Taking Time to Listen

Life has thrown up some challenges over the last few weeks, which have caused me to slide from an overall good patch into a ‘feeling-very-anxious-and-struggling-with-various-physical-symptoms’ phase.

The physical condition I have been diagnosed with is caused by stress and anxiety, and one medication which is used to treat it is the medication I was taking regularly in Switzerland. but which I had to stop taking shortly after I moved here. I started noticing the physical symptoms which eventually sent me to the doctor shortly after I came off my regular dose.

I’ve been struggling with how and when I can take my PRN of this anti-anxiety medication. Although I’ve had moments when I feel I really, really need it, I haven’t been taking it… because I’m scared that if I take it once, I won’t stop taking it.

So this morning found me at the doctors. Ostensibly, I was there to get the results of some blood tests. Inside, I was hoping and praying I could talk about some of the things which are bothering me.

Some of the doctors at my surgery are very much ‘you-have-a-ten-minute-appointment-to-deal-with-one-issue’… so much so that they will remind you of this at the start of your appointment. I was hoping the doctor I was seeing today would not fall into that category.

She was wonderful. She let me talk, and it all came out in a random mass of symptoms and fears and questions and concerns…

We couldn’t find many solutions. But it helped to talk. To talk through the things that are an issue, and why they are an issue, and why it’s not a situation I can easily leave.

She has also done what no-one else bothered to do, and taken the time to go through exactly why they took me off that medication… and to reassure me that I can still take my PRN, and that it is up to the medical staff to monitor my usage, not for me to second-guess it.

I had found information online that suggested that an antidepressant might help with my physical symptoms. She didn’t pooh-pooh this, didn’t tell me off for trying to do her job… but said yes, that could help, but it really needed to be okayed by my psychiatrist. Which is perfectly reasonable.

I’ve now taken a PRN, and although I don’t feel better in myself, I feel listened to, I feel reassured, and I feel hope that there is a way forward through this anxiety.

Doctors, take time to listen. It may well mean the world to your patient. And if, next time, I’m the patient sitting waiting long past my appointment time, I won’t mind… because another time it could be me.

Caring Support

Yesterday I posted about my struggles with my medication. Of course, this problem had got worse over the weekend. So this morning I was on the phone bright and early to my mental health clinic.

I wasn’t entierly sure I was phoning the right place. I am waiting to see a new psychiatrist, and I wondered if I was going to find myself falling through the cracks.

I got through on my second attempt, and asked to speak to my care coordinator. She rang me back (relatively promptly), and I explained the situation.

She was very sympathetic, and said she would speak to a psychiatrist and ring me back at some point in the afternoon, which she duly did. The psychiatrist had suggested splitting my evening dose of antidepressants in half, and taking half in the morning. This sounded like a good solution (in particular seeing as I haven’t met this psychiatrist yet)… but there was one problem. My stock of 100mg antidepressants are in capsule form, and can’t be cut in half.

So she went off to speak to the psychiatrist again, and rang back to say they would fax a prescription for 50mg tablets to my pharmacy. We discussed the need for me to have a prescription that would ‘last’ until my January appointment, and she promised to discuss that with the psychiatrist and ring me again when everything was sorted.

I feel reassured, by the time taken and the care shown. I may not get a new prescription until Wednesday now… but I feel better for the treatment I have received today.