Over the past two months I have had to speak to two policemen, five nurses, one emergency ward doctor, one general practitioner, five psychologists and four psychiatrists; and in the process I have become fairly accustomed to answering questions. Most of the time they are all looking for the same answers and you start to pick up some of their terminology along the way.
However today I was asked the most discouraging question I have heard so far.
“Are you still taking the Edronax?”, asked Psychologist S whom I had only seen once before.
“Yeah…”, I replied hesitantly. I wasn’t quite sure where this was going. Very few psychologists ever cared what medication I was taking and none of them took the time to remember the name of it. Most of them just presume that the doctors are taking care of it and make sure that I feel comfortable with them. This question was something that hadn’t fallen into the scope of my preparation.
“Good. You need to be.” His answer left me stunned.
That that might have seemed fairly innocuous but it really hurt me. For starters I don’t hold a lot of respect for Psychologist S and we haven’t developed anything near trust, and yet to have him insist that I must take medication after just once session troubled me. He went on further to explain why he had said that.
Over the past couple of months I have had to take several questionnaires to measuring my mood state and various other psychological variables. However I am up until now I was yet to see the results of these. Psychologist S was about to explain the results of the two questionnaires I had completed a few weeks earlier, and the results weren’t good.
The first questionnaire measured my depressive mood state and I scored a total of 29 (woohoo!). Apparently this isn’t such a great thing because anything above 30 is considered to be a state of severe depression. I was showing physical signs of depression which meant I am pretty close to freaking out altogether. So I am teetering on the edge of severe depression and according to my psychologist’s ever so insightful commentary I was likely to either get better or get worse at some stage in the future.
The second questionnaire was a more general look at my psychological state and essentially told people whether I had OCD, anxiety problems or whether I was just a nut. There were four areas where my responses were ‘abnormal’. Starting from the most prevalent they were depression, OCD, intra-sensitivity (or something) and hostility. My psychologists comment was that I was depressed, rigid, sensitive and angry. The combination of all four weren’t a good thing and it was quite likely that I would act out. This was something he probably should’ve known since I was referred to him by a hospital after I tried to kill myself.
While I didn’t find the psychologists input very helpful it was good to finally get some feedback from all those forms I kept filling out. Anyway the rest of the session was fairly mundane although he managed to rephrase something which made me think a little.
I had previously discussed the effect that my father’s absence and my mother’s depression had had on my family with another psychologist. However he provided another perspective which I found quite interesting. Normally with young kids if something goes wrong with the parents then the eldest sibling tends to take responsibility and begins to start parenting the younger children. I could understand that, and from my discussions with Sister 1 it had become obvious that she had transformed into a mother figure for sister’s two and three. He went on to say that normally in that situation the sibling that takes on that responsibility also becomes very stressed. I also understood that since Sister 1 has huge gaps in her childhood where she doesn’t remember what happened.
However what appears to have happened with me is that outwardly I have been cared for by my mother and sisters but inwardly I have taken on responsibility myself and tried to care for them. That’s the part that isn’t normal and that is why the head doctors haven’t quite been able to work out what’s going on. Apparently I’m just too sensitive for my own good and I keep trying to take responsibility for other people where I really should be looking after myself. Even though I don’t quite believe that fully something happened tonight that was helped win me over.
Tonight I was lying in the back seat of my car for the second night in a row (I’ve been sleeping there so much recently that my car is starting to smell a little funky). When I heard Housemate A come home from her party I began to toss and turn slightly more than usual – it’s not a very comfortable back seat. After a while I poked my head out and had a look around, and I could see that Housemate A’s light was on.
This carried on for a few more hours and Housemate A’s light still didn’t go off. I began to become concerned and started to wonder if she was ok. I started to think about how she had been over the course of the day and tried to think of a way to help her. I was about to grab my phone and message her when I stopped and thought to myself “She’s not the one with the problem. She’s inside the house. In her room. Where she normally sleeps. And you are lying in the back seat of your car covered with a picnic blanket, trying to sleep with a row of seat belts digging into your back”. The psychologist’s assumption that I was taking responsibility for other people’s problems instead of my own had become painfully accurate.
So in the end I decided to take some responsibility for myself. I crawled out of the back seat, went back inside the house and tonight I intend to sleep in my own bed. I’m still starving after not eating much today, but I didn’t want to disturb anybody by firing up the microwave at quarter past midnight.
Baby steps, right?