Friday, February 19, 2010

Gold Pig

My first appointment with the psychiatrist was a relief.

Yes I was nervous. Yes I was worried about having to re-tell old stories, explain my current story and be honest with Sapphire about why I was going, what was needed and how I would get myself better.

Yes I was self conscious sitting in the waiting room with Love Chunks and Sapphire next to me leafing through trashy magazines. I tried to herd them out so that she wouldn't gaze up from her 'Ange Dumps Brad' edition and start reading the poster about the signs of mental illness written in font size 72 .

"Look, there's a Dimmey's over there - why don't you see if they've got some blue school shorts in your size, Sapph?"
She shook her head. "It's too hot out there."

It was my turn to go in. I edited my story down to a fairly punchy and precise version and then explained what the GP had done (increased the dose at my request) and what I was doing to climb out of the hole. Ordinary but important stuff like getting out of bed at a normal time, keeping fit, writing, working, cognitive exercises, being aware of what was happening to me and - hardest of all - trying not to feel so gnawingly guilty and sometimes allowing myself to do nothing.

Just two days after taking the increased dosage of antidepressant (a week before I got in to see the psych) I felt noticeably better. Less fog, less darkness. Then, when I actually had the appointment I felt better again because it was being taken seriously. By the psychiatrist, by LC, by Sapphire, my GP, my family, my friends and myself.

Like the psych who used to treat me in Adelaide, I think that this bloke - let's call him Melbourne Mind - understands that intellectually I know all about depression and that I really do try my very hardest to deal with it. Perhaps even try too hard at times. He therefore tackled it by pointing out that it’s a chemical imbalance in my case – serotonin and also another ‘onin’ whose name escapes me right now. This of course makes me feel less like a freak and a failure and more like someone who lacks Vitamin D or needs to rethink their vegan stance.

He said, “You’re on the right dose, you know your stuff and you are doing everything properly. Just keep doing what you’re doing and I’ll see you in three weeks.”
We set the appointment and I walked out to the reception area and saw Sapphire.
"Are you okay, Mum?"
I smiled. "You know, the doctor says that I'm a very good patient and that I'm doing all the right things." A simplistic explanation but not one that was patronising or untrue or edited for a child's ears.

"That's good." She reached for my hand. "You know what I learned today?"
"What love?"
"That you need to have really big fake boobs to get into these magazines----" she pointed to the raggedy pile of No Ideas, NWs, Grazias and Woman's Day's "-----and have weird puffy lips to match."

Maybe at the next appointment I'll tell him that I've taken to wearing a gold pig around my neck. Horoscopes, Feng Shui and the Chinese Zodiac have never affected my decisions or been a big feature in my life, but at the request of a person very close to me, I'm wearing the pig. As a Monkey in the year of the Tiger it's apparently going to be a tough twelve months. The Tiger needs to be fooled into believing I'm a pig by carrying or wearing one at all times.

People have complimented me on the necklace and it (almost) goes without saying that my GoneChocco reviewing job also allows me to take on the qualities that pigs are famous for.

Whatever works.


Anonymous said...

wrong place for this omment, but absolutely adored your grandmother story. When I was a (rather unhappy) little girl I used to live with my grandmother. Every dinner time, I'd wait till she left the room and then hide my food behind the cushions of the sofa. Two things I realised years later: she must have left the room so I could hide the food safely. She must have removed the food.

So she must have loved me.

River said...

So the first appointment is over and you're doing the right things. What a relief for you. The next one should be easier. After that, who knows, the delving into the nitty gritty could be tough, but I have faith in you, Kath, I know you can do this and come out smiling.

I'm wondering now what the Tiger holds in store for the Dragons this year?

drb said...

LOL, I could imagine the MM trying hard not to roll his eyeball, unless he is chinese. A good year for Dragon.

I have empirical evidence to support the claim. ;-)
I am a scientist afterall...

ThirdCat said...

Hang in there, Kath. We're all on your side.
I think the pig is gorgeous.

Pandora Behr said...

Glad the fog is lifting - and you have somebody sane who listens to help. Keep up the great work.

nuttynotons said...

glad to hear about your progress, and you are doing the right things, with the right support and your commitment you can manage this,

thinking of you all

The Plastic Mancunian said...

G'Day Kath,

I'm glad thinks are looking up. I've been through this, supporting Mrs PM and my Mum so I know what its all about. Both are fine, aware and, as far as I know, happy.

So it does work.



Cat J B said...

That is a cute pig, and if it's effective, all the better.

PS. Are you actually a vegan?

Oh, and I love Sapphire's comment, she is SO right!

Rowe said...

Good onya Kath, glad to hear you are getting whatever help you need and are feeling better, too. Big hug for Saph, she is cool.

Radge said...

Whatever works, indeed. Hope you're well and mind yourself.

Kath Lockett said...

Thanks Anon. Grandmothers were far more clued up (and understanding)than we realised. I hope I half a quarter of my Grandma's insight.

River - I'm not sure if Dragons ever have to worry - surely they're the strongest ones? The ones that are big and bold enough to cope with anything? Or does that merely describe their breath first thing in the morning?!

DrB - actually, Melbourne Man might be Indian, so perhaps my seeking out techniques on top of the standard psychiatric ones won't be so out of place.

Thanks ThirdCat. I'm finding that I have a new appreciation for our porcine friends these days.

Thanks also to Pandora and Nuttynotons - I'll always keep trying. Everything I have is worth the effort.

That's good to hear/read, Plastic Man. It's great to see how supportive you've been through it all as well.

CatJB - no, I'm not a vegan! There's too much cream, milk and other delicious things in the world for me to give up - I'd be even more miserable if veganism was partnered with the depression! :)

Sapph *is* cool, Rowe and made a new fan on Saturday night when she entertained a shy six year old girl who could only talk about dinosaurs. The power of paper, felt pens and drawing together was the answer.

Radge - 'mind myself'? There's a bit of irony if ever I've heard it!

Radge said...

Whoops - I forgot to turn on the pun detectrix.

Baino said...

Aww well I'm glad you 'got along' with him. I can't imagine unburdening all that stuff to a stranger. Let's hope he can get all your 'onins' sorted and help with the black dog. No fun, no fun at all but you are doing all the right things.

River said...

No, no, my breath is sweet, like roses, or vanilla, I promise...

JahTeh said...

Kath, we're are, at least, blessed with one of Nature's remedies, an inappropriate, diabolical and crazy sense of humour. You also have fart humour, a trait I seem to lack but it's been replaced by crazy old fat lady humour.