Four. That is right folks, in the last twelve months I have managed to add four doctors to my long list of specialist helpers. And this in the year that I was considered healthy! In the last few post I may have mentioned in passing how these doctors came into play, but I feel as though I was vague in why they came into my life. Also, very recently one of those doctors has stepped back and one of my original Team at Royal Perth Hospital (RPH) has stepped forward to make some relatively big decisions regarding my health, going forward. This is where I am going to today. I am going to open up that new door and lead you down this new path of knowledge, and awe because…well I’m awe-some 😉. Let’s be honest, how many other people do you know that draws people at the top of their professions to them like honey does flies?
I have been lucky with my GP Dr Evs. There has been none of the common difficulties with diagnosis, treatment or help with her. Evs is on the ball, quick thinking and very open-minded. When I made my appointment to get a mental health plan at the end of Semester One (May), Evs was on leave. With assurances that her replacement ‘could handle me’, I knew I should be okay. In the appointment, I don’t think I had sat down in the seat of the doctor’s room before I was in tears. But Dr Cope, the new gal, took the baton up immediately. She listened to me sob-speak-hiccup. She handled the situation with calm, practicality and abrupt terseness (that’s what I like in the patient’s chair). Within an hour, after more tears, my plan was sorted and I had a number. For a new doctor. A psychologist. This is how I met Dr Cope.
I was given the number of a collective doctors in the field of psychology. The doctor I called was Dr Anne. A schedule of appointments was established for every second or third week. The main component of the appointments here was to identify the feelings and resentments I was holding inside. You see, I had been holding in a lot. To be as positive and carefree as I was, seemed to be almost too good to be true, which it was. I had been hazing out the truth of what I was feeling, because I didn’t want to feel it. To feel would be to accept that the way I was hurt not only me be the people around me. It had significantly changed their lives, as well as my own. No one likes to know that they are the cause of others’ pain.
In Talking with Doctors I Learned
As well as dealing with the deaths, I also had to admit the impact of my illness. How it had hurt people and isolated me. Not that this meant I blamed myself, because I did not nor do not. More that the futility of anger is painful in itself as there was no one I could blame. It was no one’s fault. With Dr Anne, there was a lot more tears and a lot of talk therapy. Talk therapy is wonderful and I highly recommend it for some types of trauma and mental health concerns. There are so many doctors that know so many strategies to use this style of therapy. But the one thing these doctors, ones such as Dr Anne, cannot do is discuss my medication options. This was important for me as I was already on medication which should have prevented my depression reaching the depths it did. This is the first time in which my Team at RPH came in the act.
I had seen Dr Cope and Dr Anne a few times each by the time I had my next appointment with the Team at RPH. We had been to a double funeral before, and so the mood was somber. Once more I sat across from the lead physician in the room (there were four others) and tried to tell me story. Again, with the tears. This time they were from me and others in my ‘family posse’. Naturally, one of the Leo’s began to question my medications. They considered past prescriptions, compared to present ones and made two big calls. The first was they put me on a short-term solution, something to boost my mood in the interim. The second was to request an appointment as soon as possible with a psychiatrist. My doctor, I later learned was Dr Well.
(**At this point I want to note that I usually use pseudonyms for people in my writings, but these are not pseudonyms at all. They are names. I kid you not. Two new doctors’ names in my Great Depression were pleasing ironic**)
Psychiatry Versus Psychology
Both of these fields have fascinate me. They are almost fashionable and taboo. Even so, it was not until this past year that I began to understand, for realsies, how the two differ. I kind of knew that you talked to psychologists and they helped you see situations from a different angle. Kind of. Whereas, when you saw a psychiatrist, they approached the situation from a more medical stand point. They attempted to resolve imbalances in the mind that occur due to the ‘wiring’ or ‘chemicals’. If you have PTSD or Postpartum/ Postnatal depression you may go to a psychologist. If you have Bipolar Disorder or Schizophrenia or, like me, neurological trauma and medication induced depression, you may see a psychiatrist.
How a Psychiatry Doctor Helped me
Dr Well adopted me from The Team. The Team had recommended a change in one of my main medications that covered more bases, as well as alleviated the Great Depression that I was living in. So far it is working great and collectively all my doctors are now coming together to aid in a ‘project’ she initially came up with. But my mental health has been more stable and easier to manage with the guidance and input of Dr Well. She offers talk therapy, but only as it pertains to my neurological traumas, life involvements and financial situation (more on that another day). For the bulk of my talk therapy I, of course, have Dr Anne. And last but certainly not least I am pleased to introduce a new name…
That Skin-Doctor Guy
Yes. That ‘skin thing’ that comes up. I wish I could have said ‘that skin thing that comes up occasionally, but I would have been lying. After (literally) years of murmurings about my ‘skin’ issue, I was offered the opportunity to see an outstanding skin doctor, a Dermatologist. But now is not the time for that conversation, my dears.