I’ve been shopping around the last two weeks trying to find a counsellor, psychologist or psychiatrist who specializes in pain management but I’m getting nowhere. I’d prefer to find a psychiatrist because they might have some decent input on managing the veritable plethora of medications that I’m chugging down in alarming quantities. There’s a few reasons why I’m finding this so difficult. Firstly, there aren’t many pain management specialist psychiatrists in BrisVegas. Secondly, I’m reluctant to start seeing someone and dredge up my dreadfully convoluted history and then decide they’re a plonker and need to start all over again… and then of course there is my inherent distrust for the entire profession which is predominantly based on my previous personal experiences. Basically I’m generally cynical that any amount of counselling can make someone okay about being in pain all day… and I strongly doubt that talking about it hour after expensive hour is going to alleviate the overwhelming frustration that results from not being able to do every day little things either. But that’s just me…
My initial exposure to the psychiatric profession (strangely enough for pain management) was when I was about 23 and I was referred to a psych for medication management (no wonder I’m feeling so much deja fucking vu atm). Mogodons and Prozac were drugs du jour back in the early 90s and I was on them both and others as well. This first psych was an absolute cockhead who chewed on his biros and even though he was only about 35-40 he had horrid little rows of hair plugs across his forehead that made it hard to talk to his face. He would constantly ask me about my relationships with my family (esp my Mum and my Dad) which would cause me to regularly ask what that has to do with my pain issues. He was always running late which meant I’d be stuck sitting around in uncomfortable chairs in the waiting room once for about an hour and then wonder why I was argumentative and pugilistic when I finally got in the door. I remember one occasion where I’d sat there bored out of my trolley and started doing the Woman’s Day crossword in a magazine from the waiting room. When he finally ushered me into his minimalist, anti-decorated and impersonal office and asked me how I was – I put the magazine on the desk and asked if he’d mind waiting two more minutes and I’d have it finished. It probably doesn’t help instill confidence in your medical professional if they seem confused by your vocabulary either. Wang-karrr… Hated him, hated him, hated him.
I saw one psych for IVF related depression which was a total waste of time. How is anyone supposed to help you accept the absymal grief and depression that comes with repeated failed IVF procedures?? I spent four years resisting taking anti-depressants which were being reccommended by my IVF specialist, the psych and my GP because I could see no use whatsoever in trying to medicate the problem. I knew what was making me miserable and anti-depressants weren’t going to fix it… nor could I see how drugs were going to make me happy with the situation. This psych (who was supposed to be a specialist in the areas of infertility related mood and adjustment disorders) was aiming for empathetic and understanding… but somehow only ever managed patronizing and condescending instead. Her office was full of photos of her children growing up and then photos of her grandchildren… looking around the room and listening to her almost text book bedside manner conversational style made it feel like she had absolutely no frame of reference for what infertility does to you and how it makes you feel. I made a polite comment about one of her photos on one visit and she started telling me how amazing her one year old grand-daughter was. Oblivious. Totally fucking oblivious. Barely managed to sit through two appointments with that one.
Oh, and the worst one of all has been vividly etched on my brain forever. It was last year and I got sent to an assessing psych whose rooms (which were located in the downstairs of her house) just about sent me crazy… she had so much shit crammed into her ‘office’ (and I use the term loosely) which included exercise equipment, an old couch, massive flat screen tv, scraps of paper pinned to the walls, the door, sticky notes EVERYWHERE, papers piled from arsehole to breakfast, broken ceramic ornaments, a copy of Russian Ark on DVD (which haunts me to this day – I mean who’d buy that film? ) and a wet smelly dog under the desk. That place made me twitch really bad and there was so much shit in the room it was everything I could do to keep focussed on what she was saying and ignore the state of the place. It didn’t need a clean – it need a some lighter fluid and a match. Really glad I only had to go there once.
There have been others too… mostly medico-legal types who aren’t interested in treating you or even reccommending treatments their job is just to poke and prod you and pull you to bits at the seams and offer an ‘expert opinion’ on how fucked up (or not – depending on who was paying their bill) you were for the court cases (and I say court cases…. because there were several). So basically I don’t like them and wish I didn’t have anything to do with them in general…. except it’s becoming more and more obvious every day that I’m not coping (which is hard for me to admit). I’m not coping with the pain or the side effects of the medications or the lack of sleep or the loss of amenity.
I’ve gotten to the point where I feel like everything I do is pissing someone off because I just don’t have the energy to make nice… I really don’t. I’m just drained. I don’t want to socialize with most of my friends, I don’t want to meet new people, I don’t want to be confronted every day with more things that I simply can’t do without increasing my pain… I don’t even want to leave the house most days. It’s taking a monumental fucking effort to just get out of bed in the morning and go through the motions of making the Small Child’s lunch and take him to school. So my coping mechanisms are at an all time low and if I weren’t concerned about what the combination with all the medication might do… I think I’d be drinking myself into a stupor every single night. Which really doesn’t leave me much choice… so shrink shopping it is.
If only I felt equipped to make a decent decision at the moment… I think that would expedite this whole process.