Dark Place

Some bummer news…  Over the past few weeks my mental outlook has continued to decline at an alarmingly fast rate.  I’ve been seeing my therapist (who is the absolute best) rather sporadically because of the hours of my new job, but at the last meeting she was really concerned.  I’m upping my meeting back to weekly, she called in a favor to a psychiatrist friend, and I have an appointment with my OB to discuss putting me on antidepressants.

Prenatal depression isn’t exactly uncommon, although obviously it gets less attention than postpartum depression, and I am at a much higher risk with my past history, but I’m still bummed.  I’ve never had to go on antidepressants before (although maybe I should have), and it feels like such a failure.  I’m worried about the side effects because I know these meds are serious drugs.  I’m worried about taking too long to figure out the med situation and being too late because I know it takes awhile to get the right combination/level of these drugs.  I’m worried about this being the right choice because I’ve been able to deal with this on my own in the past.

It just sucks!  Health-wise I’m doing so well.  My stomach issues are calm.  The baby couldn’t be growing more perfectly.  I’m just starting to hate the baby and this pregnancy for so many reasons.  I hate that it’s changing my relationship with DH.  I hate the pressure I feel having to shop for it.  I hate the intrusion I feel from my family because they’re excited for it.  I hate how my body’s changing to accommodate it.  I hate strangers asking personal questions about it.  I hate the uncomfortableness and the squirminess and the sleeplessness that it’s causing me.  I hate the public expectation to be overjoyed over it.  I hate everything right now.  I’m stressing over the birth, over shopping, over single-parenting while DH is gone…  It doesn’t end.

I’m bummed that I have to go through this healing process again, but I’m more worried that because of its different causes, this time is going to be harder and I’m not going to be able to be a good parent.  I already feel like it’s unfair for DH to live and deal with a mentally ill person regularly, but a kid isn’t going to understand.  I don’t want to burden him with it when he should be worry-free and ignorant of such problems.  And that’s how my thought process goes full circle and I start feeling like crap again.

Therapy and Reality TV

I’m a total sucker for a lot of reality tv.  DH and I don’t pay for a ton of cable, so I spend a lot of time on Bravo and TLC other such channels that seem to come with every cheap cable package.  You learn to love tolerate what you have.

Anyway, in my channel surfing I have been hugely impressed and happy to see how much reality tv is showing people going to therapy.  More celebrities like Catherine Zeta Jones and Demi Lovato have openly talked about seeking mental health treatment, which I think is awesome, but (as I think it should be) it’s kept a private affair.  Even though mental health treatment is talked about in the media, there’s still a ton of stigma around therapy and seeking treatment.  Gene Simmons, Bethanny Frankel, Sarah Ferguson, several 16 and Pregnant cast members, and Tatum O’Neal are a few I can name off the top of my head who are willing to take their mental health and therapy work public.

I think it does a ton to chip away at the preconceptions people have about talking to a therapist.  Rarely do you lay on couches.  Rarely are the therapists providing neat answers.  Medication and hospitalization are not usually needed.  Powerful, productive, and beautiful people want to go to therapy.  It’s not less manly or less strong or less anything to need to talk to someone about how you feel.  There’s no target age or target gender that benefits more than any other.

I’m torn though.  I really feel for these people.  I know they sign up to do these shows and put their personal life on display.  I don’t think it’s ever a good idea and probably does a ton of damage in the long run.  I just wish they could do their therapy work in private.  I’m sure a lot of it is.  Not a ton of therapists would agree to open sessions like that for tv.  But no matter how honest they think they’re being even with cameras there, it’s not the same.  There’s at least the teeniest sensor there before they start saying something, and one point of therapy is to provide a judgement-free space where anything can be said without repercussions.  Fan/hate mail, press coverage, and knowing the family/friends could eventually hear what’s said are huge burdens that I wish these people didn’t have to worry about during their therapy.  At the very least, it slows the process for them, and I wish no one would have to purposefully drag out an already arduous job.

So maybe I just need to say thank you to these celebrities for taking one for the team for the rest of us.  By bringing attention to how beneficial and non-threatening therapy can be, hopefully more people will get the help they need.

Meetings

I’ve started back with a new therapist, and I really like her.  We’ve met a few times already, I’ve been meaning to post an update on how the appointment went but things come up–as usual.

Anyhoo… she seems like a super cool lady.  She’s young-ish, which I think I like better.  I’m not ageist or anything, but the last time I tried meeting with an older lady I got a lot of “well, in my 30+ years of practicing…” and that didn’t sit well with me.  We’re both learning about my messed up insides together.  She works a lot with families, so her office has comfy chairs and toys and just feels homey rather than office like.  And because of her emphasis she likes to work in spouses into therapy whenever it’s helpful.  I’ve always felt things would be so much easier if DH could listen in on my meetings, so that sat well.  She works a lot with military families too, so that’s nice.

I guess it’s hard to quantify, but really, I just got good vibe from her.  She seems like someone I can talk to you, which is the whole point really.  I’ve had to fight incredibly hard to work through the insurance process, which I think is actually half the hospital’s fault, so I’m happy to finally make it to a live person at the other end.  It really shouldn’t be this hard to get help, and it makes me sick at how many people don’t end up getting any because they can’t make it through all the crap in the way.  It sends a huge mixed message to military families when more mental health screenings and awareness are being pushed on us from deployments but then it’s so difficult to see someone.  The amount of time I’ve had to take off work and the long line of people I’ve had to re-describe my issues to so I could simply get an appointment to start really talking about what matters is appalling.  Why is it this hard when getting a referral for a heart of stomach doctor is a routine phone call?  Arg!!

So yeah, to end on a happy note (I’m trying to say at least one thing positive when I get on a negative rant), my lady is awesome and I’m super, super optimistic about our work together.  I’m hopeful that I can regain my sense of calm and control and put some sense to the tangled mess my insides feel like right now.

Hot And Colds

The in-laws just left this morning, and the hubs and I are glued to the couch sick.  It’s been a busy week.

There’s been no air conditioning at work for over a week and a half, and the summer reading program for kids just started.  It’s like a race between me and three hundred kids to see who can get the crankiest the fastest.

I’ve been wrestling with TriCare on getting a referral for a therapist.  As always, the referral process is cumbersome and slow, but you know, I will be going to a person eventually.  A friend of mine pays out of pocket for her therapist, and I hate hearing her struggle with her mental health versus the cost of care.  It shouldn’t be a factor, and it makes me so thankful for my frustrating, stupid TriCare referral system.  I originally wanted to talk more about that now, but this cold is taking over.

DH surprised me by coming home a couple days early, which was lovely and unexpected.  I don’t know about you, but after a long absence when the phone calls start to drop off, I sometimes daydream that he can’t answer his phone because he’s on a plane coming to see me.  Now that he’s actually delivered once, my daydreams are going to go wild.  Speaking of absences, we got notice for the next deployment.  Boo.

Now back to my kleenex box.  At least there’s AC at home.

When Good Friends Go Bad

I have a handful of super close friends who are like family to me.  I’ll drop anything to help them when they need something.  I feel like everyone deserves at least one person like that, and I know of no better way to show people I really care about how I feel about them.  My problem is that I have friends with extremely dramatic lives.  They are always having emergencies.  They are always in the middle of a crisis.

I love my friends dearly, but I’m getting tired of jumping to the rescue all the time because that’s exactly what it’s getting to.  As soon as one gets things straight, another’s life falls to pieces.  I don’t doubt that they would do the same for me, but I just don’t have emergencies quite like they do.

I worked very hard in therapy to gain ownership of my own self, which sounds weird, I know.  Long story short, I did everything with everyone in mind but me to the point that I couldn’t determine what I really liked, wanted, or needed.  I had to relearn to how to say no, how to listen to my own likes, and to assert myself so I could voice opinions and enjoy myself around other people.  I had to take myself back from being at the whim of everyone else but me.  It was an agonizing process.  I’m worried that being so available for other people is getting back into that pattern.  Can I say no when things come up?  But who am I to choose which crises are most important to someone else?

I feel like I’m getting stretched past my comfort zone.  I want to pull back and spend my free time with my hubs, gardening, and crafting not rearranging my work schedule to spend my off time on the phone putting out fires.  I don’t know how to do that though.  Anyone know a nice way to say “I care but am not the help you’re looking for” while doing the force fingers besides inventing my own problems to occupy myself?