Monday, 21 January 2008

3 referrals

I was going to take a picture of three referrals my GP wrote for me. But I've posted them off so I will have to describe them instead.

A note for those in other countries. We have a lovely public health program called medicare here in Oz. The latest is that medicare (ie the federal gov) will pay for 80% of all medical treatments once you have spent over $1000 in one calendar year. This does make IVF much more affordable as most of it paid for by the gov. It also covers specialist treatment as long as you have a referral from your GP. Hence my need for these referrals.

So, back to the three referrals.

No 1. A referral to my IVF doc.

No 2. A referral to my psychologist

No 3. A referral to a psychiatrist.

Is there a connection you ask? .... You Bet.

But I am trying to understand it. I really like the psychologist I have been seeing but I went through a stressing stage and was thinking "there has to be a better way of living through this". So my GP suggested a shrink.

So we all know what the referral to the IVF doc is for but what is the difference between the other two?

My psychologist treats me as a well person going through a really shitty and stressful time. Last time I was there I looked her straight in the eye and said "Am I doing OK?" and she looked me straight back and said "Yes". I know that she is a believer in self talk and the importance of these types of thoughts: "I will get through this", " I can survive this". "There will be a time when I am happy again". So part of me knows that she believes that it important for me to believe that I am doing OK. That I am traveling well with this.

This week I went along to the psychiatrist I was referred to and he has basically said that I have anxiety, depression and PTSD. Quite a cohort of unwellness. He thinks I'm stuck somewhere in my grieving process about Maya which triggers the unbearable pain I feel when someone tells me they are pg. I see a new-born. I go to the birthday parties etc...... You know, the equivalent of a Nam vet. diving for cover when a car backfires because it takes them back to the jungle.

So my question to myself is....... Am i well or unwell? Have stressful events triggered anxiety and depression or am I just stressed and sad? Are my response to my circumstances inside the range of "normal" or am I really really not coping?

I'm not sure that I have anxiety. But I am anxious and I feel it physically. When I have spoken to my friends about anxiety it seems that it centres around going to extremes in your mind. Letting remotest possibilities have more weight then likely outcomes. But it is not the worst case scenarios that are pursuing my thoughts....... or should I say it's not the remotest possibilities that my pessimistic mind can think up. It is the most likely thing that terrifies me. We will do IVF and it will fail again. I mean I have a 1 in 4 chance of it succeeding so most likely it will fail. It is not my mind taking me off on wild journeys of extreme pessimism that is causing the anxiety, it is plain old looking at what is realistically in store. Besides, when you've lived through possibilities worse than an anxious mind could have conjured..... well...... statistics aren't much of a comfort anymore. The worst did happen.

So I tend to think that I am coping. My evidence is that I manage to work (and do it well), and I participate generally in life. I don't usually stop doing things because I am feeling really bad - just occasionally.

The evidence in favour of the anxiety and depression is that I don't often feel happy - more just a lessening of "the weight" - but it never goes away completely. And I usually feel at least a bit nervous and often quite nervous. And occasionally I wake up with my chest so tight it hurts. But I have also talked to friends about this and it does not seem that uncommon. The other things about the PTSD is that I know that my grieving process took a serious left hand turn when I found out the death of my daughter was caused by a chromosomal problem inherited from moi. That changed the shape of my grief a lot. Perhaps there is still unresolved things there....

I find it hard to get perspective......... but I know that others find it as hard as me.

And this is my main reason for thinking that I'm not doing too bad. It's just a really shitty road.

I'd be interested in your experiences with different sorts of therapists and what you found helpful.

(But don't feel the need to comment on my wellnes or unwellness - I think I'll have to figure that one out on my own.)


Kami said...

If you are PTSD, so are most of us.

I wouldn't like to be called depressed or PTSD. My therapist sounds a lot like yours. She tells me to notice what's working, to give myself permission to be sad but also take a break and be happy, she thinks I am coping and that "grief takes as long as it takes"

I like her better than my first therapist. My first therapist said pretty much the same thing, but offered it as something I might want to do. My second was a bit more forceful and said things such as, "Do those thoughts serve you?" "Are you being fair to yourself - would you say those things to someone else?", etc. She wouldn't let me get away with being harsh to myself and I think that helped me to start changing the way I view myself and cope.

Not that I don't still struggle with those things and I still wish there was a switch to just turn off the hurting.

Let It Be said...

I'm in the U.S. so things may be done differently here. I have anxiety, depression and PTSD, but it is not all related to my IF and recurrent loss. All I can offer is that in my experience with different psychiatrists and therapists is that the psychiatrists only spend about 10 minutes max talking with me and then want to throw more drugs at the problem if it's not improving.

The therapists spend an hour a session and talk things through and help me work through my issues by offering a different perspective and coping strategies.

At this point I'm pretty good at knowing if my depression is worsening because of something biochemical or if it's because I'm falling into old patterns or life is just shitty at the moment. I can also count on my therapist to let me know if she thinks I need meds adjusted. If I could do without the meds I would and hope to one day.

I am so sorry that you lost Maya. I can only begin to imagine that pain. I hope you are able to assemble the support team that best suits your needs. ((hugs))

Anonymous said...

Hi. I stumbled on your blog by blog-hopping. This post and your profile story has touched my heart. I've personally been seeing both a psychologist and a psychiatrist. The psychologist is my personal counselor; someone who I can literally talk to about anything and everything. And because I know I'm clinically depressed and pretty anxious at times, my psychologist is the one who referred me to a psychiatrist to write me a prescription for antidepressants. I was really hesitant to go on any type of medication, but I have to say that it has honestly helped me climb out of that "deep dark abyss" that I feel like I fell into.

And it's not like I absolutely stopped functioning. I was and continue to be functional in my daily life. Even during the lowest time of my depressive state, I still went to work and even kept up with social engagements. But it was the "weight" I constantly felt that was tied around my ankles. Some days it was light and other days it was like a ton of bricks. I think it was a combination of both talking to my Psychologist and the medications that my Psychiatrist prescribed that's helping me.

Anyway, I just wanted to share my experiences. And to send big {{HUGS}} your way.