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♥ When his son compliments my cooking (every time!) ♥ Being cleared to run again ♥ Birthday dinners ♥ New job opportunity is going well – two more referrals this week! ♥ Planning a birthday trip for him with his kids ♥ My first garden ♥ Reserving a lodge at the Grand Canyon for this June ♥ Getting a call from a friend announcing her wedding date ♥ Running in the woods ♥ Signing up for a 5K ♥ Getting my IVs in on the first try ♥ Local theater’s production of Rabbit Hole ♥ Lazy morning catching up on a TV show ♥
I recently experienced my worst bout with depression to date. It was bad enough and lasted long enough (almost 3 months total) that I was seriously considering medication for the first time in my life. I called all of the (not-so-many) local psychiatrists to make an appointment. The only office who would see me (and that also took insurance) made an appointment two weeks later.
I wrote that in on my calendar, and I waited.
I had told a few people that I had been feeling down: a friend, my sister, and my boyfriend. What I hadn’t done was be honest about how far down I was feeling. I don’t like to cry in front of others. All this time I cried when I was home alone or in the car alone. The week before my appointment, I was sitting on my boyfriend’s couch watching TV with him and a neighbor friend of his that wouldn’t leave no matter how hard I wished he would. And I was struggling to hold it in. Visibly as they both asked me if I was okay. That guy finally left. And as soon as it was just my boyfriend and me, I started crying quietly. I couldn’t stop. And I told him how bad it was and that I’d made an appointment to see someone.
He sat there by me as I cried and rubbed my leg. And I felt a little better.
The next morning I felt a lot better. It was as if that switch I couldn’t find had finally flipped. I sent my boyfriend a text thanking him for listening to me. He told me he’d been thinking that morning, and then sent a list of ideas to do that might help me feel better. I called a long-distance friend and shared with her.
By the end of that day, I was feeling like my old self again.
I decided to keep the appointment if only to establish myself somewhere as a patient, but I was feeling so good by the time the appointment date came around that it felt silly to go. At first I felt like an imposter among the others in the waiting room. But the longer I waited, the more some of those old feelings started to resurface.
It was a rather depressing office for a psychiatrist: ugly building, poor lighting, cramped seating, and sad decor on wooden paneling. I waited an hour to have my name called. I finally entered a musty office with out-dated carpet and an older man sitting behind a large desk. He asked me if there were many more people waiting. There were a few.
I told him that I was there to establish myself as a patient. That I had been feeling depressed and anxious before, but that it was mostly situational and it had already improved. That I did not want medications at this time. He then went through a series of questions, typing my answers on the computer with two index fingers.
Once he gathered that I hadn’t had any history of abuse or trauma, he seemed to dismiss the idea that I could have any real major depression. He said I had some mild depression. I disagreed as I didn’t think there was anything mild about crying all the time for months now. He said I had some anxiety after the car accident. No shit. I had already told him that I did, but that it had improved as well.
He asked me what he could do for me today. I repeated my initial statement. He acted surprised – as if I hadn’t already told him that I was just there to establish myself and was not seeking medicaton at this time. Oh! I didn’t want any medications! Great. Let him teach me some exercises to get over my anxiety. Something about reality vs feelings.
Thank you so much. That really helps me since I already told you how I manage depression/anxiety with self-care (food/exercise/sleep) and talking myself though what is actually happening versus my feelings.
I felt cheated out of my $20 co-pay,but it was nice to know that I could probably get whatever prescription I want out of him in the future.
In the meantime, I’m feeling better. I’m back at work. I’ll be able to start running in 2 weeks. I’m doing workout videos and walking for now.
And I now have that experience under my belt. I can take that with me during any other future depressive episodes. I can know without a doubt that I can climb out. I need to make myself talk about it with a few trusted people. If I think I need to see someone, I will seek counseling first.
I came across the following quote in the days after I finally started feeling better:
No matter how long you can hold your breath underwater, you will always feel the worst right before you surface. The same is true for most challenges: the most uncomfortable part of the experience usually happens the moment before you feel better. If things are hard now, just remind yourself a long, deep breath will be coming soon. (via Smart Pretty and Awkward)
I’m breathing again.
♥ Funny picture from the roller coaster ♥ Bumper cars ♥ Family lunches ♥ New job opportunity ♥ His daughter coming to me for advice ♥ Sore muscles in all the right places ♥ Planning summer getaways ♥ Doggy friends ♥ Sister time ♥ Encouraging people in their dreams ♥ Cooking a special dinner for them ♥ Thinking up birthday gifts ♥ Being able to give someone work ♥ Spring time ♥
Nearly every time I get off the phone with him or glance at him, I say to myself in wonder, in certainty, and in gratitude:
“I love this guy.”
♥ Sunny days and frozen yogurt ♥ An uncle’s recovery ♥ Quick Dallas road trip with mom and sister ♥ First visit to Bucc-ee’s ♥ Middle school track meets ♥ Netflix original series “House of Cards”… so good! ♥ Austin road trip ♥ New running group ♥ Holding a little baby boy ♥ Released to return to work ♥ Holding close ♥ Freshly mowed lawn ♥ Cheese, crackers, and wine ♥ New shoes ♥ Catching, cleaning, and baking my first fish ♥ Seeing a play with my favorite 16-year-old ♥
♥ Finding our dogs hours after they got out of the yard ♥ Finding out that our neighbors had seen one and kept her for us ♥ Making a thank you card complete with doggie paw print and pastries ♥ Pizza and Oscars with sister and friend ♥ High-school musical with mom and sister ♥ Having people to share my darkest times ♥ Making plans to road trip to San Antonio with my bestie next month ♥ Symphony night ♥ The biggest spring rolls I’ve ever seen ♥
I’ve never been accused of “over-sharing” (except when it comes to gross medical stories).
I’m the person that other people come to with their problems. Not vice versa. And that’s my problem.
What better way to fight through the isolation and despair that depression causes than to bring those who love you into the boxing ring? They can’t fight it for you, but they can be in your corner.
It makes all the difference.
*File that under “Lessons finally learned before age 30.”
My sweet, old birdie died yesterday.
His little life brought countless small joys to mine for almost 15 years.
I loved him, and I’ll miss him.
♥ Another job opportunity to interpret…. and do some case management ♥ Date night ♥ Walking Dead returns ♥ Snuggle time ♥ Planning a summer vacation with him and the kids ♥ Car shopping ♥ Sweet valentine ♥ Another gift he loves ♥ Driving a lost puppy back to his owner ♥ Seeing a mama duck and her babies along a neighborhood canal ♥ Venturing into a little self-employment on the side ♥ Plum tree is blooming ♥ Redecorating my office ♥ Reading ♥ New ride ♥
Depression and anxiety run in my family.
I’ve had run-ins with both here and there, but it was never so serious that I considered seeking professional help. I promised myself I would do so if it got to be a bigger problem.
It isn’t anything scary like suicidal ideations. I can get out of bed and do what I have to do. It’s just this dark, gloomy cloud that has now been over my life for over a month straight. I had one bad day a couple of weeks ago where I couldn’t stop crying.
I’m used to the occasional bad feeling. I can talk myself through it because I know there’s no reason for it. I can go for a run. I can hang out with friends and family. I can make sure I’m getting enough sleep and eating well. That’s how I managed it before.
It’s not working now. For one thing, I can’ t run for a while because of recent foot surgery. So that outlet is completely gone. I woke up sobbing after the surgery. I’ve cried easily ever since. Even having a normal conversation can lead to tears. I enjoy being with my friends and family, but that cloud is still there.
That one bad day was a combination of a big disappointment and those bad feelings. This time I couldn’t talk myself out of it. I had something very real to focus those bad feelings on, and I kept crying for hours. At least 5 hours before I felt like I could pick up the phone to make plans with friends and get out of the house.
I’ve also been dealing with anxiety while driving. I had a car accident right before my foot surgery. I hydroplaned and totaled my car. Now I have moments while driving where my heart races, my body tenses, and I feel like I can’t breathe. We’ve had a lot of windy storms lately, and the slightest shake of my new car reminds me of the accident and sets off those panicked feelings. I even dreamed that I wrecked my new car.
I’m ready for some help.
It’s not that easy. I live in a small town about an hour and a half from a big city. The yellow pages list for psychiatrists is a very small one. Several weren’t seeing new patients. Even more didn’t accept insurance. They wanted $300+ for the initial visit and $150 for each follow-up. My own primary care office kept disconnecting me while leaving me on hold to see who they use for referrals.
I finally found one to see in two weeks.
If this doesn’t work out, I guess I’m driving.