I had a not-too-bad day today. My first appointment with the Mental Health Centre was this afternoon. I didn’t know what to expect so I kind of worried myself into a state of anxiety the night before and couldn’t sleep at all. But it went well. I’m not sure what the lady I had the assessment with was (counselor, doctor???) but I like her a lot. My 20 minute appointment ended up being well over an hour long. She had received a lot of my paperwork ahead of time from Doctors, social workers and even had copies of my Children’s Aid stuff from my adoption way back in 1965!! (I was taken into care at a year old and then adopted into a new family when I was 2) which she had requested weeks ago and I sent to her. And she had taken the time to read it all before I even had my first appointment with her. I liked that. Most people I have dealt with over the years just skim my charts and throw medication at me. I definitely felt like just another “chart” to them. But this woman really seemed to want to help and did all her homework in able to do that. FINALLY….. Someone is listening to me. My move to F***** this spring looks like it could have been the best thing I’ve done. First I land a great Family Doctor 2 months ago. She has been listening to me and taking a lot of time with me. No family doctor has ever been so caring and supportive. (win!) And it was her (my new family doctor) that got me hooked up with this local mental health centre. She even called them herself to ensure that I got in right away. My first app’t was supposed to be August 30th which my doctor really felt was too far away. So she personally called over there herself to get me in right away. Having this new-found care has really given me hope that we can now start from scratch and take the time to get a proper diagnoses (No doctors have ever agreed with each other on what my diagnoses is so I have ended up with many…) All of my adult life I have seen many different doctors and I have been told I have many different mental illnesses. I think,… and I’m no doctor here… but I think I have depression/anxiety/BPD. (Not Bipolar… not OCD….or any of the other dozen or so ‘types’ that have been thrown around in my charts for the past 30 years.
So,… (yup, kinda got off track there sorry…) I was really pleased to hear that she absolutely agreed with me that I should go for a thorough evaluation that will, once and for all, discover what it is I really DO have. The reason this is so important is because I need to be taking the right medication that helps for that specific illness.
This being said…. Imagine how relieved I was when this woman told me that in no way do I have bipolar. Hallelujah!! I could have wept with relief. I have been telling doctors for 10 years that I really don’t feel that this was the right diagnosis but they all insisted that's what I had. Now,… finally…. Someone agrees with me. I don’t know why doctors found it so difficult to know I wasn’t bipolar. I never have the “highs” your suppose to get with this disease. I have only ever been depressed so how is that bipolar?
Anyway,… went off track again…
This woman also told me I had…. Oh God, dare I say it? The “a” word. I have been mulling this around in my head for the past 3 years but didn’t even want to go there but she said it. Agoraphobia. Yup, there it is, the mental illness that doesn’t allow people to leave their homes. There are obviously didn’t degrees of this illness so in my mind I guess I thought agoraphobics NEVER leave their homes. (Which isn’t me) I leave my apartment, although rarely, if I need to. I can go grocery shopping or to the bank or to my brothers house. But I can’t go anywhere where I might have to interact with people I don’t know. My comfort zone is my apartment and that is about the only time I’m comfortable. Once “out in the world” my anxiety rises so high it’s very unnerving and overwhelming to me. I have basically been a recluse for the past 3 years. I spend 90% of my time in my home. I only go out when I need to get groceries or deposit a cheque, etc… and even then it’s a quick trip and then strait home. I have forced myself to go on walks once a week just to make sure I get outside a little bit. (But I REALLY don’t like to)
This has been a huge problem for me over the past 3 years. My world has shrunk to these four walls of my apartment and a tiny little circle of people who I am comfortable with (My daughters and my brother and sister-in-law) Otherwise, any type of social event has me too anxious and overwhelmed to participate in. My brother was going to be going to the F***** truck show last weekend. (I had gotten 2 free tickets) so a few weeks ago we planned for me to go with them. But, as always happens, the closer it got to the day, the more freaked out I became. So I cancelled saying it was too hot. I do this ALL THE TIME! Weeks before something I agree to go (and at the time I say this I really do believe that this time I will go...) but as the event or party or whatever gets closer the more anxious I become and I almost always end up making an excuse to not be able to go. And in doing this I have burned a lot of bridges with people because they get fed up with me and eventually just stop calling me or asking me to do anything. I had one friend in St. Thomas (where I lived for the past 2 yrs before I moved here) who tried so hard to get me out so we could do stuff together but as much as I wanted to, I just couldn’t leave my apartment. This poor girl tried over and over again and in the end she was really hurt because she felt so slighted all the time. She thought SHE had done something wrong and I was just mad at her or disinterested altogether. But I wasn’t mad at her at all. I just wasn’t able to allow myself to do anything outside my home. To this day she still keeps in touch on Facebook. I felt really, really bad for her (and disappointed and upset with myself for not being strong enough to overcome my “outside of my house issues” But really… she’s the only one who hasn’t completely given up on me. I don’t blame people for being so fed up… I’M fed up of myself so I can’t imagine how they all feel!
So yeah,… this has been an eye opener for me. I think I always knew I had this but I just didn’t want to admit it even to myself. I mean come on,… agoraphobia???? Only people on “The Learning Channel” get that… Not me…. But nope… today it was said ~ out loud ~ that I have it. Bad news is… I have just been diagnosed with agoraphobia…. The good news is… It’s apparently highly treatable to overcome.
So with my severe and (very long-standing ~ stubborn) depression (Have had it my whole adult life) and my anxiety and BPD…. I can now add agoraphobia to my list. :-( But, on the plus side…. I don’t have bipolar. :-)
So, now that I have admitted this to myself I can hopefully work with this woman to overcome it. So I will be seeing her once a week for counseling. I can’t tell you the relief I feel just knowing that I now have someone supporting/helping me professionally on a constant and regular basis. I haven’t had that in YEARS.
We also talked a lot about my past and different things I have gone through, etc,... She thinks my first year of life I was traumatized and it has effected me ever since. She wants me to look up "Emotion regualtion develpmental trauma" for next session. I'm not sold on this but I will do the reading.
What happened in my first year of life that could have been so traumatizing for me? I'm still working on that. I think that will have to wait for another blog post. I've rambled on enough in this one.