Today was the day I took a step toward a better tomorrow. Today was the day I saw my therapist for the first time. I’ll call her AL. Today I began the process of gaining a better way of coping with everything that is going on. I have the tools, I just need a better way of utilizing them. Somehow during all this craziness I lost my coping abilities. I think it happened about the same time I became so utterly overwhelmed with the medical bullshit that I couldn’t see three feet ahead of me any longer. I gave myself a chance to figure it out on my own. I realized I couldn’t, so I sought out help. Dr. C referred me to the group AL works with. They paired me with her. First impression is that they paired me correctly!
This morning I woke up and showered, and began the day spending way too much time picking out an outfit. I finally decided on jeans, a white top and a fun scarf. I’ve mentioned my obsession with scarves before, seriously I love scarves guys! I am a bit of an over analyzer. I have been my entire life. Seriously. Since I was a wee one. It use to drive my mom insane! Who am I kidding? It still drives her insane.
Anyways, I dressed, ate breakfast and took my morning medications. Two batches. The ones I take when I first get up, and the ones that have to be taken with food. Some days I really get tired of taking so many pills. Other days, it’s starting to just seem normal. Then I remember that’s not who I use to be and I start freaking out a little bit. Ever changing creatures we are, but what happens when the changes are not the ones we want them to be? When we are forced to adapt to things we didn’t see coming? That’s were I am. That is why I made the appointment to see AL. I seriously have lost my ability to cope. I don’t know how to deal with this. I say that and some small part of me doesn’t believe it entirely. I think part of it is a sense of loss of myself. I’ll get into more of that in a moment.
I won’t bore you with the details of my morning, basically it involved pet care, being the bed for our cat while she napped, catching up one some reading, emails, and talking to Doug who comes back home from visiting his folks today! So glad he will be home this evening! It’s always weird when one of the guys isn’t home!
So around 11:40 it was time to pack up my stuff and head to AL’s office. I decided to pack my laptop and stuff so I could go sit at a coffee shop afterwards and well, write this. I was at her office by 12:05. I took a deep breath and entered the office. Her office is in an old house situated close to a college. The waiting room was small and intimate, a nice light blue soothing and inviting color. The receptionist gave me paperwork to fill out and processed my insurance information. A short wait later AL came and got me. Her office was in the back part of the house. It was a nice sized room. There was her chair, the couch I sat on, a table, a desk, and a few other things.
I explained to her the things I was dealing with. Most of what is going on relates to the Chronic Illnesses I’m facing. It’s a lot of bullshit that overwhelmed me and honestly leveled me more than I care to admit. I’ve fought hard to get back to where I am today, but I need help getting to where I need to be. I know anxiety and depression tend to come along with Chronic Illnesses. I’m not ashamed of them, nor am I going to hide this part of my journey from you guys.There will be good days, there will be bad days. I suffer from depression, anxiety issues, insomnia, and panic attacks. This will be the first time I have typed that out for the world to see. I’m on 30 mg of Mirtazapine. It is in the class of antidepressants called Noradrenergic and specific serotonergic antidepressants (NaSSAs). I take it once a day at bedtime. It for the time being is what makes me sleep, and it keeps me even most of the time. It does not make me feel like an emotionless zombie which is important to me. I sometimes wish it did. Sometimes life would be easier without all the feeling, but then again if there wasn’t any feeling we would have a completely different psychological issue on our hands, and I’d probably not have the desire to connect with anyone. So I find myself in an odd place of hating that I feel this way but damn glad I feel.
We also talked about PTSD from some of the events that transpired from my illness, I didn’t go into much detail, just that there were some PTSD there. Also some lingering PTSD from the miscarriage, and grief. We also talked about the loss of my dad, the fact that he combined Warfarin and Alcohol and ended his life, yes he had terminal cancer but he actively made a choice to end his life when he did. He did so using a medication I know get to take for the rest of my life. There’s a good bit of emotional mind-fuckery in that. We even touched on the fact that I was molested as a child, but I told her that wasn’t something I wished to focus on at least not for a while. That is water under the bridge, and rarely comes up. When it does I deal with it. It hasn’t come up in several years.
We covered a lot of ground in my first appointment. Still have a lot of ground to cover. She was able to put into words something I have been grasping at for months. I’m experiencing a loss of myself. I’m grieving the loss of the healthy me. As we sat there and talked about that, I almost burst into tears. Eventually I will cry in front of her. She’s a safe person I can already tell that. I only cry in front of safe people. It took me a few appointments to be able to cry in front of Dr. C. Now I can’t seem to hold back the tears when I’m in pain or having a rough emotional day. Watch out AL I’m a cryer and I’m not cute when it happens!
She also kept mentioning the feeling of loss of control. This has to be the single thing in my life that has left me feeling like I have no control. I’m on a ride, I don’t know exactly where the destination is, nor do I know where the turns go. All I know is I have to take ALL THESE PILLS, and maybe they will keep me from getting too sick, too quick. Maybe they will keep me alive. I have spend countless hours educating myself about my conditions, through learning about them I am regaining some of that control back. I’m starting to learn what scary symptoms warrant ER trips, which ones warrant a call to the doctor, which ones can just be let go. One of the problems is, I get stuck in the process far too longer than I should. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life stuck in my head, in a checklist, questioning my body. Prior to this, I loved my body, it was my home, my soul was happy and was at ease with who I was. Now I feel like a stranger in my own body, and I’m fighting hard to gain parts of me back that I feel that I have lost.
One of the most awesome things about AL, was she talked to me like a real person, not a clinician. It was nice to talk with her and not be treated like a patient, even though I am one. I’ve stated this in the past, but it’s important to build relationships with the members on your team. I personally find myself able to trust my providers more if there is at least some showing of person outside of the doctor there. I do not deal well with overly serious people. I find it much easier to joke. Yes it’s a coping mechanism but it is also part of who I am. I make jokes, I laugh at life, and at myself. I learned a long time ago that the ability to laugh gets us through a lot of things.
I have homework before my next appointment, which is on Monday, she wants me to research Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Mindful Meditation. I use meditation to try to calm myself and I have read a little about CBT but not enough to tell you about it. I will research it and see if this will fit with what I need. She also asked me to pick 3 things I could use to distract myself when I get stuck in my head. I picked gardening, writing to help me process, and crocheting an intricate pattern (IF the pain level in my hands wasn’t bothering me that day). She pointed out I had a good list of tools to use. I knew that going in, my problem lies within my own head space. It’s a jumbled mess in there right now! It’s definitely time for some redecorating.