How paranoid is too paranoid?
February 10, 2007 9:26 AM Subscribe
I feel like I'm losing my mind but I'm too worried about my medical records to do anything about it.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (31 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Something changed about 6 months ago and now I'm anxious and depressed nearly all the time. These are two emotions that had previously been mutually exclusive. And previously I was rarely anxious, except before an exam or something. I WAS often depressed, but in a can't get out of bed way. Not a jittery and irritable way like now. In university I took Zoloft and had to quit it because of anxiety attacks and serious indigestion. (Both of which my University psychiatrist told couldn't possibly be because of the Zoloft, but when I quit it, they went away.)
I can't focus. My menstrual cycle has changed- it's heavier and more frequent. My heart feels like it's beating irregularly (just once in a while, usually the day after I've exercised particularly hard).
I went to my doctor, got lots of tests and she gave me an ECG. Everything seems normal, except my resting heart rate's really slow (45 bpm). She didn't think it was anything to worry about, though. I've lost about 10 kg so far- due to exercise, probably. I was overweight before, and still am but not by much. Though I still get hungry, I'm not the slave to my stomach I used to be.
The only things that bring relief are running on a treadmill and being outdoors in wide open spaces. Did I mention I'm getting more claustrophobic, too? These are both new and bizarre behaviours for me)
I've had a lot of anxiety-producing changes in my life over the last 6 months, which is why I didn't take any of this seriously at first. But my life has calmed down and my symptoms are still making me miserable.
I feel I should go to some other doctor or psychiatrist. I am in the United States and I have a huge fear of the medical system here. Things go on your record and stay there forever. And affect you forever.
My family and friends are nearly all therapists and nurses, which has really undermined any trust I might have had in the medical profession's ability to keep confidentiality. My family and friends are pretty good about it, at least as far as I've been able to see, but their collegues seem to have no concept of what kind of damage they can do by not taking care of their patients' information. Confidentiality to them is a sort of courtesy, that can be dispensed with if it seems appropriate, which is often.
The new HIPAA regulations have made things worse- my family can't get to my records (fine by me). Other doctors can't get to them. (well, okay). But the local idiot sheriff can, if he gets a search warrant, or a number of other documents that allow it.
I also have a terrible fear of people doing things for my own good. Breaking confidentiality. Committing me, God forbid. Which is part of the reason I am reluctant to talk to my friends and family. They're friends and family but they're also professionals. What if they feel obliged to DO something?
If I do manage to find someone out of my official insurance system, what am I allowed to tell them without them feeling obliged to turn me in? Can I tell them if I'm feeling suicidal? If I have to keep 10 feet away from anything that smacks of self destruction- well, I may as well not show up. And finally, I have a terrible, unreasonable fear of being committed. It's not that I think it's likely, but it would be the worst thing I can ever think of happening. There go all open spaces (God, the claustrophobia) and any control over my own mind (the drugs).
I'm not against drugs in theory, but I have just watched my father's doctor drug him into delusions, paranoia, and memory loss. And when we told the doctor what was happening, he said he couldn't be talking to us about his patient. A failed marriage, two arrests and the loss of his driver's license later, my father got another doctor. But you can see where my mistrust comes in.
This is turning out very long. My questions are: Am I right to be this paranoid about my medical record? (And has anyone had any experiences with off-the-record psychiatrists?) What do you use as a baseline for normal? If I start taking drugs, what will my end goal be? How will I know when they're working correctly? I am not interested in taking my doctor's word for it, given my experiences with doctors. How will I know when and if I can quit taking them?
Any help you can give me I would appreciate. I've always been the stable person around here, so this is scary.
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