B: Today’s Deb-Blog Has Been Brought to You by the Letter D for Depression and the Letter B for Blues: The Blues Is Not Clinical Depression
In the late 90s, I went through an “All About Eve” struggle on a job, where I was Margo Channing and my nemesis was Eve Harrington, only I was the younger and more naive one. Wasn’t the first time or the last I’ve been undermined by a woman but I am not writing about why some women hate other women.
(A great scene about the mind games people play that can make you feel like your world has gone crazy. I lived this plot. How about you?)
This is about my visit to a mental-health counselor for a little talk therapy. Besides coworker “Eve,” I had just ended a relationship and life was in flux. But within 20 minutes, the intake coordinator had me in with a psychiatrist who prescribed me Paxil and sent me home! All I wanted was place to talk through issues with a professional adviser. But I trusted the experts so I took the meds as prescribed.
Fast forward to losing that job three days later, followed by a summer spent in a mattress face plant, drugged up on Paxil, a prescription which the doctor doubled and then switched to Zoloft, but always while I spent most afternoons out cold for hours. I was a zombie in a constant fog. I gave up on visits to the counselor because they only resulted in being dismissed after she changed my prescription! Thank goodness I had the wherewithal to get up one morning and decide to go turkey off the drugs. I could see through enough of the fog to know that if anything was keeping me from progressing in my life it was the drugs that were making me sick, tired and fuzzy. I felt physically better almost immediately but I experienced dizzying brain whooshes every time I moved my head and would often have to steady myself on walls to keep from falling. (Note: This is why you aren’t supposed to go cold turkey.) No one from the clinic ever checked on me, by the way, and I never returned. But I wrote them a letter about a month later informing them of my decision and aired my disappointment in their diagnosis and treatment. I haven’t been in any long-term depression since – or then – or before! I have been overwhelmed, disappointed and sad from time to time because all humans in modern society have days or even weeks of being discontent. But my mind doesn’t remain in that gear for long or repetitively. I am lucky I don’t suffer from clinical depression.
What a frustrating and baffling experience that was. Being wrongly and expeditiously diagnosed with clinical depression and drugged was the worst thing the medical profession has ever done to my body. But after a month went by without what was a poison in my body, I felt healthy and put the incident behind me until a couple years later.
But by having to revisit this ordeal, I received vindication. About two years later I was having a thorough background check for a job that included a psychiatric evaluation. Because I had been prescribed anti-depressants, the doctor explained he needed my records. I explained my ordeal and mentioned how I wrote a scathing letter to them about my experience. I then answered affirmatively when he asked me if the clinic was “X.” He told me that clinic had nearly lost its license for misdiagnosing and over-prescribing anti-depressants. He said he’d love to see the letter so I sent him a copy. I got that job and made a professional friend with him. But I learned to be my first line of trust in any medical diagnosis and that the old saying, “Why do you think they call it medical practice?” has a ring of truth for me!