Saturday, 13 June 2015

Diseased to Meet You

About 6 months ago I went to see the doctor. Not an unusual activity I hear you cry; this is a blog about chronic illness after all. However for once this visit wasn't Crohn's related.
I went to see him because I'd been feeling pretty low for a good while and felt I needed to do something about it. I’m very proactive in the upkeep and management of my physical health so I decided I should take my own advice and adopt the same attitude with my mental health.

I told my doctor I suspected I had PMS due to the regularity of my mood changes, my cycle, and that it appears to have gotten worse as I've grown older, and also oh my god I shouldn't even be here this is so stupid I'm just wasting your valuable time etc etc.
He told me to stop being silly (in his own words) and asked me a few questions. Before I knew it he'd put me on a course of anti-depressants.
I left the surgery and walked out into the snow with a prescription for anti-depressants when I'd pretty much expected to be gently but sternly reassured I was just feeling the same blue moods every woman feels from time to time, and to be trotting happily into my new stress-free life.


We had a brief discussion about the possibility of my moods being caused by PMS and he listed the regular solutions to this issue (all the birth control I can't take thanks to my Crohn's meds and some hippy remedies to try instead to alleviate my devilish hormones). All to appease me however, as he was adamant this wasn't the case. I was confused, and dare I say it, depressed; to learn that whatever I'd said in that few short minutes led him to think I needed this course of action over simply pulling my big girl pants on and getting on with it. That’s what we British do isn't it? Drink tea, queue, cough and get on with it? Mind you my Doctor is Irish working in Scotland so maybe he’s less stiff upper lip about the whole thing.

I wasn't depressed, I'm NOT depressed. Am I? I'm not someone who takes anti-depressants. That's for other people. People I know and people I don't, people who feel low at times, struggle with anxiety, get stuck in a funk and need to give their fuzzy brain a bit of help…oh hang on; ME, THEN.

As soon as I was about 10 yards away from the surgery I felt guilty. Guilty for assuming the exact thing that I berate others for; lumping people together in a deranged list based on their medical problems. I hate being singled out, or worse, avoided, simply because I have Crohn's Disease, so what gives me the right to assume what 'type' of person should or shouldn't be depressed? It’s a label I realised I’d give people off the cuff and a phrase I'm ashamed to say I used too readily.

I write a lot about how important positive mental health can be in coping with chronic illness, so why was I so averse to trying something that might help mine? The doctor himself said it's not uncommon to have these blue moods when you have so many symptoms, and feel so unwell most of the time, but somehow that wasn't a comfort. It just reminded me that others in my predicament may be feeling low and struggling and finding it hard to see a way out. It felt as though I had to face another unfortunate truth that maybe these feelings won’t just pass without a little help. I wallowed for a while and put it off and focused on my Crohn’s treatment. I felt the same, if not worse as things progressed.

So, here I am, 6 months later, and I’ve got my prescription! (Baby steps here..) I'm happier to admit now when I'm not always happy, and ready to feel better. 
As with accepting my Crohn’s diagnosis, I know that I’m not admitting defeat in receiving help; I’m helping myself. 
Sitting back and waiting to get ‘well’ never ends.. well. So I’m opening up to the idea that there’s nothing wrong in feeling this way; I’m low and need to get a lift back to the top. Where I belong. See you there! 

No comments:

Post a Comment