Thursday, November 8, 2012

An oh-so-important (really) update on my life and treatment

Why wouldn't I use the "Sesame Street News Flash" graphic?

That.... was an eventful day. Let me tell you all about it.

Yesterday, I had my first regular visit with a psychiatrist, whom I see once a month, and my second session with a therapist, whom I see once a week. Oh, and also I commuted back and forth to work by train. Work was so hectic that I was scrambling to finish tasks until the very last minute before having to make a mad dash for the train station. But I made it, readers. I made it. I guess I'll find out how well I did when I return to work and look at my inbox. If it's full of complaints, then I'll deal with them one at a time. (I hope it isn't.)

But back to the headshrinker thing...

"I want to play a game," says the road.
A hugely under-reported issue in the health field is that many doctors and other medical professionals have their offices in nondescript professional buildings often nestled among a group of other nondescript professional buildings. Therefore, their offices can be damned tricky to find, and this is something which causes me stress. You know what else causes me stress? Driving to someplace new, especially if it's more than 20-25 minutes from my apartment. But my psychiatrist's office is in a community called Elgin, and it's maybe 40 minutes from where I live. Much of the drive time is spent on the expressways, which also number among my phobias. I rationally understand that our nation's highways were not deliberately designed as a baffling and cruel psychological experiment to torture me, Joe Blevins, personally. But it feels that way, you know? For you Illinois drivers in the audience, I took the 53 to the I-90 to get there. The I-90 is crawling with toll booths, which I hate and fear for multiple reasons. First I'm a cheapskate. Second, getting on and off the highway distracts me and makes me nervous. And third, I can't help but think of Sonny Corleone in The Godfather.

Bob Newhart he ain't.

But I got there and back, and now I'm "seeing a psychiatrist." I put that phrase in quotes because the experience is not at all like The Bob Newhart Show. I don't lie down on a couch and chat with him about my issues or anything. He's just an officious, distant medical professional with whom I spent about five minutes discussing my medications and the effect they were having on me. The good news is that I'm down from four meds to two. The Norvasc and Restoril have been benched, and he swapped out Wellbutrin for Celexa. Hopefully, this change will restore my libido. But, honestly, the whole "psychiatrist" experience is very impersonal. I spent most of the time filling out forms. Seeing a psychiatrist, in truth, is like seeing the Pope as he waves to a crowd from a balcony. My shrink's opening line to me was, "Do I know you?" I reminded him that, yes, we'd met a few weeks ago at the behavioral health center. I must have made a terrific impression on him.

The real "action" here takes place in therapy. Once a week, I meet with a woman in a nice, secluded and comfortable room, and I just vent about whatever's going on in my life. You can discuss a lot in an hour, and I talked through a number of issues, including my recent experience with the woman I call Helen. My therapist pointed out the obvious to me: a psych ward is maybe not the greatest place to pick up women. Whoops! Live and learn, right?

Before I leave you, I want to share a song which pretty much summarizes what it's like to see a therapist. It's called, appropriately enough, "Everything Reminds Me of My Therapist," and it's written and performed by Nancy Tucker.

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