I had a doctor’s appointment this morning, one which I’d scheduled last week. It was to be an in-and-out appointment, its intent to serve as nothing more than for me to complete a physical for insurance purposes. After stepping out of the depression closet yesterday, I made the decision bring it up with my doctor.
In truth, I didn’t expect (or want) much from him other than to see if there are any good therapists in the area that he could recommend. I still intended to do my due-diligence research, but I hoped that he’d at least be able to provide me with a starting point.
I know that my doctor does treat depression, because he’s also the PCP of a couple of friends of mine that he treats for depression. However, he’s the “take two pills and call me in the morning” type, and while I’m not opposed to taking medication, I’d rather that it be an informed, professional decision and not just a quick scribble on the script pad. I could have walked in today, asked for meds, and received them. Of that, I have no doubt.
But meds don’t do the dirty work of shoveling your shit; only you can do that. I want to talk to someone who can help me with some shit-shoveling strategies, and if meds are needed to give me a longer handle so that I have more leverage, I’m okay with that. I’m not okay with being given a long-handled shovel and then not knowing what the hell to do with it. So, my question for today was to be, “Doc, do you know any good therapists?” and not, “Pass de pills pon de lef’ hand side.”
I was nervous about it. Yesterday I told the whole damned world that I think I might have depression, but the thought of sitting in close confines with someone and saying, “Yo, doc – something ain’t right in mah head parts,” gave me the bubbleguts. Still, I’d made up my mind, and I was determined to do it.
Just my luck–I ended up with a PA today. I never have a problem being seen by a PA, but I’d built myself up to talk to my regular doctor, with whom I’m at least semi-familiar. Bringing up the D-word with the PA was a no-go, because she was new to the office.
And pregnant. She was in the golden phase, that part after you’re done barfing up your lungs but before you whale out and are perpetually uncomfortable.
Illogic pinged and I thought, “You can’t tell her that you think you might have depression; look at how happy she is.”
Because depression is totally contagious.
And then infertility pinged and I thought, “You can’t tell her that you think you might have depression, because she’s pregnant. What if she’s infertile and is having a good day and you suck the goodness out of it because you mention depression and that makes her think of her depression and then she spends the rest of the day counting kicks and pushing paranoia back?”
Because every pregnant woman has dealt with infertility and wears the plastic face.
I knew as soon as those thoughts came to me that they were illogical and just plain dumb, but I took them as evidence of my vulnerability and as further confirmation that I have some work to do to rearrange how I think about depression.
Though I punked out on saying the d-word today, I did give myself props for recognizing when my self-doubt triggered the self-defense mechanism. Getting through this is going to take me pushing at the boundaries of my comfort zones, but I still have to manage it in a way that keeps me feeling in control of things. My brain was all up in Miyagi-does-the-crane-technique mode. That was not enough control for me.
Yesterday, I hit PUBLISH and then ducked for cover. I didn’t expect anyone to point a mocking finger and say, “Gangstas are badass and you are SO not a gangsta–man up,” but I feared it just the same.
I also didn’t expect quite the chorus of, “Me, too.” I sure as shit didn’t expect for others to tell me that they’ve also been teetering around admitting to themselves that they might be depressed and that my post is helping to give them the courage to seek professional help. That alone is proof enough that I’m on the right track.
I thank you all for being in my posse. You know how to make a gangsta feel loved.