Thursday, November 7, 2013

What are you, bipolar or something?!

We've all heard that phrase annoyingly pointed at someone whose mood seemed to be all over the place. It falls in line with another aggravating question, "what, are you on your period?" To some people, its obvious why these insinuations are hurtful and problematic, but to others, they seem harmless. That is, until you're confronted with the issue head-on in your own personal life.

After having mood issues (mainly depression) that I tried to keep mostly to myself from 13-20, I finally gave in after a tough break-up my sophomore year of college and went to see my Uni's counselor. She asked me a series of questions and I answered the best I could; she wished me luck and told me to e-mail her if I had anymore problems. Before I left, she gave me the name and number of 2 local therapists that she thought it would benefit me to contact, as well as a psychiatrist in the event I needed medication. So I did. The first one was a complete bust. Homeboy asked me maybe 2 questions, launched into a tirade about how love here is so different from in India and then some. By the end of the appointment,  I was sure I knew more about his issues than he did about mine. NEXT PLEASE.

The next therapist was a woman whose office was in a cute little house a few blocks from the downtown area at my college. She was a great listener and even gave me some tips to try and help sleeping come easier. However, after 3 appointments, I didn't feel any different. Now, maybe that wasn't long enough, but as a broke college student I wasn't in a position to continue a treatment that I felt wasn't helping me and that I couldn't afford. so, again, NEXT PLEASE.

Here i found myself at a standstill. I hadn't been able to make an appointment with a psychiatrist, so I figured I could at the very least address one pressing need at the student health clinic--my sleep issues. The doctor (who was an extremely nice dude who couldnt stop talking about his lovely family) prescribed me a sleep aid but also noted that in my file it was written that I was showing symptoms of bipolar disorder (unbeknownst to me). He told me to be sure to get in to see a psychiatrist and get checked out, and I promised I would.

Well, I wasn't able to get an appointment in my college town until the following October. But it was worth the wait. The nurse practitioner that I saw was a lovely woman, and truly care about me. She confirmed my diagnosis, and we started experimenting with drugs, seeing which combo would end up being right for me. After about 2-3 months of hazy thoughts, extreme fatigue, bouts of irrational sadness or anger, we finally settled on a combination of drugs that seemed to control the depression and keep my mood stabilized, but also calmed my anxiety. I was a happy girl.

That is, until I moved to Germany. Germany has a vastly different approach to prescribing medications (I don't know if this is just in regards to mental health or not, seeing as the only doctors I've seen her deal with that realm of medicine) but they certainly prefer therapy to drugs. I wouldn't say that's a bad thing, but when you've had almost a year of a drug regimen that keeps you on track and you're happy with, it's very scary for that to be shaken up in anyway. Currently, she wants to adjust my evening medication (antipsychotic mood stabilizer) to subvert some of the daytime fatigue I've been experiencing. However, she wants to ween me completely off my antidepressant because its a drug they "rarely prescribe here." I don't know what she'd rather me be on, but I guess I'll be finding out soon enough. My next appointment is on Friday.

LG
bis naechstes mal,
Expat

2 comments:

Hef said...

My medicine is prescribed by hood doc.

sarah mc said...

yeah well your "medicine" is a little hard for me to come by here ;)