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Saturday, May 5, 2012

Mistrust, Depression, Denial.

My friend Maddie said I look sad in this photo.

Medical attention is extremely important. One is to get a physical done every year and talk to your doctor about all your concerns so that a little thing doesn't become a major problem. But what happens when you have not found a doctor you can trust. Anyone can tell you that I should definitely be under a physician's watch. The only doctor that I truly enjoyed going to is my dentist Dr. Luger. My dentist!

To me a practice should make you feel welcomed from the minute you walk in! Dr. Luger's office succeeded in that and even went beyond! The receptionist was a sweet lady who was always smiling. That was important to me. One of my biggest pet peeves are bitter people. Call me neurotic but if it kills you to smile you should be working in dark warehouse that keeps you far, far away from the public, or be an existentialism writer that never leaves your basement. The hygienist Jamie was also extremely pleasant. I would wait months for an appointment with her (she only worked Wednesdays). Dr Luger (which is who you see the least was also very nice). I wish every medical practice was like his. It was also a plus that the chair gave you a massage as you got your teeth cleaned.

Now as far as a regular general physician Dr. Vega was the closest I came to trusting a doctor. I have every reason to feel uncomfortable with him as my doctor. He was also my mother's doctor and he worked at the same hospital with her. Needless to say I thought he would tell her everything I told him. However, I am not sure if it was because he knew my mother, he made me feel like I mattered. My mistrust came when I finally admitted that I suspected that I was depressed and suffered from anxiety. He prescribed me some paxil and referred me to a psychiatrist.

When I saw this psychiatrist that's when it all changed. This psychiatrist office was the coldest office ever! It may be my inner hypochondriac but the waiting room was so small it was enough to make the most sanest person claustrophobic. I have been a depressed person since middle school but it wasn't until my first semester of college that I admitted to anyone else.

I remember it as clear as yesterday. A friend's brother said to me, "Wow you sure have everything going for yourself. You are in college with a scholarship, you have a car, an awesome job and a boyfriend." I thought to myself, he was right. I should be the happiest person in the world but why do I feel so miserable.

Ironically at the moment everything should have been perfect. However, I was a lost soul in college, my boyfriend shortly left me for religion. Yeah, religion. That's a story for another blog. My friend convinced me a couple of months later to see the university's pysychologist who suggested I needed to seek help immediately from a psychiatrist. It was like the day before I was leaving to Europe. I was even suicidal at that stage. However that European trip was memorable and made me forget about my depression. Traveling is the cure to depression but definitely more expensive then medication.

It wasn't until I was nearly 21 that I attempted to do anything about my illness. My experience however reverted me back to my world of denial. As I sat in this tiny, cold waiting room completing this encyclopedia of a questionnaire, there was this teenage girl with her mother also sitting in the crowded waiting room.

This girl reminded me so much of the myself when I was her age. The difference being that she would speak every feeling, dislike, and concern. I have always been more of an introvert. Her mother, I could tell was nonchalant about the whole situation. Not an insensitive nonchalance but rather an exasperating be-numbness. You know that empty head nodding adults perform without providing any type of eye contact. The mother had that look people have when they have given up but go through the motions regardless. The tremendous fear a love one has of having her true feelings exposed. That's how I "perceived" or imagined that mother. I had a feeling that they had been at it for many year and judging from the things this girl was saying, therapy was not helping any of them. I could have very well made up this idea in my head. I have a hard time judging whether my perceptions of people and the environment are mere fabrications created by my chemical imbalance. I use the term "chemically imbalanced" embelishingly (yes that should be a word) since a different doctor later concluded I didn't have one according to my blood tests.

Did you ever wonder if your analysis of what you see was truly real? I mean I know it's a matter of perception but do I make up elaborate stories in my head to match my feelings? I believe so. When it was finally my turn I sat down with the doctor for what felt like no more than 5 minutes. He looked over my questionnaire asked me a couple of redundant questions, handed me a month worth of Lexapro and told me to make a follow up appointment to tell him how the medication was working. I looked at him bewildered, daunted and awed and asked "and that's it?" He responded somewhere along the lines of "were you expecting more?" or "what else would you like". I am pretty sure he referred to my question as if I was implying I wanted more medication. Once again I felt like he didn't care. Regardless of how he took the question I didn't elaborate or voice my concerns. I remember I broke down crying and just shared my anxiety and he also prescribed Xanax. He did think I meant more medication!

I went home took the lexapro maybe 3 times and decided I didn't trust this doctor that had just provided me with it. Another reason that didn't work out was because I was being judged by those around me. People would tell me that mental disability is pretty much a myth and all shrinks are quacks. The hilarious thing was that certain people believed the medication was really helping because I was bearable to be around. I thought to myself "you stupid bitch, this really shows how ignorant you are". But of course I just sat there, smiled, nodded and said nothing. I take the saying "if you have nothing nice to say don't say anything at all" really seriously.

The next time I tried to explain to a different doctor that I was depressed he said I wasn't. He provided the Xanax for the anxiety attacks and diagnosed me not being able to take change well. Jackass! I didn't bother to go into my history. The last time I went to a doctor I didn't even bother to go into my depression. This last doctor was the worst! My experience was short of misanthropic. I think the medical field has turned stone cold. Eyes, check, ears, check, throat, check, stomach, have you been? "Well doctor I have had some stomach issues", here's a referral for a take care now. Didn't bother to wait for the rest of my concerns as she put her hand on the door knob. My lack of assertiveness let it slide. As my inner self was screaming "You stupid idiot tell her that you are not done, and bring out the list of things you wanted to discuss!!!" and then my other voice saying "what's the point, it's not like she's going o deal with it anyway, she's just going to refer you to other specialist that are going to be more busy and less concerned with you". I took that referral and blood order and trashed them.

Every 2 years or so I give doctors a try. Mostly now I just tell myself "this depressive episode will pass." However it does affect my life. Maybe blogging will be my medication. I so wish I can travel again. That's one treatment plan that is not covered by any insurance. BTW my song choices for my blues is in shuffle mode right now. I always listen to Coldplay while I am feeling blue. I'll replay Fix You about 20 times.

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