cripsy13

Musings, mutterings from the misguided.


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ATYPICAL DEPRESSION

After 30 years of never really being diagnosed with anything concrete – well, finally – FINALLY something tangible.

ATYPICAL DEPRESSION

Reader’s Digest version of events:  After my ‘episode’ of a couple of months ago, where I wound up in hospital after a rather feeble overdose attempt (weaning myself off of Cymbalta was a most horrendous experience), my doctor put me on a new medication, which turns out I was terribly allergic to (I thought it was spring allergies, but it was much, MUCH worse).  She took me off of that and put me back on a medication that I used to take, and it was then that I knew I had to take some time to just get back on track and heal.

While the hospital experience was something I’d rather forget, it opened me up to a much higher level of psychiatric care that I’d never had in the past.  My GP fast tracked an appointment with the clinic’s resident psychiatrist and I was able to get in to see him in a matter of weeks.  The main reason being, was that my GP explained to me that she had run the gamut of antidepressants she was willing to prescribe; anything else needed to be prescribed by a psychiatrist.

So, I toddled off to see the nice doctor and in 45 minutes, he had come up with a diagnosis that made sense of all the different symptoms I’d ever had.  He was ever so kind, explaining to me the different symptoms and how he came up with the diagnosis.  Part of me was mortified that it had a name; the other part of me didn’t care – finally I could relate to something and understand why I am the way I am and that I’m NOT batshit crazy (okay, maybe a little bit, but aren’t we all?)

Since then, I’ve felt stronger, more empowered and certainly less frantic/weepy/messed up.  It is so wonderful (yes, wonderful) to know that it’s not just me acting like a weirdo – there is an actual name for my weirdness (ha).

And, so, for those of you wondering – here is what Atypical Depression looks like:

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erm…wrong picture, let’s try that again:

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So many things just fell into place – especially the ‘sensitive to rejection’ thing.  I can usually control it, but if I’m feeling particularly crappy, and let’s say I send out an email and don’t get a response, I automatically think it’s me, I’ve done something wrong, etc..  WHICH is extremely annoying to those closest to me – especially my boss and colleagues.  Trying to explain that is extremely difficult and frankly, embarrassing.  I’m often very tired and my body feels like I’m wearing concrete weights on my forearms and my legs.  While I don’t sleep in, given the chance, I do like to take an afternoon nap (which can sometimes be upwards of 4 hours).  I crave carbohydrates like an alcoholic craves booze; I always have. When I’m ‘depressed’, for the most part I don’t feel like I’m melancholic, rather, I’m more likely to feel angry and frantic.  Don’t get me wrong; I have fabulous crying jags worthy of an Oscar, but they don’t last very long.  Thankfully (I hate crying).

I had a conversation with a friend this morning about a woman she knows who has schizophrenia and while she has the disease, she is NOT the disease.  While I’m very thankful to have a diagnosis that I can work with and learn about, I too have a disease; I am NOT the disease itself.  My mother lived her whole life with depression as her identity; I don’t ever want to be that person.

If you’d like further information on atypical depression, please visit  http://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/atypical-depression.

 


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NOW, JUST WEIGHT A MINUTE…

Last week was my very first meeting with the Alberta Health Services Weight Wise Program.

The day itself started out badly and I won’t get into that (yet another health issue), but when I got there, I had to park 6 blocks away, so by the time I got into their offices, I was soaking wet from the driving rain AND mad and even more pissed off that I had to be there in the first place.

I looked around the others in the waiting room.  I do NOT mean this in a judgmental way at all, but these people were HUGE!  They were twice or three times my size!  They had special chairs in the waiting room to accommodate morbidly obese people (which, according to my doctor, I am)…that made me even angrier, to think that I am considered to be even in the same category as these people.  I’m nothing like them…nothing!

By the time my case worker introduced herself, I’d worked myself into quite a state and had a huge chip on my shoulder walking into our first meeting.  I was rude, abrupt, snarky…and then all of a sudden, I started to cry.  Heaving sobs.  I was crying because I had to be there.  I was crying because of all the shitty things my mother did to me to make me turn to food and alcohol to solve my problems.  I was crying because all I’ve wanted in my life was to be thin and loved.  I was crying because I knew how much work was ahead of me.  I was crying because I didn’t think I had the stamina, determination, willpower to go through with it.

My case worker sat quietly and just kept handing me tissues.  Once I’d finished bawling, we started to talk about my life, how and why I came to be in their offices and what I expected from the program.  She was good – oh, she was good!  We talked for nearly 2 1/2 hours about everything – from my psychological issues to exercise to my batshit crazy mother.

Her ‘diagnosis’:  Psychological.  99% of it.  Before I can go any further in the program, she has set up an appointment with a psychiatrist to talk to me about everything.  She read through my food diaries and said she knows that I am perfectly capable of eating properly and that she can tell I know what I’m doing.  But she also said that she thinks the medications I’m on for my depression are NOT working, rather possibly hindering my efforts.  The one component that I had to fill out a questionnaire on was for ADHD.  And, according to my score – I’m a poster child for it.  She isn’t able to confirm that diagnosis (I’ll have to wait to see what the shrink says), but she said it’s very common with obese people – or anyone with an addiction – we’re ‘smart enough’, we just don’t follow through on things because we can lose interest quickly – NO!  GASP!  MOI?  Shit.

I have a long, long road ahead of me and it’s going to take time…first, I have to get a handle on the mental issues that have been stored in my brain for so many years, and then in time, with my head on its way to healing, hopefully, my body can follow.

I’ll have to learn to be patient with myself – not something I’m good at.  I’ll have to learn to be kind to myself (again, not so good) and I’ll have to learn that this isn’t a diet…this is a new way to look at living my life.  Some days are gonna be good, some bad.  I asked her when I left what amount of weight they expected me to lose for my next appt. and she put her hands on her hips and looked at me and said ‘did you not listen to ANYTHING we talked about in there?’

As mentioned, that was two weeks ago and frankly, I’ve done everything in my power to completely sabotage any efforts previously made.  I’m hoping that my meeting with the shrink will help shed some light on what it is that causes me to treat myself this way.  Who knows, maybe the shedding light will lead to shedding the weight!


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Mental Illness – removing the stigma…

So…I was just on a news website and a story caught my eye:

Routine depression screening for adults not recommended

Okay.  I guess that makes sense.  I mean, if someone isn’t exhibiting symptoms, then why bother to check them.

But wait a minute.  Lots of people don’t exhibit symptoms of heart disease either.  Or, in some cases – cancer.  Hell, even diabetes can go unnoticed unless the proper tests are run.  So, why is depression different?

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Is it because people don’t want to know if they could potentially be suffering from depression or another mental illness?  Ignore it and therefore, it can’t possibly be?  How many stories have we heard in the news lately about someone shooting someone (or in a few cases, a number of people) and then we find out that they have a ‘mental disorder’?  How many young people have turned to suicide because they can’t find a way out?

Why is mental illness still such a ‘hush-hush’ disease?

Because we’ve made it that way.  Society still sees those with mental disorders as ‘incomplete, not worthy’ – sometimes those suffering are even made to feel like they’re lying.

I don’t know about you, but if someone asked me if I had cancer, I certainly wouldn’t tell them ‘OH GOD NO!  Why would you even ask that?  I’m perfectly healthy!”  Yet, that’s exactly what we would say to anyone asking if we had a mental health issue.

Mental Health issues are one of the last acceptable prejudices (that and calling someone fat).  It’s a constant source for comedians, television shows, books – day to day life.  Who here (me included) hasn’t said ‘That bitch is CRAZY!’ or ‘What a complete mental case!’  I wouldn’t say that about someone with any other disease…so, why with (insert mental disorder here)?

Well, I could get into a rant about why people actually watch reality television, but I won’t -(okay, just a sentence – people watch reality tv to feel better about themselves – watching losers on TV apparently justifies this reasoning).  People need to feel superior.  People do not like to feel weak.  People don’t like to have their mental well being brought into question.  We are supposed to be strong and invincible!  Anyone with a mental issue has to be weak and therefore, inferior to those who are big and strong!

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Now, I say this because with this article, came a number of comments.  The first 3 of them all said (in some fashion) that people who take anti depressants are stupid and that we should all just learn to buck up and grow a backbone.  Life sucks – get over it!  And my very favourite – “Drugs are no way to solve issues, prescribed or illicit. Society needs to take one big look at itself. Family values are gone, society has become party all the time no work, everyone blames the government… people need to start looking at themsevles in the mirror. Life is not a cake walk and you just can reach for the joint, line, or pill bottle when things are not going your way…” (from the CBC website – cbc.com).

Sigh.  I will agree that we have come so far in recognizing mental illness – there has been study after study done on it.  People are becoming more and more open about discussing it.  Schools are implementing programs to ensure that kids who are experiencing mental illness have somewhere to go.  But – there is still that stigma – that attitude that reflects a good percentage of the population who believes it’s a matter of just ‘not being sad’ any more.

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(I believe this is a quote by Glenn Close)

If people don’t think this way about cancer, a horrible, disgusting and terminal disease – why can’t the same attitude be taken towards those with mental illness?  Because I know a number of people who also think that mental illness is horrible and disgusting – and if not treated properly, life ending.