This Friday past was National Depression Screening Day. I marked it with a post on the JTI, http://www.jtirregulars.com/2015/10/health-help-on-national-depression.html , containing a link to the full story on the Journal Times site. I did quote a snatch of the article: "'It feels sad every day,' said Todd. He battled depression for 18 months before he finally got help."
I suspect that most people consider that to be depression: "feeling sad" all of the time. Maybe it is, and I'm not doubting Todd Hopkins' diagnosis. Like I said, maybe this is what "depression" is to other people. Unfortunately, I'm not that lucky. My depression is aggressive and unforgiving. It's trying to kill me.
I was sick with gastrointestinal problems for over three years. I lost 30 lbs. My gastroenterologist examined my GI track from top to bottom. I received an endoscopy, a colonoscopy, and CT scans (with the nasty tasting dye) of the middle of the GI tract where they can't see with the other tests.
After all tests were in, my gastroenterologist said, "There's no organic cause for your problems. They must be psychological, probably your depression." I felt utterly defeated. This was during a time when I wasn't seeing a psychiatrist. When I asked the doctor to recommend a psychiatrist, he demurred, saying that he knows psychiatrists but he doesn't know if they're any good.
My puking and diarrhea continued. "Luckily," my sister's husband died a few years earlier and now she was more available to take care of mom. This was a big step. My sister hated my mother. Always had. But she would be civil towards mom, most of the time. I saw mom almost every day for years and I was the one who promised to keep her out of the nursing home for as long as possible, but my stomach problems were interfering. My sister had wanted to put mom in a "home" as soon as mom broke her hip.
I had continued the meds I was on from my first psychiatrist by having my primary care physician prescribe them. I remember my primary care doctor once saying, "Don't be surprised if you need a psychiatrist again." Luckily, I found one not too far away from where I lived and I started seeing her. She's a psychiatric nurse practitioner.
At the first appointment, they give you and the psychiatrist an hour to get to know each other. Subsequent visits are 20 minutes each. At the end of the first appointment, my psychiatrist listed my three major diagnoses as Major Depressive Disorder (Clinical Depression), Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and a "touch" of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. The exact same three my previous psychiatrist had diagnosed me with. However, she was much more willing to change and rearrange my medications.
My depression makes me loathe myself, makes me forever remorseful for fucking up my life, makes me hate myself. There's a broken record in my brain that constantly repeats, "You're a piece of shit, you're a piece of shit, you're a piece of shit, . . ." It's there when I wake up and when I go to sleep. It never stops, never.
My depression attacks me in many ways, but some of the symptoms have been reduced greatly, and others eliminated completely. I don't know whether to credit my meds, but my anger level has dropped dramatically. My psychiatrist says depression is hatred turned inwards. Sometimes, it gets turned outward. That happened with me a lot, especially in the form of road rage. I was wiling to fight anyone for any reason. God, what a lunatic old man. (Btw, that's the title, "old man," that most of my "enemies" would address me by.)
My psychiatrist and I worked on knocking down some of these symptoms. She doubled my dosage of Buspar, and scripted me one-and-a-half times Lexapro's supposed therapeutic dosage. She added Seroquel to my regimen and the results appeared quickly. I was less anxious and far, far less likely to start a fight with you.
I used to hang out of the window screaming at cars. Now, I might curse them under my breath, but fuckit, it's only traffic.
My depression is forever finding ways to attack me. For the past month, I have started to have some urgency issues with my urination. I had an appointment last week with my primary care doctor and I told him about it. He said as we get older, sometimes our bladder spasms. They're gonna run "tests." God, they love their tests. Anyway, I get home and for the ret of the day there's no urgency problem. Since then, I've had a little, but I think just hearing that it's probably normal was enough to end the constant pees.
Do you have any idea of how to get proper healthcare when your subconscious can and will decoy you with some sort of suffering? How much self-hate does it take before something explodes? I have no idea what my body will do. It's insane. I'm insane.
"You're a piece of shit, you're a piece of shit, you're a piece of shit, . . ."