After more months than it should have taken, I got around to seeing a new psychiatrist (actually a psychiatric nurse practitioner). My first appointment was this week and lasted about an hour and a half. Shawn was with me, which was so great. I still had pretty intense anxiety about this new start, but Shawn's presence certainly helped.
This doctor wants Shawn there for the first few appointments. She thinks it's important to gain insights from his observations of me (poor guy). I also thought this was a really good idea. I've actually thought about it before, with other doctors. Also, a lot of it can be overwhelming and I'm a slow processor, so he can help me with all of that.
Looking at the history of my meds and results of an brief activity she had Shawn and me do, she suspects that I may have been being treated for the wrong condition all this time. Her suspicion is that I'm not dealing with chronic depression that SSRIs will successfully help. So, now the tapering begins. I'll be weaning off Paxil for the next few weeks.
What happens after that? Right now, the plan is working in lithium. Why lithium? Well, it's a classic. It's had some staying power. But, also because she thinks that I'm really a rider on the bipolar-coaster.
Bipolar depression. There it is. I'm still processing this whole thing. Obviously, she can't say this with absolute certainty after the one appointment, but that's kind of how the whole thing works; a lot of trial and error with medications. At first, I didn't think her suspicions of bipolar depression was something that bothered me. I have to admit, though, that it is weirding me out a bit. The stigma around various mental health issues is something that has bothered me. But, I guess that was easier for me when I thought I was just simply "depressed." So ridiculous, I know. Obviously, I have my own taboo issues about some of the other mental illness diagnoses that reflect the presence of that stigma within myself.
Big bonus points to this psychiatrist for having an adorable, 11-month old, Black Mouth Cur puppy. It's really nice to just see her and pet her (the puppy, not the doctor, just to be clear).