It’s been about four months since my psychiatrist of 10 years closed her private practice.  I miss her terribly.

It’s not that don’t I like my new psychiatrist. But appointments have shrunk from an hour once or twice a month to 15 minutes once a month.

My new doctor is much slower at handling email questions.  I had my previous doctor’s phone number and could text her if I was in trouble.

I emailed my previous doctor about a month after she was gone and she wrote back.  But I wrote to her recently and haven’t heard anything.

I totally understand that she just can’t continue relationships with former patients.  But it makes me incredibly sad.  My mom,  said, “You were more than just patient and doctor, you were friends.”  And this is true.  My doctor and I laughed and cried together.  She made it ok for me to be in a bad space.  She gave me courage.

She was a once in a lifetime psychiatrist.  The perfect blend of funny, intelligent, and compassion.

But my current psychiatrist isn’t bad.  I actually think he’s pretty good.  I feel confident in his abilities.  He also has a good sense of humor which helps me stay calm while I’m talking to him.

And he is quite willing to let me participate fully in my treatment.

I am having my first big episode since losing my previous doctor.  I have been manic for two months.

I’m trying to trust my current psychiatrist.  He put me on Lamictal, which, for those counting at home, makes eight psychotropic medications. But he’s hoping that another mood stabilizer will quiet the mania.  I’ve been trying to quit taking my stimulant also at my doctor’s request because it’s like adding fuel to the fire, but it’s very difficult.  I’m tired and cranky.  I am also depressed and anxious at times.  And, just for kicks, sometimes I’m depressed and agitated at the same time. Can you guys say, “Mixed State”?

I still need to get an individual therapist since my previous psychiatrist was fulfilling this role.  My poor husband is tired or being an amateur psychologist.  I left a message for a therapist yesterday that has come highly recommended from two dear friends.

So, I find myself needing to handle this crisis largely on my own.  Following is a checklist of the things I’m doing to keep mania at bey:

* If needed, give your credit card, debit card, checkbook, etc to a trusted friend/family member to keep you from spending too much money.

*Make sure you have a healthy sleep routine, go to bed around the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning.

*Take lots of deep breaths.  Do you find yourself accidentally holding your breath.  I find myself holding my breath a lot, so reminding myself to deep breath is essential.

*Don’t take on new projects.  The reasoning is that when you come down, you may not feel like carrying through with all the activities you started.

*Talk back to any negative thoughts you are having.

*Read affirmations or positive quotations.

*Meditate

*Try not to bounce from activity to activity.  Be direct in your activity and finish one task before moving on to another.  This is surprisingly difficult.

*Pay attention to the way you are interacting with others.  Are you talking too loud or too fast?  Are you having trouble following the conversation?  That’s ok.  It’s very likely that no one notices but you.  These are symptoms of the mania and they will go away.

I have a trustworthy, intelligent-seeming, kind, funny doctor.  I need to let down my walls completely.  I really miss my previous psychiatrist.  I can’t say that enough and it brings tears to my eyes.  But I think I got lucky in the doctor jackpot this time.  It’s just different.

Have you had a difficult doctor switch?  I would love to hear about it in the comments.

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