You Call it Bipolar-I call it MSD
Yesterday, I foolishly wrote a piece called “Getting Better.” I say foolishly because it is the same as waving a red flag in front of an already-angry bull, with the result just as predictable. I had a very rough time at Dr. Garratt’s office yesterday, and that, combined with one or two other factors, plunged me back into a spiraling depression, one which left me incapable of going to yesterday’s initial farmers market. What you going to do?
What constitutes a rough time at the psychiatrist’s office? I long since figured out for myself that it was not always going to be warm and fuzzy in that arena, but I figured that since no one was holding me accountable for past actions, it couldn’t be all that bad. I have not struggled with the fact that there were uncomfortable times this past winter, because it is the nature of the illness, over which I have no control. And that was part of the problem yesterday at Dr. Garratt’s office.
He had asked me a moment earlier if I felt my father maintained a “patriarchal presence.”
After asking him to repeat the question, I asked how I was supposed to be able to determine that from the vantage point of a child. Then I agreed that he did have a patriarchal presence. In response to his asking if I felt I had the same, I said I felt I was the same as my father in that regard, but that I had refused to adopt the parts of him that I disliked: the black moods, the anger tantrums, or the snide comments at the dinner table.
At one point I made reference to mood spectrum disorder, and he asked, “Is that the label you prefer?”
I gave him a look. “I don’t care whether you call it bipolar or mood spectrum disorder, but yes, I prefer MSD.”
“As opposed to a different label?” He looked blankly at me.
I responded quickly, “I don’t particularly like labels at all, but I accept the fact that I have a mood spectrum disorder.” I hoped he was not going to question that.
“Do you? So that you can pin a label to your chest? So that you can explain/excuse your behavior? It’s convenient to have a label to fall back on.” Playing Devil’s advocate, I assumed, and it rubbed me the wrong way.
“I don’t understand this line of questioning. What are you saying? Are you saying that you do not think I have a mood spectrum disorder? I have read everything I can find my hands on, and I agree with everyone who keeps saying that I fit the profile. I keep the mood chart, and I have come to rely on it for guidance in making plans.”
Dr. G. replied, “I am the one who is qualified here to determine if you have a bipolar disorder. Who is “everyone” who says you have a bipolar disorder?”
“My family? Is this a joke? Why are you questioning the diagnosis? If there was something wrong with our logic, why wouldn’t you have said something a long time ago?”
He said, “I am just asking you if you like the feeling of having a label.”
“If you mean do I care whether my actions are the result of an illness, or whether they are the actions instilled in me by my father, I don’t care, so long as I can take the necessary steps to rid myself of bad habits, and inappropriate behavior. I hate this line of questioning, and I don’t like playing games.”
The way Annie and I looked at it, we were paying him the big bucks to make the diagnosis. On the very first visit, he had prescribed the atypical antipsychotic drug, Seroquel, and then we had settled on Lamictal (Sp?) as a mood-stabilizer, should I determine that is necessary. It sure sounded to me as though he had decided that I had MSD issues; else, why prescribe medication accordingly?
So if he believed I have a mood disorder, then why is he hammering away at these kind of word games. I don’t like it, Annie doesn’t like it, and I am beginning to feel as though he is not listening to our joint request that we pursue a holistic cognitive therapy program. There is too much Freud; there is too much Jung. And there’s too much of what doesn’t work. And it’s time to drop back five yards and reassess the situation.
I’ll let you know what my coach and I determine.