I had a doctor's appointment this morning. It was a physical, a followup to some bloodwork and a discussion about my depression. I fought taking medication for depression for a long time until I realized I would eventually die without them. I started taking them a few months back, and I didn't feel as good as I'd hoped. I still have a lot of days in yesterday's pajamas holed up in my house, so I wanted to talk to her about maybe changing the dosage to see if that would help.
I was describing what I feel to my doctor, and the she said "Okay. Let's do your physical exam so I can get a comprehensive view of your physical health and how that feeds into the depression. Sound good?"
"Yep", I responded.
DR: "Let me test your reflexes. (She taps my knee and it jerks out a lot further than usual) Well that's the most drastic response I've seen in a while! Lay back."
DR: "(as she examines my abdomen) What's that scratch on your collar bone?"
ME: "Oh, I scratch in my sleep. I wake up with scratch marks all over my body. It's really weird."
DR: "How long have you been doing that?"
ME: "As long as I can remember."
DR: "And how much sleep are you getting?"
ME: "Not a lot. Sometimes I don't sleep at all. On a good night I get about 6 hours."
DR: "Have you always struggled to sleep?"
ME: "All my life I struggled to fall asleep."
DR: "Do you get headaches?"
ME: "All the time."
ME "On the back of my head, usually."
DR: "That's a tension headache."
DR: "Yes (as she feels my shoulders) MY these are tight!"
ME: "Yeah I know."
DR: "Sara, I don't think your primary issue is depression. I think you suffer greatly from anxiety."
ME: "What? No I don't. I don't worry about the future, I don't worry about finances, I have friends with anxiety and what they worry about is nothing like me. I'm a 'let it flow' kind of person."
DR: "I think you are anxious about yourself. I don't think you worry about exterior circumstances, I think you really hate yourself and you have a high level anxiety about that. From everything you told me, you were able to conceal this depression quite well for some time, fake being happy, and you do not present as a typical depressed patient. You have extraordinarily high expectations of yourself and panic that you will not live up to them."
And just like that… Everything clicked. That's why I don't let people in, in person anyway. That's why I'm always there for people when they need me, regardless of what my needs are. That's why I continue to neglect myself. That's why I fear myself. That's why I fear my voice. That's why I don't express my needs. This is why I sometimes read my bible or pray and still feel like crap, because I think His promises apply to other people, BETTER people, but not to me. That's why I assume everyone else hates me, despite evidence to the contrary. This is why I can sometimes assume the worst in my husband, because I feel like one day he'll see what I see in myself and leave me. That's why I give myself pep talks to just get up and embrace life but can't, because I feel life won't embrace me back.
That doctor is crazy smart. I plan to send her a very long thank you card.