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I am not a doctor. This is not medical advice. This is simply an experience.
I entered the office, spoke with the receptionist and waited.
For some time, I had suspected that my mental state wasn’t quite as stable as I needed it to be. For sure, I could walk and talk and appear normal for limited amounts of time, but I wasn’t able to maintain any particular feeling or thought for too long. I felt repressed, skittish and heavy. I knew there was something that I wasn’t able to see, and all the YouTube videos and articles on Google only exposed me to what could be wrong; I had no way of knowing for sure.
After working out a payment plan (these things can be expensive), I went in to see the doctor. For 45-55 minutes, we sat and spoke. I revealed all my suspicions about myself and my thought process, and she nodded. I delved into family background, my own history, my self-inflicted troubles and my general woes. She nodded. I was beginning to think the meeting was futile, since I wasn’t able to get a concrete answer from her and she only seemed interested in nodding.
Finally, I laid out different illnesses and personality disorders, playing eenie-meenie-minie-mo with terminologies I had researched on my own but hardly knew anything about. She stopped me in my tracks and chuckled. “What is it that you would like me to do for you exactly?” she asked calmly. “Well” I said, eyeing her certificates on the wall behind her, “I was hoping you could actually tell me what the problem was since I’m not sure.”
That’s when she at last told me what I have. I knew I was depressed, but after taking medication for it years before I thought I had healed up – like when you have the flu. I didn’t know one could be depressed for persistently long periods of time. I had limited knowledge of my chemical imbalances (serotonin, or the lack of it rather). I especially didn’t realize I had chronic PTSD. I had no clue what all of that meant when added together in one human being. When she told me the terms, I relaxed. “Oh, I’m ok then, it’s no big deal.” Her eyes pierced right at me through her glasses: “No, no you’re not.”
I only went once. I ignored the prescription I received, since pills tend to do more harm than good in my situation. I’m not a counselling therapy individual at the moment (many of us tend to share similar stories that are equally effective). What worked for me was that once I could pinpoint how I was affected, then the videos and articles began to make sense. I was able to cut through the information with a compass that brought me to cases and research specific to how I felt, and that was how I began the work of managing myself. These things don’t form our entire identity, but they definitely influence the outcome.
If you are mentally well, I give thanks for you. If you think you may need to be diagnosed, I suggest you take the step when you’re ready. We can debate about mental health all we like, but there’s a lot we don’t understand and even if we don’t believe in it, it’s still impacting our lives anyway. You may as well know your status.
Blessings in abundance!