I finally did it.
I went to a psychiatrist.
I spent pretty much the entire 50 minutes in tears.
I wasn’t even aware it was possible to get through my entire life in 50 minutes.
But I did it.
I was nervous in the waiting room. It was freezing, and the receptionist was not very friendly. I saw two men behind her desk and spent a few minutes contemplating which one I hoped was my doctor.
The first was an older man. I mean, like 80. He looked grumpy and reminded me of my last boss. The soul-eater. I was terrified he was going to be my doctor and I was going to have to discuss all of my problems with somebody resembling a man I hated.
The second was younger, probably in his 40s. He reminded me of a grizzly bear. He was large and had a face covered in beard. He looked bored, and possibly like he hadn’t showered in a few weeks. I was terrified he was going to be my doctor and I was going to have to discuss all of my problems with somebody resembling a stinky and bored grizzly bear.
The door opened.
And a third man stepped into the waiting room. He had a bright smile as he approached me and introduced himself.
He was going to be my psychiatrist.
He reminded me of somebody I would have gone to college with. He’s probably in his mid-thirties. His voice and his face are friendly. I can imagine myself discussing my problems with ease.
Although it wasn’t really easy. The first thing he asked was, “What brings you here today?” And I just started crying.
It felt a little ridiculous.
So I started talking. And talking. And talking. And answering his questions about my life, my moods, my medical history. And the tears just kept flowing.
It felt a little ridiculous.
Even though he was friendly and I felt comfortable with him, I still couldn’t bring myself to actually look at him while I talked.
I looked at his shelf full of toys for the children he sees. A shelf filled with those specialty Mr. Potato Heads that are dressed up like movie characters. Each one with a goofier name than the next. I watched traffic drive by the second-floor window. I started at his DSM-IV, his various degrees and certificates. I started at my hands.
After we’d talked for a while, he recommended a book for me to check out. Since I love to read. He made a joke about how I’d probably be able to find it for a great price at Borders. He scribbled the title and author on a prescription form.
We talked a little longer, and he recommended that I get my thyroid tested. He scribbled that on another prescription form.
He said some really interesting things about how he was perceiving me. Things about my expectations of myself. I’ve got a whole separate blog post planned to discuss that.
And then, our time was almost over.
He scribbled a few more things on another prescription form. Except this time, it was a prescription.
He said that I might have dysthymia, a chronic depression, but that I am also vulnerable to secondary episodes of major depression. Which causes me to have Double Depression. Which sounds super awesome fun, right?
Not only am I depressed, but I get depressed on top of being depressed.
I’ve got a prescription for an anti-depressant, which he made sure I understand that it can take 3-4 weeks to start working. (I was on Paxil several years ago for anxiety, which I stopped taking after a couple of weeks because I didn’t think it was doing anything.) He also added on a sleeping pill, since I’ve been having trouble falling asleep and staying asleep at night. He told me it’s non-habit forming, and that I should start it on a weekend just in case I get that “hangover” feeling in the morning.
I pretended to know what he’s talking about. I’ve never taken a sleeping pill before.
He also told me I should start talking to a counselor. With some talk-therapy, he figures I won’t have to be on medication for the rest of my life. He recommended the woman in his office so that they can collaborate on my treatment, but the decision is ultimately up to me.
I’m lazy, so I’ll probably just go with her. He says she’s really nice and he would recommend her to his family members. So that’s good?
He asked me if I had any questions, and then he led me back to the receptionist’s desk. He gave me his card and told me to call if I had any questions.
Which I only found weird because it just has the number of the office, which I already obviously have because I called it to make the appointment in the first place. And he’s only in the office two days a week. So, yeah.
I’ve got a follow-up appointment in three weeks.
I’m headed to the pharmacy after work today to fill the prescriptions, and I found a lab open on Saturday so I can get the thyroid test without missing work.
But right now, I’m just glad I went. I wanted help, I went and got it, and now I guess I’m on the road to…well I don’t really know. But it’s going somewhere.
It’s a huge step.