I have been on and off medications for a while now.
Last summer, I decided to come off my long term antidepressant- Mirtazapine, because the side effect of weight gain was really affecting my physical health problems.
At the same time, I also decided to stop using Benzodiazepines because of the effect they were having on my short term memory.
At the time I was seeing a very nice, very competent junior doctor. He arranged appointments for me every few weeks, walked me slowly through my options, we did some trial and error together, all was going well.
But he was on rotation and had to move on to his next care facility in order to become a consultant.
So, I started seeing another junior doctor.
This doctor did not care at all.
My first appointment with him he told me “We are at the end of what we can do for you medically, there aren’t many options left”. He asked me if he could discuss my options with the team and come back to me the next day which I said is fine.
He did eventually call back about a week later and prescribed me another antidepressant.
The side effect of anxiety was so severe I was shivering and chattering my teeth constantly, I couldn’t sleep, I was back on the Benzos, I felt like shit.
When this was fed back to him, he said, “Just persevere, those symptoms might pass”.
I stuck it out for more than a month, despite my therapist telling me I needed to change meds NOW and if anything, I only got worse. He didn’t ask to see me, review how I was doing, didn’t call to check in- nothing. He just doled out these pills and told me to take them, no matter the cost.
Well fuck him and fuck that.
I stopped them on my own. The day after I stopped them, I slept 13 hours straight. It was great.
But of course, my mood dropped dramatically.
This was fed back to him, more than once by both my care coordinator and therapist and yet he still didn’t make an appointment to see me until the week before Christmas.
I guess the last thing he remembered about me was the anxiety so he prescribed a more long term, anxiety drug. I shouldn’t have told him about the Benzos, he said was worried about me taking too many or mixing the drugs. (If he was THAT worried, he would have called and seen me sooner!) I think it’s just because my care coordinator was there too, he had to make a show of caring.
He gave me one weeks worth of medication and PROMISED to call and see how I was doing over christmas, if I was coping, he’d give me more.
He never called.
I ran out of medication.
I couldn’t get hold of him or my care coordinator as they were off for Christmas.
He finally calls, In January, more than a week after I ran out of medication, full of bullshit excuses. “I thought I gave you a longer prescription.” “I didn’t realise you wouldn’t be able to get hold of another one if you needed it.” “I forgot I said I’d call you.”
He then starts to say he was going to request my GP take over prescribing. I interrupt him. “No, mental health medication has to come from the mental health team, my GP won’t touch it.”
“Oh.” “Well, I’m leaving in the middle of February, so it’ll probably be the next doctor who sees you next.”
Wait, you have just prescribed me a brand new medication, and you don’t want me to be reviewed for 6 weeks?! (8 weeks from when I started it!) You don’t want to see if this one has side effects, if it’s working, if I need to increase the dose? Yet again, you’re just doling out these pills and leaving me to the wolves?!
Yeah, that’s exactly what he did.
My therapist intervened, she’s actually not supposed to be doing these sorts of things, she belongs to a different team but she saw me struggling and wanted to help, she spoke to the doctor on her team, got him to increase the dose, asked him about possible side effects, she made sure I was taking them safely and they were working.
You’d think my treatment team had pretty much hit rock bottom at this point. Giving out psychotropic medications like sweets and not following up on the results. Ticking my name off on a list of crazies, marking me treated and handing me off to the next poor sucker.
It got worse!
During the last month, my emotional instability has worsened. (I burst out crying in Mcdonalds because a Coldplay song came on.)
My therapist decided to start pushing me to take control, be assertive, speak to the doctor and sort out my damn medication!
The thing is, the doctor didn’t actually want to talk to me anymore… So I emailed my care coordinator and asked if I could have an additional or a different mood stabaliser.
She came back with an offer from him that 1- severely contradicts with the anxiety medication he had just prescribed me and 2- has known to have quite bad side effects on women of childbearing age. I politely declined this offer.
She text me the next morning, the doctor says a good alternative is Lamotrigine.
Has anyone bothered to look at my file at all before writing prescriptions? Because I AM ALREADY ON THAT ONE.
So here’s an overview of the way this doctor has treated me since last September;
- He prescribed me an antidepressant that had such severe consequences I went back to using a highly addictive medication I had just managed to wean myself off of 4 months before.
- Told me to stay on that one despite it.
- He then prescribed me a starter dose of a medication and ‘forgot’ to follow up on it.
- Tried to pass me off to the next doctor.
- Didn’t check what medication I was on before prescribing one that would contradict.
- Didn’t check what medication I was on before prescribing one I am already on.
- Didn’t check my file to see that I had a bad reaction on that medication when the dose was increased last year.
- And tried to increase it anyway when he was told.
- Still won’t actually talk to me and is using my care coordinator, who has no medical training at all, as a go between.
The consensus from care coordinator and therapist right now, is just to wait for the next doctor.
I give up.