments together. I hoped that allowing her to come along would help. At the end of every appointment we left his office in worse shape than before we went we went in. She only came with me for two of my four appointments. At each visit he was very blunt towards her, he peppered Jane with questions and pulled her triggers. We would leave the appointments and find another spot to continue arguing. Going to see this psychologist together was more harmful to our relationship than if we had not gone.

I do not consider myself a person that normally suffers from depression or anxiety. As difficult as things were back then, I hoped that as soon as Jane pulled herself together, that our situation would improve. I might have needed that medication if Jane did not get her diagnosis or follow her treatment plan. Today we are doing good and are in a better place in our lives and relationship.
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