Back in the day, it was said the pen is mightier than the sword. Well, I guess in this day and age, a laptop (or smartphone) with an internet connection is mightier than a pen.
I try not to publish articles when I’m in a funk (i.e. depressive episode). But today, I will break my own rule and rant again about depression and doctor competence. Missed the first rant? Ketch up right here so.
Since that June post, I received an apology from a mental-health advocacy group, which I appreciated. A month later, I girded my loins for the fourth time and searched the internet for a cognitive-behaviour therapist in my area.
I found none.
But I did find a therapist group in Kingston and wondered, “Hmm, can they tell me if there are therapists in my neck of the woods?”
So, I sent off an email in early July . . .
And yes! You guessed it! Not a peep from dem.
Late July, I decided to visit a second general practitioner. The first one I visited in St. Ann gave me a lecture on KFC an’ odder irrelevant tings. I decided not to return, but travelled further away from home to consult another family-recommended doctor.
This doctor did a thorough consultation. We delved into my medical and family histories, my current symptoms and state of mind, and my experience with anti-depressants. We had a nice, likkle talk. He suggested a battery of tests to rule out any underlying physical ailments which could cause depression.
Within days, I was fasting and forking out good money (that could’ve bought many buckets of hot ‘n spicy KFC) to draw and scrutinize several vials of my blood.
Now, I’m not going to cuss or call names. I’ll do that in my head. Instead, I’ll just state what happened thereafter and allow you to be the judge.
By the close of the following week, the doctor had the test results in hand and was running (and I do mean running) through them over the phone.
” . . . normal, normal, normal . . . a simple case of fatigue, that’s all.” Call ends.
I’m left thinking, “What jus’ happen a while ago?”
I felt like I’d been flown to the pinnacle of a dark, foggy mountain by Dracula and dropped there—right at the edge, right at the cusp, right at the climax, breath bated, violin playing frantically in the background—and then, boop, movie done, credits start rolling.
I picked up the phone, dialled and asked, “So what’s next?” He said he could call in a prescription to the pharmacy for an antidepressant. This call ended as quickly as the first one.
Hours after requesting a copy of my lab results, it landed in my inbox. Next to a few of the results were the words “high” and “very high”.
I called my sister in foreign. We were like, “Nah. That ain’t normal.”
I called my aunt who works at a lab in foreign. Her level of concern was equally high. We spent the rest of the night messaging back and forth about the results, what they could mean and what I should do.
I then considered seeking a second, medical opinion, but decided to email the doctor about my concerns instead. You know, give him a chance. To his credit, he responded the very next morning, apologized and clarified what he meant by “normal”. His suspicion as to the physical ailment which could be causing my depression had been ruled out by the tests that came back normal. The tests that came back high/very high were for conditions not linked to depression.
So, with a huge sigh, I contemplated surrendering to the antidepressant-route for a third time. I called my family doctor in St. Andrew to find out the name of the drug that hadn’t worked, so it wouldn’t be prescribed again. The nurse pulled my file and promised the doctor would call.
That was July.
And yes! You guessed it! Still waiting for that call.
This is a doctor who I’d tried contacting at least three times before via phone and then via social media. He has a history of not responding. So I didn’t bother to follow up in this instance. And I didn’t opt for a call-in prescription from this new GP.
Just this week, I resumed my online search for a local specialist and found two. One is involved in so many national committees and projects, I wondered how much time he could realistically dedicate to meaningful therapy. My past (and only) therapist in Kingston was likewise a very busy man who was either late for or distracted during our appointments.
The other therapist we found online just didn’t look right. To tell yuh di honest truth, he reminds me of a man who tried to take advantage of me many years ago.
Mid-week, I caught a rebroadcast of a local program which featured a psychologist from a local society. An idea dove into my head. “What if I contact this society of psychologists, counsellors and therapists for the names of specialists in my area?! Eureka! Heaven has answered!”
An email was sent.
And yes! You guessed it! No response.
So, I continue doing what I’ve always done. I self-treat: herbs, green teas (moringa, lemongrass and hemp protein, if yuh curious), reggae music and now soca.
People, I don’t know how much yuh into soca music, but Destra Garcia has some sweet, high-energy soca songs out there. Although my hip oscillating and flag-waving days ended many moons ago, the songs have been doing a whole heap to lighten mi brain.
How do you cope with depression when there’s no professional help to be found? Lemme know.
Peace and love
P.S. I sent a follow-up email this morning. If I do get a response from the society of psychologists, counsellors and therapists, I’ll let you know.
Image “Tiger” is courtesy of africa at FreeDigitalPhotos.net