And the shrink says: Seeing a Psychiatrist for the First Time

My psychologist referred me to a psychiatrist (one deals with behaviors and emotions, the other by medications). And even though I am fairly headstrong about not taking meds, I decided I would go to hear what the shrink had to say.

For anyone who hasn’t ever been to a psychiatrist, it’s a lot like in the movies. You check in and wait for someone to call you back to the room. The doors are locked and they have to come get you. (Weird..right?) Then the doc leads you into a pretty sterile and sparsely decorated room. You sit on a couch (at least it’s not one that you lay down on).

And if it’s your first time, it’s considered an “interview”. They need to assess how crazy/not crazy you really are. Whether you need help, and whether they can help you. Since it was my first time seeing this psychiatrist, I had to go through the interview process again. The first part entailed me filling out a questionnaire that was based on a scale of 0 to 4. 0=not at all, 1=one or two days, 2=several days, 3=more than half the days, 4=all the time.

“In the past two weeks have you…..”and then fill it gave you a list of options. Felt hopeless, depressed and sad? Felt like death would be a better option? Have troubles eating, or overeating? Had a hard time getting to sleep or staying asleep? Had a hard time controlling worries and thus worry about everything? etc. etc.

The difference with the psychiatrist, is that in addition to the survey I just described, you also get to fill out another one for “anxiety disorders.” Similar questions, but more along the lines of, “do you sometimes have a hard time controlling your breathing?” “how often does your heart beat erratically?” and more.

I spent an hour with him. He asked the same deep questions. He asked about what I felt stressed about. How I managed my stress. When I started…feeling broken. What I used to do before… and then after I broke. What I feel like are my biggest concerns. What I worry about…

And then I cried. And felt like I was delving into all of the same problems again. Getting no where.

I apologized. He told me not to worry. That it was fine. That I was fine. And asked me the questions he had to…. do I see things that shouldnt be there? do I hear voices? (and all I could think about was The Sixth Sense with Bruce Willis? And I started LAUGHING. God this guy must have thought I was insane). And he asked if I had a drug addiction, if I wanted to hurt myself, if I felt like I would lose control at any point (And I thought of Psycho, or Silence of the Lambs, and started smiling again).

And at points, it was just stereotypical shrink vs. patient. I smiled at it all. And he asked me what meds I was on… I said birth control..and then jokingly said cough syrup (I happen to be sick atm and am taking it to surpress a cough). And then his eyebrows raised..and I quickly had to jump in and say, “BUT ONLY FOR MY COLD. I SWEAR. JUST TODAY. IM NOT DRINKING THIS STUFF OR HUFFING IT.” And he laughed.

In the end? He said I was really low on the scale for “needing” meds. And I opted not to take them (he would have prescribed Prozac). He gave me a list of things that I could do to try and make myself happier…fix my top three problems myself. They include: getting better sleep (taking melatonin pills to help); increasing my workout and going at least 3-4 times a week; and continuing my therapy sessions with the other doc.

I have an appointment to go see him in 2.5 weeks. To see if I was able to fix any of these things on my own. And if not, then I agreed to take the meds. I think this is a good motivation to get my ass in gear. Bed by 9. At the gym by 5 a.m. and going to all friday-morning sessions. Whew. One more step toward a healthier me.


~ by shespeakstruth on January 24, 2013.