Mental Health Mondays: My Specialist Appointment

This week I finally had my appointment with a depression specialist (also known as a psychiatrist).

The lead up to this appointment had been particularly tense for me. I wasn’t very hopeful about the outcome and was feeling like it might just be easier to give up on my mental health, and I was also being called twice a week by the clinic to ‘check up on me’ and get my health history.

Despite really not being in the mood to talk to someone who wasn’t doing anything to help me, who would then pass on the information to someone who I highly doubted would be able to help me, I was polite and helpful and all the nice things a young lady is supposed to be.

Come the day of the appointment I really, really didn’t want to go. I felt like I was going to simultaneously throw up, have a heart attack, and poop my pants. But I still went. If this really was my last resort for mental health, then I was at least going to give it a go. Plus all those phone calls and note taking couldn’t have been for nothing.

Turns out, I never even got to see the specialist. I talked to yet another regular doctor who asked me all the questions I had already answered. But I was still polite and helpful and nice. And then I was taken back to the waiting room while the doctor called what I can only assume was the only psychiatrist in Darwin and relayed her understanding of my history.

When I went back in I was offered two anti-depressant options, neither which I had heard of. When I asked about the difference between them and side effects, I didn’t get an answer. I got some evasion and some ‘it might increase your heart rate’. Somehow I was expected to decide between these two from that wealth of information.

My one request was that I didn’t want an anti-depressant which had a side effect of weight gain. I felt pretty reasonable asking for this. I could deal with low energy or nausea or whatever else might be thrown at me, but there was just that one side effect that I wanted to avoid.

Of course, the doctor didn’t really know what side effects those anti-depressants would have because she didn’t prescribe them for me. I never ever spoke to the person who seemed to be considered the authority of what was the best medicine to put in my body.

I ended up going home with an anti-depressant that I knew nothing about and that no medical professionals I dealt with seemed to have a clue about either.

As soon as I got home I looked it up, and lo and behold it is the anti-depressant with the worst weight gain associations.

Despite talking to my counsellor, case worker, and having a different psychiatrist weigh in on the situation, they all think I should take the medication anyway.

I know they are professionals, and they ‘know what they’re talking about’ but I feel so let down and so exhausted by the system, that I really don’t think I’m going to be doing what they tell me anymore.

I’m going to my regular GP to try and get this whole big mess sorted out, but I can tell you for sure that this trip to the depression specialist was an ultimate fail.

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