I had my first EKG yesterday morning, and got to walk down a hallway, then turn around and come back. One of the three doctors I’ll be dealing with in this study (we’ll call them Dr M, Dr W, and Dr D) moved my arms and head around in all sorts of weird ways to test my joints. I got three vials of blood drawn, took two different urine samples, and signed the official release form. I go back in tomorrow morning for a physical (I don’t know what the hell that will entail after everything they did to me yesterday).
All three doctors are going on vacation until the week of April 1st, which will be the day I return to get my prescription medication. Dr M, the guy who twisted me around yesterday, kept thanking me for my participation. They said I was the first person to be involved in the study, which they think will be groundbreaking. Their hypothesis is that SSRIs do not “take the edge off” for people who suffer from comorbid diagnoses: depression and panic disorders. Antidepressants may help in conjunction with talk therapy for depression, but they don’t think they help for people who also experience panic disorder. So, after a few months on a SSRI, they want to prescribe something called Seroquel, which I just discovered is an anti-psychotic medication usually prescribed for bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. In a slower (sustained) release form, in lower doses, the doctors think this will “take the edge off.”
When I signed all the paperwork, I have to say that while I read it carefully, I did not realize this was an anti-psychotic until I was just now looking up information to link for you. I’m sort of secretly hoping that I get the placebo, although I’m up for a change. My only real hesitation is that I cannot get talk therapy at the same time. Because this is a third variable, or something that can’t really be completely controlled in a study, they can’t include it. If at any point I exhibit any sort of symptoms that would be relieved with therapy, I should drop out of the study and go to a counselor.
So Dr M kept saying how exciting it is that I’m going to be involved, how I’m their guinea pig – the first person to sign up and be accepted! – how one day in the future I can skim through a psychology textbook and see myself as a dot on a graph and I’ll know that little dot is me! It was funny how excited he was. He also remarked on the amount of people in my generation and younger who seem to have so much anxiety that holds us back (or that we allow to hold us back, depending upon how you look at it) from reaching our potential. Maybe someday in the near future, he said, I’ll find myself “experiencing air travel” (English is his second language, although he’s very eloquent), or becoming a famous New York Times editor. I kind of laughed, since this isn’t a particular goal of mine, but his enthusiasm was infectious, and I’m excited to see what changes I can make in the next few months.