Thought of the Week: Fix me, Doc. Fix me.

pictureThose 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?

Sounds about right.

Sounds about right.

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.

Sort of feel like I've got those things on my arms sometimes.

Sort of feel like I’ve got those things on my arms sometimes.

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 soso 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?

Remember this scene from Blade? Yeah, sort of crushed.

Remember this scene from Blade? Yeah, sort of crushed.

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?

16 thoughts on “Thought of the Week: Fix me, Doc. Fix me.

  1. I don’t think you’re expecting too much. There are a lot of great therapists out there, and (I think) you probably already know this, but some aren’t so great, and some just aren’t a great fit. If it doesn’t feel right, or they tell you there’s nothing wrong, find a new one. Your therapist should listen to you, and you should feel, at least with a time, that they are someone you can trust and say important things to. They might not have all the answers, especially not right away, but they should be willing to help you look for them. Of course, it’s still going to be a lot of hard work on your end. Don’t worry, Satis, I believe you can do it, even if our minds are pretty kooky sometimes.

    • Thank you for your confidence. I realize that not all therapists are right for everybody; I’ve been through a number that I just had no connection with in the past. But I need to give it another, genuine try; I’ve decided that I’m lost with my own reasoning.

  2. I quit therapy toward the end of last year. I felt as if I didn’t need it anymore. My girlfriend was certain that I did. But, I sat there and didn’t know what to say anymore. I was repeating last week’s emotions for an hour each time. As good as that felt, it just wasn’t necessary anymore. That hour could be put to better use. It was. And ever since, I have felt great.

    Although, there are still plenty of mental wires touching that shouldn’t be, and even more that need to be connected and aren’t, I remain strong. Healthy as I’ve ever been. But, I couldn’t have gotten to this point without expressing the emotions I suppressed for so long.

    Good luck!

    • Thank you. I see your point, and I suppose the ultimate goal of therapy is to be able to stop going to therapy. It’s early days yet, but we’ll see if I get to that point. The main thing is that I’ve come to the realization that there are things going on in my head that I just can’t figure out on my own. I’m glad you got the help you needed!

  3. There are those of us who need the Verbal Arena to work through the chaos of ideas storming through our minds – in absence of constructive tools or outlet space to organize the mass of ideas, we can drift into some coping mechanisms that aren’t in our best interests.

    I learned years ago that a very important part of my mental well-being is having the space to say out loud the internal fragments I’m struggling with – sometimes, writing just doesn’t work.

    But let me start talking out loud, trying describe the chaos to someone else and the pieces all fall in place and start to make sense to me as well – – I edit as I go and then finish with a, “Well….ain’t that interesting?”

    There is an actual scientific term for those who problem solve in this way – I can’t even remember enough of it to tell you and link to it – This term is not an illness category or genus – rather it is a label to describe a specific learning type.

    Maybe your symptoms are just the scouts who are trying to point you to the path where you’ll find your groove in working with your creative brain, rather than against it…

    I by no means intend to downplay or slough off your issues – it’s just in reading your posts, you seem to be a highly creative person and highly creatives don’t always function at their best in a structured 9-5 world and sometimes struggle coming down off the creative high – in other words – sometimes, their brain doesn’t know when it’s time to stop and rest. Their greatest gift becomes their worse nightmare.

    I just know from personal experience that a change in approach sometimes affords much better results than a diagnosis and medication – Medications gave me terrible side-effects and didn’t help at all – a change in daily routine and how I chose to work with my brain did –

    Best of Luck – I hope you find all the support you need while you work through this –

    I’ll leave you with my all-time favorite one-liner from a Lecturer with over 40 years of being a therapist under her belt:

    “Every problem Used to be A Solution – “

    • That is a wonderful quote – I’ll be remembering it! I really thank you for such a long and carefully-considered reply; you rang a lot of bells with my own experiences. In my work, I often help people to go through that verbal problem-solving exercise, and I don’t doubt that it helps when I do it as well. The problem is that I begin to doubt my own train of thought. This is what happened the last time I had serious therapy; although at first I thought it was helping to ramble my thoughts as they came, I realized that I would suffer extreme anxiety that my words weren’t accurately reflecting my feelings, or were simply wrong. In fact, this is one of the small fears I have of returning to therapy, but it’s something I’m just going to have to face.

      Thank you!

      • Acupuncture has also been a god-send for me – years of overwork/stress had drained my adrenals and taught my sympathetic nervous system to stay on continual overdrive – – acupuncture helped to restore balance and nurture my body back to healthy rhythms of ‘high creativity’ – ‘time to rest’ periods.

        Me thinks if you’re working with the right therapist for you, they’ll understand your ‘piecing together’ of your thoughts and will always allow you to return and edit in order to truly reflect your reality – – – in other words – like writing the first draft of a story, then returning to see if each word is just right – – you obviously know how to do that!

        I’ve also found that blurting out whatever you’re thinking sometimes takes you down interesting roads that bring great ‘aha moments’ – – if you trust the process of following the trail and even if the original blurt wasn’t exactly on target — –

        I do so hope you find someone that’s supportive of you to playing to your strengths while you tackle your roadblocks. Best wishes on your healing journey.

  4. I came over here from Freshly Pressed and began wandering around. This is such an honest and vulnerable post that I just wanted so much to somehow encourage you that there is hope. My husband dealt with depression for a while and then things got worse. In his case, it was clear it was because he was not dealing with traumatic experiences from his childhood. Overwhelming, but the memories, and resulting messages in his head, had to be dealt with. I know each person is different and the reasons for depression and other mood disorders are probably as varied as the people themselves, but still, you are worth every effort to find peace. It’ll feel like a marathon at times, but keep going.

    By the way, my daughter (9) and I got a chuckle out of your FP piece—she does her best to make sure I’m doing things right too. I don’t know how I’ve survived these 40-something years without her direction.

    • Thank you very much for this response. the mental difficulties are something I’ve been living with now for most of my life, and when it gets to the point that it’s disrupting your entire life, you realize you’ve got to do something about it. You always have those days when you don’t want to get out of bed, but this is my commitment to trying to make things better.

      I’m glad I gave you and your daughter something to chuckle about, and I hope your husband is well. Thank you!

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