So this morning, while looking for scratch paper to write the grocery list, I found an old journal of mine. It only covered about 3 months, but it included my trip across the US from Iowa to California and a few months after that. It was painful to read.
Every page of that journal screams “chronic depression, anxiety disorder, agoraphobia” and yet my diagnosis didn’t occur until 2 years after that journal was written.
All of my old journals read that way, from the earliest one I can find, from when I was 16 and visiting London with my grandmother and cousin. And I certainly was seeing therapists at all of those points in my life.
So why did none of them *ever* say “Hey, there is something more going on here. Something other than a kid having a hard time growing up and being a total brat about it. Maybe its chemical. Maybe her brain is wired wrong.” But not one did until a GP when I was 28 or 29 who gave me prozac and told me to find a psychologist who could refer me to a psychiatrist.
It wasn’t too long after that that I had my first real mental breakdown. I ran away. I got in my car, with my cat, Kali, and started to drive back to Iowa, because I had never felt like that in Iowa. Yeah, right. I called my boss and quit my job (thank god he didn’t accept that), left a message for my brother so he wouldn’t worry if he couldn’t get me and started driving. I made it just past the Nevada border when I called my brother again, hysterical, having no idea what I was doing. He convinced me to come back to California and call my doctors. I was off work about 3 months that time.
The final break came about a year later, when I stopped going to work altogether. Hmm, mighty similar to when I quit going to school my junior year of High School. And no one thought to put me on meds then.
I asked my mother about that once. She said even if they had suggested it back then, she probably wouldn’t have let them medicate me. But no one suggested it.
I have scrolled through several Dxs. Bi-Polar Disorder. Chronic Depression. And, now, as I’ve said before, Anxiety Disorder and Borderline Agoraphobia. The last one seems to be right, although I do still suffer from depression at times. Mostly I am just incredibly anxious. All the time. Well, 80% of the time. The other 20% I’m asleep! (that’s a joke. There are long periods when I am not anxious at all.)
The attitude about medication in the UK is very different than it is in the US. In the US they put you on and you stay on. Probably forever. In the UK they do their damnedest to get you off meds. So I’ve had some very good treatment here in the UK. And I was off all meds for about a year until last November when I had a small bout of anxiety and was back on them for a month. I see my psychiatrist in two weeks and we’ll see if I’ll go back on them.
I fought very hard to go off of them, actually. You see, Simon and I are trying to have a baby. And most of the Mad Meds (TM Trepenny Peck) I was on make bad babies. But, since they can’t exactly get women preganant and feed them Mad Meds, there is really no way to know how bad those babies might be, if bad at all.
So in two weeks we’ll see what my old psych says. And if he thinks I need to go back on meds, back on them I go. And if he says I can’t have a baby while on them? Well, we’ll see. I don’t think I know a single completely sane pregnant woman anyway.