Notes from Working with a Psychiatrist

I see my psychiatrist once every month, minimum, no matter how busy or how well or how poorly I am feeling!  Over the years, these regular appointments have proven their worth to me.  Recently I’ve been feeling very well – but I met with my psychiatrist anyway and we had a fruitful satisfying appointment. Just as I normally do, I’d made a list of items to discuss with her. Some of them: Updating her on a change in how I was taking my prescribed medications.  A a summary of how I have been feeling coupled with a description of my functioning this past month. And so on.

She welcomed me warmly and waited for me to start the conversation. I was able to tell her that I’d been feeling very well since our last appointment.  As we went on talking, I told her how I had managed my mood and anxiety during the challenges of Christmas and December. I had been calm, collected and in a good mood. Christmas has always been a most difficult time for me, but this year, wonderfully, I had enjoyed the holiday season with family and friends. How I feel during the holidays is a very good indicator of my brain health!

I went on to say, with enthusiasm, that I was optimistic and excited for the year ahead. To be able to say optimistic is another Very Positive Indicator of my mental health status. I also continued to be grateful for and satisfied with our move to a new house in a different community this past summer.  Before we moved there had been several months of exhausting nervousness and anxiety in anticipation (dread?) of the move and its upheavals.

I also told her of my good success dealing with a change in my medication regime. The mood stabilizer I was using had caused me to fall unexpectedly sleepy while driving.  Consequently my husband often drove for me, as he and I had decided the sleepiness was a danger to others and to me. So we wanted to stop taking the med.  I am now able to drive without sleepiness, and as a result driving has again become a pleasant, safe task.  Now my psychiatrist and I are thinking of decreasing the number or the amount of medications I take. Scary, for sure, but another plus!

Why then do I continue to see a psychiatrist: to help me with the inevitable bad days or circumstances; to check that a bad day or two doesn’t become a trend; also for medication reviews, and for affirmation of my own understanding of my mental health.  Lastly, for the great comfort that, should a trend develop into a full blown depressive episode and I become seriously, dreadfully, sick we will both be on top of it.  My psychiatrist, reflecting the caring professional that she is, will be ready to prescribe new therapies, new medications, new approaches and give me hope. I have a real respect for this doctor and a great deal of faith that together we can find workable treatments for me, no matter the challenge.

Thanks, GL