Monday, August 16, 2010

craziness, doctors, medication and humility

    Just before the cork fell out of the bottom, I remember thinking, "How am I supposed to keep 80 nails trimmed?!"  Am I the only mother adding up the fingers and toes of her children? Oh, how it overwhelmed me! I should have known something was wrong.  Like the time I realized I had a problem of forgetting my daughter.  I'd walk into the room and there she'd be, a  little tiny bunddle, and I would think, "Oh yeah, there you are!"  I  had the sense to be sure to always put her somewhere she could be safe for any length of time.  It wasn't so much, "Where's Maile!Where, oh where, did I put her?"   More like, "Ohhh. . . yeah, there you are!" . . .  like my brain just forgot to think of her!!
Isn't that crazy? I don't see how my psychiatrist let me leave her office with out a prescription!
    She was the strangest psychiatrist (slight exaggeration), though I didn't know it.  She prescribed a book (a very good book, Feeling Good) and then we did some "talk therapy".   But she was a doctor, a psychiatrist, not a psychologist, not a very good one I'm sure. She failed to diagnose me.
I told her I felt scared but I wasn't.  I told her if I had to stand on a busy street corner all day, it would kill me.  I told her I'm not afraid of the elevator; I just don't like being in it!  So we did some cognitive-behavioral-therapy.  I could rid myself of negative feelings using the method described in Feeling Good.  But no matter what I did, I could not convince my body of the fact that I was not scared and alone. 
    I told her lots and lots of other stuff too. I think I even used the word "shell-shock".  And I know I mentioned my accident twice!  Somehow she failed to sift through all the thoughts in my crazy head and see PTSD.  I really needed a doctor, but she was acting more like a friend or counselor.  What was going on in my body?  Why couldn't I be in my own skin?  It was nearly impossible for me to stay present. I was developing all sorts of ways to withdrawl. I was so skiddish, you could have hurt me with your breath!  About this time my mother conferred with my doctor, who called my psych and said "We want her on something."  So began my the search for the right medication.
    I'm a granola eating health-nut.  I love vitamins and cooking with the freshest foods.  But at this point, I was bound to find something somewhere if I did not get the legal stuff from my doctor.   I was completely humbled.  All of a sudden I was not "too good" for all the things this world turns to for solace. All of the sudden I understood addiction.  I understood running away to a life on the streets.  "Oh, this is what happened to all those desperate souls, living crazy dangerous lives far from the ones who love them, on the streets of  EVERY major city in America."
    Why did empathy and compassion have to come at such a high price?
Eventually we left Hawaii.  I found a new psych.  The first time I met him I knew, "He understands!"  He knows what I know . . . about how impossible life can really be.