Sunday, September 21, 2008

DIY Psychology

Being with the ex-Marine for all the years we have been married has meant moving to wherever the USMC decided to send him (they didn't send "us", they couldn't care less about "us" - they were only worried about him - but that's a whole other blog post). All the places were great - we stayed mostly here in the southeast. I spent time in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina - all wonderful places to live. Then all of a sudden we were skyrocketed to the top of the east coast and planted in Maine. At that point, I freaked out. It wasn't a huge episode - no hospitalization required, but it was depression. It was stop cleaning your house, stop enjoying your child, stop wanting to get out of bed depression. I wanted to sleep and play free cell and that was about it. Oh, and I wanted to go home where it was sunny and not snowing and people spoke to me when we passed.

I could sense what was happening - probably the non-stop crying gave me a clue. And I sought help. I went to see a psychiatrist. He had me fill out a checklist and talk to him a bit and then agreed with my self-diagnosis - depression. So he gave me a seven day sample pack of Prozac. Then he sent me out to see the secretary who scheduled an appointment for 14 days down the road. Depression doesn't exactly make you proactive (or at least me, I'm sure it affects everyone differently) so I didn't question this at all - 7 pills, 14 days - okay. Instead I simply came to my own conclusion that he wanted me to take the pills for seven days, see how I felt, and then not take the pills for seven days and see how I felt then. So I took the first pill as soon as I go to my car in the parking lot. The relief was instantaneous. I drove the five minutes home in much better spirits, the crying jags ceased, I had the energy to straighten up the house, cook a meal, and tend to my daughter, Bookworm. It was marvelous. I called my BFF to tell her about this miracle and she told me a bunch of horror stories about people on Prozac and all the horrible things they did when they had psychotic episodes. But I wouldn't hear any of it - this was the drug for me, it had cured my depression and I wanted to stay that way.

The result of my trial run was that the seven days taking the pill were great and then, to my befuddlement, the seven days not taking the pill were fine too. The mystery was solved when I went back for my day 14 appointment. When I relayed all that had transpired to the shrink he just stared and blinked and asked, "Why didn't you just ask me for another seven day trial pack?" I explained my seven on/seven off theory and he shook his head, saying, "No, no, no, that's not how it works." And then he proceeded to explain that a seven day course of Prozac would do nothing - nada, zilch to alleviate depression. That it took thirty days for the drug to reach a level in your system where it would be an effective treatment. And then he concluded by saying, "I might as well have given you an M&M." and that he didn't think I needed Prozac but perhaps a visit or two to sit on his couch and talk might do the trick.

So this is ending up a little longer than I expected - I think we'll have a part 2. Good night!

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