Of Eric and Ogden

At the end of July I had a consultation with a psychiatrist that I’d know fn a long time. I was feeling manic and had done for nearly a year and it had stemmed from an attempt to go medication free. Being medication free is the Holy Grail for most people with mental health problems and it’s something I try to do far too much and each time I say I’ve learned my lesson. It happens again though because I’m desperate to be medication free because that would mean that I no longer had bipolar disorder.

There was a lack of decent communication between me and Eric which meant that, after a precautionary CT scan, a wild manic episode and a visit from a psychiatric nurse I found myself referred to a memory clinic. Luckily I’ve known Eric since he moved to the city and took up his post here and I’m also very good at standing my ground. Years of being an active mental health advocate have armed me well and believe me, if you’ve got Nick Ferrari to cut you off in an interview mid-sentence then you’re a bloody good advocate.

Today I went to see Eric. It’s a long journey – two buses each way – because it’s out on the far edges of town. It’s inconvenient but it’s a beautiful place and the staff are amazing. I was prepared to stand my ground and be firm but polite until I got what I needed which was a revision of my medication and a cancellation of the referral to the memory clinic.

We sat down in a comfortable room beside a small table in a way that our body language indicated both respect and a willingness to listen on both sides and listen we did.

I explained how I felt that, though he’d taken accurate notes at the last meeting, the situations were out of context or in the wrong context entirely. He explained that I’d not explained them as precisely as I thought I had and that what we’d ended up with was us being at cross purposes.

We reviewed the notes and amended them and then he asked me how I wanted my medication changed. We agreed on a crisis plan and decided to increase on of my medications and look towards a long, slow improvement so as to lay in a good foundation for what passes for stability.

It was a good meeting and worth the 3.5 hours it took to get there, have the meeting and get back home.

Ogden hasn’t been left that long for a long time and I was a little worried that he’d fret while I was out or feel that I’d left him. He was amazing and was very happy to see me. He’s since settled back down to his normal sleep 14 hours a day and I can’t be happier about it.

So – a potentially hard day turned out to be less difficult than I thought and I got the result I needed and made a good working relationship even better. My beautiful rescued dog moved forward a step in becoming more secure which is so wonderful. Tomorrow as a treat for us both we’re going for a long walk with a friend and her dog and watching a scour of the local harbour.

Facing up to life can be hard at times but at times it’s worth the while.