So yesterday I went to the psychiatrist.
My mother is reading this and I imagine already horrified, but hey, what else is new.
But like I said, visited my friendly neighborhood psychiatric practitioner yesterday. I've been trudging along the murky, sludge-filled path of depression for about 20 years, and I have visited more than my fair share of these guys. I wish I could say the situation has been rectified, but it hasn't. So the pattern is I go to someone for months or years, get on a medication, go to some therapy, and then kind of just exist.
This pattern, I decided, needs to be broken for no other reason than I have a baby, and she needs more of me than I'm able to give while handling this illness. That's not acceptable. Not even close. So I'm grabbing the proverbial bull by the horns once again.
So back to the story. I sulk as I drive up to Towson, pull into Sheppard Pratt, and haul up to the Neuropsychiatry Department in the Gibson Building. Then I walk into that dreaded hell known as the waiting room. How many people are fans of sitting in any waiting room? Well, kids, sitting in a psychiatrist's waiting room is a whooooole new ballgame. There's always one person talking to everyone in the room about nothing that makes sense. There's always one person who smells. And there's a whole lot of people who look...well...frightening. I imagine I'm one of them; my face is pretty transparent. While in the waiting room, it read: "Do not look at me, do not talk to me, I'll go postal on you." Oh wait, that's actually my day-to-day face, but anyway...
So FINALLY, the doctor comes out and calls me in. I go into his office. I look at him. I look at the office. He looks like every other psychiatrist I've ever seen. Collegiate. Somewhat disheveled. Sweater with elbow patches. Worn out shoes. Innocuous, his words carefully chosen.
The office looks like every other psychiatrist's office I've ever been in. Old Oriental rug on the floor. Bookcases overflowing with psych books and journals. Desk a mess. Box of tissues on the table (for when we crazies invariably break down). I notice the tissue box is branded with the drug Cymbalta. Those dang pharmaceutical companies. They want you to know that when you're breaking down, remember, Cymbalta is there to catch your tears.
So thus begins the questionnaire. I repeat what I've repeated a bazillion times before. He asks about medications. I unearth a piece of paper where I've typed...typed...all eleven medications I've been prescribed throughout the years. He asks the standard questions.."Do you hear voices?" Yes! I can't get that stupid girl from the Progressive Insurance commercial out of my head! "Do you think anyone is conspiring against you?" Yes! Yes! Everyone on the stinking highway, doctor! Yes!
He scrawls some notes. I study his degrees up on the wall. He prints off some papers and gives me instructions. Restart your original pills. Get some blood work. Meet with a therapist. Get old medical records. Come back in two weeks.
I thank him. I practically run through the waiting room to get out and I burst through the main doors out into the frigid cold and the air feels AMAZING. I breathe it in very slowly.
I drive home, thinking about what I have to do and my new self-imposed rules. Internet at night limited to one hour (aack!). Bed by 10 pm. Exercise a few minutes three to four days a week (ick).
I get home to bouncy baby. She runs to me, joyful at my appearance. I grab her and hug her, hoping she somehow avoids this dreaded disease that I have. The one that alienates you. Ruins relationships. Robs you of self-esteem. Chokes you with profound and palpable sadness and anger.
OK, so it starts today. Another slow journey. Hope this one finally finds its happy ending.