Yesterday, I had a follow up therapy appointment. Therapy is new to me, and honestly, I’m not sure what I expect to be getting out of it. During my first appointment, 6 weeks ago, my therapist got an overview of my background, reported that I wasn’t in crisis (which I’m not), and asked what I expected to get out of this – was there a goal I wanted to try to accomplish? We talked some more and arrived at the conclusion that I tend to ‘beat myself up’ and that I needed to work on ways to help address this unhealthy habit. She recommended a book, which is quite good, Radical Acceptance, and has helped me to live more in the moment (so cliché).
Yesterday’s appointment has left me even more confused about the value of therapy – for me. We connected again, and I told her about what I’ve been trying to do in these past 6 weeks – I’ve recommitted to exercise and eating better as a way to help address my depression but also hopefully, to get rid of some of the Abilify weight. I’ve been sporadically using a few apps to help me with meditation and mindfulness. I’ve been keeping lists of tasks and this has helped me to see that I have accomplished things throughout the day. I let her know I’m still very anxious about work (or lack there of) and how I need to take a more direct, pro-active approach at bringing in more projects. To each of these things she was really pleased and said I was definitely taking the right steps – you’re ok. I’m ok? But I’m still having issues (lots of issues) sleeping and some significant mid-afternoon tiredness. I’m not sure if this is my medications or the depression or a result of not sleeping or all of the above. She recommended I try a guided meditation to do specifically before going to sleep and to see if that would help.
But then she surprised me by asking, “Do you think you’re getting anything from coming to me?”
Well, I’m not sure.
The book was definitely helpful and I’m excited to try this meditation to see if it helps me with sleeping – these tools have definitely been helpful. But, honestly, I’m not sure what to talk about when I’m here. As we’ve already discussed, I’m not living with an acute issue at this point (and we talked some more about my dark days of the past and how I never want to go back there again.). And she followed up with, “let’s schedule a follow up, and see – I’m not sure I can do that much more for you because you’re not in an acute crisis and you’re aware of your situation, you’re staying medicated and you’re not a danger to yourself or others.” I’m ok?!
I’m still not sure what to make of all of this – have any of you had similar situations? Could it be because resources are limited at Kaiser that unless one is in ‘crisis’ they perceive that a regular therapy regimen isn’t necessary? Do I have the wrong perception of what therapy is intended to do? How it’s supposed to work? (do I know how it is supposed to work?). I do feel as if medication management is the most important aspect of my journey and that when it is right, I AM OK. …. I guess I’ll see in 6 weeks.
(This may jump around some, so bare with me)
Today is World Mental Health Day and last week was Mental Illness Awareness Week. (#MIAW for those on twitter). I was a little on edge about participating for many reasons, but mostly because I honestly didn’t think that what I was dealing with was really worthy of putting out there. I followed the hashtag, liked and retweeted a few things, but mostly I was just lurking behind the scenes learning from others as they shared…
What I didn’t realize is that the week really stirred things up inside of me. Emotions that were closer to the surface, maybe, than I’d realized.
Then Friday happened.
I said I wouldn’t talk politics here (or at least really try not to), but there’s linkage here, I promise. The comments made were shocking at first – to hear and see things that were so blatant me, and they cut deep. Why? I haven’t been physically sexually assaulted I kept saying to myself. And then I realized – I really had. Former bosses kissing/biting me on the cheek in front of other colleagues. Hugs from colleagues that lingered just a little too long. Comments made in front of me – the same sort of banter that was excused as ‘locker room talk’. That we women have been conditioned to tolerate, smile and move on.
And then I got MAD. Not just mad, but PISSED OFF, angry beyond reason…and I took to FB and wrote about just how angry I was. (In summary, I wrote “Unfriend me if you’re voting for DT – we have nothing in common and I do not want you in my life”)
And I angered people and I lost long time “friends” as a result. I’ve been called out by a few people both publicly and privately. Received support from many more – not surprisingly by women, but by men too. Some surprised that I could make such a statement when we have “history” and that I wasn’t being open minded – they took this as a political statement, but for me this transcends and supersedes politics.
Today, I feel lots of other emotions, some I cannot verbalize. But one I can identify is that I am ashamed that I let my emotions get the best of me. I’m not sure how much my words (and actions) are related to the emotions that came to the surface. I have to believe there’s a thread there.
Today, Monday, is World Mental Health Day. The first I’ve been aware since I’ve been more public about being a person living with depression. The first as a person who is trying to keep a discussion about mental health alive, open and strong. I’m pretty awed by how today is promoted around the world. I’m also a little surprised by how little I see going on today here in the US – there’s work to do, lots of work!
I’ve realized, that the work has to start “at home”, with me. I’ve recognized a few things over the past week or so, and it turns out my “home” isn’t so in order. But I feel as if there’s good along with the bad.
The good news is that the withdrawal symptoms are pretty much history! It was a really difficult physical period of time, but I got through it and they are behind me! Hallelujah!!
The not so good news – The new combo of Wellbutrin and Lamotrigine just isn’t working. Perhaps I’ve been waiting for this, looking for this, did I will it to happen? Regardless, the first hint is that the lack of motivation has me firmly in its grasp. I’ve been here before, I know it and I recognize that I need to do something.
The good with the bad is that I feel like I have an option and that my psych and I will get through this. In the past, I wouldn’t see it, I would live in that safe place of denial until it got bad – really bad. After experiencing that all too brief period of being Deb again, means that I don’t have to take it, be submissive to it, let it take over my life. That I can and will do something. So that that old, all to familiar feeling becomes something of the past.