The Story So Far

Mental Health Update

Morning Friends,

Mental Health Update incoming. If that’s not your cup of tea there is a picture from last night of some tiny spaceships and this morning there was a pic of my breakfast. If I have to I can easily get you a cat pic. If you need a link where X happened and Y will shock you then I probably can’t help.

Yesterday I had my first ever appointment with a psychologist. I was incredibly nervous but went in almost excited to get started. I did have a lot of worry about maybe this is too much – I don’t need it or the medication and I should just stop being rubbish and suck it up.

The first appointment is really about the psychologist getting a picture of where you are now and filling in some background information. I talked a lot, some of you probably know I am prone to rambling and talking at length once I get going. I was trying to make really sure I got across all the right information.

From what I could tell she seemed to be ‘getting’ what I was saying. I told her what reading I had done around certain techniques and therapies and she was very positive there are things she can teach me that will help.

We did a questionnaire where you have to answer ‘does not apply’ ‘applied some of the time’ ‘applied all of the time’ regarding some statements over the week just gone. It had things like “I feel worthless”, “I was short of breath”, “interruptions made me cross”. It was designed to take a snapshot of you in terms of anxiety, depression and stress. It takes you answers and compares them to the rest of the adult population (not sure how) and gives a rating from mild to moderate to severe.

I was meant to answer quickly and not over think it but it still sent my brain off on a weird adventure. I actually felt embarrassed seeing all the things a person could have been feeling in the last week and kind of felt ashamed for making a big deal over what seemed to indicate mild anxiety and moderate stress.

This put me in a weird head space. I had a message from a good friend after my appointment asking how it went. Initially all I could answer was ‘I don’t know, can’t process’.

I don’t want to be ‘sicker’ or have any of the extreme symptoms, of course not. But now one of my biggest fears of medicating for no reason is playing on my mind.

I am confused now that what I thought was anxiety might just be stress? Anxiety seems to require some quite full on physical symptoms that I simply don’t experience.

Did I turn too quickly to medication having being ‘anti’ my entire life?

On the plus side we talked about the physical nature of the ‘fight or flight’ response and how it can misfire in modern humans. Going to the hairdresser can trigger the same response as ‘there is a tiger in my cave’ etc… I knew some of this already but it was nice to have it explained. The psychologist showed me a breathing technique that is a trigger to bring the body out of that mode and into a relaxed state.

So I am left feeling a bit embarrassed and a little ashamed. Maybe the side effects of the Lexapro just threw me really hard. I’m starting to doubt my ability to self asses how I feel. Is this all some very complex form of my standard avoidance technique? I’m avoiding just ‘sucking it up’ by framing it as a mental illness?

Whatever it is or isn’t the self reflection leading up to therapy has clarified a few things in my mind about my life.

I know my career does not satisfy me. In my personal life I need to be more motivated.

I have another appointment on Wednesday and I will talk about how I felt after the first one. I think there is value in learning the mindfulness cbt/ACT skills whatever happens.

If I did get this horribly wrong, I am really sorry folks.

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