Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Under Treatment


Perhaps not all of my readers have had the experience of visiting a psychiatrist's office. With that in mind, I want to do my part to describe it to you.

With my anxiety level at a 40+ (10 being lunatic level); I sat in the waiting room trying to knock out a few pages of Les Miserables. (If I was a psychiatrist, I would make a note of such a book choice.) When my anxiety goes up, so does my rate of criticism, so I will spare my observations of fellow patients in the waiting room. Fairly utilitarian waiting room. No plants. No sharp objects. Door to the doctors locked tight, presumably to keep us kooks from wandering back before our scheduled appointments.

Then I saw him. My doc. The man next to Jesus who I am entrusting my mental health.

To describe him, I only have to direct your imagination to Elvis in his later years. Sideburns and everything. This is Vegas, folks. You didn't think mental health professionals in this town would be run-of-the-mill, did you?

So I enter his office. Lo and behold, there WAS a naugahyde sofa. But also a single simple chair in front of doc's desk. Which to choose? Which to choose? His choice of drug for me might hinge on such a decision. I picked the chair.

Sloppy office. Which, truthfully, made me more comfortable than if it was painstakingly clean. Figure that out. I'm a neat freak, but I prefer my shrink be a mess.

As doc typed on his all-white laptop and asked tolerable questions, I counted no fewer than fifteen little drug company souvenirs. Who is the genius employed by the antidepressant company who thinks up the free advertising toy to give the physician? One brand gave out a superhero statue. Another gave a little handheld water game. Really? Which brand of mental case picks up a doodad like that in their shrink's office? I just counted the doodads, didn't actually play with them. (It is a funny mental image, though. Seemingly-sorta-well-adjusted-looking late 30s momma sitting in the chair flying a superhero statue around in the air complete with sound effects.)

Despite all my obvious attitude, I liked the guy. He didn't flinch or turn his nose up when the word "premenstrual" got tossed around. His typing speed never varied when my adoption, short teenage marriage, or number of children was disclosed. And then, in fewer than 20 minutes costing three hundred dollars - he said the words that made my jaw drop open. "I'm not going to give you any drugs."

Not that he didn't prescribe some treatment, but I was shocked that he wasn't giving me drugs and I told him so. He replied, "If you went to anyone else, you'd get drugs. I'm the weird shrink in town." Well, glory hallelujah, there's more evidence that God hears my prayers.

I will be taking Evening Primrose Oil, Vitamin B6, and a prescription supercharged Folic Acid supplement. In four weeks, I'll go back and we'll talk again. He'll check to see how effective my supplements are, and I'll check to see if he's cleaned up his desk. We both have our observations to make.
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