My doctor never asks about function, he always asks about symptoms: mainly, "Are you hearing voices?" and, "Are you paranoid or suicidal?" If I answer no to those questions, he is more than happy to dismiss me with the same med prescription he gave me last time and set me up with my next quarterly appointment.
Donna was commenting on my recent post, Talking About Bipolar Treatment. The gist of the post was our doctors are often not on the same page with us. While we are thinking in terms of returning to our lives (functionality) they are preoccupied with keeping us out of the hospital (symptom reduction). Even though the bipolar treatment guideline put out by the American Psychiatric Association most emphatically stresses functionality, this message has yet to filter down to the rank and file.
Donna goes on to say:
[My doctor] is happy if I am a zombie with no feelings at all and has told me so in terms couched in a patronizing tone of voice. God help me if he puts me back on Zyprexa. I think I will die. Will he think the Saphris caused a mild hypomanic episode and be afraid to increase the dose?
“I want to feel good without any mania or hypomania,” she continues. “I want to feel the full range of normal feelings without plunging into depression again or thinking I am God's gift to the universe.” Instead:
What I expect to feel is disappointment again. Disappointment that my doc doesn't understand that I have no life because of this illness. Disappointment that there will be more "medication management" that results in less than stellar results. Disappointment because he will lean back in his chair and tap his pen on the desk and tell me how fortunate I was that Zyprexa "worked" for me.
Adds Tabby, who was was put on four meds after being diagnosed in 2006:
I immediately had no ability to think, no ability to concentrate or focus. Everything was in slow motion, everything was through thick syrupy fudge. I couldn't remember, I couldn't stay awake, and I gained considerable weight.
Seven months later, unable to mentally perform, she resigned from her job. Meanwhile, her family was commenting that she wasn’t herself. In the end, she decided to wean herself off her minds. It took a month. Within two months, she reports, her “mind was clear as a crystal bell again. The fog and the fudge was gone, completely gone, and I got another job.”
Tabby has been on and off meds since then, but never anything approaching the kilotonnage from her initiation into psychopharmacology. Her bottom line:
I refuse to take any meds - at any dosages - that cause me to be so grossly dysfunctional that I can't work, I can't raise my child, that I can't handle even the smallest daily life function. I refuse to be "treated". I want to be "helped". Psychiatrists are only looking to "treat" and very few are looking to "help".
The meds are supposed to make one's life better, to increase the quality of one's daily living. They are not supposed to disable, retard, or dumb down and interfere with one's ability to function while living.