It’s been 2 weeks since I saw my doctor. I am trying to make it to the 1 month mark which is my next scheduled appointment. I am trying to beak a trend of seeing him every 2 weeks instead of waiting for my 1 month scheduled appointment. Things have not been so great. I have been going in early because things haven’t been right and I want it fixed like right now. The last time I saw my doctor I had a long list of concerns. By this time I’m sure he knew my favorite color and favorite food. As I whipped out my list and asked him if I could read them off he said sure. I was at my 3rd concern as he removed his glasses and started to clean them. The more he focused on getting that one spot clean on his glasses, it became apparent that he wasn’t focusing on me. As I continued to explain what was going on he placed his glasses back on and abruptly interrupted me. He then started to “educate” me on bipolar disorder. Explaining that bipolar disorder,schizophrenia, insomnia, and panic was all caused by anxiety. I could not get a word in and slipped my list back into my purse. He wrapped things up with saying that I’m not giving the new changes time to work. Although I agree that I need to be more patient with the new drug cocktail, I am not sold on the idea that ALL of the diseases are caused by anxiety. He did give me a sample of TMS which is performed in his office. TMS, or, transcranial magnetic stimulation, is supposed to be a game changer for those with depression and recently added, anxiety (look it up). He also claimed that he thinks he had found the “sweet spot” for sleep as well. TMS is basically a series of magnetic pulses, when placed on the correct location of the head, are supposed to stimulate and encourage healing of that location in the brain. Patients claim it has rid them of depression. Always up for new things, I agreed to try it. It was strange and uncomfortable at times but lasted only about 10 minutes. I can honestly say that I did feel pretty good after the treatment. I felt relaxed and wanted to get home so I could enjoy the feeling in my favorite lounge chair. That night I did sleep well and don’t remember waking up at all. By the end of the second day I was feeling like my old self again, miserable. The doctor said that TMS is a 6 week, 5 days a week treatment. According to the doctor, when treatment is completed, most patients need only minimal medications and the benefits can be life lasting with only annual maintenance. Although excited that there might be an antidote for this disease I couldn’t help feeling like it seemed too good to be true. Over the last 2 weeks I have done a lot of self evaluation coupled with all the research I have done over the last almost 10 years. I already have a pretty good list for my next appointment. How is it that this disease, which has been identified as a chemical imbalance in the brain, be easily written off by anxiety instead? Have you ever seen a side by side picture of the brain showing a bipolar vs. healthy brain? I have and the distinction is clear. As my mom and I have looked back into my childhood the bipolar symptoms were clearly there. With no childhood trauma what was I to be anxious about? These symptoms carried on through my teenage years, my twenties, and now into my thirties. It was in my twenties that I had my “breakdown”. The symptoms were definitely worse before medication was involved. Even after that it has been a long and rocky road until recently. I am not bashing my doctor. I do feel he is educated and has my best interest at heart. He has done well by me and over the course of this last year has gotten me closer to what I feel is the best medication cocktail yet. In fact I thought we had it at one point. That was a good and short lived moment. Although just when I think we are minimizing the amount of meds. administered others are introduced. Like many people with this disease you know that your body gets immune to certain meds. and start to not work. Lucky to get a few months out of it before changes have to happen. I am often left frustrated and helpless with this cycle. Let’s not forget my poor body that has been through highs, lows, withdrawals and glimpses of wellbeing. After my own personal experiences and all the self education on this disease I really don’t think anxiety is the culprit. Now does my anxiety make a lot of matters worse? Sure, but I don’t think it’s the cause of the bipolar and other ailments. If my insurance covers this TMS treatment I will give it a try. What have I got to lose, right? My fear is that I will feel good and meds. will begin to be removed. Only to have to start all over again because the anxiety was treated and not the chemical imbalance. I really don’t want to be at square one again. As much as I respect my doctor he is not bipolar, schizophrenic, or deals with high functioning panic disorders himself. I know my body and can honestly separate the anxiety from everything else. Sure sometimes anxiety cohabitants with bipolar or any of the other disorders but they are separate monsters.
So I will wait to see my doctor 2 weeks from now and when I do see him I have some serious questions for him. After all I am ultimately in charge of my body and have to be my own advocate. I encourage all of you to trust your gut and question EVERYTHING. Seek out truth and do not put your life in someone’s hands simply because they wear a white coat. There are always choices and when able, make a patient, educated decision.
My prayer is that the Lord gives the doctor discernment and wisdom and that He helps me to seek truth to receive His promises to me.
Proverbs 17:24 Psalm 30:2