Thanks for the reply.
Let me explain a bit more about
the doctor I'm now seeing.
In the fall of 2007, I don't remember exactly when but it was probably in early October or late September, my depression got very bad and I told my wife that sucide was on the table in that it might be an alternative to continuing to live with the depression I have had pretty much all my life.
I told her I was not considering suicide but that it WAS on the list of possible alternatives. She flew into action and got a referral to a counselor that a friend of hers had used when she and her husband were having problems. (at the time I was seeing a pill pusher who was prescribing amitriptyline 200 mg)
She also got the name of a psychiatrist. We went to the counselor once together and then I saw her alone. She was no help at all.
I saw the psychiatrist a few times - at $175 per 50 minute session or $3.50 per minute - and finally stopped because we simply could not afford it.
We have no medical insurance. My wife is self-employed, she is a cosmetologist (hair stylist) and I've been effectively unemployed since January of 1987. That, in and of itself, is a long store. Perhaps for another post.
AS I said, I was on amitriptyline 200 mg SID at the time.
The psychiatrist had me begin Abilify - I am no longer on it, after about
5 months with not positive effects, I stopped taking it - with the knowledge of the doctor.
I called around and found there is an organization called the County Mental Health Collaborative - the "county" is that of a large midwestern city, we live in a suburb of that city - that provides services at fees based upon income.
Since there is anonymity here, I can tell you that our Adjusted Gross Income for 2007 was only $19,800. Adjusted Gross is the last line on the front of a 1040 tax form.
I called that organization and they referred me to one of their member organizations. I found out, at the first appointment, that they only prescribe drugs, that is, they are "pill pushers" only and offer no therapy.
They were going to continue me on the ability - free of charge - but picking up the drug turned into an amazing comedy of errors - a comedy now but quite infuriating and depressing at the time.
After several attempts to hook up with the doctor assigned to me (a resident actually) to pick up drug samples (a HUGE comedy of errors) , I finally made some calls and wound up with an appointment for one of the very large organizations in the collaborative.
To make a very long story short - I saw one of their psychiatrists, the one I'm seeing how, and he decided I was bi-polar, in the first appointment.
Everyone else I've seen since 1970 has diagnosed me with depression.
At the first appointment when he asked about
the medications I've been on - it is a long list - I happened to say that Prozac seemed to work for a few weeks, that I remembered an incident when my wife and I were on the way home from the theater and we stopped at a stop sign - I remember exactly where it was - and I realized that I was feeling better than I had for quite awhile.
I made the mistake of saying the word "manic" in describing how I felt at that time. I meant that compared to being depressed like I have been for years, I was happier and less depressed than I had for a long time.
Unfortunably I say manic, - I think I said something like "I felt almost manic" chuckle, chuckle
He picked up on "manic" and a few minutes later told me that he thought I was bi-polar, not depressed, and said "You've come to the right place."
Since then he has had me on several different drugs - mood stabilizers and such - with what I consider little improvement. about
6 weeks ago he decided that I also had ADD and put me on a stimulant, Vyvance, which I took for a month with absolutely no effect.
When he prescribes drugs he never went over their possible side effects or warnings - some warned about
issues with taking them if heart diseawse was present. An other instance - when he started me on the Vyvance he said nothing about
limiting, or eliminating, caffeine while taking the Vyvance. I learned of that one when I went looking for the package insert information for Vyvance.
On a couple of occasions I've had to remind him about
my heart attack in November of 2002 - I had told him about
it the first time I saw him.
You suggested that I might need to find another doctor - I agree but there is one problem.
I am seeing this doctor through part of the County Mental Health Collaborative - "County" as in the suburbs of a very large midwestern city. He left the organization and went back to only private office work. The organization decided to have me continue to see him and that they would cover the entire cost - I seem him at his office and he bills the organization for the visits. I pay nothing they mail me medications for free.
I'm hooked up with this organization in a rather different way than other patients.
I am afraid that I might not get the same financial support if I had to again go through the process of registering with them.
Not that I'm registered fraudulently or such, it is just that they never actually asked about
our income level. I'm sure I would still qualify for services and prescript
ions for free but I don't want to that the chance.
So, for now I research each drug he puts me on and then call him to discuss anything I've found which might be a problem with the particular drug.
My wife accompanied me to an appointment about
a month ago - the appointment at which he decided I might have ADD.
She went with me last week when I saw him again. Between the two of them they decided that - as the doctor puts it - my problem may be both hardware (medication issues) and software (therapy issues).
Remember - he is a "pill pusher" not a therapist.
He recommend I get in touch with a particular organization because, as he put it, they are probably state funded and might offer counseling/therapy at reduced costs.
You'd think he would contact them for me, at least for the first contact.
I called them and left a message.
I also called around and found another organization which has reduced fees. For our income level the cost will be $52 per session. I made an appointment with them for Tuesday (day after tomorrow). Our income is such that seeing them once a week, for at total of $208, would be difficult.
After I had made that appointment, the other organization returned my call. I made an appointment with them for a week from Tuesday. They will only charge us $20, based upon our income. There's a big difference between $52 and $20 dollars and I'm hoping that the thearpist at this organization will be of help.
So, for the time being I'll stay with the "pill pusher", do my own research when he prescribes a new drug, and wait and see what comes of the two appointments I have at the organizations which provide therapy.
mood stabilizers - my normal mood is depression, I don't consider that I've ever had a manic episode. If some of these drugs are supposed to stabilize moods, all I can say is that I hope they don't stabilize things as they are now, that is, I don't want to be stabilized at a depressed level
I'll begin the lithium Tuesday evening and try and watch out for any side affects.
The thing is that I just don't buy into the bi-polar diagnosis - I'll have to wait and see if the doctor's (and perhaps therapist's) efforts work when viewing me as bi-polar.
Bob - Simon's Dad