Psychiatrist visit – toast, angst and harsh reality

by Martin

in A Depression Blog

Today, for the first time in my life I had an appointment with a psychiatrist.

I don’t know whether this is a normal response, but it certainly depressed the hell out of me.

My doctor referred me to the psychiatrist because I was not feeling too great on the Lexapro and because I made a failed (and admittedly foolhardy) attempt to ditch my medication altogether.

By the way, if my experience is anything to go by, don’t ditch your meds without professional input and certainly not without a proper withdrawal strategy. Not, that is, unless you want to alienate everybody you love and who loves you, as you rapidly become more grouchy than a bear chewing a wasps’ nest.

Anyway, the day started well. My three year old would not do a single thing we asked her to do from the moment she awoke until the time she left (in totally unsuitable clothing) for child care. This even included a refusal to eat the toast that she’d demanded, which she justified on the grounds that whilst she did indeed want to have toast, she just didn’t want to eat toast.

I followed this up, resumption of meds notwithstanding, with a wasp chewing bear act when I thought my wife was going to make us late (which, incidentally, she didn’t).

So, with sunny dispositions to match the bright sunny day, we arrived at the psych’s office.

The psychiatrist was very pleasant, easy to talk and very professional. She took a thorough a history and had clearly read and absorbed the referral letter that my doctor had sent. It’s always encouraging when professionals have read the relevant material don’t you think? Nothing causes your heart to sink so much as when a doctor starts calling you Mr … er … er … er and referring to the varicose veins that you don’t have, but their last patient did.

Effect of depression on others

After I’d had my say, my wife was called in and gave her version of recent events. That was certainly hard to listen to. True, but hard to listen to. Nothing she said was too terrible – I haven’t been adulterous or beaten anybody – but hearing her describe my moods and behaviours somehow threw it all into sharper relief and made it seem so much worse than I thought it was.

I suppose, in fact, that is the harsh reality. What she described is just as much the reality of the situation as what I had to say about it. The effect on others is just as much part of this illness as the effect on ourselves.

Unfortunately, there is a very real tendency when depressed to be so internally focused that you lose the ability to appreciate how it’s impacting on anybody else. At, the author, Anne Sheffield, provides information for those whose loved ones are suffering from depression. Anne lists what she calls some of the ‘unofficial symptoms’ of depression. These are symptoms that a depressed person often displays but which don’t make it into the doctors’ diagnostic manuals. They include such endearing characteristics as:

  • being manipulative
  • belittling loved ones and being critical, sometimes mean,
  • being changeable and unpredictable, illogical and unreasonable.

This whole subject of the effect of depression on the sufferer’s loved ones is something I’ll write more on, but suffice to say for now, that we owe a lot of thanks to give to those who have to live with us – or at least I know I do.

Miracle cure

Anyway, after listening to both of us the psychiatrist said that she didn’t think I was bipolar (good), but she did think I was depressed (really?). She said I should take different medication (Pristiq), although medication alone wouldn’t cure me – I needed to change some of the shit things in my life that I was unhappy with (told you so).

After a brief argument between myself and my wife as to whether I should change meds, that was it. We left. And I felt incredibly deflated, depressed even.

I felt bad having heard my wife talk about my recent behaviour, but I think what hit me hardest was that I’d had some unarticulated idea that perhaps the psychiatrist was going to come up with some kind of instant cure – ‘just take this short dose of miracletab for 3 weeks and your glass will not only be half full, it will be positively overflowing for the rest of your life’. Of course you’d have to be mad to think like that (you might even need to see a psychiatrist), but I think I had some such silly notion.

Instead the reality is that there’s no miracle cure, but there is still hope. Maybe I can make some of those life changes. In fact it was positive to hear that medication alone is not the answer. I’ve been saying for years I’m unhappy because I detest my job and the whole field of employment I’m in. It’s hard to change because of financial commitments but maybe we just have to find a way to make change happen.


How You Can Survive When They’re Depressed: Living and Coping with Depression Fallout by Anne Sheffield

Song of the Post

Legendary soulman James Carr released this song on the album of the same name in 1966. Although I’m sure he’s not referring to his psychiatrist, the title is apt nonetheless:

US Readers:

You Got My Mind Messed UpYou Got My Mind Messed Up

Go from this Psychiatrist Visit page to Depression Help (the home page)
Go from this Psychiatrist Visit page to the main Depression Blog category page

Sad Face Post Image (c) Photos by Mavis

About the Author

Father, husband, writer and website publisher, discontented in his day-job, he writes here about depression - his own and in general. You can follow Too Depressed on Twitter. Please share the content on this site with all your friends, followers and contacts using the buttons above.

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Last revised on October 19, 2013

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