Monday, February 4, 2013

My Journey - Counseling

So this is the point in my journey where I give up, where I succumb to the circumstances and accept the way that I was feeling and the diagnoses that the doctor's had given me. And this lasted for eight months. I was defeated. I knew that I didn't feel well. I had seen three different doctor's by this point that all told me that I was depressed. The last one who also gave me the bonus prescription for my migraines also thought that it would be a good idea to go see a counselor. After I had been on my new medications for a couple of months I made arrangements to go visit a counselor one night after my husband came home from work. I thought that if I was this person with depression and that if it was so bad that I needed two prescriptions to be normal, it might not be a bad idea to seek professional advice and figure out how I was going to survive this new life of being depressed.    

On the way over, I had a bit of trepidation. Counseling was not a new venture for me, I had seen one extensively in my early years and the thought of going back to counseling brought a great amount of anxiety with it. I decided this time I was just going to lay it all out there, not sugar coat anything, and give my life story to the counselor straight up so that she could adequately assess my depression and how I should start dealing with it.

I got to my destination, went into the office and was mentally opening myself to this experience. Then the counselor came out to get me. She was a very nice looking lady. Nicely dressed and one of those people who quite possibly has a permanent smile attached to her face at all times. For other people out there who have been through some shit, she’s one of those people you look at and think this lady has no clue. I thought, well maybe she’s super smart and well read and she will have good advice so I shouldn't judge, I’ll give her a fair shot.

I sat down on her nice white sofa and we exchanged pleasantries. I told her that I was depressed and that one of my doctors advised that I come and see her. I told her that I didn't really feel as though I was depressed but three people had told me I was, so obviously there was something they knew that I didn't. I told her I wanted some advice on how to function as a depressed person in this world.  She began as most counselors do with, “well, why don’t you tell me a little bit about yourself.”  My immediate mental thought to this statement is, you’re really going to be sorry you asked this questions lady, but I proceeded. No holds bar, leaving all details of my life exposed.

In hindsight, I had fought this diagnoses of depression, even though looking back at the whole of my life it probably made sense. I did have cause to be depressed. My childhood and up until well after I had my daughter was not simple. Incidents happened to me during the course of my existence that forever changed my life and the person that I am. By all standards I should have died a couple of times. I went through suffering that no person should have to endure. I had chosen relationship after relationship that continued to reaffirmed chaos, suffering and heartbreak. This wasn't mild level go see a counselor and get better type of incidences; this was more like you’re lucky you’re alive sweetie so you should just be grateful for that fact. 

My personal rationalization was that I knew people out there that had it much worse than I ever did; I had met these people, so I discounted my troubles because it wasn’t as bad as the troubles of others.  Also most people’s lives are dysfunctional because the world is dysfunctional so what gave me the right to roll over and succumb to depression because life hadn’t come easy for me?

This is where my mind was at before going in to the counselor and while giving her my entire life story. After about an hour and a half of me talking and bringing her up to present day, I looked up at her to see that she was a bit paleish and her mouth was slightly ajar.

“Wow” she said “you have been through a lot”. “It makes sense that you’d be having problems with depression, I mean it’s completely justified”

“I realize that,” I said “but is it really that bad, bad enough to be on two anti-depressants?”

“I think so” she said meekly.

“Well do you have any advice on how to live life as a depressed person who is in pain all of the time?” I inquired.

She then began with the laundry list of things: exercise, eat well, have friends, laugh, talk about your problems, etc. She also explained that constant pain was a side effect of depression. It wasn’t really anything that I hadn’t already heard. So I thanked her for her time and drove back home in silence. And to be honest I spent a lot of the next eight months in silence. Not as in literally not talking but by being very numb and introverted in my struggles. I was determined to not let my depression depress my family so I mustered up all of the care and excitement that I had when I was around them and then fell apart at night. As soon as my kids went to bed I would hibernate on the couch or in my bath tub, taking eight Advil a day plus two anti-depressants and  migraine medication just to keep up the fa├žade and the ability to pretend  that I was okay.

*If you've missed previous installments of My Journey - Click here and get up to speed on this adventure.* 


  1. I admire your honesty about your strugles. It is inspiring that you are able to talk about them, it makes me want to look at my life and issues and maybe start seeing how to deal with them better or be more open about them at the least.

  2. I know what you mean by the people who don't have a clue. I love that you've been through a lot and are still here to tell about it. I find these posts inspiring and entertaining!

  3. @Cassie Well I'm glad some one is reading and getting something out of it! Assessing your life and seeing where there can be improvement is never a bad thing!

    @Gretchen Wood Although it was a hard time in my life, looking back at it now it is entertaining. I'm glad that you see it that way rather than a woe is me sort of post...because that's definitely what I don't want :)