Contrary to what I wrote in my last post, I'm extremely sensible about taking my medication and continuing therapy. I might dream of acting otherwise, with better consequences than are likely and I do often question whether being treated by a psychiatrist automatically places me into a certain category of unwellness. It's a slippery fish, this crazy/sane business, but that's one of the reasons why up until recently I was visiting the doctor every fortnight, every month at the very least. So she could keep me in line with the treatment. Tell me that I'm making progress, even when I can't see it because I'm stuck in a gloomy place (like poor old Eyeore), that I'm getting better and when I forget, remind me that I really was quite unwell. Because sometimes my judgement strays, especially when I start to feel well after being unwell. It's classic, and it's in the very nature of a mental illness. And as she reminded me on my last visit, she's doctor, that's her job and that's what I paid her for.
However, it's pretty obvious that for one reason or another, I am no longer her patient. As the intake nurse at the place where this doctor's business used to be, said, she's taken her book with her. Her big scruffy book of appointments and patient contacts. Although you would think that, in this day and age of the internet and email, her new practice, or someone else on her behalf, would be able to rustle up a mailing list and at the very least send a form letter, Dr X has <insert plausible platitude here> and will no longer be able to treat you. Your options for further treatment are <insert names of expensive possibilities>. Please call <insert number of clinic here> if you have any further queries. We wish you well on your journey to sanity, blah, de blah blah.
I've been surprised at just how upset I've been about all this. I was referred to Dr X on release from the mother baby unit after the psychosis in 2005. She's seen me get well, loose the zyprexa weight, come off lithium, go back to work, get depressed again, get well again, start putting the weight back on, go nuts again, get well again. She's seen me at my lowest and blackest more than once and approaching an awful state of mania. I've told her when I've had those silent and disturbing car crash thoughts and although they're part of my inner landscape when the black dog comes to stay, they're not something I share easily because I know I would never act on them. So I don't talk about them unless asked, and she knew when to ask. I've burst into tears telling her that I want to go to hospital. Let her see when the actor is getting tired. And right at the beginning I told her my whole history, as far back as I can remember. Including my dodgiest behaviour as an adult, like how many drugs I really took back in the day and other less than savoury aspects of my past. She's given me a sense of somewhere to go, of security, of backup. And although I paid for that service, it goes deep. I should have been told that I was no longer her patient. Or whatever the deal is.
So anyway as I explained my situation to the intake nurse, I found it hard not to cry. As I ran through the whole sorry saga, the intake nurse really did seem to have heard it all before and I got the impression that I am not the only one of Dr X's patients being assessed by a new doctor. While I was sewing the other day, with the autumn sun on my cheek I found myself thinking that maybe Dr X is unwell herself. It would be hard to listen to all these crazy neurotic people and not take it on yourself. I really hope she's OK but I wish she'd made arrangements as per the RANZCP (of which she is a fellow) code of ethics. Still, it's time to stop being a sook and find a new doctor. Because even if I knew where she was, I couldn't really go back. Not now. Hopefully I'll be able to get my file transferred. Deep breath. Good to have made a decision.