It’s not to say that I could never leave. As easy as it was to put one foot in front of another and pull myself into the office (that alone, I’m not quite sure), I could have requested for a new nurse practitioner or psychiatrist. But the number of complexities that arrive in saying I want someone new aren’t usually considered when people ask why I haven’t jumped ship with the Cat Lady.
First thing to consider was the fact that slotting in me for the next available appointment with someone else would take at least a month, according to the Intern and the PhD whom I’ve asked in previous sessions. Knowing that, I decided that in this period of time, I was in no condition to spend a month rogue with my pills, especially with what the medication was doing to me.
Over the course of the four or so months that I spent taking Lexapro, I made little improvement in managing my side effects. Perhaps it was the increments in dosage that the Cat Lady prescribed, despite the somnolence of which I spoke, or perhaps it just did not agree with my system. To give you an idea of the constant sleepiness that I endured, I required at least eight or nine hours of sleep even to be able to pull myself out of bed, followed by droopy eyes, drifting in and out of micro-naps, in classes, and frequent yawning at work. On arriving home, I had to flop myself onto the bed to nap for several hours before having the energy to even sit on the computer and check my email. In other words, I basically slept through my second semester of sophomore year. Albeit there were the days, when I had enough coffee enough my system to not need a nap or to hang out with friends, but those days were few and my mind often found itself, in any case, occupied by ideas of sleep.
Granted, the Lexapro had stopped me from friends finding me curled into a ball in my bed, as well as placed a limit on the extremes of my emotions, but it had limited me so much that it was in fact constricting. Emotionally, I was numb; nothing made me happy nor sad. Every day was spent completing the schedule laid out on my iCal and wanting “enough” sleep so that I wouldn’t be struggling to stay awake come afternoon. It was in this time (and shortly thereafter with my summer courses, by which time I was on Prozac and could not sleep for more than two hours at a time) that I learned that I could conceptualize and whip out papers in three to four hours, and earn As.
Coming back to the discussion of why I never requested a change in nurse practitioner, despite all my unpleasant experiences of not being heard, I have to address the fact that I am never really comfortable with new persons. Though I say that my experiences with both the Intern and Shrink have been great, one should remember that I spent a good several sessions being hostile and stonewalled. Working with someone I can’t stand somehow seemed a tad better than working with someone that I didn’t know. In retrospect, especially after meeting with others who have disagreed with my course of treatment, I should have gone the slightly less uncomfortable path.
This relationship between Cat Lady and I pretty much culminated in two meetings; one at the end of April, and one in the beginning of May. My complaints of somnolence and inability to “feel” were finally met with a suggestion to switch to Prozac. I took up the suggestion and began taking this well-known medication only to find that I wasn’t able to sleep. Or rather, I wasn’t able to have any restful sleep; I’d wake up every two or so hours, and in effect, I’d leave my apartment exhausted but unable to rectify it.
I came in about three weeks after I began taking the Prozac to meet with the Cat Lady. Explaining that I was unable to sleep, she simply offered to increase my dosage. And it was there that I couldn’t be bothered to have faith in her credentials and experience any longer. I questioned her as to why we would prescribe a higher dosage when I already couldn’t sleep, and it just seemed as though that she didn’t quite understand what I was saying when she answered: “to cure the depression.” At what cost would I be willing to pay? Certainly not all ability to function in my life and no chance of enjoying anything when I all would want to do is sleep.
And there we sat in the office with half a prescription ordered, and unable to see eye-to-eye. There was no banter, only a digression by me asking a series of irrelevant questions, such as whose office we were sitting in (it was a Saturday, so it meant that we were using a borrowed office on the third floor), and the difference between a psychiatrist and nurse practitioner. The Cat Lady described a psychiatrist as someone whose goal is to cure the “disease,” and the nurse practitioner aims to mediate better living with the current lifestyle of the patient. At that moment, I wanted to blurt out and ask where the Cat Lady stood since I felt that neither direction was wholeheartedly pursued by her. Instead, I merely asked which professional would I be better off working with; the reply was “whoever you will listen to,” followed by the conceding that she knew that I called her “Cat Lady” with the other staff. Though I had the urge to question the logic of my course of treatment and her general attitude towards me, I let the desire to do so simply pass me. It was then that I was finally let go, and told that I would have someone new and experienced to work with, and that they would get in contact with me within several days.