There’s a Major Change Coming I Can’t Handle
It came yesterday, it hit me like a truck, and it put me on the couch for the rest of the night.
My psychiatrist is dropping me.
More accurately, the office at which she works is closing its Houston operations. Either way, at the end of this month, I’m on my own again. I’m upset. I’m scared. I’m anxious.
I can’t oversell how important trust is with mental health professionals. A psychiatrist is, in a very real way, messing with your head. The thought of the next one not earning my trust makes my chest tight. I’m slow to trust under normal circumstances, but I am extremely leery with my mental health. I felt I got lucky to get the one I have now. I do not have confidence in my HMO to have another competent in-network psychiatrist.
This could be the point where I draw a correlation with the poor structure of our nation’s healthcare, but that ground has been treaded and re-treaded.
The timing of this is extremely deleterious to me. I have been experiencing significant side effects from my medications and we had just started the process of figuring out the causes. My blood pressure is glaringly high, I am shaky, I am weak and tire with minimal physical exertion, and I’ve been told my blood labs are consistent with Stage 2 Chronic Kidney Disease. I had to buy a home BP monitor and record myself. I can’t just stop taking several of my prescriptions; this is a process that takes time and demands thoughtful care. It is extremely difficult for me to believe somebody who has just met me can help.
The consequences of what we have just started loom over me. A mistake can send things south in a hurry. I have things I want to do and things I need to do, but getting off the couch difficult. Sitting here, typing this, my arms feel heavy and I’m lightheaded. All I can see is this just getting worse. And am I creating a problem? Am I going to sabotage myself? How would I know that? Am I going to force my wife to manage me yet again?
People with mental illnesses who kill themselves are often misunderstood. It’s often not because they’re sad or mad. It’s because they just want it to stop. People who work on crisis lines are trained to be alert for the caller to say something along those lines. I just want it to end. My fingers are shaking and I can’t make them stop. I’m not saying I’m suicidal, but I am reminded of it. If depression is like a mine shaft and the farther you go down, the darker and colder it is, and people have started to construct a ladder for you to climb out, only for it to be pulled away and you start to fall again, it’s a reminder: This is never going to stop. This is never going away. It doesn’t matter how much you climb that ladder; you are going down again. It’s enough to make a person feel hopeless. Myself, I feel helpless.
This is when people say, “It’s OK, it will get better,” but they don’t know what they are talking about. They have to say something and that’s what they come up with. But both you and they know it’s a platitude. You don’t know if it will get better, and you know it’s not OK.
I need a new ladder, and I’m out of supplies.
 One business trying to get my patronage has a 1-star rating on Yelp. How do you get 1 star? You almost have to try.
 On a recent visit to my primary doctor, the PA who took my vitals saw my BP and asked, “Are you OK?”