A Depressing Statistic

, , , , | Healthy | March 7, 2018

(I have severe ADD and take Ritalin. I have been seeing a psychiatrist every six months for over a decade because it’s necessary to keep my prescription up, but normally we don’t do anything else. He asks me if I’m having side effects, I say no, he asks how school, work, or whatever is going, I tell him, he writes me a new prescription, and we’re done.)

Doctor: “And how are your classes going?”

Me: “Pretty well, except for this one lab where the whole grade is based on group work and my groupmates have disappeared…”

(I’m very frustrated with my classmates, and as I explain the problem with the lab, I start crying.)

Doctor: “Here, take these tissues! I had no idea you were so depressed. I’m going to prescribe you some medicine, and I want you to come back in a week for a follow-up.”

Me: “What? No, I’m just sleep-deprived! Your office is an hour from my house, and you get behind schedule so fast that my mom insists I book an appointment at seven am. I had to get up at 5:30 to be here! I’m a night owl; I get up at 10 or 11 if I don’t have anything I have to do earlier. I always cry too easily when I’m tired.”

(He doesn’t believe me and prescribes the medication, anyway. A week later, I’m back in his office.)

Doctor: “How are you feeling? If we need to, we can adjust the dosage before your next follow-up next week.”

Me: “Fine, like I was before, when I had slept. I know antidepressants take a while to kick in, but I don’t think these are ever going to affect me, because I’m not depressed. And I really can’t afford to keep experimenting with them; you know I don’t have insurance.”

Doctor: “I tried to find the cheapest antidepressants I could. I thought these were only about $10 a bottle.”

Me: “Come here. I want to tell you a secret.”

(He comes closer.)

Me: “You know those nice ladies behind the window in your lobby? They make people give them money before we can talk to you.”

(It had never occurred to him that visiting a psychiatrist every week instead of every six months might be a little pricey! I went off the antidepressants and am fine, as long as I don’t have to get up before dawn. Doctors, I know that lots of people really are depressed and it’s a serious problem, but people also know their own bodies, minds, and situations. It helps to listen.)

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