Hi. Hello. Welcome back to my long-forgotten lair. I hope you find it comfortable. Please ignore the dust. The bats are as harmless as they are adorable. I’ll light a few candles to disguise the smell.
When last we met, I had…feelings. Lots of them. Loneliness…hopelessness…sexual frustration… I was like an anthropomorphic portrayal of Pandora’s box. I had little to go on besides a piece of paper from my insurance company that included the words “Generalized Anxiety Disorder”, which was like an initial spark on a beacon of hope that someone effeminate young boy scout (who really didn’t want to be a boy scout but his insecure parents made him do it) was trying to light with a couple rocks and a faggot.
Did I just compose that sentence so that I could use the word “faggot” in that context for the first time in my entire life? Maybe. Probably.
Anyway, earlier this year, my therapist (who is definitely not a psychiatrist and while I don’t entirely know what the differences are, I know they are prominent) suggested I see a psychiatrist, in hopes of finding a medicinal cure for whatever it is that ails me. He suspected Bipolar Disorder, but I thought that seemed unlikely. If I was bipolar, I was pretty sure I was getting the short end of the manic stick. (Also, Manic Stick is the name of my new Scissor Sisters cover band.) But through my conversations with others, Bipolar did not sound like the likely culprit. However, I was still fairly certain that depression and anxiety were in the picture somewhere.
I set up an intake appointment at the health center where I already get my primary care. The psychologist I spoke with asked me a bunch of questions to measure what shapes and colors of busted my brain was to see if I was eligible for psychiatric treatment. He also found it peculiar that anyone would think I was bipolar, which added as many question marks as it did exclamation points to my situation, but several weeks later he called me and said I was cleared to register for psychiatry (I don’t know if I’m using any of the right lingo here but I’m using the words I know to get you to understand what the hell is going on.)
I called the office (like, a month later because when you’re depressed you might as well be a snail. But slightly more verbose.) The human on the other end of the line warned me that it would be several months before I could be seen in the behavioral health department, and suggested I talk with my primary care provider about obtaining medication before that time. The glorious hiccup here is that I didn’t know my primary care provider. My previous PCP had just left the practice to open up his own boutique health care situation (which would have been geographically more convenient for me but most certainly would have wreaked havoc on my wallet and therefore no.) I felt kinda crunchy about the prospect of meeting with a new doctor for the first time and asking him for happy pills, but I already had an appointment on the books so thought “what the hell.”
Anyway, about two months ago, I had said appointment with my new PCP(ILF). After we covered the original items on the agenda, I brought up the topic of my Twelve Herculean Labors of trying to not be sad all of them time. I told him what my therapist and I had discussed. I told him what the psychologist and I had discussed. I told him what the psychology coordinator and I discussed. TLDR; “I am quickly learning that my brain is giving itself reasons to constantly be upset and I would like them to stop but everyone is telling me I have to get my remedies from someone else and now here you are.” He listened intently, and told me he’d be perfectly comfortable setting me up with a prescription to help me handle my anxiety and depression. I was gobsmacked. I totally thought it there would be several more hurdles to leap through but sure enough, I went home that day with a month’s worth of Zoloft to try on for size. I knew full well that mental health meds rarely work out on the first go, and that things were likely to get worse before they got better, but I was proud of myself for taking action and very excited about this new doctor.
I understood that I should not expect results for 4-6 six weeks, so I added my meds to my nighttime routine and otherwise tried to forget about it. And for the most part I did. Until about four weeks later when I thought, “Hmmm, it’s been about four weeks”. I felt the same, but chose not to stress about it and shrugged it off. About a week later, however, I noticed something. Nothing super dramatic. But I realized that social interaction seemed…less horrifying? Normally, if I walk into a store, even if I need sooooo much help, if an associate asks me if I need help I yelp “NO I’M FINE” and continue to awkwardly browse by myself. Within that week, though, I found myself going into three different establishments and asking for exactly what I want without stressing about it for an hour beforehand. This is a very big deal. I feel like a lot of people were of the belief that I just chose not to interact with others. That’s not it. In addition to the idea of initiating contact with another human being extremely frightening more often than not, it also just felt…impossible. Like I was opening my mouth to speak and an invisible force would cover my mouth and muffle me.
The transformations continued in the weeks that followed. I found that I was able to focus on work better than before. I was able to interact with other people more comfortably. I was…happy. Sometimes for no reason. For the last few years, my default mood was sadness and anger, and only perked up when given a *very* good reason. Now, I have found a nice neutral default mood, that switches up to happiness much more easily. My self-esteem is significantly more solid, and I’m way less preoccupied with how other people perceive me.
This is comfortable.
I definitely still have my dark days. And I definitely still have a lot of the same problems as before. But they are much more manageable now, and don’t consume my brainspace the way they did before. Things are not perfect, but I’m looking forward to being able to enjoy life more for the foreseeable future.
I think you can expect more from me soon.
Oh, I should also tell you… I did a play. For the first time in seven years, I was in a piece of theatre as someone who was not me.