Wednesday, June 11, 2014

no validation for real life.

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I went to Clonmel last week to meet with a psychiatrist. For the past couple of months my mood has worsened and two weeks ago I cracked. I visited my GP and wept. He recommended I visit the Mental Health Services clinic to meet with a psychiatrist. I met with a lovely woman called Linda and a (presumably Indian) doctor called Dr Chandra. I find it hard to speak to doctors who are not Irish because they often don't understand the way I speak – my speech is peppered with “likes” and “ahms” and colloquialisms. Linda was well able to interpret my ramblings though. She was so lovely and I wanted her to hug me forever while I dripped snot all over her lovely clothes. But that didn't happen. I just sobbed by myself on my separate comfy chair. After more than a half an hour of sobbing and talking and answering those see-through questions which tried to decipher the cause of my dismay, Linda asked me to wait outside for ten to fifteen minutes while she and Dr Chandra discussed my tainted brain. Linda made me a cup of coffee and supplied me with a two year old copy of Look or some other women's magazine and I sat happily for a while in the clean bright waiting area.

When Linda eventually called me back into the assessment room, she and Dr Chandra explained that they didn't think I was clinically depressed but rather I was just miserable because of my long term issues with low self-esteem. They didn't see a need for Prozac and recommended that I meet with a psychologist for a couple of sessions before I move away in order to, I dunno, figure out why I hate myself so much. When I commented that I felt Prozac felt like a necessary crutch, they said it would then be up to my GP to decide whether to prescribe it. In other words, it won't do a whole lot for me since I have so many other underlying issues but it may have a sort of placebo effect. Sometimes that's enough.

I felt a bit shaken after the meeting and spent a while trying to figure out if it was bad news or good news. And I suppose it depends on how you look at it. In one way it seems as though I am the cause of all my problems, all my misery. A mysterious chemical imbalance cannot be blamed. This is my fault, all my own doing. There's no validation. On the other hand, the fact that it's not simply chemical means, arguably, that there is a cure. I would say that for real clinical depression, there is no cure – just a couple of mg of fluoxetine to keep the monsters at bay. In my case, dealing with my self-loathing will hopefully lift my misery. So there's a cure. An end in sight. I've known for quite a while that, clinical depression or not, I would make no progress without addressing the things that have been plaguing me for most of my life. Feelings of inadequacy, feelings of self-hatred. Tablets would only ever do much.

I suspect that at one point I was clinically depressed. I certainly exhibited the symptoms: low mood, over-sleeping, changes in appetite and concentration, moodiness. Now, however, it seems that I'm simply sad because I tell myself all day every day that I'm a terrible human being. That would make anyone sad. So I'm meeting with the psychologist in a week or two and hopefully I'll get in a couple of sessions before I move away. And I'll work hard at learning to like myself. Here's hoping.

In the meantime, I'm worried about exam results, debt and a lack of disposable income. Hurry up, real life. Wait – is this real life? No, this is the intermission between college life and real life. Another awkward phase of my life. But it's okay. Things will get better.

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