Saturday, April 13, 2013

My therapist did call me back yesterday. She got permission for me to raise the dose on one medication, and she said that my psychiatrist would call me Monday. She said it would be helpful for him if I can tell him the exact days that I tend to go downhill and back uphill (since I think there is a pattern going on).

Talk about a nerve-wracking proposal. I mean, a marriage proposal would qualify as more nerve-wracking, so maybe mine is a little petty. But to think of my doctor calling me, and my trying again to communicate over the phone what I apparently failed to communicate in person... And exact days? It is one thing when I am frustrated and tired and crying to inform my counselor that I'll probably start feeling better soon for about two weeks and then get worse again for another two weeks. But exactly? Oh, wait, she said "exact" in the normal interpretation, not the OCD version.

What can I say? I've gone over it, but here it is again.

Doctor, I've had a taste of what I hear mental health feels like. I've actually been glad to be alive. I've been able to handle washing the dishes in my sink and cleaning my bathroom. It felt like the sun came out. And now I know the sun is out there, and I don't want to settle for less.

So, even though work, school, and church are going well on the surface - and indeed going pretty well - and even though my original worst obsession has pretty much left me, I get frustrated with missing the sun, with having this feeling of abstract sadness that I had begun to hope could actually go away. I get anxious about little things, and it makes me mad. Because I know it is a stupid issue, with the part of my brain that isn't overreacting. Because I know it doesn't have to be this way.

And not every day, but still too many days a month, it takes work to exist, too much effort to wash those dishes stacking up on my counters. And cleaning the bathroom? What a joke. Not near high enough on my priority list.

I can look on my mood chart, and I see my mood getting worse and better and worse and better, and actually, when we increased the Lexapro dose from 15mg to 20mg, I continued in my better and worse flow without any particular change in my pattern, though two weeks into it I felt better again for a few days.

And this up-and-down mood, I get frustrated, because one moment, I can't believe how happy I am, and a couple hours later, I am down to considering whether or not I want to be here on earth. And then in a few hours or days or weeks, I'm back to being oh, so happy, only to drop back down in another hour or day or week or two. I'm frustrated because I can't keep the figurative sunshine in my life.

Maybe I'll even cry, but chances are, I wont cry until after he hangs up. Yay. My counselor says, "You don't have to act in front of him."

I'm not usually trying to. But I guess I do follow the ingrained "don't cry in front of people" message in my head. Let's not forget how "terrible" it would be to cry with the purpose of influencing a person. That's probably a sin. Therefore, crying in front of my psychiatrist must be wrong. Not. Really, how do you share what you feel with a psychiatrist in 3 minutes or less? Make that 5 minutes or less?

I doubt myself. I wonder if I really feel bad. I wonder if this is all there is. I wonder... I'm afraid I'll accidently mislead you, doctor. I'm afraid I'll say the wrong thing. I'm afraid I'll cry when I shouldn't or not cry when I should. I'm afraid I'll do it wrong, even though I don't know what right is. I want something better, and I've heard that there is something better. But then I live up to that annoying word, "functional." So I can go to work, take college classes, go to church. But if my stress increases much at all, I'm wishing for death again. I want to be further from that cliff.

I want a miracle. But I know that maybe I can't have it. Only, I need to keep hoping for one, even if it is a slow-moving miracle.

And I'm going to keep seeing my counselor. And I'll keep working on improving my mental health. But if medication can't fix it, how can therapy? How long are we going to blame my "issues" from growing up. I look young. And I am young, but I'm not a teenager any more.

Peter Kramer talks about fighting depression until it is gone. That's what I want. That's what I wish from both you and my counselor and myself.

And I'm running out of time, so goodbye for now.


  1. Abigail, I am so sorry this is so frustrating and difficult. I know what you mean about tasting the sunshine, and then having it go away. Why don't you print out what you've written here and use it to tell your doctor how you've been feeling, and what you want?

  2. I just caught up on your last few posts and like Tina, I too am so sorry this is so frustrating for you.

    I think Tina has a great idea to print out what you wrote here and show it to him.