Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The search.

Its been since July that my crazy doctor moved to Florida. To most, switching doctors might not be that big of a deal. But there is something about going through a Bipoar diagnoses (or I would assume any mental illness for that matter) that creates a bond with the professional who guides you through it. At least for me it did. When she told me the news, I responded, what I considered to be, quite rationally. There was really no reason for me not to. I had been stable on the same medication for six years and had not experienced any major episodes for nearly three. She gave me ample notice and I knew that I would be fine.

Even though I knew these things, I had a really hard time starting the search for a new doctor. I guess part of me knew that once I made those calls there was a finality to her departure that perhaps I was not ready to wrap my mind around. Then on top of that, once I finally forced my self to get it together, several of my initial calls to prospective doctors were not returned.  [Note to said doctors: you treat mentally unstable people, perhaps you might want to return their calls. Just a thought.] I finally received a recommendation from someone and made an appointment. I arrived that day with my mood history dating back to 1991 in hand. For an hour and a half I shared my journey over the last 20 years (since when can I describe something as happening for 20 years…yikes!). I signed all the paperwork so that she could get my records from my previous doctor. And while she was nice and seemingly competent, I had a weird feeling that I could not shake when I left. I felt disappointed in way – I guess I had this unsaid expectation that I would leave feeling as comfortable as I had been with the doctor that I had seen for all those years. Which is silly because that obviously takes time. It made me realize that I needed to create a space in my brain to grieve the loss of that relationship.

I would later learn that after knowing me for 90 minutes, her recommendation for me would be to add 3 new medications to the one that I was already on; clearly we were not going to be a fit. [Note to self: that feeling you could not shake is your intuition. Trust it, it is usually right.] This whole experience really made me dread the next steps in my search. It took me two months to make an appointment with another doctor. I went to that appointment last week and it went well. I decided to keep two things in mind: #1) I was not going to leave with a BFF necklace – relationships take time, especially ones with crazy doctors and #2) This did not have to be a forever choice.

I am learning that #2 is big for me. Do you ever do that to yourself, hype something up so much in your brain that it becomes unnecessarily stressful? I was living in the “what if” of years from now. What if I choose someone and it does not work out? What if she sees me as just another crazy person on her long list of crazies? What if when I decide to have kids she is not willing to work with me as a partner in my treatment? What if she does not get my sense of humor?  I was not considering where I am right now. While all of these things are important (especially the sense of humor part, obvs), I do not need all the answers now. It is ok if it does not work out. I have the power to make a change. I can trust myself to know if and when that is the case. It is about embracing the process – there is so much to learn from where I am now. Today. At this moment. It would be unfortunate to miss those things because I am fretting about what will happen when I'm crazy preggers (which is not any time soon, BTW).

So this is where I am now: I have another appointment in two months at which time I may or may not clue her in on the superpower part. We’ll see.


  1. 1) you should totally go in there with a cape on under your clothes and just let her know upfront how awesome you are. ( how's THAT for a warped sense of humor?)
    2) good for you for stepping back to recognize what you need and where you are now.
    I have the same problem with taking things in the moment and stretching them out for the next 10 years. Not everything is permanent and change can be good. sometimes for the better.
    praying that she learns to "get" you and you are comfortable with your decision.

  2. i hear ya girl. and all of your 'wantings' for your doctor are not wrong. they do matter hugely to the process. wanted to affirm you on that. and yes, there is a delicate balance to thinking ahead (preggers) and living in the now... especially when you are dealing with bipolar and how we, shall i say, 'fluctuate' . want to high five you on not settling for the doc who wanted to add 3 meds straight away. this whole process is no small thing, and i encourage you to continue to learn through it, as you are doing :)

  3. you make me laugh!! thank you for your encouragement and prayers! xo!

  4. oh Luanne -- you are always SO encouraging! it warms my heart. its wonderful to know that there are amazing people like you out there who can relate and lift up!! have a happy day!

  5. I spent a lot of time with my pediatrician as a kid, so much so all the nurses in the large hmo building knew my mom and I by first name, and we knew thiers too. So when I had to "grow up" and go to a new doctor I was crushed. Because, well my new doctor didn't believe me that my asthma was that bad and would not write an rx for all my meds, cause I could "just call him if I needed it" cause you know when you have a lack of oxygen making a phone call, then waiting for a new rx to be called in, then go pick it up, then bring it home, pour it into a machine, and pray you have not yet died during this process sounds great right? YIKES! But then, when I had Serena I went back to see my old pediatrician as her dr, and do you know what? She asked how I was doing, and gave me some great tips on how to manage my allergies and asthma. It was nice to see a dr who cares, and who didn't need me to run down my list of hospital stays and 5000 meds that failed before she will believe me and listen. So I can relate, and I am really sorry you had to lose a good doctor; they truly are a treasure. I'll be praying for you to find a dr who is as fabulous and caring as you are friend! And someday when you are "crazy preggers" you will have one lucky little baby in your belly!

  6. girl! i so appreciate having someone else who get's all of this! and i've actually had a strong urging that i should connect with another gal with bipolar for accountability in the Lord. something you'd be interested in?

  7. Have you considered hypnotherapy? Obviously, you won't want to use it to replace your crazy doctor, but it might be helpful to use in conjunction with your other sessions. I'm a huge fan. It's really helped me with my depression and has taught me how to change negative thought patterns and how to chill out during a panic attack.