I met with the new therapist like week and I have hope she might work.
SIDENOTE: If you’ve ever searched for a therapist, you are a hero. It is such a difficult thing because you have to usually confront various demons just to MAKE THE DAMN APPOINTMENT, and then when you realize the match is not great? It’s the worst kind of disheartening.
I hate to be too optimistic, but she sure did ask a lot of the right questions in getting me to articulate what I need/want from her. She also made me make an appointment with a psychiatrist and find out of there was a thyroid panel done on my last well-visit blood work. I don’t know why those two things made me feel better but somehow the, “It takes a team,” approach really softened some of my anxieties.
As we were talking and she’s telling me the symptoms of depression I’m showing and she asks me a question I instinctively hate when evaluating mental health,
Okay. We have a scale of 1-10…
INSIDE MY HEAD: I HATE 1-10 SCALES. All of the depression/anxiety tests they give you are 1-10 or “STRONGLY DISAGREE/AGREE” scales. I hate simplifying things that need lots of words especially considering how my mental health waivers from moment to moment some days. UGGGG.
…If “1” is “Fine, I can do it fine, no big deal…”
INSIDE MY HEAD: Wait. This one seems to be going some place I wasn’t expecting
…and “10” is “It takes every thing out of me and sucks me dry” – How hard is it to get through a day?
ME OUT LOUD: “Oh, god…” (tearing up) “…10. Most definitely a 10 almost every single day.”
I mean, no one had ever asked me that before, but putting it in those words? JEEZUS. I AM SO DAMN TIRED.
So as we talked more about what “well” or “good” or “happy” might look like for me, I just kept going back to that.
“I don’t want to be so tired all the time.”
Because that’s truly what it is about many days. It’s like when I quit smoking and every second of every day I was pushing back thoughts of cigarettes, now? It’s just pushing back thoughts of giving up. Not in a “jump off a bridge” type of way (although I told her I have those days too) but in a “curl up in bed and never leave and cry forever” type of way. That’s all my brain is telling me to do almost every second of every day. Stop. Just stop. Just curl up on the couch with The Good Place and don’t think about life or parenting or marriage or politics or racism or diet or exercise or…
That is what the voices are telling me to do: STOP TRYING.
And in many ways, I felt like I had given up. I don’t run as much as I used to and I’m not eating well. But now I’m looking at that a little differently. It’s not so much I had given up on running and healthy eating, it’s really that I’m so exhausted from just taking one step forward every day and putting on a GOOD FACE that I have no energy left to think about exercise or food. Or a lot of things. All of the balls I’ve dropped lately – it’s not as much as I’m giving up on those responsibilities. It’s more that I have no energy left for anything more than getting out of bed, going to work, feeding and loving my family, and tending to my home and pets. Those are like the BARE NECESSITIES, and giving my attention and just those things without bursting into tears (which I sometimes still do anyway) zaps my will to do anything else.
JUST SO VERY TIRED.
She also told me it seems I have very good coping skills and that I’m high functioning I was like, “YAY! VALEDICTORIAN!” until she kept talking about how this is not a good thing. “Oh.” Evidently you trick yourself into believing you don’t need help and this is what leads to self-medicating (with food or alcohol or drugs) because you do whatever you can to keep going and…
Well. Okay. Definitely not a good thing and definitely exactly what I’m doing. I thought “High Functioning” was something to be proud of! Not so much. It really should be called “Good At Shaming Yourself and Lying To Yourself To The Detriment Of Your Mental And Physical Health.”
Anyway. So I’m tired and I’m tricking myself and so we’re going to meet again and I contacted one of the Psychiatrists she recommended (No openings until February) and I’m going to call my doc about my thyroid and this week I’m recognizing the negative side effects of High Functioning and I’ve only had one hard seltzer every night (instead of 3 beers) and I’m eating from a vegan meal delivery place so and I’m continuing to force myself to take time to do things I like like hand-lettering and reading and I’m trying not to consider it a moral obligation to stay up to date on every political outrage. I’m keeping with my podcasts: The Daily and Pod Save America and only sometimes listening to some of the other political podcast.
I’m also trying to work on thinking about OTHERS less. I don’t mean like my family. I mean that in the back of my mind I’m often thinking about how much OTHER people do with less drama. And how OTHER people deal with life. And how OTHER people think about my struggles. And about how OTHER people think about me and my failures. I’m trying to stop those voices and turn them inward redistribute that energy to myself and loving myself. I mean, if my brain is going to think things like That family member hates me because I’m such a mess… then I’m using valuable limited resources that I could be turning into self love instead.
But it’s just so damn exhausting.