September 14th, 2010
When I arrived at Community Hospital’s Behavioral something-or-other center, and the MD/Psychiatrist came out of his office in a walker to get me, I knew he was old school! (Actually that’s a lie, his walk was quite spry for someone pushing 80). During the intake history about family dysfunction and my overachieving career; he told me his own credentials: he started the first psychiatric institute in the country at Scripps in La Jolla in 1959. You do the math. That was 51 years ago.
After he ruled out my being a depressive and needing Prozac or Celexa or an SSRI, he gave me a ‘Mood Questionnaire ‘ that was ‘statistically validated and reliable” he said. Here’s a sample of the questions:
• Has there ever been a time you were not your usual self, and felt so good or hyper other people felt you were not your normal self? Nah….that’s me all the time.
• … you felt much more confident than usual? Well humility has never been my strong suit.
• … you got much less sleep than usual and didn’t really miss it? Nah, I always sleep well. But I do wake up and can’t get back to sleep sometimes.
• … thoughts raced through your head and you couldn’t slow your mind down? That’s just a sign of my innate intelligence, right?
• …you were so easily distracted you had trouble concentrating? I concentrate well, but usually on a few things at once.
• …you had much more energy than usual? How many times have been told by friends I exhaust them?
• …you were much more interested in sex than usual? I’ve always loved sex, turned my bliss into my career for god’s sake!
• …you did things that … other people might have thought were excessive, foolish or risky? Not recently, I’m 65 for god’s sake.
• …spending money got you or your family in trouble? (not recently no chance of that …. but there was that bankruptcy when I was unemployed in 1994 … not to mention the recent one)
And then here came the clincher: If you checked YES to more than one of the above, have you ever experienced more than ONE at the SAME TIME?
Egads. Story of my life. I’d checked all of them yes to some degree. And final questions:
• During the past month have you often been bothered by feeling down, depressed or hopeless? Well that’s why I sought a therapist wasn’t it?
• During the past month have you often been bothered by little interest or pleasure in doing things? Ooops, that’s what the last two months were like for sure.
Curiously enough, the paper the quiz was on had an AstraZeneca logo at the bottom. Big pharma trying to get me hooked, right? Have it paid for by Medicare & my wonderful supplemental insurance from AARP’s United Health Care too! However I kept my thoughts to myself and sheepishly took the prescription for the inexpensive generic to Trilepitrol, and lied and told him I’d take it. He said come back in a month.
Maybe I will, maybe I won’t. But I think I’ll take that ‘Road Trip to Crones Counsel’ in Albuquerque first. I have to give a workshop there. Can’t afford to be ‘dizzy during the day’ for that!