7.20.2006

Why You Should NOT Ask Your GP to Refill Your Psych Prescription

Just to bring everyone up to speed: I have the ADD. I take Strattera. It works.

During the summer, I tend to be more lax about the Strattera-taking. I don't really have anything I need to concentrate on, so it's not as important to my daily routine. I let my prescription run out, and my appointment with my psychiatrist is not until the end of the month.

Well. During the past two weeks, for I-don't-know-what reason, I have been unable to sleep for longer than two consecutive hours at a time. I would try, God KNOWS I tried, but I would just lie there in the bed, not sleeping.

And so, in these past two weeks, I have probably slept ... oh, twelve hours. It sucks. Hard.

I have cut down the caffeine intake, I've drunk the warm milk, I've worked out to get tired, I've inhaled the lavendar relaxing stuff, I've taken sleeping pills -- and none of it worked. I thought for sure the sleeping pills would come through for me, too. (They were over-the-counter).

So I thought, well, let me go see the doctor. He can give me some Ambien. And while I'm there, maybe he can give me a prescription for my Strattera too.

Now, my regular doctor is not the guy who diagnosed me with ADD, and he is not the guy who gives me my prescriptions. But he IS a doctor, so I figured it was worth a try. All he could say was no, right?

So I call the doctor's office, and I told them I was having insomnia and that I wanted to come in as soon as possible. My appointment was set for THE NEXT DAY, which really started me off on the wrong foot, I have to say. I tend to think everyone else should bend to my schedule, rather than the other way around, and I totally admit that. But, come on! Insomnia? That's not something you want to treat right away? Thanks for yet another sleepless night, DOCTOR.

I went up to my appointment--exhausted, I might add--and though it was scheduled for 1:30, I did not get past the waiting room until 2:15. Plus, it was super-crowded in there, and this woman sat near me and she smelled like Old Lady. You know the smell. Then this other lady sat RIGHT next to me, and she smelled like a pack of cigarettes. And look, when I don't get enough sleep, I get very irritable (I'm sure you're surprised), so I was just in a horrible mood by the time I got beyond the Door to the Emerald City.

I told the nurse I was there because I was having some bad insomnia and she asked me a bunch of questions and then she asked if there was anything else.

I (STUPID! STUPID!) said, "Well, I was kind of hoping I could get the doctor to give me a prescription for Strattera." I had my last bottle right there, as proof that I actually take it and that it's actually my own prescription. She wrote it down and told me the doctor would be in to see me "in a minute."

THIRTY MINUTES LATER, in comes the doctor, and right away he's all, "So tell me about this Strattera." Odd, isn't it? Because I really was there to get some magic drugs that would put me to sleep and the Strattera was an "if you don't mind" thing.

So I say, "I've taken it for over a year, and my prescription ran out, and I need to get started on it again before school starts. I have an appointment with my psychiatrist, but it's not for two weeks, so I just thought you could help me out. It's no big deal, though. My real problem is that I can't sleep."

And then, AND THEN, he goes into this great big spiel about how my insomnia might be a symptom of depression and the next time I see the psych I should ask him to evaluate me to see if I am depressed.

Me: !!!!!!!

"I don't have depression," I say. "I take it for ADD."

"I know," he responds. (Do you? DO YOU?) "But I just think you should talk to him about these symptoms."

Okay, right here is when I was maybe cursing this man in my head. Because insomnia does not automatically mean DEPRESSION. Sometimes it just means a person cannot freaking sleep.

"I haven't taken any Strattera for almost two months. I've only had the insomnia for two weeks. They're not related," I say, calmly.

"Well, I still think you should be evaluated for depression," he insists.

And at that moment, I am over this whole appointment. I am TIRED, I am ANGRY, I just want some knock-out drugs. I do NOT want to argue with someone over my mental health, I JUST WANT TO GO HOME AND GO TO BED AND SLEEP FOR LONGER THAN TWO HOURS.

Oh, and guess what. He gave me a prescription for Strattera. Probably he hopes it will help my "depression."

I left the office and called my dad. I was almost crying on the phone to him. "The whole reason I went was to get some Ambien! He made it totally about the Strattera!"

"Well, are you depressed?" he asked. [typical Flower Family coping mechanism: inappropriate humor]

"YES!" I yelled. "I AM VERY VERY SAD THAT I CANNOT SLEEP!!!"

Later, I was talking to my mom, and she said, "I thought sleeping too MUCH was a sign of depression."

"I KNOW," I said. "Too much sleep, you're depressed. Not enough sleep, you're depressed. They might as well say, 'If you blink, you're depressed. If you BREATHE, you're depressed.'" (Sometimes, when I'm tired, I can be illogical and draw false analogies. Sue me.)

So here I am, three days later, still an insomniac. Yesterday I slept for four hours--FOUR HOURS--and it was a victory of sorts. Then last night I managed ... two.

I hate that doctor.

Oh, and my irritability increases exponentially with every sleepless night that passes. Just a friendly warning.

6 comments:

Waterfall said...

We must be on the same wavelength. I've had insomnia since last August, so I went to a GP last week to get, you guessed it, Ambien.

They wanted to do the whole depression-evaluation thing--maybe it's standard for insomnia patients. I've been diagnosed with depression before, and I have an appointment with my shrink (in a month) so I can get back on Prozac. They wanted me to answer all of these depression questionnaires. I just wanted to scream at them, "LOOK! I'VE FILLED OUT A MILLION OF THESE IN MY LIFETIME! I KNOW WHAT MY DIAGNOSIS IS! JUST GIVE AMBIEN!"

They ended up giving me a prescription for Prozac, too, so that was good.

Sorry you had such a bad experience with the GP. I guess he was just doing his job.

Mei said...

At least you got your Ambien.
Maybe there's a huge list of questions they have to go through before prescribing it. Maybe a lot of people have intentionally OD'd and he wanted to make sure I wasn't going to kill myself. I do think that he should have just given me the stuff instead of sending me home to NOT SLEEP.

Cindy said...

Mei, I feel your pain. I've been having trouble getting to sleep at night too, and that is NOT a good thing when you have to get up at 4 AM. I've done all the things you did, but most nights I toss and turn for an inordinate amount of time. I've thought about Ambien too. Here's hoping you get a good night's sleep soon!

Cindy said...

Mei, I feel your pain. I've been having trouble getting to sleep at night too, and that is NOT a good thing when you have to get up at 4 AM. I've done all the things you did, but most nights I toss and turn for an inordinate amount of time. I've thought about Ambien too. Here's hoping you get a good night's sleep soon!

Anonymous said...

Sorry to break it to you, but insomnia is a key symptom in a lot of mental disorders, including Mood Disorders and Anxiety Disorders. Give the doc a break, he was just being responsible and doing his job.

Mei said...

Thanks, Cindy! I feel for you, getting up at 4am. During the school year, when my alarm goes off at 6am, my first word is always, "Poop!" (I hate that alarm).

Anon,
It may be true that the doctor was doing his job, but I reserve the right to be unreasonable when I am very very tired.

 

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