Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Good Psychiatric Care

Sunday and Mondays are fun for me, because Madelene and I are off, and we both get to spend some time together. Every other Monday, I usually have to step into my psychiatrist’s office for a little useless chitchat. Now, here’s my problem. Madelene and I love to go out for dinner and drinks after my therapy appointment—which ends at 4pm. Oh yeah--we go for the ‘early bird special’ like a couple of old retired bats. I like to dress up and do my hair more, because this is basically our date night. Now, when I walk into my doctor’s office, he sees me all dressed up with my hair done and perfumed sprayed. My demeanor is happy, because I’m excited to be going out with Madelene. This is not good when you’re trying to tell someone you’re stricken with anxiety attacks numerous times per week, and then thrown into a hole of depression after these episodes. How can he believe me?

“Doc, I keep having these anxiety attacks more frequently these days, but my concern is the depression that follows behind them.”
“Hmm. Well you seem very put together and you’re very intelligent and witty. I don’t see you as a ‘depressed person’."
He says, in this ‘matter of fact’ tone.
“So I have to be a complete dumb ass in order to have anxiety attacks and depression? Come on!”
“No, that’s not what I’m saying.”
“Do you know that there’s a fine line between intelligence and insanity doc?”
“Yes, I know that—but you’re not on that level.”
As he just insulted me unintentionally.
“You see me now?” As I point both fingers at my chest. “This is not who I am when I’m home doc! I’m completely different when I am not out. I’m a basket case, and sometimes I can’t even breathe. Madelene wanted to take me to the emergency room the other night because she didn’t know if it was a heart attack or a bad case of anxiety.”
“Well do you think it has something to do with living in an upstairs apartment from your parents?”
He asks.
“No.” I lied.
“Do you watch the Sopranos?” He asks me—out of the blue, but I knew where he was going with this.
“Yes…?”
“What character are you in the Sopranos? Do you think you would be Meadow?”
“Ha! I wish! No way. I am a total spitting image of Tony in a woman’s body. I’m sitting in a psychiatrist’s office for one, I need to lose a few pounds, I have anxiety attacks left and right, my anger is a force to be reckoned with, and of course--I love women too much.”
Doc starts chuckling as he starts writing in that little pad of his. He refuses to put me on any medication except for ativan to relieve my symptoms. He feels that medication would just give me bad side effects. He’s against it. However, wouldn’t you think that if doc was against the meds, he would do some sort of cognitive behavior therapy on me? I’m wondering where this man got his psychiatry license. Don’t get me wrong, I like him, but he’s definitely not helping me.

“Should I go off to Mid Hudson Psychiatric?”
“Have you committed a crime?”
“No...but I can think one up.”
I said, rolling my eyes, wondering if I should be placed in some looney bin.
“Doc, really, should I be analyzed so that doctors can see how I really am on a 24 hour basis?
“You’re too put together Deb. You’re witty and I don’t see you having these extreme emotions.”
He says to me, as though he already peeped through my blinds. He doubts my anxiety and depression because he sees me only once every two weeks. On top of that, the day he sees me, I’m usually happy, because Madelene and I are going out afterwards.

“I guess you’re drained mentally doc, since I’m your last client. I should book you early in the morning, huh?” I said, as he was walking me out of his office. I used my sleeve to open the door. “See you in a couple of weeks.” I said.

Frustrated and confused over my doctor not believing my problems, I walk over to where Madelene was. “Let’s go.”

We drive over to one of our favorite restaurants. We go over to sit at the bar to have a martini before our dinner. For the love of God- it was only 4:30pm---I can’t be seen eating dinner that early. I’ll wait it out and grab a seat at....5pm. Big difference, right?

As we sat at the bar, enjoying our martini, I explained to Madelene how frustrated I am that I can’t get help with my anxiety attacks. My alcohol has become part of my medication routine. People ask me if I have a problem with my alcohol. No. Of course I don’t. I never have a problem drinking alcohol. I love it.

The hostess of the restaurant was walking passed us. Then out of nowhere, I hear someone screaming, “Get back here! Oh my God! Come here! You have a huge bug on your shirt!!!” A waitress said to the hostess. She ran over to try and help, but when she saw the nasty critter---she couldn’t get herself to touch it.

“I can’t do it! Oh my God! I can’t do it! It’s so disgusting!” She says loudly, as the customers start turning their heads. I walk over to the lady, and flicked the cricket-like bug off her shirt. It was a huge water bug, but someone else could have easily mistaken this bug for a ‘cockroach’---and of course, would complain.

“Nothing to see here! Just a ladybug!” I said, like a cop at a crime scene, lying to everyone as they watched in fear. Water bugs are really nothing to freak out over--but I didn’t want the customers to panic. To tell you the truth, it kind of gave me the heebie-jeebies a little, but the martini took that away. I sat back down and continued enjoying my cocktail with Madelene. When it came time to eat dinner, I was hesitant—but kept telling myself, “It was only a water bug. It was only a water bug. It was only a water bug.” I even looked under my filet of salmon to see if there were any little critters roaming about. My mind was playing games on me.

Later that evening, I got really sick. In fact, I stayed up all night with food poisoning. I was at that point of sleep deprivation where I almost felt punch drunk and giggled at almost anything.

6am rolled along, and I’m still watching TV and making desperate trips to the bathroom. The morning news came on, and I knew Madelene would be getting up soon. It was then I heard the newscaster tell a story that was not quite ‘right’.

“Good morning. This morning on the news, there are new concerns of the bird flu spreading into parts of Europe. They even suspect that the bird flu will get into Turkey.” The anchorman said in this serious tone. He paused and realized what he had just said, but still managed to get through the report with a straight face.

My brain repeated what he said.

“Bird flu into Turkey! Bird flu into Turkey! Bird flu into Turkey! Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!!!” For some odd reason, I found that irony to be hysterical. I wasn’t laughing at the horrible disease or anything--but it was just the fact he said it with such a poker face. I was laughing like a huge idiot by myself in the living room. I couldn’t control my giggles.

Madelene woke up to see what the laughter was all about. She didn’t find it as funny as I did, but continued to get ready for work. I remained sick for the remainder of the day. I didn’t leave my bed once, unless I had to make a mad dash to the loo.

If anyone knows a good psychiatrist that can help—please refer them to me---ASAP!