Decisions and Fear
Thursday, February 18, 2010
These past three months I've been involved in a study for new medicine. Next Tuesday I will be done with the study and no longer taking the study medication. The psychiatrist involved in the study has taken the time to really understand me and the pitfalls I've faced as a result of all of the other medicines I've been on to try to treat my bipolar disorder. He wants to try a class of medications I've never been on before. He has decided on a particular combination he thinks would be a good place to start and wants to keep working with me until something finally works.
I've been down this road with many doctors before and, after getting no results, have always found myself feeling like I made a bad decision by trying treatment again. I'm always skeptical when I start treatment again, because deep down I know nothing has worked in the past and I think it is being excessively hopeful to think anything will work this time. At some point in the process I start to emotionally and mentally buy in to what the doctor tells me and I allow myself to believe that the doctor can and will help me. Months or years down the road treatment isn't working and we've just been going around in circles, which leaves me feeling like a failure since I can't do something as simple as be happy or not think about killing myself. Since I raised my hopes so high by believing I might 'get better' this time, the crash to the reality of it not working is worse than it would have been if I never believed treatment would help. I've tried not believing in it, but, eventually, I get sucked in. This is the point when I look back on my previous decision to seek treatment again and I feel my decision was a poor choice. I reason that there would be a higher likelihood of me being dead and not being in the current pain if I hadn't decided to seek treatment when I did. If I had kept my mouth shut after overdosing on aspirin as a kid it would have killed me and I wouldn't have spent the last 16 years struggling with this only to get no where. I would have only wasted 4 years of people's time and energy trying to help me. Looking back at my life I see all of my decisions to seek treatment as mistakes.
Now I'm at a place where the decision to or not to continue treatment is upon me and I'm just not sure what to do. The only reason I've even considering it is because this doctor has actually listened to me every step of the way and because I know he's one of the best out there. So, I can decide to forgo treatment and hope that things will build up enough for me to kill myself so that I won't be in this pain again or I can decide to get caught up in the mix of treatment again and hope and pray against odds that this time it will work. Also I must consider if I do decide to give treatment another go, how long should I give it? How long should jump through the hoops before giving in and accepting that my life won't change? How long do you fight for something before giving into the fact that it's something you have no control over? Have 16 years been enough?