“Hey Dr. I think my appointment is on Thursday the 15th….at 2:30? If i’m wrong call me back, otherwise I’ll be there at that date and time.”
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve left that message. I have a memory. I don’t forget my dentist appointment in three months. I don’t forget where I parked. I don’t forget long or short-term things, yet, I always manage to forget my appointment. And I’m straight up with my Doctor:
“I do not want to be here. Nothing personal, just don’t want to be here.”
It’s a lot of pressure to squeeze your mind into one session. Figure out what drugs work, or not. Figure out how you feel about yourself, your place, your job, your relationships, your family, your life. It’s a lot. Maybe that’s part of it. The feeling that I have to make sure I give up all the information I can to better my mental health; to better help my Doctor determine what’s best for me. It’s a lot of pressure.
But I do. And I feel better afterwards when I walk down the stairs out of the building. It’s a weird sensation.
You walk in terrible, and walk out better. But the next time I go through it all over again. I forget the time and day, I dread the drive there, I hate the sitting down and now spill it all out in a finite amount of time and hope that you say the right thing. Cause you can say anything. Maybe that’s the bizarre challenge.
It’s hard to go to your psychiatrist.
I don’t know why they say, “Go to your doctor.” I’ve been in a hole the past week and need a doctors note to justify my absence at work which really isn’t happening and shows the stupidity of the modern age to expect someone with a mental illness to make it a doctor for a note.
It was my period. That was the reason I lost it last weekend and plummeted into a terrible bed glued depression. I didn’t understand most of the technical psych terms my psychiatrist used when he tried to explain it to me but thankfully, now I know, I am not crazy, I just need to watch out when the next menstrual cycle comes around. I don’t recall ever having this problem in the past when I was on the same antidepressant so this is all new to me. I went into my session knowing that he wasn’t going to change my meds cause I guess I am doing better then our last session. It’s hard to know what to say when you see your doctor. You want to squeeze as much information in the expensive time you have to get answers and positive results and that alone is a stress. But all you can do is do your best to retell the stories you lived through since you started taking a medication and hope it’s enough to help your shrink monitor your behavior.
Life is about moving forward. Even when we feel stuck or not capable of progress in our personal, or professional life, it’s important to make goals. When we do that the challenge becomes meeting those goals.
First and Foremost, Acknowledge Your Anxiety
Often times anxiety impedes our ability to reach our goals. We get anxious at the thought of the work that goes into reaching our goals, or we can feel overwhelmed. Fear of failure also plays a role in stopping us from achieving. Don’t be afraid to fail. I once heard a great saying: “Do it, and do it wrong.” We only learn from our mistakes, and they only shape our ability to achieve that much more. You only fail when you don’t try. To quote Bazooka Joe, “If at first you don’t succeed, you are doing it wrong!” Learn from your failures, and you will be that much closer to conquering your missions.
Here are some tips on how to help keep moving forward and make your goals a reality:
We all suffer weight gain, and weigh loss. Particularly when we have to face side effects that alter our comfortable body weight. Sometimes the meds we take for depression can cause weight gain which can back fire on you and cause you more depression. Often times the weight seems to appear overnight. The side effects seem to hit instantaneously and you wake up to a new body. And it can happen with or without side effects from meds.
I’ve suffered weight gain from lithium and it was rough. I told my shrink I’d rather be skinny and crazy then fat and sane, and I meant it. I think back to that time and laugh at the signs that drove me over the edge. We all have areas in our body that we know will gain weight. Stomach, thighs, hips, ass. Depending on where you tend to carry your weight, we can be used to knowing what certain areas are at risk. But, sometimes other unknown areas are affected and it can be troubling, or scary. You are swimming in unchartered waters which can be hard. Hard fat is hard knocks.
Here are some signs to consider when enough is enough: Hands, Feet, Neck and Face.
When I used to work in psych wards in Los Angeles County, it used to irk me that the treatment team would throw out diagnosis left and right with NOS for either they didn’t have to time to properly diagnose patients cause the hospital was a rotating door, OR, they don’t know enough about mental illness to properly diagnose someone so stick on the NOS to be safe. It annoyed me on multiple levels cause once a person has an Axis I diagnosis it’s documented in a system. Patients would come and go and float from hospital to hospital and when I would pull up their name in the system the patient would have several different diagnosis NOS…NOS…NOS.
Some people diagnose themselves before they get professional psychiatric help. I did, and society influenced my “self-diagnosis.” Just like PE class for children’s physical health awareness, it is crucial to teach mental health diagnosis in schools instead of using buzz words like ADHD and jumping on a bandwagon that might not be yours. I thought I was ADHD because I didn’t know there was such a thing as Bipolar II – Chronic Hypo Mania. Big difference.
Here are some red flags to consider when you self-diagnose and/or miss-diagnose:
Recently I’ve wondered what kind of discussions are going on behind closed doors at the White House, in Congress, and the Senate, with regards to the shooting that happened in Connecticut.
Once again, how it is possible to focus on gun control when the root of the problem of shooters in our past, and of late, is mental illness?
Like most things in life, it probably comes down to one thing: MONEY
How much money would it take to educate the American people on mental illness?
What steps would be necessary to pursue education and provide better mental health care programs and treatment for those that suffer from a mental illness?
I imagine a closed door discussion on mental health awareness going as follows:
“We can’t afford to put mental health on the table when discussing the shooting because we don’t have the funds to start addressing this matter.”
“Yeah, you’re right. Besides, most people are either clueless to mental health issues or scared so if we start talking about it we might find questions with no answers or solutions.”
TLC’s reality show, “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” features a reality star with a refreshing look into weight gain and body image. And it comes from a child named Honey Boo Boo.
Honey Boo Boo is one of the only females in modern day society that is actually embracing her fat, full throttle, at the ripe young age of a seven-years-old.
If you haven’t heard already, Honey Boo Boo is a reality star that got her fame from participating in beauty pageants. She is a pioneer of loving herself despite her fat. One episode Ms. Boo Boo actually pulls out her stomach fat and says straight into the camera:
“The judges don’t know a good thing when they see it!”
It seemed like a ridiculous question during my first psych assessment with a psychiatrist. I was a Columbia University graduate with a BA in English, “Yes, of course I can read.” But, when I stopped to think about it, the question wasn’t can I read but how do I read.