Dilemma: Do I continue seeing my Shrink?

So, tomorrow I will be seeing my shrink again.

I’ve been seeing my shrinking for more than 2 years or so and on a weekly basis, although there has been periods of time when I stopped seeing him due to my “relapse”.  So here’s the question – is it time for me to stop seeing him?

I’ve tried to suggest to him more than a month ago, and his response was that I was not ready yet… and nope, I did not ask him what he meant by “not ready yet”.

Why am I so eager to stop my sessions with him?  Well, it’s been so long and I don’t feel like to sessions are going anywhere.  Sure, he listens to me and I learn something about myself whenever I meet with him.  He also helps me to see things from different perspective.  But we keep talking about similar topics and I find that tiring.  It doesn’t seem like there has been any major breakthroughs.  Like recently, he asked me again if I knew what made me go into depression…this was at area that we explored many months ago. Sometimes I feel like I am paying just for someone to listen to me.

I’ve been truly blessed that I do not have to pay for his service.  The church that I work at is paying for it – $200 per hour and we would meet for about 1.5 hours or more sometimes.  This means an average of (at least) $300 per week and that works out to about $1200 per month.  That’s a lot of money!  If I were to foot the bill on my own, I doubt I will be able to afford weekly sessions that last for 2 years.  People tells me to be thankful for that.  Yes, I am but yet at the same time, I can’t help but feel bad that the church has to spend so much money on me.  I spoke to my wife about me wanting to spot seeing my shrink last night but she didn’t sound like she supported the idea at all although she said I couldn’t bring it up to my shrink and explore it with him.

While I want to stop my sessions with my shrink, I have my concerns too.  What if I had a relapse?  Would I get blamed for sabotaging my own recovery for ending my relationship with my shrink prematurely?

I am curious.  I am curious to know many often do people meet with their shrink, and for how long.  I tried to google but can’t seem to find any answers to my question.

In any case, I will explore with him again tomorrow.  Perhaps I can work out a plan – to meet him less frequently to meeting him on an ad hoc basis or when I have a need.  Let’s hope he understands where I am coming from and would not out-talk me into continuing my sessions with me because I am not ready yet.

 

Dilemma: Do I continue seeing my Shrink?

Any Good News Today…?

No, I did not…!

So I went to my psychiatrist this morning…hoping that he’d reduce the dosage of my medication.

I told him that I’ve never better this well in a long time, told him I’ve not taken xanax for the past 3-4 weeks, shared with him about my lifestyle change. All went well until he told him that it’s best that I stay with my current dosage. Needlessly to say, I was disappointed. I tried to negotiate with him but it was no use. He told me to focus on staying well and let him be the doctor.

So what’s the plan for me if I continue to feel good? ASSUMING I continue to feel this good.

I am currently on 50mg of Valdoxan, and 1mg of Risperidone. He will see me again in January 18 and will then consider tapering down my Risperidone. As for my Valdoxan, I’d have to wait till June 2018 – that’s one year from now – before he’d consider reducing it to 25mg. He also said that I’ll probably need to be on it for 2 years before he’d taper down further. Basically, I’ll still be on medication, at least for the next 3 years.

I’ve been on medication for the past 2.5 years now. It’s been a long and tiring journey for me. I was hoping that with a reduced dosage, I can soon put this depressive episode behind me. But unfortunately I can’t because I’ve got 3 more long years to go…!! Wish I could say “time flies”!

I guess what I need to do now is to come to terms with it. I need to continue to ask God for patience and to allow Him to heal me.

Any Good News Today…?

Some Good News, Please…?

When I last visited by psychiatrist about 2 months ago.  He doubled my Valdoxan dosage from 25mg to 50 mg.  Needless to say, I was not happy at all.  It’s always easy to increase the dosage but I know it will take a while before the doctor will reduce the dosage.

The month of May was tough.  If you recall, I had a conversation with my boss and my depression made me believe that I was going to loss my job.  That really affected me a great deal.  As if having depression was not bad enough – it made me panic.  I questioned about my future, my abilities, and if I could even secure a job given that I am down with depression since companies do discriminate against people like us.  I was also told by my boss that I was not spiritually at peace with God.  As a result of all these negative thoughts – and many others – it made the month of May pass very slowly.  I also wondered how I am ever going to be healed (from depression) if I am not at peace but in a state of panic and desperation.

Thank God that through a colleague and a church elder, God assured me that I was not going to loss my job.  That helped me.

While all these were happening, I also began to realized that I have been wallowing in my self pity pit.  I told myself that that I am tired of being in that pit.  Somehow I managed to find some willpower from within to make some changes to my life.  I started to exercise (walking twice a week), I started to read (and realized that reading actually help me to relax), I started to explore that possibility of taking a counselling course (that I have been wanting to take for the past 5 years).  I also started to listen to my other voice instead of listening to my depressive voice.  Basically I told myself to do things counter to what my depression was telling me to do.

Well, in my last post, I shared about my joy and on how much better I am become.  Since then, I have not felt the need to take my Xanax for my anxiety.  My depression has been lifted – except for the occasional moment – but it will disappear as soon as I engage in some form of activities like talking to people.

I have an appointment to see the psychiatrist tomorrow.  I plan to share with him about what I am been doing for the past weeks and how much better I have been feeling.  And I am secretly hoping to he will start to taper my dosage down as a result.  And if he does that, I know it will really be a great encouragement to me and help me in my recovery.

Having said that, I have been reading on the internet that sometimes doctors will only start tapering down when the patient feels good for a duration of between 6 – 9 months.  My heart sank when I read that… so, I am keeping my fingers crossed.

Dr Lee, can I have SOME GOOD NEWS, PLEASE…!!

Some Good News, Please…?

Today I want to share my joy…

I’ve not written for some time now.

Since my last post, I’ve been feeling better.  I’ve been having mild anxiety in the morning – and it gradually disappears in the afternoon. I started my ” exercise” routine – that’s if you can call walking “exercise”.  I brisk walk around my neighborhood for an hour and at least twice a week.  I finally went to the gym 2 days ago after a long time.  I been reading quite a bit too.  I found out that reading helps me to relax and also do away with the brain fog that I’ve been experiencing.  I’ve been a little more active around the house too and I am also thinking of taking up a part time course on counselling – this has been something that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time but never really got around it.  But this time, I am serious thinking about it.  And I am pretty excited about the possibility.  Basically I’ve been doing things in an attempt to break the cycle of depression.

Today I want to share my joy.  I woke up yesterday morning not feeling any anxiety at all. Actually I’ve been free of anxiety for a few days, and I’ve not had the need to take my Xanax.  But what made yesterday different was – for the first time – I felt as if my depression was lifted as well.

Let me explain what I mean.  Yes, I have been feeling better.  But even though I am feeling better, I know deep within that I am not well yet.  This is because I can still feel as if I am still under the cloud of depression.  My mind gets fixated about my condition, I worry about things and I can’t seem to brush off not having such thoughts.  My mind seems to be running all the time.

However, that changed yesterday.  For the first time, my mind was able to “rest”.  The dark cloud of depression seemed to have disappeared.  I didn’t entertain any thoughts about my condition..  There were moments when my mind wasn’t entertaining any thoughts at all – basically, I was at rest.  And it felt good.  I was able to talk and joke with my colleagues – and it felt like the old ME was back!

I am not sure what brought about the change.  Was it because of the exercise, reading and the other stuff that I’ve picked up during the last few weeks that brought about this “healing”?  Or was it because of some unconfessed sin that I was finally able to deal with a couple of days ago?  Or was it due to my medication – the increased dosage that I’ve been put on for the last couple of months?  Or was due to the combination of all that I’ve mentioned?  Whatever it is, I thanked God for the wonderful day and prayed that this new found good feeling would continue.

Yes, I woke up this morning feeling pretty much the same… as yesterday…!!

Thank God for another good day!!

 

 

 

Today I want to share my joy…

I feel great right NOW…!

But it hasn’t been good since my last post. 

I had a chat with my boss and he questioned if pastoral ministry may be too challenging for my recovery. There were other things been said but I shan’t repeat for fear that it may trigger something in my mind. Basically, it had got to do with whether I’m able to carrying out my job. 

Since my first chat with him, I had the 2nd and 3rd chat with him to clarify what he said and also to share with him how our past conversations have made me feel and how it has affected me. 

What made it worse when he told me that I’m not rested in the Lord. He reasoned that if I’m rested in the Lord, I would not have reacted the way that I’ve had on hearing of the possibility of losing my job. 

I’ve just been feeling extremely insecure and just been haunted by the fear of losing my job . How am I going to support the family? What can I do? And to make matters worse, people with mental health are often discriminated. So who is going to hire me? How long do I need to be without job? Perhaps I will need to wait tables to make a living? Will I have enough for the kids? 

I started to feel overwhelmed as I continued to entertained questions after questions in my mind. I started to fear. I started to panic. The feeling got so overwhelmed that I begin to have suicidal thoughts. I couldn’t take it anymore!!

I finally gave in and decided to meet my shrink again. It helped. Talked to my wife too. My wife told me not to worry – we will start to worry if and that happens.  Needless to say, that helped me feel better big time. It was reassuring just to hear what she had to say.  I guess he belief that God will provide helped me find some peace. 

So the past few days have been terrible for me!!

Today – and right now – at 10pm on the 13 May, I’m feeling great. I don’t know why I’m feeling great. Is it because of the increased dosage to my medication?  Was it because of the talks I’ve had with my shrink and wife? I actually feel normal – again – for the 1st time… in a looong time. 

This morning, I prayed that God will sustain me today and He has. Thank you God for this awesome normal feeling that I am feeling right now. 

I pray that I will experience more of such good days from now on. I pray that You will sustain me at church tomorrow; as I lead kid’s worship and as I mingle with the congregation. Grant me joy in serving You. I pray that I will not have anxiety and ask for peace in my heart. Amen!

I feel great right NOW…!

Day 1: It’s been good…so far

So, last night, I resolved to accept my depression and anxiety. After all it’s not going anywhere soon. So today is sort of like Day 1 of a fresh beginning for me.

As always, I woke up with anxiety. And since today is my day off, I stayed in bed for a while. And instead of enduring with the feeling of anxiety, or comtemplate if I should take my laxapro or not, I just went ahead and take it to get rid of my anxiety. It helped.

I guess I should have done it months ago – take my meds the first thing in the morning! Why didn’t I do that before? Why did I have to endure it? I only took my meds when I couldn’t endure no longer. I guess that was stupidity on my part!

I received a text message from a friend who asked if I wanted to do lunch with him. He been going though depression for the past 5 years.

Well, the depression part of me said, “No”. But since I told myself that I’m going to [try] in my last blog, I bit the bullet and said “Yes” to him. I’m glad I did. We have a good chat and I guess it’s better to keep myself occupied with someone than to be stucked at home alone and allowing my mind to wonder with all the negative thoughts.

During lunch, we talked about whether I should switch my psychatrist. He suggested that I may want to continue seeing my psychatrist even though I do not like his “bedside manners” since the medication has been helpful. He also feels that it’s a little too soon to switch since I’ve only been with him for about 5 months or so. It made sense. I guess this is something that I have to make peace with too.

I am sitting at Starbucks while typing this post. Sharing on WordPress has been a tremendous help for me. It has been my outlet… to share the things that’s hidden in my mind and heart. Taking time to type has also allowed me to take my mind off all those negative thoughts for a while.

Oh, did I mention that I also text my shrink to see if he’s still willing to see me after I abruptly ended my last session with him.

Me: Hi Mark

Mark: Hi my friend. How are you?

We made an appointment to meet this Friday.

So Day 1 has been a good day… so far since the day hasn’t ended yet.  But it’s been good!

Day 1: It’s been good…so far

It’s going to be tough but I will try…!!

I spoke to a doctor friend after church this afternoon. Basically I asked him if I could ever be cured from my depression and anxiety.

His response was – well, it’s like someone who is diabetic. You need to take your medication and learn to manage with a changed lifestyle. So what I gathered from him is that my depression and anxiety is not going away anytime soon and I will just have to live with it.

I guess there is nothing much I can do now. I will take my antidepressants and lexapro to rid my anxiety. I will learn to smile in the midst of storm in my life.  I will learn to laugh while my mind entertains thoughts that threatens to destroy my sanity. I will try to socialise more and be chatty with my colleagues again. I will be a playful father to my kids again, making them laugh at my silly antics. I will try to talk and confide in my wife more so that I can share my life and struggle with her again.  It will be tough but I’ll try!

I’ll try to pretend that all is well and Lord willing, perhaps then I’ll get back my passion in life and in my work. I want to say that I have the best job in the world again. It will be tough but I’ll try!

I don’t think I have the energy and motivate to exercise but hopefully, I’ll get find it soon so that I can get back onto my road bike, jog, swim and maybe take part in a half-marathon or duathlon again. It will be really tough but I’ll try!

I was unwilling to see my shrink. But I will initiate a text message to him this week and resume my sessions with him…that is if he is still willing to journey with me. I may not meet him weekly like I used to. Maybe just every other week cos i find it emotionally draining having to talk in such sessions. It will be tough but I’ll try!

Since my depression and anxiety is here to stay. So instead of fighting it, I will learn to manage and accept my mental illness.  This may not sound much to normal person but it is a lot for me. And I know it’s going to be really, really, REALLY tough… but I will try!

It’s going to be tough but I will try…!!