Finding Peace — Manuscript Post #16
This second visit to Dr. Sue had given me a lot to think about. I looked up ‘anxious depression’ and ‘globus hystericus’ on the internet. I found a lot of information and some of it was scary. For anxious depression I learned that it could be tough to treat, treatment could involve heavy drugs and patients often regress. For globus hystericus I found that it may go away on its own. Some patients can’t swallow and they lose weight. I never had a problem swallowing and I was not losing weight. The internet is full of information. Some of it is actually useful.
It is easy to take all the information you can find on your own and convince yourself that things are hopeless. I remember thinking that ‘hystericus’ meant I was hysterical. I wasn’t hysterical. Be careful what you do with information you have no context for. You need help to make sense of all this information. At the same time, I knew I had a lot to think about. I also had a lot scheduled for the weeks after I saw Dr. Sue. Work was intense, I had training to complete and I was volunteering a lot of hours for my son’s high school marching band.
My appointment with Dr. Sue was the week before Thanksgiving. She had told me that I could read about it, see a therapist or medications might be involved. I had no control over the medications option. I had a gut feeling that the symptoms I had would not go away after reading something. I think I wanted to try therapy. I think I was concerned that whatever was happening to me was serious. I think I knew that I needed the most help I could get. Whatever this was, it had been inside of me for a long time. Reading a book wasn’t going to fix this. I’m a big fan of drugs whenever they are needed, but I didn’t want to be on drugs if I could avoid it. I think I wanted to go to therapy because it was what sounded the scariest and what sounded the most likely to really address what I needed to resolve my issues.
Perhaps I was curious about therapy because I had seen it not help my mother and others over the years. Perhaps I wanted to see the process for myself to see if it would be ineffective for me as well. Perhaps I wanted to see how much the ineffectiveness of therapy was due to the patient, not the process.
Since the next week was a holiday, I had lots to do. I didn’t even know how to find a therapist and I didn’t want to add to my stress by trying to rush this process. I made the decision to wait to look for a therapist until after the holiday. I chose to wait until December 1st. I also decided it would be good to do something I had not done before. My volunteering at my son’s high school would end the weekend before Thanksgiving. I decided to take vacation days to have the whole week of the holiday off. I had been a member of the local railroad museum for years but I had never volunteered there. I went out and worked at the Niles Canyon Railway for several days. It was great to help out others while I was processing my diagnosis.
Now that I had this diagnosis, did anything change about my symptoms? I continued to take notes in the days that followed.
Friday, November 28, 2008
I was out to dinner with my family. I suddenly felt anxious that something was going to happen, but what? This faded in about an hour.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
I felt off-balance in the morning but just kept busy. The extreme tiredness didn’t happen today.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
I volunteered all day without a break and had no symptoms. When I got home and sat down I suddenly felt very tired.
Monday, December 1, 2008
Symptoms come and go but they don’t prevent me from doing what I want to do. If I focus on something, symptoms seem to fade away.
–What did your wife make of all this?
From the onset of symptoms at lunch back in September, she was aware, and concerned, that I was having a problem. As it became clear that it wasn’t a medical issue she was relieved. I think she wasn’t surprised that depression was a possible cause. She was well aware of my family history. I think she was observing me and saw that I was relieved when Dr. Sue told me I didn’t have any disease. I’m sure she was curious where this was going, but I don’t think she was upset. I think she noticed that even with the unknown course of treatment that lay ahead, I was feeling better just because I had asked for help.