I’ve been treated for depression for twenty years now. I’ve only seen three psychiatrists during that time. The first one, diagnosed me with chronic depression and OCD. I was put on small dose of Zoloft. Years later I saw a Navy Psychiatrist at Camp Pendleton. He upped my dose of Zoloft, put me on Ambien, Trazadone and two others I can’t remember the names of. After having a manic episode, I overdosed on several, and my girlfriend took me to see my Navy Psychiatrist. I slept in the waiting room for almost four hours without being seen or checked on. I then left with my girlfriend, only to be surrounded by Military police in the parking lot. My doctor came down all worried. Really? Now you’re worried? After that, I went in search of a new psychiatrist. He took one look at all I was prescribed, and took me off everything and put me on Effexor XR. He also told me I showed definite signs of bipolar. After Effexor wasn’t doing much for me for the next two years, he added Abilify. It took me a solid year to get him to take me off of Abilify after it made me gain Fifty pounds!
Why did I tell you all this back history? Because I am about to start a new journey, and I’d like to share it with you. After 20 years of only feeling marginally ‘normal’ I found a new psychiatrist. After two visits of solid questions and answers, that included drawing diagrams to explain myself, this new doctor has definitively diagnosed me. I have Bipolar Disorder ll, with rapid cycling and mixed episodes. He also informed me that I have only ever been prescribed mild antidepressants, which coincidentally, worsen my rapid mood swings.
So, this is my new realization; I have always been on the wrong meds. Even though I have worked so hard to understand my mental health, I was never really getting the help I needed to treat me, Jennifer. As I move forward with this doctor, and new medications, I thought my situation could really help someone else. Have you too been recently diagnosed? Are you going through an oh-so-wonderful med change either again or for the first time? Do you ever ask yourself if you’ll feel different or hope you will look at the world differently? Are you excited about the changes ahead or frightened? Well, I’m all of those things and I’m sure a few more.
Please follow me through my own Journey to Strength, as I will be sharing a blog with you every week. Hopefully, I can encourage others to make their own journey.
*I’d like to add that I am also under the care of a great therapist. Dr. Sobel even called her and informed her of my diagnosis and to call him with any questions. This is such a great benefit to any treatment plan! I’ll always insist on that in the future.