I have been nervous for a while about my drugs. When I visited the GP here to register, I explained what drugs I am on – citalopram and buproprion. She said that the latter wasn’t generally prescribed in the UK, so I would either have to get some when I was home or switch to something else. As I have been stable for over a year now, this was obviously a bit nerve wracking.
She referred me to the local psychiatrist to talk about substitutes. When I sat down, he took my history.
“How is your relationship with your family?”
“Excellent – I am lucky to have them and we get along very well.”
“How was your childhood? Did you ever have any problems with abuse, or trauma, or anything like that?”
“Do you parents do any drugs?”
“Nope. One once smoked tobacco, but he stopped ages ago.”
“Have you ever been in trouble with the law?”
“Have you ever done any street drugs?”
“Not even once?”
“Well I had a marijuana brownie once. It was awful.”
“Ok. And you started having panic attacks when?”
These questions about the law and such are not uncommon, but his brow was getting increasingly furrowed, and he kept flipping back and forth in the small set of papers he had. We talked about CBT and CAMH, and then about my prescriptions.
“Citalopram and buproprion. I started one and then the other.”
“Ok.” Long pause. “And what do you take the buproprion for exactly?”
“Sexual disfunction. You uh, well you couldn’t have paid me to be interested when I was on just citalopram.” Longer pause. Did I just offend British sensibility? Oh no! “I mean, we tried increasing citalopram first but it just made everything worse and so we tried other mixes and this one seemed to help…”
“Right…” Flip. Flip. What is going on? “And so, I’m sorry, you’ve never done drugs?”
“Ok…” Flip. Pause. “Sorry, did you say you were on buproprion?”
“OH!” He broke down laughing.
OH GOD WHAT IS WRONG???
“Hahaha?” I tried.
“The other GP wrote down a different drug. It’s for heroin addicts to get off their addiction! And the maximum dose for the worst, the worst addicts is something like 16 milligrams, and here you are on 300. And I was thinking, what on earth are they prescribing in Canada? What kind of panic drug did they find out of this?!”
“OH!” I said.
“So I kept thinking, happy family, happy childhood, no drugs, where does she start doing heroin?”
We had a good laugh.
Apparently there is a drug called buprenorphine, for treating heroin addiction. Thanks to my fast-talking, nervous Canadian accent, delivered to a thickly accented Midlands British and Indian parented doctor, I was transformed temporarily from a depressed student to a lying-about-her-drug-usage, cheerfully imprudent, recovering heroin addict. Ta-da! Accents!
On the even brighter side, my prescriptions are easy to acquire here, and I was given a course of withdrawal to start in spring, hurray! Come springtime, maybe April, May, or June, I will start coming off drugs for the first time in 3 years. I’ll definitely blog about that when the time comes!