Friday, December 28, 2007

you can't see the thin air

I had a medical appointment today. I was under the impression that it was supposed to be a referral for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, so I went in all ready to explain that techniques for correcting irrational beliefs in order to improve one's outlook on life are all well and good, but if my beliefs are rational CBT isn't going to be helpful. I firmly believe that my expectation that my health is not going to significantly improve in the future is realistic, and furthermore, that accepting this hard truth is more helpful and healthy than continuing to deny it in the hope that positive thinking will magically cure me.

Turns out this referral wasn't actually for CBT, it was for drugs. The doctor I saw wasn't at all interested in hearing about my memory, concentration, or comprehension problems, and she wasn't at all interested in my history of extremely bad reactions to ridiculously low doses of various medications. What she was interested in was writing me a prescription for Prozac.

I'm not excited about the prospect of taking Prozac, although I agreed to it, of course; I don't ever feel comfortable not agreeing to a suggested course of treatment, because I'm very afraid that if I am ever the least bit non-compliant, for ever after every doctor will point to it and say "Well, it's too bad you didn't agree to this treatment, or you'd be well now. It's your fault you're ill." I'm not sure how rational this fear is, although it has some basis in how I was treated in the Army. Anyway, taking Prozac isn't that big a deal. I am fairly certain it will make me ill just like Effexor did, and I will vomit for a few days, lay about in bed feeling like I'm dying and then I'll recover and not take it anymore. I just wish that I could hurry up and get past the phase of treatment where doctors insist that making me more ill is the best way to treat me.

When going through my medical history with this most recent doctor, we discussed previous medications' lack of benefit on the pain relieving front. She was concerned that I may not be taking medication with the right attitude; her worry is that my cynicism is actually preventing the medication from working like it's supposed to, causing medications that would otherwise relieve my pain to do nothing.

This philosophy that attributes supernatural powers to my emotions is, I think, the worst thing about going to the doctor. I'm not a religious person, nor am I superstitious. I let go of my childhood faith when I could no longer convince myself to pretend to believe in a gigantic Santa in the sky causing good things to happen to good people and bad things to happen to the bad; I couldn't even believe in fate. Things happen because they are caused to happen by real things that exist in the real world, not because you wish they would happen, or pray for them to happen, or believe that they will happen, or deserve for them to happen. This is true of disasters and good fortune alike, and it's true whether I like it or not. It's also true whether you like it or not, which is why mostly I don't give a crap what other people believe about the world. I recognize that there is a human inclination to assign causation to things, and as this seems to be a fairly universal trait (that even I haven't missed out on) I might as well accept it.

It does get to be a problem, though, when it interferes with my health care. I wish I knew how to change things.

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