I don't think it will come as a surprise to anyone who knows me well that I've been struggling. In fact, it probably won't surprise anyone who reads my blog, is my friend on facebook, or follows me on Twitter. I wouldn't even be shocked if the mailman knows. I've tried to fake it but suspect I haven't been doing a very good job.
I have needed to see my doctor for months. I have been ill. I have had pains that should be addressed or checked. I have run out of meds that made my life a little easier. And I was past due for my annual checkup. Why didn't I go? Ironically, because I didn't feel well enough.
I understand that sounds ridiculous. I didn't go to the doctor because I didn't feel well enough. But it's the honest truth.
I have been white-knuckling my life. Holding on with both hands to keep it all from falling apart. Picking up what I could of those things I dropped. And trying to smile and say, "No, really, I'm fine."
But I wasn't. I'm not. And I finally went to the doctor.
I went because I couldn't get my meds refilled without going. And because my husband caught me in a moment of meltdown and offered to get me an appointment.
After all the opening fun of being weighed and giving a urine sample, I changed into the lovely gown and drape and waited for the doctor. My tension was rising as I knew I needed to discuss everything with him. I needed to give him as complete a list of the mess of my life as possible so we could work together to find a direction. And I had a written list just to make sure I hit it all.
He came in, we went through the normal review of medical history, and then I asked if I could give him more information.
And I did. I shared my history of abuse, my struggles with fatigue and pain, and the new things that have come up. I was as brief as possible. I fought through tears. I said what I needed to say.
And do you know what he did? He listened. He didn't interrupt. He didn't rush. He just listened. And when I finished he asked a few questions for clarification. And in that moment I felt like I had a partner, someone who truly wanted to help me. Someone who saw a person and not a problem.
He didn't have the answers. I didn't expect him to. But he still helped.
He performed my physical exam, ordered all the blood tests indicated, gave me new prescriptions for the things I needed, and gently gave me some direction.
He suggested I get back into therapy AND see a psychiatrist.
I was already planning to get back into therapy; I have done so since that appointment.
But I hadn't thought of seeing a psychiatrist. As he explained, they don't really do therapy anymore. Mostly they are medication detectives. They can try different combinations of medications and off-label uses to offer new choices when the basics haven't worked.
I have had many symptoms of low-serotonin for years. I have tried many medications. I have had no success.
I am now fighting more symptoms. They aren't huge in scale but they are numerous. They are making my life difficult. I am fighting social phobias which are limiting my participation in the outside world, including church. I am fighting anxiety which is causing me to isolate and refuse to communicate or spend time with family. I am fighting an OCD issue -- repetitively spelling in my head (yeah, that is obnoxious and hurts my head and I can't stop). I am impatient and often rude without having any idea. When I realize it, but can't stop it, I go back to my room to prevent hurting people. I have no emotional strength to face anything that isn't going just right.
The inch or two of mud I was walking through has become shin-deep. The slog of life is much, much harder. I am trying, but I am struggling.
So, I am eager to jump back on the medication roller coaster and play Russian Roulette with the psychiatrist (in March, which was as soon as I could get an appointment). Even though I may be setting myself up for disappointment, I am hopeful that we will be able to find something that will help. Because, honestly, I don't know how much more I can take. Things have to get better. They just have to.
To read about my visit to the psychiatrist, go here.