Oh well. Here’s today’s term: “mental health.” Uh-huh. I’m going there.
This morning I had a doctor’s appointment. My doctor’s name is Dr. Darling. She’s a great doctor, don’t get me wrong, but “darling” is a misnomer. She’s not fluffy in the least, and, in fact, I avoid appointments because we argue. At least, she calls me argumentative.
This morning we talked about my mental health. I suffer from depression. Off and on my whole life. It’s debilitating at times and at other times it’s just enough of a downer that I can’t perform at the level I’d consider normal. It causes me great suffering that no amount of “buck up, little lady” pep talks can remedy. And this, my friends, is a huge reason why it took me over a decade to get my first novel published. It’s a miracle I’m published — and I’m grateful for that.
So, anyhow, La Darling Doctor and I talked about how I’m feeling, and I made the mistake of mentioning the word “bipolar” — because sometimes I feel that way. And she pounced. I mean, she was ALL. OVER. IT.
I’m thinking, Yikes, I could truly be effed up. But wouldn’t that explain so much about me? Maybe my whole life it hasn’t been about crazy hormones but about crazy neurotransmitters.
La Darling gives me the name of a psychiatric nurse practitioner (first I’ve heard of these). She says she’s concerned because if I’m bipolar, the antidepressant she recently put me on could cause me to flip into mania (not that I’ve ever been that manic) and, this is the funny part, she says:
“… and then you with your big brain will start arguing with me because you’ll be feeling so good you won’t want to go off the medication.”
“Why would I need to go off the medication if I’m feeling good?” (See, I’m already arguing, and it hasn’t happened yet — and probably won’t.)
“Because you’ll fry your brain, that’s why. You’ll end up falling harder, you’ll see it coming, and that’s just when people commit suicide …”
HUH? How did we land on suicide?
So I say, “OK, I’ll monitor myself then.”
She laughs. “You can’t monitor yourself — that’s the whole point. If manic people could monitor themselves they wouldn’t become manic.”
Hmm. All I can do is shrug at this point. Really, I’d like to feel good — a little mania might do me well. I decide not to reveal my not-so-secret hankering to be a bad patient. Instead, I bring up my constant tiredness. It’s been eons since I’ve woken well-rested. She asks me if I snore. Nope.
“How do you know you don’t snore?” she says.
“From rooming with fellow writers at conferences and workshops.”
“You could have sleep apnea. That would explain so many of your symptoms, including depression … ”
So, now I’ve got the names of a couple of sleep clinics too.
But I’m not done yet. Oh no. If I’m going to get my ass into La Darling’s office, I’m going to milk it for all it’s worth. Now I’m just messing with her: “What’s the deal with testosterone? Does it have anything to do with energy levels?”
“Maybe I have too little testosterone. Maybe I should get that tested.”
“If you take testosterone, you’ll grow hair on your face and body.” (YUCK) “Besides, we don’t want to start you on anything else new right now. We need to see how the Celexa performs.”
Fine. And then, another thought:
“Gluten! Do you think I could be gluten intolerant?”
By now, she’s edging out of the room, she’s cocking her head at me with a little smile — there goes my “big brain” again. She likes that term when it comes to me. I used to think it was a compliment, but nowadays I wonder if she’s trying to say (in the nicest, non-fluffy, kind-of-brusque way possible) that I’m my own worst enemy.
Or, maybe she just doesn’t have any other patients who argue with her. Frankly, I thought I did well with her today. Maybe the Celexa has started to kick in. Maybe by our next appointment (next month), I’ll really have my argumentative groove on! Then we’ll both know I’m on the mend.
Who’s got a funny doctor story? Or an any-professional story? Do you suffer from depression — how do you cope?
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