As with any doctor’s visit I seem to have, the one this morning was chock full of concerns and penciled-in diagnoses. At one point she actually said I had some — and I quote — “mild, kind-of-OCDish type stuff.”
I don’t know why this happens to me. I usually go in with a pretty good idea of what my concerns should be, and I walk out going “I’m a mess!”
They’re not sure how well I’ll fit in to the study because I have “too many” different problems that need to be treated. I hated hearing that, and I hated seeing it on paper even more when she handed me the referral to see a different shrink.
Although they want me to come back again next Tuesday to see the guy that’s heading the study, she made me set an appointment with CAPS (the IUPUI Counseling and Psychological Services) to get another assessment for actual cognitive behavioral therapy (the only thing that’s really been found effective to treat anxieties), and gave me a number for Wishard’s Midtown community mental health program. The primary purpose of that information, the doctor informed me, was to make sure I got medications that I might need, if I’m not accepted in to the anxiety study, because I don’t have health insurance. She wasn’t sure if anyone at CAPS would be able to prescribe anything.
Unfortunately, the conversation I had on the phone with the receptionist was less than promising. The impression I got was that people with real problems are calling and I’m just taking up valuable time with my upper-middle-class-white-girl, disease-of-affluence type of difficulties. I felt her attitude was completely uncalled for. Especially considering I’m not upper-middle-class. I think they deal mostly with destitute people suffering from serious substance abuse problems. So the receptionist referred me somewhere else, a place called BehaviorCorp, which she said is “a lot closer” to me and would be easier for me to go to. Guess what? It’s in Carmel. Huh. I live a bit closer to Wishard hospital than I do to Carmel. Like, it’s five miles from my house. I get it, lady. I sound white.
In a way, the several hours I spent with the IU doctor this morning were both stimulating and exhausting. Because I have some other issues she’s concerned about, the doctor went out of her way to make sure I could find affordable services to address those issues. It was refreshing, once I had a chance to think about it, to realize how far out of her way she went to ensure my mental health. She could’ve just said “You really should get help outside of this study.”
Of course, I still have all those words running around in my head: PTSD, OCD, bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety, agoraphobia, social anxiety . . . It’s not that I didn’t realize a couple of those things would be issues, but I certainly was not prepared to hear it. I was thinking, maybe, depression and anxiety. The thing that really threw me off was the bipolar issue. I did have some periods of slight mania when I was younger, but there were usually staying up all night cleaning or going off on road trips spontaneously. And I think all the Mountain Dew I drank in my late teens and early twenties had something to do with it. Apparently, you only have to have one experience with a manic episode to get the diagnosis, but I’m like, shit! It happened ten years ago! Can we just move on and ignore that part?
But let’s be clear here: I have not been diagnosed with any of those things. She was merely pointing out what possibilities our interview had uncovered.
As a student of psychology (well, a minor in it), I like to think of myself as being pretty aware of my behaviors and their causes. I realize I sometimes have a habit of rearranging and organizing things in a way that I find satisfactory. And if I can’t do it, it upsets me. But I would not consider myself as someone with an obsessive-compulsive disorder. The things I do don’t drastically affect my life, but she seemed to feel I wasn’t being “totally honest” about how much I do some of these things. I couldn’t emphasize enough how I spend very little time each day washing my hands and I don’t think it’s excessive. I just don’t want to get sick! I mean, I work with people’s drinks and food and handling money. So, yeah, I wash my hands every 10 or 15 minutes at work.
I guess we’ll just have to see what happens. I’m taking it one day at a time, as they say. I have another interview tomorrow morning with the CAPS people. I think I need another Ibuprofen.