Monday, January 18, 2010

Drugs: The Next Chapter

To do Dr. GP justice, picture a woman of middle eastern descent sporting a hijab, an efficient manner, and a slightly stern expression (but quick to smile).

DR. GP: Macklin looks like he's putting on weight nicely. But let's start with you. Why are you here?
WORKING: I want to come off of my depression medication.
DR. GP: What are you on?
DR. GP: Who put you on that?!
WORKING: Dr.... what's-his-name. I can't remember his name. Over at Mental Health. The Psychiatrist.
DR. GP: Oh right. And why do you want to come off?
WORKING: Well, the cost is one thing and I'm a student and also I'm still concerned about it going to Mac through my milk and I don't like the side effects when I forget to take it and plus I'm feeling pretty good and while I know that's the drug talking, I really, really feel ready to try this on my own and I've decided to put the money towards therapy because Mental Health says it could be a year before they can get me into Cognitive Behavior Therapy and I talked to my husband and we decided that if we see any signs of relapse that I'll come back to you and go back on the drugs so I won't let it get bad as last time. (inhale) I really don't want it to get as bad as last time.
DR. GP: Well, I don't know why he put you on P-----. It's not covered on any plan in this province and it's extremely expensive.
WORKING: He gave me samples.
DR. GP: For how long?
WORKING: Three, maybe four months?
DR. GP: It takes six months to work fully, so what after that?
WORKING: Umm... I guess I pay.
DR. GP: Right, you pay a lot. That's why the drug companies give us these samples to give out, so we give them out and then you can't switch and you have to pay. Okay, I understand that you want to come off your medication. That is your decision. But I will warn you that the hormones haven't changed. You will relapse and it will be quite severe. You will be crying and mood swings and all of that all over again.
DR. GP: It could be just like before.
WORKING: Okay. But then I can just come back to you -
DR. GP: And then I will put you on something cheaper. I mean, we should find something that is right for you but you also can't be paying so much for this P---- stuff.
WORKING: True. Also, we've been maybe possibly BIG MAYBE thinking of trying for another kid.* I don't want this stuff anywhere near my system if that should happen.
DR. GP: I wouldn't want you to be on P-----, but there are things you can take while you're pregnant. Like maybe Z----. But anyway, do you think that pregnancy is a good idea? With your studies and already a young child? That could make things very bad for your depression. Is it a good time?
WORKING: No, I guess not.
DR. GP: Right.
WORKING: I mean, yes! It is a good time. I'm a student but at least I'm mostly at home. Look, regardless, I just feel like I need to try something more substantial for my depression, like therapy. I need something more permanent. I have a support system, I'll get the therapist. I just know I can do this. I've done it before.
DR. GP: Okay, as I said it's your choice. I know your school will cover some of the therapy so I will write you a prescription. Also, it is VERY important to become very physically active while you do this. It will be very crucial to handling the depression.

(CrossFit, here I come. No more excuses, I guess!)

*To our respective families: we change our minds daily about having another kid. I brought it up as a hypothetical for health reasons. At this stage, there's still a very good chance that Mac will be our only (non-sleeping) child.**
**To my readers, it's not that our families pressure us at all. They don't. It's just that I feel like I should have a disclaimer so that we don't disappoint them too much when we decide to adopt from the Humane Society instead.

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Anonymous James ~ 9:26 PM

Good post. Makes me want to go check out a good book from the library. (Books are often longer than blog posts.)

I haven't read anything that wasn't on a computer screen for ages. Not since my two-year-old was born.  

Anonymous Anonymous ~ 1:52 PM

I'm sure you know this, but diet and exercise do wonders (WONDERS) for improving mental health. Have you tried experimenting with different diets - vegetarian, or non-gluten?  

Blogger Working From Home Today ~ 9:06 AM

Hi Anonymous,
I've tried both at various times in my life and under the guidance of a Naturopathic physician. Didn't do much for me, to be honest. Slowly added the gluten back in and didn't notice a big change.

For ethical, cost and health reasons Trevor and I have cut back on our meat consumption, adding way more legumes. I have to avoid soy due to a thyroid condition, so going complete veggie is not sensible at this time, especially while breast feeding. I need the protein. But my regular source is eggs, as high quality as possible.

Specifics aside, I completely agree that diet and exercise is the way to go. It's done wonders for me before.  

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