Those of you who’ve been with me for a while will know of my ongoing struggle with depression and other, as-yet unidentified mental difficulties. From crippling myself to the point of catatonia to self-diagnosing as autistic, I have been struggling with these difficulties for pretty much all of my life. Many years ago I was on heavy antidepressants and undergoing extensive therapy, and while it certainly didn’t turn my life around, it did help me through some issues at the time at least.
And then I just sort of let it slide. I stopped the meds, and…nothing seemed to get any worse. I stopped the therapy, and I could still talk to people. My head was still f***ed up, but it seemed like I didn’t need those things.
I met my wife. We had our child. And throughout all of this, on and off, I was on the brink. The interesting thing is that my “condition” has mutated and changed over the years. What was once straight-up major depressive disorder turned into depression with a whole lot of other weird stuff thrown in there, and now there’s kind of just the weird stuff left. Is that a good thing?
I haven’t genuinely wanted to kill myself for over six years now. In fact the thought doesn’t really pop into my head anymore. However, I was bawling my eyes out because we didn’t go out to lunch the other day (all right, there was a lot more to it than that, but it sort of sums it up). I haven’t self-harmed in over ten years, but I still sit and stare at things for minutes on end. I repeat phrases to myself over and over again when I’m upset, and my speech turns into torrents of vowels and consonants that might mean something in Urdu, but I really couldn’t be sure.
So while I’m not “depressed”, I’m certainly not right in the head. And…sigh…I’ve never quite figured it out. Sometimes I behave like a sociopath. Sometimes I behave like I’m autistic. Sometimes I behave just simply depressed, and sometimes I share characteristics with full-on psychopathic disorders. None of them really quite fit. Not bipolar…nope.
Suddenly I can’t wait; I feel like I need to talk to this person, desperately, as though my very soul depended on it.
So a year ago my doc gave me meds. After ten years, I started medications again, and it hasn’t been…unsuccessful. I started with a mood stabilizer. Did a little, but not a lot. Added an antidepressant; sort of helped. Added a booster for the anti-depressant, but had to reduce the mood stabilizer or I might freak out. Still…I don’t freak out quite so much. Anything else? No real change.
For years and years my wife has been urging me to seek help. Step one was the medications. Step three is, presumably, mental stability and the ability to not feel like that creep from Iron Man 2 with the frazzling tentacles everywhere.
So what’s step two? Therapy, it turns out. And two days ago – after years of procrastinating – I booked my first appointment.
And you know what? I feel so, so relieved. As if all of sudden I’ve been freed from a form-fitting vice that has been slowly crushing me for decades. I haven’t met the psychologist, have no idea whether we’ll get along, but just the knowledge that the answers (if there are any to be had) aren’t solely in my hands anymore is like a great release.
Is this what AA members feel like?
Suddenly I can’t wait; I feel like I need to talk to this person, desperately, as though my very soul depended on it. Who knows…maybe it does. It might all go wrong; she might say there’s nothing wrong with me and that I should stop being such a baby, or she might say I’m beyond help and should be institutionalized. She might just not like me (I might just not like her). But for now, I’m going to leave myself open and hope beyond hope that this will help. Because for the past several years now I’ve felt my mind slowly descend deeper into complete insanity, and I’m pretty sure at some point it’ll be too late.
You don’t think I’m expecting to much from the psychologist, do you?