Dec 29 2011
I had my doctors appointment this morning, which turned out to be very fruitful. After a long discussion, the doctor diagnosed me with both depression and social phobia (which is also referred to as social anxiety disorder). While it’s a little scary to know that these are things I am going to have to deal with, it’s also immensely relieving to know that I wasn’t just imagining things. It was awfully hard to shake the feeling that the doctor would tell me to just get over it and move on.
The depression diagnosis wasn’t immensely surprising, but the social phobia one kinda was. I just associated all the different things I was feeling as one thing, and didn’t ever think that they might be separate. When I tried to articulate my feelings about going out and social situations to my partner, he just looked at me like I had two heads, and told me I had to try and just deal with it and get over it. Which, to be fair, might sound realistic to most people – when I say I am ‘terrified’ of talking to people I don’t know, it just sounds like a giant hyperbole. I was too embarrassed to ever mention the other things – the fact that, even though I know it’s irrational, I always feel like people are talking about me if I can’t hear the conversation. If someone walks past me laughing with a friend, I always leap to the conclusion they are laughing at me. And while I know none of this makes sense, it’s impossible to shake.
The doctor prescribed a low dose of a SSRI (one of the apparently many different types of medications used to treat depression). It’s going to be a long road ahead – she said it can take quite some time to get the dosage right, and sometimes you need to chop and change between medications until you find the one that is the right fit for you. I’ll have to do a lot of travelling to make sure I get to all my doctor’s appointments over the next 6 months or so while we work it all out, but that’s OK. While the boy seems to be dealing with the diagnosis as a bad thing (no one likes hearing that they are ‘sick’), I think it’s a positive. I’m finally able to move forward in the right direction and start to feel better about myself. The doctor believes that I’ve had depression for a really long time (turns out a lot of the stuff I dismissed as ‘teenage angst’ probably wasn’t after all) and I’ve just dismissed it for various reasons (“I’m just a teenager” “I’m stressed” “I’m just tired from work” “I’m living alone, it doesn’t matter because I can just hide in the house”).
I’m just relieved that I am finally getting somewhere. I’m a little scared about the medication process, but I think that it will all work out well in the long run. The first couple of weeks will be the scariest – the doctor said that sometimes the medication can make you feel worse while you adjust to it, and that it’s likely I will feel absolutely terrible. But, hey, I am lucky enough to have this as an outlet. So if things around here get really glum, don’t be too concerned – it’s probably just the medication.
It’s exciting anyway – there’s hope I might actually feel better!