It’s finally here, the day has come when I see my GP about an ECT consult. The medication/psychiatric merry-go-round is killing me. I can’t do this anymore. I haven’t left my house in weeks, I haven’t written for PC because let’s be honest, I’m not doing so well with “Living well with mental illness” and why the hell am I going to preach that to anyone?
The new office is cheerful. I feel safe as soon as I walk in. The girls take me to an exam room right away, I must look a hot fucking mess. I can hear him in the hall and I’m clearing my throat in preparation for my speech when he walks in.
“Hello Boss” he smiles.
I adjust my sweater and fix an angry look on my face, tears pooling in my eyes, threatening to spill over.
“Look at this! TWENTY-SIX FUCKING PAGES!!!! I can’t do this anymore.” The twenty-six pages fall to the floor. He sits down and scoots his chair closer to mine.
He looks at me with those wise eyes of his. I’ve come to him for over twenty years now, for everything from a scraped knee to appendicitis, it’s comforting and painful to watch him advocate…
“You are a manic. I have dealt with manics for 40 years, Nicole…you are terrible to live with. If you could live on a deserted island things would be great..but you can’t! You yell and scream! You make it ridiculously hard for anyone to live with you, you have ever increasing demands for people to live with you and sometimes they make sense, but most times they don’t.
You have seen every psychiatrist in this city and every psychiatrist will just give you more medication. And they talk…
You are a very smart woman who does not thrive when she is limited with psychotropic medication. You will never be sane by society’s standards. When I make a decision, I make it. I don’t have to second guess my choices like you do. I don’t have to look at a decision that I make and think, ‘is this going to effect the rest of my life and my children’s lives’ and I’m so sorry that you have to do that when you decide something. I am so sorry that you have to second guess every single choice that you make.
The fact is Nicole, you don’t have the luxury of going crazy. Your brain wants to not be sane. Your choices require effort and you can not let your guard down and I’m sorry, BUT YOU DON’T HAVE THE LUXURY OF GOING CRAZY.”
He hands me a tissue and nods his head. I feel better because he listens and he talks to me like I’m a real person, not just some number in a filing system. He cares because he’s my family doctor, he knows me, he gets me, this crazy nonsensical brain of mine that makes perfect sense once you clear away the muddles.
“There is no drug that is going to heal you. If I were to say the one drug that has helped keep you flat it would have been lithium, but you don’t do well flat. You can’t function as a zombie. You can’t live without feeling so we will do what we can to make your life and the lives of those your life as healthy as we can, without the side effects. We will not shut you off. The stabilizers will remain and we will get you off of the sleeping pills, it will be very hard, but we will do it.
ECT is not an option right now. You are not suicidal and you are not psychotic or in the throes of any psychosis. If everything was shit and even breathing hurt, ECT would get you to the point that you are at now, it’s not a good fit, and we’d have to get you to a psychiatrist for that.”
My eyes bulge out, “Don’t you let that witch come anywhere near my brain ever again. I will lose my shit if I ever have to see her again.”
He sighs and nods his head, used to my little outbursts by now. That’s comforting though, he gets me. He sees progress. He can point out how I can see the swings before they occur. He reminds me of the leaps and bounds that I have made over the last four years.
I’m calm again. “So that’s it then, I’m not going back to her or any of them. Why is it that they all want ignorant patients? Why can’t they handle people who ask questions demand answers and refuse to be zombified?”
He gives me that look, “You know why. I won’t talk poorly about any of my colleagues, but I have seen so much. I won’t let you fall back in again. It is up to you to get rid of everything in your life that sets you off, everything that is not healthy for you. It’s time to start saying no for your own health. Do what you need to do because this is how you’re going to live a life where you can feel and not be shut off. You can’t function when you’re shut off.
I’ll see you in a month and we will go from there. Make an appointment sooner if you need to. You know what to do.”
Do not let a practice that won’t heal you kill you.