Friday, September 09, 2016

Mental Health Report

This afternoon, I'm heading over to the college for my third round of psychological assessment testing. Counting my intake interview and a second interview, this will be my fifth time there. This is supposed to be the final round of testing, and I really hope that's the case.

I've wanted to do this for some time. Especially since 2014 when my therapist told me she thought she recognized ADHD in me. My psychiatrist at the center where I get therapy refused to take that seriously. An independent psychiatrist I saw last September just told me losing weight would alleviate a lot of my symptoms--he didn't know what to do with me because I've already tried a lot of medications that made things worse, and he couldn't just throw pills at me, I guess. It's been a very frustrating journey just to get to this point, where someone is taking me seriously.

I've known for a long while now that whatever's going on in my head is more than just Generalized Anxiety Disorder with a little Panic Disorder and a little Agoraphobia. It's pretty deep and intense, and it's confusing. Not having a name and a suggested course of treatment for it is like being lost at sea. And it plays so hard into my abuse trauma, because I was always "taught" that whatever is wrong with me when I mess up is because I'm bad or wrong in some way. It's not something in my brain, it's just because I'm me and I'm awful. So I needed to do this pretty bad.

But honestly, I hope this is almost over.

I hope this is the last bit of it and then I can wait for an analysis of whatever the results are.

That trauma, that voice in my head that tells me how stupid and awful and unlovable I am, has really been brought back to the surface in a way it hasn't been in a while. It's really powerful. And in just the two weeks I've been doing this, a lot of it is just raw and insistent. I feel heavy and slow and clumsy all the time. I have trouble sleeping restfully, even with my CPAP machine. I'm trying to stay happy and active, but I also feel myself disengaging from things again. I'm just overwhelmed and internalizing everything. I feel sick. I'm having long, exhausting nightmares. I can feel how little motivation I have to take care of myself.

It really sucks.

I tried really hard this summer not to let depression take over. And depression always takes over in the summer, from around my birthday and into late September. This summer, I did much better than usual--even though I turned frickin' 40 this summer--but right now it's just all there on the surface, making me impatient, defensive, and easily wounded.

And these tests, man. Tell me what's wrong with this picture. Make these blocks into specific shapes. Do these math word problems. It's stressful, because it makes me realize just how hard it can be for me to reason or solve puzzles. It makes me feel like I'm inherently dumb and I've just found work-arounds for that to get through life.

I want to add, too, that the grad student they've paired me with has been nothing but encouraging. She has to be objective, and I need her to be, but she's been empathetic and delightful. She's a much better person than either of those discouraging psychiatrists ever were.

But damn, I want this to be over. I'm hoping the results put a name to all of this and I can stop telling myself that it's just because I'm shitty and maybe cut myself some slack. I'm just so, so tired right now.

(So this doesn't end on an entirely bleak note, going there is really good for Pokemon Go, and Pokemon Go has helped keep my anxiety down in public. The building is a Poke-Stop, and it's right on campus around a dozen other Poke-Stops, and someone always has lures out. And since the building is next to a creek that feeds into a lagoon, I catch a lot of water Pokemon when I'm waiting for my appointments. I have caught so many Psyducks, and thanks to the abundance of Magikarps, I'm about a third of the way to evolving a Gyarados, which is probably the Pokemon I want the most that seems feasible. Damn, I have never seen a Charmander anywhere...)


Roger Owen Green said...

Well, I hope it is a fruitful process.

Nathan said...

I always have trouble with puzzles during tests like that, too. I apparently just gave up when I was supposed to put together puzzles during IQ tests in elementary school.

Carl said...

I remember taking those tests from a psychologist in Junior High. I could not wrap my head around it--it's not a fun experience.