From age 22 to 37 my diagnosis was depression. I saw one psychiatrist who sized me up in about 5 minutes, wrote me a prescription for Prozac and showed me the door.
From then on, I would go to a GP, tell him I had depression and which of the latest SSRIs I wanted to try. Which is really not a good way to go about treatment for mental illness.
Things changed after I had my son at 33. I was unhappy even though by all appearances I had a dream life. I felt agitated too often. I spent more and more time lying in bed. And I was always exhausted.
Eventually I became addicted to prescription diet pills. I drank a lot. They call that “self medicating”. Things got worse and worse.
And then I had my nervous breakdown.
I needed a psychiatrist. Stat. At my first appointment I noticed her degree from Harvard on the wall. Impressive! So I rambled on to her about what had been going on. I sobbed. And then she said it. “Adrienne, you have bipolar disorder”.
It’s a vivid memory: I felt shock, fear and shame. I felt as though this smart MD psychiatrist had just told me I was insane.
She gave me 2 or 3 prescriptions and told me to come back in a month. I didn’t tell anyone. Not my husband. Not my best friend. I bought some books about bipolar and dug in.
When I returned to her I had convinced myself, through my research, that she was wrong.
Which is how I ended up going through psychological testing.
Read part II of this post tomorrow evening…..