Daily Archives: July 12, 2015

Google-itis: Doing The Psychiatrist’s Job For Them

For me, it started back in 1993. I knew something was off about me, something more than being a misfit or loner or socially awkward or even just a lazy flake. The patterns would always be the same, the symptoms the same. I sought counseling. They pushed medications for depression. I held out, insisting it was just a dysfunctional upbringing and I could fix myself.

A year later, I caved. Thus began the medi-go-round. By the fifth anti depressant that helped for a couple of months (well, it caused mania, so of course I felt not depressed) I acquired The Pill Book. Because the doctor wouldn’t answer my questions about what drug was used for which disorder, side effects, et al. Only thing that quack got right was my anxiety disorder and giving me Xanax.

But because I educated myself, had input of my own, questioned the professionals’ authority- I was viewed as some sort of troublemaker and summarily dismissed. Like anti depressants get you stoned so you want to try every single one available for shits and giggles.

It wasn’t until 2006 I found a different doctor (or more accurately, my sister found one for me because I had no phone, my prior doc had taken away my Xanax in favor of 25 mg Seroquel, and I became a paranoid agoraphobic for two years, unable to even find my own doctor. She also did my laundry because I couldn’t even go to a laundromat or to her house to use the machines.) New Dr Awesome latches onto “bipolar two” and mood stabilizers changed my life. I wasn’t cured, but no longer was I having screaming fits, throwing shit, bawling my eyes out, feeling overwhelmed by every influx of emotion.I could think clearly. Someone frowning at me in public didn’t send me on a week long anger bout. She also tapped into seasonal affective disorder because in spite of the Lithium, every fall I’d crumble to pieces. She didn’t shove exercise and light therapy down my throat because she took the time to listen, and believed me, when I told her I’d tried it all to no avail. She wasn’t even offended that I’d done my own research, she listened to my input without getting huffy.

I flourished under her care. I still struggled with the winter depressions, but no longer was I mood swinging shebitch, even though she lowered my Xanax, I wasn’t a shut in, and she gave me sleep meds which no other doctor had ever done before.

So of course, she served her two years in this hellish place, moved along, and after I had my kid, I got stuck with Dr “You don’t want Zoloft to work” osteopath.

Since them, the last six years have been an endless stream of shrinks on a TV screen, finally getting to see one face to face, med after med failing, more light boxes as the cure for seasonal, and more dismissal. Because now that we have the internet and can talk to others with similar disorders, we’re better educated than ever about our mental healthcare.

The doctors call it Google-itis.

Sadly, a third of the stuff people find through a Google search ends up being more accurate than the ten diagnoses given by other doctors. Because the doctors don’t have time to listen. Because of managed care, they have to outsource pretty much every test but taking a temperature. Because healthcare for all has resulted in decent healthcare only for the wealthy. (Fuck you, Obamacare, LIES.) BECAUSE GOOD MENTAL HEALTHCARE SIMPLY DOES NOT EXIST FOR THE MOST PART.

I won’t dispute the existence of Google-itis. But then, there have been hypochondriacs since the dawn of times. Google may enable them more in their delusion of illness but it cannot be blamed for it.

There’s one thing Google can provide for mental healthcare that the doctors never can. That is, links to blogs, forums, support of others in similar situations. The doctors study, treat, gain experience…But they don’t suffer the condition and they just don’t know. The people who do suffer, they know.  It’s bizarre because doctors have no problem with support groups and education for other illnesses- cancer, organ transplant, loss of a child, et al. But for some reason outside the official support groups like NAMI. psychiatrists really don’t favor patients seeking information and input from others.

And ya know why they hate Google and such?

Because it allows the patients to basically do the doctor’s job for them thus undermining their own superiority complex. Am I saying patients don’t need to heed (to an extent) the opinion of the doctor and their education and experience? Not at all. At the same time, the doctors need to appreciate clients/patients who want to be active participants in their mental health care. If you care enough to scour hundreds of pages on the internet and reach out to others to learn more about your condition, this should be applauded. It means you care enough to be involved rather than a passive “tell me what to do and I will blindly obey even if I don’t get better” person.

The biggest hindrance in all healthcare, and mental health particularly, is that patients are allotted, if lucky, fifteen minutes for a “med check”. The doctor typically goes by what was put in the file by other doctors, ask few relevant questions, and reach for the prescription pad/paper. Frankly, at my last appointment, I was horrified when my doctor, rather than knowing most common side effects and using a computer to get me a print out of all known, whips out his smart phone and lists five common side effects. The manufacturers provide more information on their websites and pharmacy inserts and corrupt big pharma has every reason to play down any side effect that only occurred in a few. Instead, it’s my own doctor downplaying it, not giving me proper information, and using a smart phone like I’m asking for title of some song from the 80’s. It was insulting, to be honest.

Now, I don’t expect the doctor to know every side effect possible, especially with the plethora of available meds (at least for anti depressants, we’re still fucked when it comes to progress with mood stabilizers that work). I just think if a patient is concerned enough to ask, the doctor at least owes it to them to print out a list or at the very least, admit they’re not sure and I should carefully read the pharmacy insert. A smart phone check? Seriously? What next? He’s gonna force me onto Facebook and treat me through status updates?

Most of us don’t have Google-itis. We have “there’s got to be a better way” itis. After Latuda and Trileptal, my trust of this doctor is very thin. Of course, you never know what will/won’t work or who will develop what side effects. But when a client says, “I do not respond well to atypical antipsychotics”…The doctor should at least consult the chart, note all the bad reactions I’ve had, and give it some credence. When treated this dimissively, hell yeah, I am gonna seek answers elsewhere.Hell, even my pharmacist told me if I can’t get him to listen to me, I need to seek a second opinion.

Which puts a lot of us doing the doctor’s work for them. Just today I was researching seasonal affective disorder because after 20 years, I am sick of having the “light therapy” shoved down my throat. It doesn’t work, it gives me headaches. My problem is not with the lack of light. I am a night owl, and winter is low anxiety season for me, so whatever causes my depression…It’s not their norm. It’s the cold, for me. I get too cold, I can barely function. That depresses me, shivering so hard that I have to spend six months layered in clothing and blankets. Not one of the doctors have ever listened to me or even searched for a reason that might not be psychiatric. (My thyroid is always normal, which I sometimes wish it wouldn’t, as it would explain the distorted body temperature perfectly.)

20 years. Three correct diagnoses. A plethora of disagreeing ones. No fucking answers. And they get a hundred fifty bucks for fifteen minutes of basically ignoring me and being apathetic to my drowning.

Google-itis is a hell of a lot better a diagnosis than “inept doctor” itis.


Well, the slight downturn I told you about a few weeks ago is still turning down. The suicidal thoughts have...

The post Downturn appeared first on Pretending to be What We Are.

#NoShame in Mental Illness: A Reading List


“My daughter lived more than six years with an incurable disease that filled her head with devils that literally hounded her to death, and she did it while laughing, painting, writing poetry, advocating and bringing joy to the people around her. She was the bravest person I have ever known, and her suicide doesn’t change that.” Doris A. Fuller

Originally posted on Longreads Blog:

Even though I’ve lived with mental illness for years, I’m still learning about self-care, support systems and valuable resources. One of these resources is No Shame Day, initiated by poet and mental health advocate Bassey Ikpi. Ikpi founded The Siwe Project, which provides special mental health support for the Black community and other minority groups. On the first Monday in July, people take to social media and use the hashtag #NoShame to talk about living with mental illness and overcoming stigma and silence. Here, I’ve collected several stories about mental illness, many written by writers of color.

1. “Disrupting Domesticity: Mental Illness and Love as a Fact.” (Ashley C. Ford, The Toast, July 2015)

Ashley C. Ford interviews her partner, Kelly, about living with a person with mental illness–how to love her better, comfort her during panic attacks and hold her accountable. Kelly’s love for Ashley is so strong: “I love…

View original 519 more words

Sense of Self

The air is still and blankets all my sense.
I’m muffled, muzzled in the sheltering dark
But dare not hope for fire, with bright, intense,
loud flames that rend the silence with a spark.

I breathe or not. It’s sometimes hard to tell
When swathed in dimness. Stifling, musty scent
Fills up my nostrils and my brain as well –
Which cannot will the veil be shredded, rent

to save from suffocation. How shall I
Withstand this cycle till the day appears
And breezes blow the dust away from my
Stopped ears and eyes and lungs, plugged full with fears?

Pull off the cover and let free the soul.
Take broken breath and heal it into whole.

Filed under: Mental Health Tagged: anxiety, being overwhelmed, bipolar disorder, depression, my experiences, poem, poetry, sonnet, writing

nudge nudge link link

I suppose that one of the benefits of bipolar being such a popular disorder *eyes rolling mightily* is that there’s a sizeable flow of content pouring into cyberspace every single day. As a result, my brain is a little fuller and my linkdumps are as long as a… idk. I should probably start splitting them, or just plain shortening them. I shall ponder.

Spotlight on…

The acronym formerly known as co-morbid disorders…

Researchers identify new spectrum disorder called ALPIM syndrome.
A = Anxiety disorder (mostly panic disorder);
L = Ligamentous laxity (joint hypermobility syndrome, scoliosis, double-jointedness, mitral valve prolapse, easy bruising);
P = Pain (fibromyalgia, migraine and chronic daily headache, irritable bowel syndrome, prostatitis/cystitis);
I = Immune disorders (hypothyroidism, asthma, nasal allergies, chronic fatigue syndrome); and
M = Mood disorders (major depression, Bipolar II and Bipolar III disorder, tachyphylaxis. Two thirds of patients in the study with mood disorder had diagnosable bipolar disorder and most of those patients had lost response to antidepressants).

(Bipolar III? Whut?)



“… between 2 and 3 per cent of the 1,924 people who died last year by euthanasia were psychiatric patients. Bipolar disorder was the majority diagnosis.” What happens when you euthanase the mentally ill?
Belgium euthanases one person with psychological issues per week.

Are you feeling bipolarlingual?


/Q/ In your opinion, what is the Hispanic community’s attitude towards mental illness such as bipolar disorder and depression?
A// There’s more tolerance and knowledge but there’s also still a lot of work to be done. Lot’s of stigma, little support.
A Spanglish Q&A With Penelope Kirk – Latina Writer & Blogger

I have no idea whether French band Bipolar Gang use bipolar in a negative, neutral or positive way, but I do like the sound of this…


3 tips for navigating pregnancy with bipolar disorder.

Research roundup…

“Robert Burton the neurologist calls for a new “quantum theory” of sorts for our study of the mind. In his view, the brain scientists, psychologists looking at the mind, and even the rare Szasz follower are failing to see an overall structure and function that perhaps, like quantum physics, goes beyond structure and function. And, like in quantum mechanics, the first step is knowing that you have no idea what you’re looking at.” Brain confusion: Why it’s so difficult to find cures for mental disorders
The Psychiatric Dangers of New Designer Drug ‘Flakka’
Smoking could cause mental illness.
Fluctuating capacity and advance decision-making in Bipolar Affective Disorder — Self-binding directives and self-determination.

More culture than yoghurt…


Loneliness of mental illness leads to ambitious plan to set 100 statues on Anchorage mudflats.
UK: the music industry needs to wake up and support artists with mental health problems.

Questions, answers…

For bipolar II we experience hypomania, which I like to call mania-light. All the crazy with half the impairment. (Natasha Tracy) The definitive explanation is here, it’s well worth reading.
Why do women have higher rates of ptsd than men?
Can smoking cause psychosis?

Change needed…


“Researchers are now discovering more about what puts someone at risk of developing schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Some of it has to do with people’s circumstances, such as where and how they live. Combined with cognitive tests and family medical histories, such information should make it possible to intervene earlier. John Kane of Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine in New York has shown that people who receive proper treatment as soon as their symptoms appear recover more quickly and have a less fraught relationship with their doctors. And they can be treated with far lower doses of antipsychotic medicine than traditionally prescribed. That matters because some of these drugs have unpleasant side-effects, including weight gain, that discourage people from taking them.” Making cruel unusual: The treatment of severe mental illness used to be barbaric. Sometimes it still is.
India: An endless road to reintegration for mental health patients
Racial Disparity in Mental Illness: Advice for Clinicians (video and transcript)

Who you gonna call? Stigmabusters!


“… to help reduce the stigmatization and discrimination surrounding mental health, I have only one solution to propose which is to STOP BEING IGNORANT ALREADY!Addressing Global Stigmatization of Mental Health, Time for a New Face for MentalHealth.
New Mental Health Television PSAs: NAMI Launches “Hope Starts with You” Campaign
Semicolon movement wants to bring mental illness out of the shadows.
Stigma Towards Mental Health: Stigma Impacts Vocation
Open Minds Quarterly is calling for writing submissions, after the 1st of August 2015. We are seeking submissions that are insightful, intelligent and creative, because we know that’s what mental health consumers are. Our mission is to eliminate stigma by showcasing the work of mental health consumers. Your writing needn’t cover mental health issues if you are submitting poetry or fiction; however, first-person accounts, essays, reviews and open letters should relate to your experience with mental illness.
No shame in mental health problems.
From athlete to activist – WNBA star shares her struggle with bipolar disorder in new documentary.

Celebrities: sense and nonsensibility…

Catherine Zeta Jones Mini Dress Stuns At Michael Douglas ‘Ant-Man’ Film As She Talks Fitness & Bipolar (zomg mini dress! PS bipolar.)“In addition to working out at the gym, Zeta-Jones loves to hula-hoop and swim. “I’m obsessed with Hula-Hooping,” confessed Catherine. “I do it 20 minutes a day. I don’t use the old-fashioned hollow plastic kind we had when we were kids, but I discovered a new one at Danskin that’s smaller and weighted.”” WOW! Srs bsns!
UK: Tell the boss or not? Ruby waxes lyrical (but misguided) on mental health disclosure.
Another reaction: Should you tell your boss about mental illness? Absolutely.


Sorry, I Am In Bipolar Song Mood ~ Would? Alice In Chains

When Layne Staley died of a heroin overdose (?), the world truly lost one half of an incredible duet with Jerry Cantrell. Know me broken by my master And teach thee on child of love hereafter Into the flood again Same old trip it was back then So I made a big mistake Tried to […]