“I just want you to give me my meds”, Marianne announced as she walked into my office.
This was our first meeting.
“Can we talk a little?”, I asked.
“What’s there to talk about?…..
I take Prozac for my depression, Xanax for my anxiety, Lithium for my bipolar, Zoloft for my trauma, Trazodone for my insomnia along with Melatonin, Seroquel for my obsessive thoughts, Adderall for my attention disorder, and Haldol for my voices….. The meds work, doc, they’ve been working for years. I’m only seeing you because my previous psychiatrist retired.”
I was keeping count.
Nine medications, nine psychiatric medications!
Madness, I thought to myself.
But for Marianne this was no madness. This was her life. She had neatly categorized each medication with a particular diagnosis, as if the complexities of life could be reduced to a label and a pill.
Marianne had little interest in talking about her life. Having been abandoned by her parents at a young age and raised in foster homes, she trusted no one. In our third meeting, I softly inquired about trauma; she looked away.
The years have gone on.
Marianne has remained a closed book.
I once told her that I made up a song about her nine medications and sang it to her - but her facial expression remained stoic, neither humored nor insulted.
Marianne never budged. And after time I realized that I had become her enabler, dutifully keeping her on her nine, count ‘em, nine psychiatric meds.
In her odd way, Marianne was happy with her lot. She felt safe, reassured, cared for.
Not coming out of her comfort zone.
A little bit like all of us.