Well, maybe I just did not tell him everything.
That sounds a lot better. Yet, in the end, I wasn’t honest about how I was doing.
My years of practice hiding and concealing my depression kicked in when I went in to see him last week. It had been three months since I first saw him, and I made a lot of progress.
With all the work I have done to understand depression, I had no idea there could be residual depression.
My focus has been on the tools I am using day to day to manage depression, to recognize what it is doing or trying to do to me daily. I have scanned articles about the prevalence of depression and statistics about how many people in the United States suffer from it every year.
The trouble is with numbers on the magnitude of ¼ of the population of the US, it is hard to grasp the scale.
However, I do know about my own personal struggle. I can tell you about my life with depression. And I can share that it’s a total pain in the ass. The lengths depression will go to put unhelpful thinking into my head, well it exceeds my grasp. Then there are the automatic thoughts that pop up. These have been devastating in the past.
Learning how to ask better questions, I am beginning to challenge these thoughts.
This has been huge in my ability to see the damage depression was inflicting on me. These better questions and the ability to slow down the situation, take a breath and then look again at the thought, have made dealing with them easier.
Back to my Psychiatrist, in his office, when I was asked how I was doing, I said, ‘really good.”
Relating the successes, I have had and the progress I have made, I must have looked like the poster child for recovery and remission. It never dawned on me that I was masking some of the challenges I am still facing as I learn to live with depression.
That’s why they call it “concealed depression, or high-functioning depression.”
Going into his office, I did have a list of questions to go along with my success story list. As the conversation unfolded, and I asked the questions, it seemed that I was on the right path. I did not know there were other types of questions to ask. I did not know about the HAMILTON DEPRESSION RATING SCALE (HAM-D) or other tools to measure progress.
Automatically, without consulting me, my mind switched into protection mode or more accurately, to concealed mode.
Depression won that round because I did not share my entire state of mind with my Psychiatrist. And I did not benefit from his years of medical experience as to what was the best course of action going forward. “First, do no harm.” Well maybe that was accomplished, but I am not so sure. The fault would be mine for not opening completely, sharing the entire story of my almost 200 days since I was hospitalized for Major Depressive Disorder.
I called hm first thing this morning, to ask about options.
I told him I would be home until 5 PM. Of course, then I decide I must go take care of something that was on my list for today. Surely, he wouldn’t call in the middle of the day. I was able to mind-read and told myself he would call at the end of the day, so going out for a bit wasn’t a problem.
Not telling anyone I was expecting the call, there wasn’t even an opportunity to get the message before returning home. By then, my second call of the day went directly to voice mail, too.
So, we will see what the rest of the day brings. I have an appointment at 5:30 this afternoon and will be jumping in the shower soon. I may need to take the phone with me.
There is little comfort in remembering others in recovery have had issues with telling the truth.
Hearing that the first time helped. Knowing I am doing that makes me feel terrible. I can’t even say out loud that I am lying. This is one of the deadly sins, one of the trust breakers, one of the worst things you could ever do. And I have done it, I have lied.
Somehow, verbalizing it doesn’t make me feel better.
But dwelling on it will only make me “should “all over myself. So here I sit, waiting for the phone to ring, hoping that the phone will ring, yet secretly guessing that it won’t, that I have missed my chance today. I am telling myself; Doctors are busy, I cannot expect him to make two phone calls to me in the same day, I mean this guy is important.
My plan, if he calls, is to tell him the truth.
My plan, if I do not talk to him until next Monday, is to tell him the truth. I have always thought of myself as a very honest person. But there is a part of me that is afraid of the finality truth can convey. It’s not fluid enough, not messy enough, not exactly something you can gloss over in a quick moment, then move on with your plan.
Truth wants exactness, and depression wants none of that.
The fuzzier things are, the easier it is for depression to operate unnoticed. Unnoticed, that is, until it is too late. What a sneaky way to be. And yet it enjoys its role in disrupting lives and creating doubts which we carry as truths.
I know I am getting better, that’s no lie.
But the process has just begun, and I may need a little more help getting to a balanced life.