How do I know if it's real?

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Re: How do I know if it's real?

Post by Aggrax on Wed Apr 29, 2015 12:16 am

No, this has basically been my headspace for the past 7 years or so. I can remember feeling pretty bad about myself as far back as 4th grade, but that's all a little fuzzy. Between gaining 150 pounds on top of my already out of control weight, watching my brother get perfect grades in High School while feeling like a complete idiot and barely attending college classes, I kinda shit the bed and have just sort of been metaphorically wallowing in it instead of doing anything about it.
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Re: How do I know if it's real?

Post by reboot on Wed Apr 29, 2015 5:43 am

Making the move to get assessed for depression and other mental health issues is doing something to change. The brain is an organ that needs care and attention when it does not seem to be working quite right. You are doing what a responsible adult does when they have symptoms.

It sounds like your family has the same beliefs about mental health as mine does, which is unfortunate and an incorrect set of beliefs. It is sad that they will not be support for you during this time, so you are going to have to guard against them undermining you and playing Greek chorus to your jerk brain. You might need some scripts. My personal favorites (which may be too combative for other families):

"Of course it is in my head. It is a mental illness. And I am not discussing it with you anymore."

"You do not believe in depression and I do not believe in god. Can we call it even of the faith systems and drop the topic?"

"You go to confession and talk to the priest and I go to therapy, what is the difference? I am done with this topic." alternate: "You go to the bar and talk to Y and drink vodka, I go to therapy. What is difference? . .."

"It worked, did it not? So who cares at this point? I am done talking about this with you."
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Re: How do I know if it's real?

Post by jcorozza on Wed Apr 29, 2015 6:19 am

reboot wrote:Making the move to get assessed for depression and other mental health issues is doing something to change. The brain is an organ that needs care and attention when it does not seem to be working quite right. You are doing what a responsible adult does when they have symptoms.


This, so much. And doing so in an environment where people are actively working against you? Even harder.
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Re: How do I know if it's real?

Post by Aggrax on Thu Apr 30, 2015 10:35 pm

Today I was supposed to go to see my sleep doctor. But I haven't been using my CPAP machine because I can't get to sleep with it on. So instead I panicked and didn't go to the office. Instead, in order to eat up time so my family thinks I went, I went to Taco Bell and bought $20 worth of food, which I ate in the car over the next hour, then drove home.

This is the type of behavior my family references when they say I'm not trying hard enough to deal with things. And it's why I believe them. Because if I really was trying to fix things, I wouldn't make such monumentally stupid decisions.
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Re: How do I know if it's real?

Post by Enail on Thu Apr 30, 2015 10:51 pm

It sounds like situations where you feel like you're going to get in trouble or get disapproval really stresses you out, like you feel so much pressure about it that it's too much to deal with when things aren't going well, so you do something to avoid it instead. I think that's a pretty common reaction to an excess of pressure.

It seems like maybe it would be easier to face some of these difficult situations if you could find ways to reframe it so that it's not so much like being called to the principal's office and getting scolded. Do you think it would feel any differently if, instead of "I'm here to admit to being stupid so you can tell me how badly I'm doing," you were to go to the sleep doctor about "the CPAP machine is so disruptive to my sleep that I can't use it, how can we solve this?"
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Re: How do I know if it's real?

Post by Werel on Thu Apr 30, 2015 11:10 pm

Yes, everything Enail said x10000.

Also, some perspective: your "monumentally stupid decision" sounds like just a regular, garden-variety, bad-but-understandable decision that we all make from time to time. Have I absolutely put off or ditched some odious task I was dreading, only to go stress-eat some bullshit food instead? Yes. We have all done something like that, whether the odious task was cleaning the garage, or writing a paper, or having a tough conversation, and the stress-eating was having too many drinks, or binge-watching a bunch of trashy TV, or buying shoes that were way too expensive. (In fact, I am making the bad choice to put off the odious task of writing a paper right this very moment. Wink)

Stress makes us all do dumb stuff that we regret. Every single human being. Don't let the combined forces of your jerkbrain and your family convince you that it's a phenomenon unique to you. Yes, it wasn't the best choice. Yes, you should try to figure out ways to make better choices in the future. Yes, you should work on cutting back some of the (sounds like very high levels of) stress in your life. But no, it doesn't mean you're especially incompetent or irresponsible, and it doesn't mean that you deserve to be unhappy.
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Re: How do I know if it's real?

Post by Aggrax on Wed May 06, 2015 5:06 am

I go to the Endocrinologist tomorrow and I can easily predict how it's going to go.

I'll be very tired from being up on the internet at 3am. The doctor will ask me if I've been doing any of the things I'm supposed to and I'll say no, in fact I have been doing the opposite. Then they will try to be encouraging me while all I can think is 'I bet they think I'm a horrible person for not doing what they told me to do. They probably think I'm a little shit-head who can't follow basic instructions.' They will them propose something that I can try and say they want to have some labs drawn in 3 months. I'll agree to the idea, try it for about 3 days and then drop it for some stupid reason or another, then spend the next 3 months telling myself to start trying to do whatever it is again, even though I know I won't.

Immediately when I get home from the appointment, my Dad will ask what the doctor said. It doesn't really matter what I say at this point, because the follow up will always be the same line of "You know we really need to get serious about this. Start exercising more and eating less. And get a job. That's all you need to do to fix this."

At least I can't make a stupid decision to stop and eat anywhere, because I am literally out of money right now.
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Re: How do I know if it's real?

Post by Enail on Wed May 06, 2015 11:38 am

That sounds frustrating and stressful, Aggrax. But remember that this is not your teacher or your parent or your boss, it's a professional who is being paid to be of help to you. You're not their boss, exactly, but they're not yours either. They're an expert, you're consulting them, you're just as much in charge here as they are.

So, treat this as a problem you're bringing to them and their job is to help it get solved. The current way they've been doing things isn't one that's working for you. That's a problem, but it's not a you problem, it's a joint problem, and it's a legitimate problem to have. You are allowed to say "I understand the importance of [whatever they've been telling you to do,] but I have difficulty following through with those kinds of suggestions due to severe lack of motivation, possibly depression. Do you have any suggestions how we can work around that?"

You can help them do their job by thinking a bit about what kinds of things or ways of doing things you find more difficult and if there are any that tend to be a little easier. And by considering what would you want the endocrinologist to do for you? How could they be more helpful to you?
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Re: How do I know if it's real?

Post by Aggrax on Wed May 06, 2015 4:35 pm

Today didn't really turn out like I expected, and I guess that's kind of a good thing.

I'm now on a sliding insulin scale for meal times, so I need to start being more diligent checking my blood sugar. I also have a few additional medication options to consider.

The better news though, is that I have an appointment next week to see someone about depression. I was able to confirm with the nurse that set this up that they will take my insurance, so the cost is going to be low. I returned home and didn't meet with any resistance to this idea. I'm not sure that my parents are still 100% convinced this is the right idea, but it looks like they are at least willing to let me give it a try.
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Re: How do I know if it's real?

Post by Werel on Wed May 06, 2015 4:56 pm

cheers Aggrax, that's awesome!! And you made it happen yourself-- take THAT, your jerkbrain that tells you you can't take any positive steps on your own. Way to go, dude. Let us know how it goes.
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Re: How do I know if it's real?

Post by Enail on Wed May 06, 2015 5:01 pm

That's great! Way to go!
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Re: How do I know if it's real?

Post by Aggrax on Fri May 08, 2015 3:14 pm

Thank you all so much for your kind words.

I'm a little nervous about this whole thing, mostly because I'm worried about how well I'm going to be able to talk to whoever it is I end up speaking with. Every time I talk about this I get so freaking emotional and it takes everything I have not to break down crying. I don't feel like I'm very good at explaining anything in this state. Any advice you have would be greatly appreciated.
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Re: How do I know if it's real?

Post by Enail on Fri May 08, 2015 3:24 pm

Do you bring notes about what you want to say? I find it helpful to have something I thought out in advance if I get flustered.
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Re: How do I know if it's real?

Post by Prajnaparamita on Fri May 08, 2015 4:06 pm

Enail wrote:Do you bring notes about what you want to say? I find it helpful to have something I thought out in advance if I get flustered.

Seconding this so much. When I get overwhelmed and my brain shuts down, I can always just read off that piece of paper or even just hand it to the person. Also, sometimes I'll write up a list of my symptoms, dates when they occurred, medications I'm on/have been on and then the doctor can keep it in their notes. Often they actually really appreciate this, because it means they don't have to worry about committing all that to their memory.

Also, do you still have your Pinkie doll? I was actually really moved by your description, and I've taken to listening to the My Little Pony soundtrack before gyno appointments that I suspect will be painful. It helps me separate myself out from my anxiety, for those moments at least, and I can spend the time in the waiting room mentally singing along and thinking about my favorite episodes rather than dreading the appointment to come.

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Re: How do I know if it's real?

Post by Wondering on Fri May 08, 2015 5:55 pm

Thirding. I take notes -- on my phone usually so that I can write them down whenever they pop into my head -- just for visits to the medical doctor. Especially my baby's pediatrician because I have so many questions. I did it during pregnancy for my doctors, too.

Even if you don't have anxiety, notes help you remember what you wanted to say and ask.

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Re: How do I know if it's real?

Post by Aggrax on Sat May 09, 2015 4:55 pm

Prajnaparamita wrote:
Enail wrote:Do you bring notes about what you want to say? I find it helpful to have something I thought out in advance if I get flustered.

Seconding this so much. When I get overwhelmed and my brain shuts down, I can always just read off that piece of paper or even just hand it to the person. Also, sometimes I'll write up a list of my symptoms, dates when they occurred, medications I'm on/have been on and then the doctor can keep it in their notes. Often they actually really appreciate this, because it means they don't have to worry about committing all that to their memory.

Also, do you still have your Pinkie doll? I was actually really moved by your description, and I've taken to listening to the My Little Pony soundtrack before gyno appointments that I suspect will be painful. It helps me separate myself out from my anxiety, for those moments at least, and I can spend the time in the waiting room mentally singing along and thinking about my favorite episodes rather than dreading the appointment to come.

I've never really brought notes to any appointments, though in retrospect I probably should. I'm just not really sure what kind of information I'm going to need to know. I'll try and jot down anything I think of.

I do still have Pinkie, but I haven't been keeping her with me. I might try to do that. I also love the music suggestion. Recently I've been finding myself listening to this whenever I need to calm myself down.
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Re: How do I know if it's real?

Post by Aggrax on Tue May 12, 2015 2:06 am

It's weird. I'm two days out from my appointment and I'm still really nervous and anxious about it. Meanwhile, tomorrow I go in to get a cavity filled and I'm super chill about it. I know, intellectually, that there are reason for that. Like, for instance, the fact that I've had this done before, I know my dentist super well since he's been my dentist since I was 3, I'm really used to dental work because I had my front teeth broken as a kid and had to get the bonding redone a bunch of times.

But still, I find it kind of weird that the procedure with the needles and various implements is something I'm chill about, but just talking to someone still freaks me out.
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Re: How do I know if it's real?

Post by reboot on Tue May 12, 2015 9:26 am

Aggrax wrote:It's weird. I'm two days out from my appointment and I'm still really nervous and anxious about it. Meanwhile, tomorrow I go in to get a cavity filled and I'm super chill about it. I know, intellectually, that there are reason for that. Like, for instance, the fact that I've had this done before, I know my dentist super well since he's been my dentist since I was 3, I'm really used to dental work because I had my front teeth broken as a kid and had to get the bonding redone a bunch of times.

But still, I find it kind of weird that the procedure with the needles and various implements is something I'm chill about, but just talking to someone still freaks me out.

Any medical procedure you have not experienced before is kind of scary, even if there is no pain. I was freaked out about my first counseling session, despite having had surgeries, fillings, etc.

The first session is pretty light, more of a "get to know each other" and basic details of condition session. They might send you home with some screening questionnaires to rule in and out certain diagnoses. This might be a good time to give the counselor a list of your concerns with a timeline of how long you remember having the issue and the outcomes you are looking for. That way before your next session the counselor has more information and can come up with a treatment plan. Third session, after they review any screening tools is when the heavy lifting starts
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Re: How do I know if it's real?

Post by Guest on Tue May 12, 2015 10:05 am

Aggrax wrote:It's weird. I'm two days out from my appointment and I'm still really nervous and anxious about it. Meanwhile, tomorrow I go in to get a cavity filled and I'm super chill about it. I know, intellectually, that there are reason for that. Like, for instance, the fact that I've had this done before, I know my dentist super well since he's been my dentist since I was 3, I'm really used to dental work because I had my front teeth broken as a kid and had to get the bonding redone a bunch of times.

But still, I find it kind of weird that the procedure with the needles and various implements is something I'm chill about, but just talking to someone still freaks me out.

The important thing to keep in mind is that you are the client, and this is about you. You don't have to say anything that makes you uncomfortable. You can say, "I don't think I'm ready to talk about that yet." You can, if you just really dislike the person, stop seeing them and find someone else. You are in control of these sessions. They will probably be painful sometimes, in the same way that getting cavities filled is sometimes painful. But it's pain towards progress, pain towards healing. You'll be okay. You're doing something hard, and you're being really courageous about it.

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Re: How do I know if it's real?

Post by Aggrax on Thu May 14, 2015 8:02 pm

Well, the appointment went fairly well all things considered. I talked to a therapist for about an hour, trying to see if I could articulate what I've been feeling. We came away with a plan to help improve my life by better establishing a routine for something that is going to have a big impact on my health, which is checking my blood sugar.

What I'm going to be doing is getting a second meter and keeping it by my computer instead of down in the kitchen. Then I'll check the numbers in my room and record them on a Google Doc on my computer instead of a notebook. What this should do is let me record the information more consistently and also help with my hang-up about checking that sort of thing around other people.

He also wants me to start trying to reverse my thinking when it comes to my more... fatalistic thoughts. Instead of thinking that I'm going to die relatively soon so there is no point in doing any of this, I'm going to try approaching it as "every time I do this thing I add a bit more time on to my life."

So that's my 2 week goal for now. I'm really going to try to commit to this plan. Especially since it's just going to be me home alone for the next week, so I need to really get into "responsible adult mode" so I can not have everything fall apart on me.

Bonus Thought: No Dad, the therapist did not suggest I be prescribed "1 Swift Kick in the Ass" but thank you for offering to deliver one anyway.

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Re: How do I know if it's real?

Post by jcorozza on Thu May 14, 2015 8:03 pm

Aggrax wrote:Every time I talk about this I get so freaking emotional and it takes everything I have not to break down crying. I don't feel like I'm very good at explaining anything in this state. Any advice you have would be greatly appreciated.

While I don't take notes, I keep a mental list of what I want to talk about it. And then imagine myself talking about it. But I also cry at least half the time I go to my therapist, even when things are going generally well.
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Re: How do I know if it's real?

Post by jcorozza on Thu May 14, 2015 8:06 pm

That all sounds like really good stuff, especially for a first appointment. Getting into positive habits is a huge step forward.
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Re: How do I know if it's real?

Post by jcorozza on Thu May 14, 2015 8:07 pm

That all sounds like really good stuff, especially for a first appointment. Getting into positive habits is a huge step forward.
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Re: How do I know if it's real?

Post by Enail on Thu May 14, 2015 8:17 pm

That sounds good, Aggrax! I'm glad to hear that your therapist sounds like someone who can be on your team, and that he's helping you with some manageable, practical strategies! I like the additive mindset, where doing X is a plus rather than not doing X being a minus, I find it helpful myself.
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Re: How do I know if it's real?

Post by Aggrax on Sat May 23, 2015 9:15 pm

Well, that was an interesting week. The rest of my family went to Vegas for my brothers graduation. I was supposed to go, but couldn't get the time off from work (and based on the week I had at work it was probably for the best that I was there). So I spent the week at home taking care of the dog and the house. It's been an interesting experience, being on my own. It's kind of nice to know that I can take care of myself, get to work and keep the dog alive all on my own..
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