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Enough already.

Posted 08-05-09 at 05:45 PM by ginniebean
I spent over six hours talking on the phone with my mother last night. She was having an adverse reaction to a medication.

8 months ago, my mom while speaking with her doctor about me, mentioned that I have quite severe adhd, and so does my son. Her doctor being aware of her history to a certain degree of various psychiatric care pretty much as long as I've been alive. He realised at that point that for all these years she might just have been misdiagnosed and started her on ADHD meds. There was no initial improvement until I went with her to her psychiatrist and asked that she be taken off the meds he had prescribed her. For the past two years that she had been seeing him he had been treating her for bi-polar with anti-psychotics. He agreed to take her off.

The change was almost overnight, she went from a sluggish, confused and drugged looking person to a vibrant cheerful and fun loving person again. She said she had never felt better in her whole life. I'm pretty sure she meant it.

A few weeks later her identical twin sister was diagnosed with cancer and was to last only three months. My mother was experiencing grief and being overwhelmed, and since she'd been off the tranquilizing anti-psychotics her hyperactivity took off causing a problem with her arthritis.

Her GP who is treating her for ADHD put her on an anti-depressant called pristiq, unfortunately it made her anxious and caused edema. It did nothing for the hyperactivity and really she simply could not sit down.

Two weeks ago, she went back to see her psychiatrist, he informed her emphatically that she's bi-polar and she needs to go on being treated for it. She didn't tell me about it at all. I noticed my mother was slurring her words like she used to, but put it down to pain meds, grief and just plain old being tired. She stopped by to visit me about five days ago and she appeared happy when she arrived but in a short while, she was tripping down memory lane, which in her case are not happy memories.

Normally, when she does that, I say mom, you don't need to go there, and she usually shakes it off, we talk about something else, but it went on for hours. Me, confused, wondering why she's obsessing over the past so much, she left, drained, exhausted and upset. I phoned her and asked her out to dinner, I felt terrible that I hadn't been able to comfort or cheer her. Our evening the next night went pretty ok, she did seem a little 'tense' but we had a good conversation over dinner (which really sucked since my fish was dry as dust) and then off she went.

The phone call last night, started out fairly normal, until my mother started tripping down memory lane again, this time I didn't let up and kept asking, ok, what's going on here? Something isn't right. She started to cry and told me that she's tried so hard to act normal, and put a smile on and she's been amazed at how well she's pulled it off. But she's so anxious, her left leg had swollen up with severe edema, her chest was tight, her anxiety was thru the roof, her thoughts were off all the darkest times in her life and she had thoughts of suicide.

It took a while to figure out why this was happening, but then she confessed. Her psychiatrist had put her back on that crap, and then when he upped the dose she lost it. I talked with her about this and asked her why she continued to see her psychiatrist anyway? She said she didn't know, but that he's 'such a nice man' and I said, well he would be really nice if he'd listen to you and your family when we say his meds make you a zombie.

Earlier in the day while speaking with her pharmacist she was saying she just didn't feel right, and that she was frightened of all these drugs she's on. She said, it seems almost as if they aren't on the same page. The pharmacist, who is an absolute wonder of a person, broke protocol and told my mother. She's right, they're treating you for two very different conditions and the meds are not interacting well.

I continued to speak slowly and calmly with my mother. Hoping she would see for herself that when she has been under psychiatric care in her life that she has always become more dysfunctional on the medications. She said yes, and then I asked her how she felt when she was treated by her GP for ADHD. And it was like a light bulb went off, she said, I felt the best I ever had in my life. So, I then pointed out, is it possible mom that your psychiatrist has misdiagnosed you? "he's so well respected tho" it was a long conversation... but in the end, she realised that the meds she was on were very scary for her, that she was losing her life all over again.

As the hours passed with me mostly listening while my mom who is normally the sweetest, mildest and sunniest woman spoke of her very dark times. The details as she spoke were so sharp, describing rooms and places she'd been, describing her involuntary incarceration in a mental institution when I was two years old. I felt almost as if I was walking up those stairs with her as she went to have electric shock therapy on nine different occaisions. Her fear, her intimidation, the treatment of those who tried to refuse, the young girl who got a lobotomy, the woman next to her in her room who died. I'd never heard my mother speak of these things before.

Later on in the conversation she told me how years later she went back to that place, and even met with the psychiatrist who had ordered the shock treatments that killed a portion of her brain. She told me she thanked her for all she had done for her.

I was "omg mom" you did what? She explained that she was a very kind person, and was just doing what she thought was best. I said mom, what's the deal here, you experienced a hostage situation where you had no control over any part of your life, where your mind could have been taken to pieces just for being difficult and you thanked her? WTF?

It made me wonder tho, my mother is not afraid to tell off authorities. She'll not back down when she thinks she's right, she's even told off a Mother Superior. Yet, each time she's near a physician of any kind her demeanor changes, she becomes extremely dependent and unquestioningly takes whatever they give her. I cannot begin to describe how much that took from my mother. I had to wonder if that experience in the locked ward of a mental institution hadn't set in motion some sort of servile syndrome that has lasted until this day.

I called her this morning, and she had discontinued the anti-psychotic the night before, even tho I suggested tapering down. She was too afraid to take it. She did appear more relaxed and calm tho and as I had called my sister early in the morning she was taken out to lunch and kept company.

I'm so angry at this psychiatrist, despite family interference that the medications weren't working, that my mother was a zombie under his care he continued to believe he knew better. My mother is adamant that she will no longer be seeing him and never again will she take an anti-psychotic.

I can only hope this is true, tho, I have doubts because if she returns even once to him, the whole damn process will start again.

Psychiatry may have come quite far from the days when my mother experienced a house of horrors but it does have a ways to go.

As far as I'm concerned unless the psychiatrist specializes in adhd my mother will never get near another one. They've wrecked her life.

It makes me wonder how many like my mother are out there, still being zombified, isolated, abd long past hope that they'll ever feel whole or healthy.
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  1. Old
    Just read your entry Ginnie. Its good that at least you and your mother talk at length -- even if the conversation occasionally takes a dark turn. It reminds me that I need to talk to my own mother.

    I share your pain. I have more to say but I need to assemble my thoughts.

    Thanks for sharing.
    Posted 08-06-09 at 01:52 AM by Retromancer Retromancer is offline
  2. Old
    eminorsoul's Avatar
    I'm so glad your mom has you to be her advocate.
    Posted 08-21-09 at 11:11 PM by eminorsoul eminorsoul is offline
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