The importance of regular visits to your psychiatrist and/or psychologist

It had been 7 months since I last sat down with my psychiatrist. There has been a number of factors that have contributed to this, including moving interstate and the difficulty of finding any availability of psychiatrists.

Since moving interstate, I was quite shocked at how hard it was to get help. Upon going to the GP, I was told I would have better luck booking in with one interstate. I was then told that I should go to the emergency room and they would see me quickly to provide a new prescription when it ran out. I had tried explaining that I wouldn’t just need that. But it seemed that there was a communication and understanding breakdown between myself and the GP. She then proceeded to add me to a list for the government health team to respond to, but also let me know that I wasn’t guaranteed to be called for a month. Comforting.

I was desperate to see a psychiatrist, not only due to the length of time it had been between visits, but also:

  • My lithium levels had not been checked since around June 2017
  • I was just coming down from a manic and was a complete mess
  • My partner was concerned for my safety
  • I had become recluse and afraid to exit the house
  • I was aggressive to both my partner and myself

Thankfully, two weeks later I had an appointment booked for a reassessment by a health team psychiatrist. Instantly I was comfortable to openly say where my head was at and answer his questions. I was also lucky that I had my partner there to support me and fill in any gaps as I tend to have poor memory. I was taking both Lithium and Lamotrigine at night, and since my appointment, I have included t.aripiprazole (Abilify) in the morning. Like other medications, I won’t see the full effects of Abilify for a few weeks. However, I do think I’m experiencing less ‘white noise’ during the day.

So, what have I learnt from this? 

  • More things are in your control than you think.
  • Get help early to avoid causing yourself unnecessary pain.
  • Those that care for you are often more aware of the link between your actions and your mental state. Trust and listen to them.

 

 

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