Vulnerability in psychiatry

Vulnerability in psychiatry

Being reliant on medicine is a sort of vulnerability that bothers me.

What if the doctor decides not to refill it? What if I run out and end up coming off of it cold turkey? This particular medicine I'm on has a reputation for having notoriously bad withdrawal symptoms, which heightens my anxiety when it comes to getting the prescription renewed. I have to work. I can't be vomiting and feeling "electric shocks" while trying to help my customers.

Even though my psychiatrist has been fantastically responsive and accommodating, even letting me email him about appointments and refills since I hate being on the phone (hard of hearing), I still am anxious that maybe he'll be parsimonious about refilling it, insisting on having our bi-annual check-up before the refill.

He wasn't. He promptly called it in for me after I emailed, so I can have medicine until our appointment.

My psychiatrist warm, understanding, caring, and treats me like a person, not a condition, but I'm almost always afraid that he'll consider me "crazy." Attention-getting. A liar.

I think I know why I'm irrationally afraid.

I have been making great progress in therapy, no longer feel depressed all the time, no longer feel so anxious all the time, have a good job, and am like my life. But...all of this is dependent on medication.

Whether it's my Effexor XR or some other antidepressant, it is one of the key things that has been helping me actually ENJOY life instead of trudging through the drudgery, constantly wishing for some external pain to happen that will "give me a reason" to feel so bad. Without it, I wouldn't have made nearly as much progress in therapy. I probably would have failed at my job. I'd be taking ill-care of myself, and I probably would be hurting myself in other ways.

I don't want to return to that.

I think there's another reason, too, something that I still am anxious about in many ways. Male authority figures.

My dad held so much power over me, and I did my best to extricate myself out from under most of that when I moved out of their house, and when they disowned me, I cut off the few remaining weights of power that he dangled over me as an example of his "love."

I was very skittish around other male authority figures, like priests and pastors (even having a panic attack at my boyfriend's church on Christmas Eve), my friends' dads, male teachers, etc, because I thought all men were like my dad. Unpredictable. Irrational. Capricious. Ready to fly into rage at the slightest misstep.

So, I suspect that I see the antidepressants as the kind of power that my psychiatrist holds over me, though logically I know that's not true. A couple of years of seeing him, of reliable care, tells me otherwise.

My dad also labeled psychiatric care as stupid. He refused to go for forever for his own depression, then he refused to take medicine when diagnosed. Then he refused to even call it depression publicly, hiding it from us and calling it something like "in a funk" or "funky feeling." He also refused to acknowledge that I was depressed back in high school, telling me I was crazy, it's all in my head, I'm too big for my britches, I'm a spoiled brat, I'm unappreciative.

He was magnanimous enough to say that I could seek treatment of my own provided I pay out of pocket with my own money instead of using their insurance. How generous. Still, he often enough told me I was crazy and attention-seeking, that I still am afraid of being perceived as such by others. Including my psychiatrist.

It will take a while to reach the point when I will finally feel comfortable with my clinical relationship with antidepressants and with him. I wish I wasn't crazy, that I could get over it already, but truth is, it takes a while.

I mean, it took me a couple of years to feel comfortable enough to be around my father-in-law, despite him being nothing but stable and despite the fact I've spent hours around him. I was always on edge around my Grampy and Great Grandpa, even though both were extremely kind and I'd known them for years while growing up before they died.

So no wonder I'm still a little anxious, sometimes.

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