The First Step

Standard

The night before last I stayed up the entire night too anxious to even try.

My very first appointment to see a psychiatrist.

Now this doctor had been suggested to me and even with this accolade I had to still do my research to feel comfortable leading up to this. So of course I Google’d him. You would, too. Don’t lie to me now.

It wasn’t pretty. But for every four or five nasty reviews was one about how he either saved their lives or got them onto a track where they felt they were actually living their life again. Most of the bad reviews were about his staff and the age of the primary psychiatrist.

Now, when I actually got there, his office is a “suite” in a very large (for me) complex that housed mostly offices for pediatrics. My mother came with me and I somehow managed to make her traverse four flights of stairs cause I was too nervous to try finding the elevators.

Sorry, Mom. I love you.

But anyways this suite thing was teensy. Especially the welcoming area with just four chairs.

I sat down with a clip board and did the paperwork. Thankfully my mom did want to drive me and come inside cause they needed policy holder’s social. That would be my father and I am not sure even he remembers it.

Kidding. He knows his, Mom’s, and Robbie’s and mine since we did taxes together.

But anyways, did the urine screening and was armed with directions to the elevators. There were two people in the office/administration window and were very, very polite and the phone was ringing constantly. Poor folk. But they were extremely polite as well as discrete.

Almost immediately after coming back with the sample I ushered my mom to leave the office and go outside. She was turning into my shoulder and covering her nose. This woman usually tries to keep maximum space between her and other people including children at all times. The only other person waiting in the small area was wearing very strong floral perfume and was applying strongly perfumed hand sanitizer and it was very overwhelming.
The woman herself proved to be very sweet after my mom left and tried to bolster me. Asking if it was my first visit though it was obvious by the paperwork. Showering praises on the doctor and his team. Just lack of disregard about perfume in a medical facility.

When it was my turn it met with his assistant for about twenty minutes a back room going over paperwork and why I was there. I had also brought my journal and the pages I felt made the most sense from the legal pads I filled up over the weekend. Only four made the pull, by the way.

She was very nice, very personable. We spent like ten minutes talking about the horror growing up with the names Lara (me) and Lauren (her). You grow up answering to any and every variation of your name but you know – your name. And I got lectured on going back to school, with suggestions for UCF and the grants they have.

Another fifteen twenty minutes were spent talking about the actual paperwork and why I was there and my history. Constantly typing away in that little Mac book.

It was a bit of back and forth between the waiting room and the waiting area after that. Sat down for a bit. Daniel one of the folks manning the phone and front area was to take a co pay ($20?!?!), a picture for their files and set me up for a spit test.

Yes, spit.

But apparently I went back much faster than anticipated  to see the big man himself. Wearing a sweater and coordinated little golf/flat newsie cap thing.

I had been preparing myself the entire time for a handshake and practicing it in my mind. No need, he never moved from where he was seared at his desk. Okie dokes.

But he was very nice and Lauren sat with us at his desk and her little mac book at the ready. Talking about my symptoms and having my little used to be folded up legal pad notes next to her.
It started out with my usual apology for my lack of ability to communicate.

“That’s surprising you don’t seem like a shy… Wallflower to me.”

That lead me into explaining my ability to push anxieties to the side growing up and have the attacks later. But that has faded away and was a big reason as to why I decided to finally seek help.

So.

I had a list A-I of symptoms I have experienced my entire life intending to expand on each point but failed miserably when I couldn’t remain separated and retain clarity.

However at the bottom I of course placed many disclaimers, as I do.

“Suspicions, not diagnoses.”

“These are all tendencies and symptoms individually and could of course be part of one big problem.”

One big problem it is.

Ladies and gentlemen, I have apparently a nasty case of bipolar disorder.

You know I Google’d that as soon as I got home.

But it doesn’t end there. We also discussed what seemed to be a long list of phobias and other possibilities. Agoraphobia being one.

Of course that made me think of Monk. And we segued into talking about Monk and misdiagnosis. He believes it was actually a case of Aspergers and I clarified I enjoyed the show from a light of managing to do something despite a disability. Monk was still severely impaired and not getting better per se, but I chose to take it as a way to believe it was worth it seeking assistance.

We brought it back to my diagnosis and a treatment plan. He warned me against talking to too many people about being Bipolar as many people don’t tend to understand. I had to agree as even I did not even with family (adopted) diagnoses with bipolar disorder. Though almost all of them were into hard drugs and excuses.

I had gone into this first appointment expecting to not get a prescription but I guess in light of things…

He was prescribing me a mood balancer that doubled as a sedative to be taken before bed. He offered to prescribe a second sleep aid but I wanted to try the mood balancer first. The name of it sounded like “seraquil” but the name on the prescription is Quetiapine Fumarate (50 mg).

Every once in a while Lauren would step in and add her two cents and it was a conversation.

They were worried that my history in a homeopathic home would stigmatize me against giving the medication and I did have to clarify that I have always had the preference for trying a lifestyle change or diet alteration over pills. I wanted to fix the problem not suppress it but that was before I realized this was a chemical/hormonal issue and all my previous attempts at fixing myself and something had to change.

This seemed to appease their worries.

Even after finishing the talk with the big doc I still had more to do before I left.

Still had to take that picture, the co pay and spit test.

Have I mentioned I hate photos of myself? With a passion.

Gotta be done. Oh well.

And the copay was only $20. I knew it was going to be that as the friend who recommended me has the same insurance plan. Sweet.

Last was the spit test.

He had this tube thing that had a pointed divet inside about two inches from the real flat bottom of the tube. The divet was maybe half an inch deep.

Don’t be scared. You are not spitting (still cringing) an eighth of a cup here. It just is not explained well.

But the point of the offering is for a screening to to find what is talking in your brain and what medication will actually help.

Straight and to the point. I like that.

I still have more tests ahead of me at my next appointment next Wednesday and seeing the doctor afterwards for a follow up. I will probably have to call before that if I get scheduled shifts tomorrow. I am hoping not.

By the time I left I had spent close to three hours in the “suite” and was suggested to the family owned pharmacy downstairs on the first floor of the building.

I was actually familiar with the pharmacy simply because it was the pharmacy that delivered to the Disney resorts and knew the delivery folks.

Upstairs they actually had IM’d the prescription to the pharmacy and were already on it and it only took about ten minutes once I got downstairs. Kris, stayed at the counter with me and they even managed to maneuver around the fact I did not have an insurance card specifically for prescriptions.

There is actually one for that? I am lucky if my parents catch the one for dental.

But because they work with Disney it only took a moment to work around the system and get what they needed and it was all done without me knowing until right before they were done. I was offered a free fountain drink while I waited and conversation was plenty.

Does anyone remember me talking about how I believe that Southern Hospitality is anywhere and everywhere as long people were raised with manners.

I also got a goody bag for filling a prescription for the first time there.

Of course during all-this-time my mother is sitting outside in the truck. I bought her a very very expensive pack of big red gum that she can never find nowadays as a thank you.

When I had still be upstairs even more worried than my dedication were they worried about my mother’s response as my emergency contact until I pointed out she was the one to drive me and had been sitting in the waiting room with me. And told them about her having to leave and the fact I was entertaining the thought of waiting outside the door due to the overpowering smell.

But anyways.

Like I said in the beginning I had been awake the entire night for several nights and was exhausted. I managed to hold off not passing out until almost five o’clock and took the first dose.

One 50 mg pill for three nights starting that (last) night then on the fourth take three 50 mg pills every night there after with enough for a month.

I slept straight for about twelve hours, waking up at 6AM and fell asleep til 9AM~. So almost 15 hours total.

There were some things noticeable immediately upon waking up but that could from the prescription or from from sleeping for the first time for that long since high school. And I have experienced these things before.

The summer before I went on medical leave one day I experienced I called “cotton head”.

It feels like there is loose cotton in my ears but as if someone is mashing the volume and bass with sausage fingers. Bad equalizer, bad. Oh, and where this is they installed some subwoofers too so I feel every noise and vibrations but I cannot hear anything either.

But with this hearing problem all other sense are dampened. I cannot see anything, smell is non-existent and everything is hot and cold.

Due to this I get migraines, nausea and my vertigo is out of control due to losing my senses.

I woke up with all this immediately.

But like I have said I have experienced all this before so I have no idea if this is from the medicine, the sleep or just today was the day.

I was applauded for my need to write and constantly take notes as it would greatly help my treatment.

And yes, all I have written has already my transcribed in my journal.

I wrote all of this out for a second time. For you. I am so nice.

If you feel like your problems are keeping you or a friend from living their life, seek help. Just do it. It is okay. Do your research.

Now, some may have noticed that I have not kept with my usual tell and share all. This is very personal for me and I have not even told my friend that referred me to this psychiatrist my diagnosis.

But if you live in the Orlando/Disney area and especially have Cigna insurance so you know for a fact it is accepted – please feel free to send me an email to LaraInStitchesBlog@gmail.com and I will share the name of the psychiatrist and where you can find his office. Privacy for everyone involved. Yayy.

And no. We did not go to Epcot afterwards as planned since it was well over three hours and exhausted. Sorry, no pictures!

Hope everyone is doing well.

This post was drafted from mobile device and is more than likely riddled with typos and grammatical errors. Please forgive and forget folks. If it is not too much of a bother, that is.

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4 thoughts on “The First Step

    • The urine bit depends on who you talk to. If it the assistant, “to make sure none of your current medications can interfere with the medications that could be prescribed to you”. But really? It is to do a screening and make sure you are not on any drugs or currently have an addiction you would be trying to lie about.

      And the spit is a hormone test kind thing? I understand it inherently but apparently not enough. Essentially it is a test to see what your brain is putting out chemical wise. One said it was to see what medication would work best, but another said it was to learn what neuro synapses are firing. How they get that from spit, no quacking clue. But I will also have more tests at my upcoming appointment on Wednesday.

      Lots and lots of tests… But if it helps? Worth it.
      I want to also say thank you for taking the time to read and especially comment. It means a whole lot to me!
      What do they do in the UK?

      • My assessment in the UK consisted of being asked lots and lots of questions (includuing about drug usage). Before I was referred to a psychiatrist, I had some blood tests to rule out physical conditions that could cause the symptoms I had. Other than that I don’t remember any physical tests.

        Medication is prescribed partly according to cost, as healthcare is ‘free at the point of use’ here. In my case, they looked at which SSRIs have the best results with anxiety sufferers (anxiety is my main illness).

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