As the universe monkeys (you know, those wonky little critters pulling the strings in the massive joke on us that is existence) would have it, I ran out of antidepressants right around the same time that the love of my life died.
I am currently un-medicated for the first time in about three or four years while dealing with soul-shattering grief. This is probably not the best recipe for success.
Major Depressive disorder + grief + going off SSRIs = not success.
Also, I don’t actually believe that there’s anyone pulling the strings, monkeys or otherwise. If there were though, they most assuredly would be monkeys, or perhaps orangutans.
But, as the universe monkeys planned it, my health insurance finally kicked in around the same time. The day after I found out about Male’s death, I took the day off of work, because duh.
I navigated my health insurance company’s arcane website. I searched for mental health providers in my area under “psychiatric services,” picked a name that sounded female (I am not comfortable discussing my past with professional male strangers since so much of it is about men being awful) and called a psychiatrist.
Unfortunately, the psychiatrist I called is a PhD and not an MD (it didn’t say that on the website), which means she can’t actually prescribe medication, so I still need to find another shrink who can prescribe antidepressants. However, since I was there, I figured a little therapy couldn’t hurt anything, so I started seeing her weekly.
Double unfortunately, she seems to be focused mainly on substance abuse issues, which aren’t even issues for me now. Well, that and the obvious room elephant of losing the love of my life.
Say, for example, every awful thing that has ever happened to you creates a strand of spaghetti. I have a massive stadium-sized bowl of it and substance abuse is only one piece. I threw almost the whole bowl of spaghetti at the wall of psychiatric care, but it seems like one of the few pieces that stuck was substance abuse.
Said psychiatrist keeps pushing me to go to Alcoholics Anonymous, an organization that I abhor and don’t need. I don’t need an organization to tell me I’m powerless; I already know that based on all the monumentally shitty things that have happened to me in my life.
I’m not an alcoholic. I’ve never been an alcoholic. Alcohol has never been my problem. I drink very occasionally, always socially, and never to excess. I prefer uppers, and alcohol is a downer. I haven’t used hard drugs in years–the last time I did drugs was mushrooms just over five years ago (you should read that post; it’s funny). Not even the ganja.
Yes, I have a lot of issues, and yes, it’s impossible to tackle them all at once, so as a mental health professional, you kind of have to pick one and start there, but she chose poorly. Substance abuse is not the first issue on my list; it’s more like action item #5487.
Last session, shrinkydink told me that she wouldn’t be able to work with me if I continue using. “Continue using” implies that I have been using in the first place. Having four beers in six hours with food at a family gathering several weeks ago doesn’t make me an alcoholic. Taking half a Klonopin for its prescribed purpose of helping with anxiety during the most difficult memorial I’ve ever attended doesn’t constitute “using” in my world. By the way, I still have the other half of the Klonopin–distinctly not drug addict behavior.
Shrinkydink acts like I’m secretly smoking heroin, drinking a fifth of Scotch a day, and lying about it. Her insistence on bringing up substance abuse issues when I continually tell her it isn’t an issue also implies that she does not believe a word I tell her.
Part of the problem here is that junkies are notorious liars. I should know. I was one. She would correct me here and say not “was,” but “am.” Once an addict, always an addict.
This is totally going to sound like junkie-speak here, but I can stop at will. I’ve done it before. When I was using crack cocaine–a habit so profound that it lost me my job, my home and forced me into prostitution–when I finally quit, I just quit. I just stopped doing it one day and didn’t do it again. No rehab. No support groups. Nothing. I just made up my mind to stop and did. I didn’t touch hard drugs again for almost two decades before I relapsed.
Aha! She would say, but you relapsed! Yes, but it was my choice to relapse, not a disease. I made that choice at yet another time in my life when I didn’t give any fucks whether I lived or died. It had fuckall to do with addiction itself.
Unlike most junkies, including Male, I can stop myself from abusing. The only times in my life when I’ve been a bona fide addict were because I did not care at all whether I died. That is the crux of the issue. I can choose not be an addict as long as I have a desire to live. Addiction is always a symptom of a larger issue for me and not the problem itself. It is effect, not cause. I call addiction a form of passive suicide. It is an out. It is just one possible way to stop living by passively letting the chips fall where they may.
And again, this sounds like junkie-speak, but I’m not an addict. Addiction was and still is in my control. I am powerless over a lot of things, but not over addiction. My addiction is a choice. Do I want to die or do I want to live? Addiction is dying. Living is not. As long as I have a desire to live, I’m not an addict. It’s really that simple for me.
I can stop myself, but I have to want to stop myself. If there ever comes another time when I don’t care about living, I could easily fall right back into being an addict.
So, I see her point. Yes, it’s a danger. It is possible that I could fall into that trap again, but what she doesn’t seem to get and I keep hammering home to no avail, is that I don’t want to. I don’t want to be an addict. Among many other reasons, because Male would be so very angry at me if he knew that I was using again because of him.
At the moment, I do want to continue living. Even if it’s just a tenuous desire to finish my book before I go, not wanting to leave my dog alone or sheer laziness, I have reasons for living just the same. I’m not actively nor passively suicidal. I do care whether I live or die. I don’t have a drinking problem and I haven’t been doing drugs, nor do I really have any great desire to do either.
This constant nagging about addiction is really irrelevant and unhelpful. By bringing addiction up over and over again, all she’s doing is putting ideas in my head that weren’t there and proving once again that she doesn’t believe a word I say.
I understand that junkies lie and pretty much everything I’ve said here could sound like rationalization, but honestly, it’s not. I’m not using, abusing or lying about it. I have no desire to use.
The fact that she refuses to entertain the notion that I’m not actually a junkie is doing nothing but pissing me off. We have bigger fish to fry.
Had I known that she was going to get stuck on this one issue I don’t even need help with, I wouldn’t have been so forthcoming, which entirely defeats the purpose of going to therapy in the first place. If she continues in this incessant quest to stop a nonexistent addiction, I’ll have no choice but to stop seeing her. I can’t trust someone who doesn’t trust me.
Have you ever had a psychiatrist harp on the wrong thing? Have you ever ended a relationship with a psychiatrist? What would you do if you were me?
See what happened next: The Break Up.