I had my first meeting with a psychologist on Monday. Moments before the appointment here is what I wrote in my journal while sitting at various stop lights, and then in the waiting room at his office.
How is it 11AM and I’m already crying? On way to see a psychologist finally. How many months did this take? Too may. How can so much chaos be crammed into such a short time? I went to bed angry and woke up feeling today might be better. Reality slapped me in the face before 9AM when my son did nothing I asked and I lost my cool and my boss called to tell me what I had fucked up. My husband stranded me with both kids all weekend after I had spent 3 days this week couped up with 3 kids. Then he let me know more then once what I was doing wrong or not doing enough of. And between him, work and my parenting I wonder if there will ever be a point where I am doing enough. Will there ever stop being sick kids so I don’t get behind at work. will my head ever be clear enough to process thoughts and stop fucking up easy tasks? I would cry a river right now but I don’t even have time for that.
Then I went into my doctors office. At first glance I did not think I would like him. Minutes into the session I knew I loved him. My favorite part was when he just said, "well?" And then let me talk. He didn’t ask stupid questions he said he just wanted me to talk, get an idea of what was in my head and see where that went. It was amazing the things that came out of my mouth in an hour. The things I told him about me and my brain and my processing. He asked if I minded if he took notes, and I said "no, not at all, my last doctor didn’t and she forgot everything before our next meeting." He never rolled his eyes or acted like I was stupid. In fact he told me all of the things I was saying were normal. There were names for them (do I remember the fancy names NO but dammit there are names!).
We discussed a various list of things. My habit of over thinking things. How I tend to notice I’m feeling sad and then try and make it worse. My ever moving petrographical memory and how my mind never shuts down. My lack of sleep. My tendency to yell. How I go from zero to crazy angry bitch in 3 seconds. All of these things had names.
Then he asked me the biggest stressers in my life right now. And I answered him honestly.
-Bankruptcy, and the fact that I ruined my husbands credit
-My parenting and how I yell, and then spend the rest of the day guilty
-The loss of certain family members, and not loss by death but loss by choice
-How that loss has affected one of my most sacred friendships
-Feeling inadequate at work, and like I mess up simple tasks
-The feeling that I can’t keep up with anything
-My weigh, and my tendency to eat at the wrong times
He asked about big things in my life that had happened. And I answered him. Here is a little of what I said.
"You know, my dad killed himself when I was 12. I don’t think I dealt with this for a long time. Then, I think everyone around me wanted to obsess about it (aunts and grandmas etc) so I felt like maybe I needed to also. I did stupid things (the autopsy report) and made it worse. But now, so many years later, I have to be honest and say, I feel nothing. He wasn’t my dad. I really barely knew him. He wasn’t around much, he didn’t raise me and if you ask me honestly now, I would say I didn’t lose my dad, this really means nothing to me and I’m over it. What bothers me is my families need to still talk about it. To still act like it has to be an issue. To try and force me to look at pictures of him growing up, when I don’t know him. To talk conspiracy theory’s that he was murdered and that he didn’t kill himself, as if that should make me feel better. But honestly, I just want to put it to rest."
"At church camp once, the head of the camps son drugged me and had sex with me. Later when I was found wandering around camp, a little lost and confused instead of being helped I got in trouble for being out past curfew and with boys. After that came the whys, the what did you do to make that happen, the this was your faults, etc. So I joined Sexual Assault Support Services, became an advocate for rape victims, sat in on numerous rape exams and learned that no, I did nothing, this wasn’t my fault and then I put it to bed. I think for years, I used that to get sad because I felt that is what you are supposed to do. Then I realized that guy was an asshole, he needs help and I did nothing wrong. "
"My grandma died, that crushed me, I’m still crushed, and I don’t want to talk about that now."
"My grandpa is an asshole, who has spent my entire life playing games with my family. I spent my child hood never knowing if he would love me or hate me based on which one of his kids he liked that day. Then for the last 7 years I stood by him. I forgave him. I was the one constant in his life. The only one who loved him no matter what. The only one who wanted to give him a chance. When the rest of my family wanted to trash him, hate him, keep there kids from him, I was there, ME! And then, this year he did not attend my sons birthday party because he was upset at my mom. That was the end of that. That legacy stops with me. He will not play those games with my children and so, as much as it hurt, as much as I hated walking away from someone I had invested so much time in, I did. I walked. I took my kids and my family and I said NO MORE! Not this time, not my kids, not my life."
"Repeat the same as above only insert the word grandma where it says grandpa."
"For years because of my dad I felt like I had a legacy to follow. Like I was destine to fuck up, or fail, or die or whatever. Like I could go out and sleep around, and party, and do stupid things, and drink myself stupid, and abuse ambian and other things, and it was okay, because I was Ricks daughter, it made it okay, it made it all over lookable and now, I’m trying to fight my way out of the legacy and be the one person on my dads side of the family who is not nutty bananas."
Those were a few of the major things that were effecting me. Of course we talked about the bankruptcy but I told him that could take up five sessions just on its’ own. We talked about my husband, we discussed the fact that my only real family in this town are my mom and dad, and we talked about the fact that despite this all I actually have a couple of very amazing friends, and how I hated that even with all of those people I could still be crazy. I explained, that each of them in their own way were my little saving graces. That if it weren’t for those 5 people and my two kids I would probably be institutionalized with a lithium IV right now.
He asked if I had ever thought of hurting myself. I responded honestly. A long time ago, from 12-18 yes. I did A LOT. Not because I wanted to, but because in my head, that was the answer to things. I guess that is where my biological fathers suicide impacted me the most. For a long time in my mind, when things got bad, you just walked away or killed yourself. While I never honestly made good attempts I thought about it daily. The biggest impact I would say, is my tendency to walk away, or make things bad.
I told him how in the 7 years I’ve been with my husband at least twice a year I have tried to make him leave me. I have pushed, I have poked I’ve done what I could to demolish us. My thought is, if I ruin it first I won’t be disappointed when it fails later. That is my motto with a lot of things. Let me fuck it up first so I won’t have to feel the hurt later when it inevitably fails.
He asked me what I was hoping to accomplish. I said simply,
"I want to be the best mom I can be to my kids, at the end of this, no matter what happens in my life, they are the only things I can’t screw up. They need to be the best thing I ever do in my life. That is it. I just want to be the best thing in my kids life."
He told me, with out a doubt, if we work on this together, he knows I can overcome my parenting challenges. My habit of yelling. We will work on exercises and things to help me respond different. I am excited, and hopeful of this.
Finally he asked me to do a circle collage thing as home work. Draw circles around all of the things impacting my life. Connect those to each thing that impacts and so on. I will work on that next.
I left feeling drained. Like the life had been sucked out of me. Numb. And also, like that was exactly where I needed to be. It was relieving to be able to speak freely and not worry about who was going to hear what I said. Who my stories would be passed too. Not seeing rolled eyes, not being made to feel crazy. It was nice to know what conditions I was dealing with in my head. To have names for them. To know we are going to work on ways to fix them.
The first thing we are going to work on, is recognizing when I’m getting sad, when I’m going into my head, and learning how to stop, pull out and go on. He said the panic attack I described from two weekends ago was pretty sever and if it was getting that bad, it was time to learn to prevent it. He asked me if I was worried about the symptoms of it, ie, when it happened did I get scared I was dying or having a heart attack. I said, No, I was lucid enough to realize it was a panic attack, pull over and put the car in park. He told me that was really great, that fearing a panic attack is the worst place to be so that was already a step in the right direction.
Today, while driving for some reason I felt myself wanting to go down. I wanted to get in my head. I wanted to turn on my music and make it worse, and conjure up some moment to make myself more sad. I wanted to climb in my head, put up a wall and revel in the sadness. I caught it early this time, so I concentrated on my fancy new shoes, I put on my Philosophy lip gloss, I turned on the air conditioning and I tried to pull out of it as fast as I could. While I wouldn’t say I got all the way out, I would say it was a step in the right direction. I recognized it, and I put up a fight with my head. I went against it. I would say I partly won. While part of my head is still nagging me to come in, I’m trying so hard to ignore it right now.
Finally. I spoke with my physician. We agreed I needed to up my dose 1/2 pill. I am now at 75mg of Zoloft. She said in the end, who knows I may end up needing to be at 100mg. We will try it for two more weeks and see. She would like to avoid switching drugs, because she said first she would have to wean me off this one and then wean me on a new one, and that would slow my progress.
I hope, between the two doctors I can get a handle on this.