And Then Someone Tells You To Call Your Doctor

So, y’all remember how I said I was starting counseling? Well, it happened–but not until yesterday.

Turns out it’s hard to coordinate schedules between one working mom and another working mom who also volunteers as a church counselor two days per week.

Anyway, the lovely Counselor J. and I met for lunch yesterday. She asked me why I wanted to meet with her. I said, “Because I am always tired, I am not interested in anything, I cannot attempt the simplest of tasks, I am overwhelmed by tiny things, and I don’t remember the last time I felt happy. There is no reason for any of it. My life is amazing. I have no problems.”

Guess what her next question was?

“Are you creative at all?”

And I said something like “Haaaaaahahahahahahaha.” Then I realized that was a pretty weird response, so I elaborated. “I’m a writer.”

She nodded, as if she sees a million writers a week in her office, which she probably does.

I won’t go into all the details, but the long and the short of it is that she believes I am at the threshold of depression. She told me I could take a couple weeks to see how things went, but if I still felt this way after two weeks, I needed to call my doctor.

For medication.

Now, I know a lot of y’all have dealt with this on some level before. But I never have. I’m not saying I’ve never been depressed before–I know of one very specific time in which I probably should have gotten help, but I didn’t.

And let me tell you, it is WEIRD to have someone look you in the eye and say, “You should probably be medicated.”

Anyway, J. the Counselor also suggested that I start regular counseling twice per month at the practice of my choosing. I will probably choose her, because she was awesome (did I mention she is a professional counselor? The church counseling gig is just a volunteer thing that she works into her schedule.)

I left the meeting feeling sad at first, but then, as is my way, I immediately told all my friends and family what she had said. I described how I’d been feeling and admitted I was nervous about medication.

And the replies began to pour in:

DUDE. I feel you on the depression front. I’ve communicated with you all this before, but yeah. I have felt the exact same way . . . anyways, I just want to say I feel you, and feel free to reach out if you want. 

Hey boo! So I talked to my doc today. Similar symptoms for me. Would be interested to know what they prescribe for you. 

Proud of you for being so open about it and proactively attacking the problem. I’ve been there. 

This is such good news! It feels weird/bad to say that, but I think you know what I mean. I know you had been struggling for so long, just floundering and trying to figure out what was going on. So glad you were able to connect with the counselor. 

First of all, I think it’s awesome you are facing this head on and working to knock it out so early . . . 

You have not seemed yourself in a while. I’m glad she was able to pinpoint it so fast!

I shall keep you in my thoughts. You know where to find me whenever you need to unpack a box or two. 

Hey kiddo, I wish you had said something to me earlier. I love you, Anne, and will do anything for you. (That one was from my dad.)

I’ve experienced depression before and it’s so frustrating and debilitating. The complete lack of interest is something I can relate to . . . 

If I’m honest with myself, I have to admit that I too probably had it at one point in college . . . 

Love you and am praying for you. I admire everything about you. 

Hey, your plan sounds great and very normal. Did you know I have been on three different medications in the last year for anxiety / depression? Call me or let’s get together and we can talk. 

I am proud of you for pursuing this and not just thinking you can muddle through. Glad you filled us in on this–and glad help is so readily available. Love you much. (My mom.)

And after I got all those replies and talked on the phone to a couple people and then rehashed everything with my husband, the strangest thing happened.

I started to feel happy for the first time in months. And I am still feeling happy. Not happy enough, I don’t think. But I’ve had more energy today, and I feel like if I go home and try to put in a load of laundry, it might not kill me.

Progress? I think yes.

So I’m not sure what to do about the medication. I’ve called the doctor but have not actually gotten a prescription for it yet–they just said to come in for a consultation if I ever felt like I needed something “extra.”

But like . . . I seriously feel better after having all those conversations.

I’m leaning towards putting the meds on hold for the time being and just starting with counseling. I have no problem with the pills, but I don’t want to take them if I don’t absolutely have to–some of those side effects are scaryish.

What do y’all think? Have any of you been able to defeat mild depression with counseling only? Or did you have to use medication too?

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20 thoughts on “And Then Someone Tells You To Call Your Doctor

  1. StoriesAndSweetPotatoes says:

    Especially based on how you’re feeling now (though I would say this anyway) do NOT get on meds. Unless you are suicidal and your depression forces you to stay in bed literally 24hrs straight, they can do more harm than good. Psych meds are thrown around so haphazardly and neither the doctor or patient know what the hell they are doing. If a certain pill is recommended I urge you to do your own research first. Crazymeds.com is a great place for real info from people who have taken these drugs. Plus, it’s just an awesome site. I’ve taken 5 different anti-depressants and you could not pay me enough money to take one again. I hope your depression eases up as you work with a therapist and I think it’s great you sought help! Good thoughts your way!

    1. Anne Riley says:

      Thanks for the insight! I think medication of all kinds has such a different effect from one person to the next. For now, I’m holding off, although I’m definitely keeping that option open in the future.

  2. Anna Seekins says:

    Is there any chance that some of your depression could be post-partum related? I’ll be praying for you, Anne!

    1. Anne Riley says:

      I don’t know! It doesn’t feel the same–I had some mild PPD for the first 3 weeks after delivery, and this has felt different. Thank you!

  3. Charmaine Clancy says:

    I think that’s a sensible approach, if you need the meds, take them, but if not it’s best to keep your body clear of any unnatural medications. Hope you’re feeling better soon. I found I was getting down, but had a big clean out of my house (just tossed almost everything) and felt amazingly better straight away. Amazing what a clear space can do for you 🙂

    1. Anne Riley says:

      That’s what I’m thinking–take them if needed, but if not, I’d rather stick with just counseling! And it’s so funny you bring up cleaning. Last night I cleaned the living room really well and immediately felt better. It’s a good sign that I was able to clean it at all. 🙂

  4. Lindsay says:

    Meds are not the end of the world, I promise you. I was reluctant to get on them, too, but it offered a lot of balance for what was going on with me. I seriously would just start crying randomly in places before I got those. Extremely awkward. But they can be kind of a pain because you do have to ease off of them later when you’re better and wondering why you’re having to keep taking pills (I’ve always been bad about taking pills regularly). When I look back, though, it was totally worth it and when you combine it with counseling, it can be amazing. If you can make it with counseling alone, even better! Much less of a hassle. I’ll keep you in my prayers! You’re awesome!

  5. Crystal says:

    I personally don’t see anything wrong with taking medication if need it to function. If that’s what you need to feel yourself, then I say go for it. If what you need is to just talk to someone who has no stake in what’s going on in your life, do it.

    Basically, do whatever it is that feels right for YOU. Everyone handles things differently and as long as you’re doing what you need to do for yourself, then good for you!

    I think it’s great you’re talking to someone and are starting to feel happy again. *hugs*

  6. Alicia says:

    I’m so sorry to hear how you’re really feeling. I must give you props for being so open about something so personal. I was once on the edge of that pit but circumstances in my life changed which made my situation much better. I know there are so many in your same situation who don’t know how to handle it, and your open approach could be very helpful for those hurting in silence.

    Thanks for being brave and I will be praying for you!

  7. Jodi says:

    I am diametrically opposed to anyone who says “avoid meds at all costs.” I used to sell psych meds and you wouldn’t say to someone who was in pain, “OMG, whatever you do DON’T let them give you Advil!” It’s the same thing, only we’re schooled to believe that mental pain should be denied or handled swiftly and quietly by simply deciding not to be depressed anymore. The truth of the matter is, a little boost of medication can help you make it over the initial speed bump. Personally, I took Prozac for about 4 months once the triplets hit about 3 years old. It helped put me on the road to wellness. And when I woke up one day and realized I hadn’t felt depressed in a great while, I just quit. Period. No problems whatsoever. So chalk me up in the camp of “did it — had no side effects (literally none) — would do it again if faced with the same situation.”

    You’re awesome, and don’t let the naysayers prevent you from doing what’s best for you and your family. XOXO!

    1. Anne Riley says:

      Yes, I am definitely keeping that option in mind. As of this moment, I think the counseling will be enough, but I’m with you–anyone who needs medical help should get it!

  8. Jessica Love says:

    I can relate to this so much. I’ve been trying to get up the courage/will/whatever to talk to someone about my ADD, but I just…don’t. I call my insurance, I get a referral, I call a doctor, even. But then I just never commit to going in. So good for you for taking that step!

    I was in both individual and group counseling for over a year, and it was one of the best things I have done for myself. I only stopped going because of the $$. If that wasn’t an issue, I would still be going weekly. I hope you get as much out of it as I did.

    And I was so surprised to find out how many people I know and admire are on meds for depression or some other mental health issue. I only realized it when I brought up my own issues with ADD and found out how many people I know take meds to handle their own ADD. Just knowing other people use meds for it made me feel better. Maybe one day soon I will go talk to someone about it.

    Good luck with everything, Anne. Seriously, you have taken such a big step already. I hope counseling continues to help you.

    1. Anne Riley says:

      Thank you Jessica. I hope your ADD issues get addressed soon–try to be proactive about it! I’m here if you need to talk!

  9. Ali says:

    I think sometimes telling someone and getting it off your chest is half the battle. You feel alone and crazy (or at least I do). But sometimes you just need someone, or multiple people, to say YOU ARE NORMAL and I HAVE BEEN THERE and YOU WON’T ALWAYS FEEL LIKE THIS and IT IS OKAY.

    1. Anne Riley says:

      GOSH that is so true. I emailed the counselor after we met and said it felt like 90% of my depression had lifted. Definitely a good sign!

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