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I'm Taking a Test For a Course I Never Took!

Updated: Jul 3, 2019

So, uh…who’s your psychiatrist?

That inquiry feels a bit different than, "who is your dentist?"

Along with talk therapy, Riely needs medication for her depression and anxiety. This meant a Psychiatrist…more recommendations, phone calls and appointments! This depression thing is time consuming! Also, emotionally and mentally taxing!

The wait to see a doctor can run 3 to 6 months! So I asked Riely if she could postpone this depression thing for a while …not! Between insurance, looking up pictures of the doctors (everyone does this right?), and recommendations we finally got an appointment. The first doctor was not a fit. Are you surprised?

Inside my head I am thinking…who cares if you think he is just too weird…you need medication…it is hard to get in as a new patient…suck it up! Thankfully, that stayed in my head.

Deep down I knew it was important for Riely to trust her doctor. She will need to be honest about how she is feeling with this person. One hundred fifty bucks is a lot to pay for her to pretend things are fine when they aren’t! Honesty in regulating medication is crucial.

Two psychiatrists later Riely felt comfortable with a doctor. By comfortable, I mean she tolerated the office visits. Her goal was to get in and out of Dr. Mary’s office as quickly as possible. After all, this is just an every 3 month relationship, unlike her therapist.

I, on the other hand, had lots of questions about the medication and its side affects. Oh, and this one (I can’t believe I asked this) “how will we know if she no longer needs the antidepressants?” Really? Here I was ready to get her off the meds when she just started taking them!

I received the most glaring looks from Riely during these office visits! The kind only an angry teenage daughter can give her mother! I consider these looks a bonding thing between us!! Making all mothers proud I defiantly ignored the nonverbal requests to stop asking questions. The ride home was so delightful!

Ideally, it is beneficial for the psychiatrist and therapist to communicate. Some do this better than others. Due to paper work and busyness it simply does not happen all the time. I truly didn’t know this was a thing at the time. When I did discover this, well, gosh darn it…the thought of changing psychiatrists was too much!

OH CRAP! Those little warnings where they show happy images while telling you every awful side effect from a drug ARE FOR REAL! One more lesson learned the hard way! UGH!! Finding the right medication can take time. It can also be very scary!

I was caught totally off guard when the first medication Riely took sent her plummeting further into depression! A popular antidepressant sent her into full on suicide mode! (We now are the owners of a lock box for knives and other sharp objects) Thankfully, the second antidepressant was helpful.

I wish I had known more about this process. I felt like I was taking a test before I ever took the course. What I did learn during this crash course was self-compassion and self-awareness.

When it was difficult to make another phone call, I began to acknowledge how hard this was. Not wanting to make the call did not equal bad parenting, it equaled being human. Dreading an appointment doesn’t mean I don’t love my child. It means I am tired. This simple acknowledgement prevented me from belittling myself.

I created mantras or breath prayers. “May I be filled with Peace,” or “Fill me with compassion,” or “I am weary, I need strenth,” or whatever else I needed in the moment. My state of being had an affect on Riely. My being okay and grounded reassured her.

Waiting rooms became a place to practice these newly developed tools. Pretty soon I was offering grace to others in the waiting area. They never even knew it. I sent them invisible billows of love and prayed they would be kind to themselves as well.

**Many cities now have Mental Health Urgent Care Clinics. These can help provide immediate care during moments of crisis. They can also set up long term care with doctors in the community.

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