Well let’s not pretend to be shocked that my second installment of mental health Monday is in fact, coming in on a Thursday. It’s all about extending grace to yourself, and I’m working on practicing that.
So, even though I’ve been depressed for awhile, the past 5 months have been really, really hard. If you google top 10 stressors, this past year has hit a few: marriage, death of a parent, career change, and moving. At the end of the summer I became full time, jumping in and attempting to learn how to set my own schedule, hold myself accountable, and work from home.
It’s SO HARD!!! Depression and ADD look a whole lot alike, and trying to keep myself focused and meeting deadlines is impossible sometimes. On top of that, this was our first full year in business. We’re still less than 2 years old! So here I am, 24 weddings deep after 18 months in business, mourning the loss of my mother, trying to be a good wife, trying to be successful, trying to keep friendships healthy, and feeling like an absolute FAILURE at all of it. Not even feeling like a failure, but convincing myself of it. Watching my happiness drift farther away at each new challenge.
I started therapy again in June. My therapist was fantastic, but the past 3 months it’s been clear that something is still lacking. I would go to therapy and it would be a repeat of the week before. Same problems, every time, nothing changing.
How am I? Terrible. Crying constantly. Angry. Same as last week. These meds feel pointless.
My memory has been awful. I lose my sentence while speaking. I’m forgetful. I’m tired. I blow up at the slightest inconvenience. I have zero appetite. I’ve been eating boxed mashed potatoes because they’re plain and I can usually get them down. Doing anything takes me exponentially longer than it should. Things are just terrible. And I’ve been trying! I've switched to green tea. I’ve cut down on drinking. I’ve been using lists and planners. I’ve been cleaning and trying to stay busy and sleeping and oh my god if I just slather myself in the right combination of essential oils maybe I’ll be happy?!
I had a physical with my primary doctor, who is wonderful and knows all about my brain. I mentioned the change in jobs and that being my own boss is so hard, and she suggested I have an exam done with a neuro-psychologist to see what all is happening in my head. I used to be medicated for ADD, so I was eager to see what he said. I also spent hours googling different mental health problems, because that’s super helpful, right?
My exam was 3.5 hours long. It was exhausting. They asked me trivia, gave me puzzles, made me take mind-numbing attention tests, and had me answer 350 true and false questions, among many other things.
On Tuesday, they called with the results. In general, he said, I did really well. A little trouble with executive functioning, and I could probably use an ADD med to assist me in transitioning to my new career….but mostly, he said, I’m just massively depressed, and we need to intervene. Wait, what? Intervene? It’s like, that bad? Yep. I have become so comfortable in my misery for so long that this was genuinely shocking to hear. I truly just thought this was my destiny. Last week I caught myself wondering what it’s like to be happy. I cannot even fathom it.
It’s surreal to hear someone take this so seriously. No one is rolling their eyes at my tears. No one telling me I’m wrong. They’re VERY concerned and trying to help. Weird.
So, on Monday I have an intake appointment for an intensive outpatient program. The words have softened in my ears since Tuesday. When I first heard ‘intensive outpatient program’ I cried (obviously) because it sounds pretty scary. Intensive!? I don’t have the energy to do anything intensive right now!
It’s been a few days of addressing my own stigma and bias, but I’m ready to participate. It’s going to be 9 hours of group therapy a week, which is beyond intimidating, but I have to try. I have some really amazing friends who have been through the program and they all had great things to say.
While I’m nervous and scared, I am also extremely grateful and hopeful for this opportunity.
I would LOVE to hear your experiences if you’d been through a similar program. While I’m optimistic as I write this now (fueled by all that green tea), I know challenges wait ahead and I’ll need support.