Friday, October 03, 2008

"Happy" Anniversary

It has been seven years today since I first met with my pdoc, Dr. X. Despite all the psychic pain, anger, intense depression and anxiety I have endured over the past seven years I believe October 3, 2001 was the luckiest day of my life.

Before I wrote in my blog I consistently kept journals, in much the same way that I post here. Unfortunately I did not start a journal until a month or so after meeting Dr. X. I thought it would be interesting to look back to that first meeting.

My appointment was supposed to be a consultation to provide medication information to my family doctor as my depression had not reacted to two different medications, a CBT learning group, or a 3 month stint in group therapy and numerous attempts at therapy, the latest had been an unsuccessful two years in therapy. Dr. X was a mood disorders specialist.

I do not remember much about that first appointment. What I do remember is incredible fear as I waited in the waiting room. I had never seen a psychiatrist before (except in a group environment). I was terrified that I was going meet an authoritarian man, whose job it was to judge, diagnose, spit me out and send on my unmerry way afterwards. I thought I would end up one more sad statistic, unable to survive the increasingly despondent feelings I was feeling.

Instead the man I met was soft spoken, quiet and curious; kind and welcoming. I immediately felt comfortable telling him all kinds of incredibly personal things. He never rushed me; never made any judgements about any of the behaviours I described. Quite the opposite, he encouraged a sense that their was nothing unacceptable about my behaviours except the fact that I was in pain and being hurt by how I felt.

At the end of the session, rather than send me away and abandon me to the same treatments I had been struggling with for years, he asked if I would like to see him for therapy. Thank you Dr. X. for reaching out when I really needed someone like you to help me.

At the time I was having intense suicidal ideation. I often take the ferry to Vancouver Island because my whole family lives in various towns/cities over there. Something about the ferry triggers obbsessive suicidal thoughts. While n it I often feel compelled to jump overboard.

That night the thoughts were flying at me: I would slip quietly off the ferry into the thick black water. It was nightime and no one would notice me in the dark. No one would find me. I'd swim to see if I could make it to shore; searching for a sign that told me I was supposed to be here. Istead I pulled out my journal and wrote about what I would miss if I left this world.

It was one of my first journal entries after one of my earlier appointments . I believe I would not have even considered these things, or written them rather than jump, without Dr. X's support.

The things wrote I would miss are simple things that reflect who I am. I thought I would share my short, yet important list with you:
  1. My family
  2. That cool breeze that sweeps across your skin when you are really hot
  3. The smell of the ocean-when the smell is the strongest at low tide
  4. The feeling of the wind against my face when I ride my bike
  5. The feeling of being emerged in water that is not too cool or too warm
  6. Floating in that same water
  7. The flowers in the garden: the giant purple clematic. the lilies, the sunflowers and peonies; all of them

I find it interesting that the same water I had just been thinking of dying in, became one of the things I would miss the most. (except the water here is pretty damn cold..tiny detail:) I would still miss these things, but would add to the list,
8. Dr. X.
9. My friends
10. My dog
11. My newfound love for creating art, especially painting

Dr. X. thanks for being there for me every single time I needed you. It means so much to me. I am a better person for having met you.


Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing. I wrote my own list. I like the sights and sounds of the ocean too.

s said...

Nice post. I've given up hoping for human help, keep hoping for a medical miracle, the perfect pill, or at least one that will get me moving again.

jcat said...

It's weird...the things that we remember, or that are important to us.

It really bugs me that when I started seeing J, it was because previous pdoc had gone AWOL halfway through planned course of ECT and I was somewhat losing it. My sister set it up via her BIL who knows him, it was only feasible if I saw him as an inpatient at general hospital where he is affiliated.

Yet for one of the most important relationships in my life, I can only remember about 10 mins of the whole two week period. I know meds are part of the blur, because I was fairly sedated, but still. And primarily, I remember thinking that he soooo needed a haircut!

That still applies - he and I have similar views on cut it. It's too short and you hate it for a month. It grows. It finally gets to a length where it feels comfortable. The following day it is too long, and annoys you for another month. Repeat cycle...

Big hugs from the deepest south,

deepblue said...

I love hearing about the great relationship you have with your therapist. If I keep hearing it enough, I just might gather enough courage to go searching for one myself. :) Thanks

Aqua said...

Jcat: Ha,'s funny I cut my husband's hair last night and couldn't find the 1/4 inch "thingy" for the electric I used th 1/8 inch one...I might as well have shaved him bald...but I actually really like it...and like you say it'll grow!

Deepblue: You already have the courage, you just might not be ready just yet. I hope you do try therapy, and if it doesn't work out with the first therapist keep trying until you find your match. It is a great day when that happens.

Aqua said...

S: Please don't give up. You may not find the "perfect" treatment, but you will find something to help you.

Anon: The ocean is so important to me. I'm glad you wrote your own list.