I finally did it. The thing I’ve been telling myself and my family that I needed to do for years. I finally saw a psychiatrist, and I’ve been diagnosed with the alphabet.
I’m not sure how I imagined that visit would go, but it was easier and a lot less terrifying than I thought it would be. He asked a million questions, and patiently listened to the answers. He showed compassion in how he spoke, but not so much that I felt like he was pitying me. When more and more things piled on, he didn’t act surprised or overwhelmed or whatever I might have expected. He just did his job. He listened to me without doubting anything I was saying and it felt so good for a professional to do that.
The visit flew by quicker than I thought it would and he calmly explained what he thinks I’ve got going on. I already knew a few of these, but I wasn’t exactly prepared to hear it out loud.
MDD (Major Depressive Disorder)
PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder)
ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder)
GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder)
Agoraphobia(totally forgot about that one at first.)
and possible OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)
While it was a bit of a punch to the gut to hear it all out loud, it was also a huge relief. My worst fear going in was that I was going to pour my heart out only to be told that it was all in my head and there was nothing wrong with me. I think logically I knew that there was no way that was going to happen, but I was terrified. Hearing a professional say out loud that I was right in every single thing I suspected not only made me feel heard, but it validated how I’ve been feeling my whole life.
It’s like every time someone doubted me, my feelings, my panic attacks or my depressive episodes, my mind washed over all of those memories. They used to all be filled with doubt, because what if they’re right? What if I’m just overreacting? What if it’s just all in my head and I’m fine and this is how life is supposed to be? Now each doubt feels weaker. Each wave of despair at not being taken seriously, lifted just a bit because someone finally listened. And believed me.
So now I’ve finally got what I need to move forward. He explained that finding the right treatments would take time, that it would be a long process but he was confident that we’d figure it out together. He did recommend that I start seeing a therapist, and we will talk about that soon. When it came time to talk about medication, he asked what I’ve tried so far, what worked and what didn’t. When I told him what I’m currently on, he agreed that if it was working, then we’d keep it. He explained that even though it didn’t help enough with the depression, it was a great choice for me because it can also greatly help with the ADD. He then gave me a script for an anti-anxiety medication for me to use only when I feel like I need it, and so far it has been okay. He recommended another antidepressant to add because of how well it can work with the one I’m already on. And proving again that he was listening, he told me that it wouldn’t cause weight gain like the first ones I tried did, and that he was going to start me off slowly since I had such bad reactions before.
So I left his office with samples, a script and a renewed sense of hope that maybe this could work. I do hope one day that I can handle all this without medication, or at least at a minimal level. But right now, that’s not the point. Right now, I just need to be okay. I need to be the wife that my husband needs, the mother that my kids need and I need the person that I’ve always thought I could be but could never reach. I’m done with the pride, I’m done with the stigma, and I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m only hanging on with the help of prescriptions. Because this is what I need right now, and I’m glad that I’ve finally taken that step.
And good timing too, because 2018 is right around the corner and I am going to make it as good as I possibly can.