For someone who has a past of, let's face it, mental health issues, but isn't receiving ongoing care for it, it's a really strange thing to have to go and see a doctor about. Usually you walk in, the doctor asks what's up, and you point to something, or present a symptom or injury to them. But when it's all in your head, you have to try and find a way of explaining yourself, without just saying "I'm depressed", or "I'm anxious".
Or at least I think you do! I'm not actually 100% sure how much explaining is necessary really, but I have always felt obliged to give some insight into the matter, just so they can make their own decisions on what the best course of action for you is. That said, as we know from numerous reports, GP's are only very basically trained for such issues, so how much information is really needed? That of course isn't a snipe at GP's, there is a limit to how much any one persons brain can absorb, so would rather the referral route, than the "I think I know what I am doing" one.
Last night, after speaking with friends, and making the decision to go to the doctors, just to prove how messed up things are right now, I was fretting about it. That's right, after making the decision to get help, I was now worried about how to explain myself, and worried about how I would come across to them. Is that strange? Well it might be to you, but for me it is a classic symptom, and just reaffirms the issues I am having right now.
I got to about 1am and finally tried to change the subject in my head. So I imagined being underwater, scuba diving. Crystal clear waters, surrounded by a reef and loads of different species of fish. Just imagining myself drifting with the current, effortless. No finning, just gliding. That did the trick! That was also a eureka moment for me, and I realised that what would help right now is to get under the water again. Problem being, UK diving is rather nippy right now, and I have no drysuit, and obviously Red Sea etc costs money, and then there are the dogs etc. So it's unlikely I will be using that as therapy any time soon. But hey, I can try and find a way. Nemo 33 anyone?
Back to the whole doctor issue. I remember the last time, seeing a doctor I have known for years, and one I trust to listen before making a sweeping judgement. I felt at ease because I knew him I think. I explained that sleeping was a huge issue for me, getting my mind to stop was impossible, and it was affecting aspects of my day to day life. He got it, and we dealt with it step by step. I had counselling supplied by work, and at the end of it, I came out feeling alive again.
This time it is a doctor I have never met and know nothing about, so I am on the defensive straight away. I realise this sounds really stupid to some people, surely you just walk in and tell them what is up. But it isn't that simple and here is why.
Mental health issues span a huge expanse of conditions, and they all have very different ways of being dealt with. Especially when it comes to drugs, there are a multitude of pills and medications that can be prescribed. But it all depends on how your issues present.
For a physical issue the doctor can see it and assess it based on how it presents. For something in the head, it is very different, and it is also quite awkward. Have you ever tried to explain an object or a sensation to someone, without them having seen or experienced it. It really isn't easy, but the better you know someone, the easier it is to be on the same level and get your message across.
Then, even if you can explain it properly, you have the perception aspect of it. Example, tattooing. If two people with a tattoo discuss how it felt to have the procedure carried out, a lot of the time they will not only use different descriptive words, but also disagree about how the sensation felt.
Now take that to being a patient, trying to verbalise what is going on in your mind, in a way a complete stranger will understand.
I guess it comes back to the whole thing of keep it simple, but I don't do simple, so that in itself is a struggle for me.
So I have come up with this... And if need be I will have it in front of me when I see the doctor tomorrow. That way I won't ramble or lose my direction, but will say what is needed.
About 4-5 years ago I suffered quite badly with anxiety and depression. It wasn't the first time, but was the worst by far. Recently I have started having the same issues I had back then before I hit rock bottom, and am concerned that I am going back in that direction. Over thinking, trouble sleeping, lack of motivation, lack of concentration, and dwelling on certain aspects of life, both important and totally random.
A lot has changed for me over recent months, so I think the sudden instability has triggered this, as it did the last time. Last time I was put on medication, but would like to avoid that this time around, and see if I can shake it by other means first. Of course I am not ruling out the possibility.
Or words to that effect eh!
My appointment is early tomorrow morning, so I have about another 16-17 hours to get through before seeing someone about this.
Last night's blog entry alone had a positive effect for me, getting some thoughts and fears out there in the open, for me to understand a little better. Crazy as it might sound, typing and reading back most of the things I say, is like having the conversation I needed to have, but had no-one to have it with. Like one of those moments in something on TV, where something totally unrelated suddenly puts a case into perspective. It is the same for me, saying things, often typing them faster than I can think them (honestly, I think THAT slowly!.......... joke), words seem to appear from nowhere. Almost like opening the floodgates to my mind, and letting it all spill out, thoughts I could not access before are right there, and it makes sense.
Told you I was nuts!
So there we have it, the issue that has been smashing around inside my skull since late last night, driving me mad, and exhausting me mentally all day.
See there is another thing that has just come out that I had not even considered!
The mental exhaustion from the overthinking. Another classic symptom of the matter for me. Like a computer with some infected program running in the background sucking up all the resources, when you go into task manager, it is using 98% of CPU and memory, rendering the rest of the computers functions useless. THAT is how my head works when I am like this. A simple mundane issue will suck up all the resources and energy I have, and make it impossible for me to do the simplist of things. So sitting on the sofa staring at the TV which is switched off, is about all that is left within my limits of capabilities.
Right, before I run out of energy and shut down to conserve vital functions, I shall wrap things up here.
Basically the conclusion reached here is, keep things simple, explain the basics. That's all. Everything above was an example of my train of thought, just to come to a simple conclusion. Exhausting to read isn't it, and the real long way around.. Now imagine what it is like to have that thought process for most of the decisions you make every day. I kid you not, other than simple bodily requirements, everything else goes through the same mental red tape.
Needless to say, it is the reason I try and stick to a routine where decisions are not necessary. I can go the whole morning without needing to make any decisions, but once the first one arrives... Its over!
Right, that is enough this time. Here's to seeing the doctor. This time tomorrow I will have an idea of what their decision is.
Wish me luck.