The Parent, the Child and the Monster: inner conflict and making choices

My therapist has helped me to see that there’s a little kid inside me desperately trying to tell me what it needs, and that I should respect her voice. This has led me to the thought that at any given time, I am made up up three “people”: the child, the parent and My Monster D. And they are always fighting.

I had a pretty good day yesterday. I went to work, I went to yoga and a night market with a friend, and then we went to see Mad Max (great movie btw). But now my friend is trying to persuade me to go to a swing dance club tonight, and I don’t really want to.

But it’s never as simple as that. The “parent” inside is saying It doesn’t matter if you want to go, you should go. You need the social interaction and you need the exercise, and you need to be a good friend.” The child inside is going But I don’t wanna! and the Monster is threatening with You better not, or else.

So…majority rules? Or does parent know best??

The Trintellix Experiment

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So after taking some time, I decided to be a guinea pig for the research into how Trintellix effects cognitive problems associated with depression. When the psychiatrist first told me I should be on antidepressants, I left his office feeling weirdly defeated. I think it’s because it feels like giving up on myself when I know full well that others would say it’s the opposite of that. Still, I can’t help but feel disappointed that I couldn’t just fix me without any drugs.

Before that appointment, I was told I most likely have had Attention Deficit Disorder most or all of my life. It really helped to explain a few things and I wasn’t all that surprised to be honest. At first I was resistant to the idea of treating it with drugs, but I slowly came to accept it. I’m not sure why it bothered me less than the idea of going back on antidepressants. I think it’s because I was told you could take it for times when you feel you need it (like work days) and not at other times. I’m not sure if this is at all true, but regardless I had hoped that I would be prescribed meds for ADD and not depression.

Maybe it was my way of trying to maintain a sense of control over the situation. And I think I just figured out why I felt so bad after leaving the psychiatrist’s office: it no longer seemed within my control (as crazy as this sounds). Logically, I know I have a choice. But for some reason it doesn’t feel that way. Relying on antidepressants that I will have to take every single day for the next year, and possibly for forever makes me feel like I don’t have control over my own life, my own self. And maybe too it’s partly the commitment, as I’ve agreed to do this for a year.

I thought being on ADD meds might allow me to live up to my potential; I would finally have the energy and the focus to become a healthy, happy person sort of on my own.

All this is mute anyway, as the psychiatrist convinced me it was better to try Trintellix. So I’m officially a guinea pig. I’ve been taking it for a week now. I will try and keep this blog updated on the effects in case anyone’s looking for a subjective account of what it’s like. So far I haven’t noticed any major changes, granted it’s only been a week and they are starting me on just 10 mg once in the morning.

I will have follow-up appointments about once a month, where they have me filling out ridiculously long questionnaires in addition to an odd cognitive test. The only side effect I’ve noticed so far is some minor nausea. I definitely need to take it with food, and if I don’t have enough food, it’s much worse.

Today was a bad day, though I can’t say if it has anything at all to do with the drug. I’ve been feeling sad and hopeless, super self-conscious, very anxious in public, and kind of emotional, meaning I cried easily. It’s not like these things never happen though, so I will have to wait and see.

In other related news, I can’t decide if my therapy sessions are helping at all. I feel like I’m just not committed enough to working on my issues. I do good for a little while, but soon I’m back to my old habits. Because of this, when I go in to my appointments I always feel unprepared, like I’ve been caught in class without having done my homework (which was a pretty regular occurrence in high school if I remember correctly).

I wonder if therapists have changed a lot since I last saw one in university. I hate to say it, but my therapist seems like kind of a flake. I think she’s mostly good at her job, but she has a tendency to get all excited about something and then bites off more than she can chew. She always tells me to contact her outside of work so we can hang out (free of charge) as kind of an extension of our therapy sessions. But it often doesn’t work out and she changes plans at the last minute. After today’s fiasco with her I decided I wouldn’t do it anymore. I’m starting to feel like that unwanted friend or something, and I’m not sure it’s good for the therapy sessions. But then I think about the fact that whatever else, she did get me out of the house today, and she did give me a reason to get some exercise in the great outdoors (we went for a long, brisk walk). So I’m undecided. I will most likely continue to give it another chance, and another…. It’s on her own time afterall…

So that’s where I’m at: still feeling like I’m spiralling, but in slow motion. I’m hoping the benefits of therapy and the Trintellix will kick in soon and give me something to hold on to, change the trajectory I’m on, but still not feeling very hopeful.

Beware the Wasps (the Fragment Files III)

Fragments

Age Unknown

I remember tagging along with my sister and her friends. They were older than me.  We had taken our bicycles up the dirt road we lived on, (I was still on a tricycle). Tricycle_(PSF)

We stopped near the top of the road. For some reason, I started exploring the side of the road, which was covered with brush.

It was warm out. Probably summer. I stood there in the ditch, and suddenly everyone looked panicked. I wasn’t sure what the problem was until it was too late: I was standing on a wasp’s nest. I was stung several times on my little-kid-bum. It was very painful.

Everyone panicked about the wasps and hopped on their bikes. I couldn’t believe they left me there to fend for myself. I struggled to hop on my tricycle, unable to sit down, and eventually made it home. I remember feeling foolish as my mom put some salve on my bottom.

Thoughts

Wondering why this is one of the memories that stuck… Maybe I felt abandoned and betrayed by the kids I looked up to.

My therapist suggested I start a chronology of childhood memories, because mine seem to be so scattered and hard to reach. This seemed a daunting task. But I’ve been working on it. I’m going to post some of them here in hopes that it will motivate me to continue with it.

*Image found here.

You’re Too Shy (the Fragment Files II)

Fragments

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             Withdrawn

Age Unknown (pre-k/k?)

I remember hiding behind my mom’s legs while people cooed and cawed about how cute and tiny and shy and quiet I was. I think I felt overwhelmed and a little scared; it was just too much.

This was a recurring theme for many years, juxtaposed with judgement: “You’re too shy, you’re too quiet. You’re not going to make any friends like that”.

Thoughts

Is the need to withdraw inherent in the person or created by people constantly trying to draw them out of their shell?

My therapist suggested I start a chronology of childhood memories, because mine seem to be so scattered and hard to reach. This seemed a daunting task. But I’ve been working on it. I’m going to post some of them here in hopes that it will motivate me to continue with it.

*Image found on Deviant Art, by humanskin

The Futility of Fighting Back (but doing it anyway) -First in the Fragment Files

Fragments

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                                                                                 Just out of reach…

4 years old

I remember my mom let me walk to our only neighbour by myself. I had a doll (I think it had red ringlets) and she was in a toy stroller. I walked to the end of the road where the neighbours lived. I was greeted by their large German Shepherd. It “attacked” me, knocking me to the ground. It was much bigger than me. I think I knew it wasn’t trying to hurt me, but I knew that it could. I was scared.

It was mauling me, rolling me around on the ground, pawing at me with its claws and nipping at me. I remember the futility of fighting back, but doing it anyway. I remember grabbing whatever I could from the ground–clumps of grass, pebbles–and trying to throw it away from me so the dog would get distracted. It didn’t work.

Eventually I heard shouts from the porch of the house and the dog was gone. They brought me inside. I don’t remember what happened after that, but I ended up with two horizontal tear drop scars, one under each eye. I remember, not too long after this incident, they put the dog down. I think I felt guilty because I thought it was because of me. I was told at some point that it was more because it was chasing their cattle.

Thoughts:

This was one of my first experiences with a dog. It surprises me a little that I grew up to love them so much. But the sound of a dog barking at me still causes my heart to pound. Not sure if it’s from my experience, or related to my sensitivity to noise and anxiety.

My therapist suggested I start a chronology of childhood memories, because mine seem to be so scattered and hard to reach. This seemed a daunting task. But I’ve been working on it. I’m going to post some of them here in hopes that it will motivate me to continue with it.

*Image found on Deviant Art by grr9

Just Be.

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In February of this year I found a therapist. The last time I went to therapy was with a counsellor at the university (and I don’t even want to think about how many years ago that was). I’m not sure yet if the therapy is making a real difference, and I’ve had to downgrade the frequency of our appointments due to using up my insurance coverage.

But, since starting therapy I have been trying to be more active again by getting outside for walks, and buying a yoga pass. I even bought a bike which is something I’ve been putting off for years, (in part because it all felt so pointless and in part because my anxiety makes shopping for a bike a nightmare). But I did it, and it’s locked up outside my door, just waiting to be used.

If nothing else, meeting with my therapist has given me a reason to get out of the house on the weekends, when I’d really rather play hermit and watch Netflix. Once I’m out of the house, I try to take advantage of it. I usually end up at a coffee shop with a book or my work-in-progress. I’m trying to be okay with just being there, among the humans, without getting too frustrated that I can’t concentrate in public. My therapist has pointed out that I tend to think and do in extremes: it’s all or nothing. And most of the time I choose nothing because I’m somewhat of a “perfectionist”.

So I’m trying to just be –outside, in public, visible.

My therapist also pointed out to me that I might have ADD. I never really thought of my symptoms as ADD but she’s right. She asked me to set up an appointment with a psychiatrist to get an official diagnosis. Two months later, the appointment is over. Yes I do have ADD but “let’s treat the depression”.

Because I’m not too keen on starting antidepressants again (last time I took them was in 2005), my psychologist thought treating the ADD would help me get back on track, give me the focus and energy to make positive changes in my life which would then help my depression. I made peace with taking something like Adderall. However, I got to the psychiatrist and he agreed that I have ADD but wasn’t at all interested in focusing on that.

He’s quite convinced that I need meds for depression, and wants me to start with a newer drug called Trintellix because it might also help with the cognitive symptoms I experience, like problems with memory, focus, attention-span, executive functioning of the brain. I remember the long list of side effects of antidepressants and the severe discontinuation symptoms that lasted two weeks or more when I very responsibly weaned myself off of them. I remember the vertigo if I forgot to take one pill. I remember feeling that the minimal improvement to my mood wasn’t worth it.

I left his office feeling defeated. I didn’t agree to anything. I can still call him back and say no, I want ADD meds only, or I can go the Trintellix route. I can also be a part of his research for this drug which would at least mean more follow-up. He also told me about ECT treatment, which I was interested in, but apparently it means two months in a hospital, so that’s probably out.

I don’t know what to do. And I need to decide soon.

My therapist suggested I start a chronology of childhood memories, because mine seem to be so scattered and hard to reach. This seemed a daunting task. But I’ve been working on it. I’m going to post some of them here in hopes that it will motivate me to continue with it.

In the meantime, just trying not to spiral too fast so I can get my footing again.