For as long as I can remember, I’ve considered myself an “all or nothing” kind of person. I give things my all or I give nothing. I do something to the absolute best of my ability, or I don’t even attempt it. If I cannot do it right, why should I do it at all?
This way of thinking has been tremendously helpful on so many occasions. . . It helps me leave something alone so I can clear my mind to move on to the next. . . But, it also has me passing up good or fun opportunities out of fear that I won’t be good at them.
Wait. What? Fear? Out of FEAR? Surely not. It’s a matter of fact, not a matter of fear. Right?
Ugh. I don’t know any more.
The point is that, as a result of this way of thinking, when I finally get around to actually setting my mind to something, I am mostly successful & happy in regard to it. The flip side is that it takes me FOREVER to get around to actually making my mind up & taking action.
I am well into a period in my life when I am, overall, the happiest I’ve ever been. Legitimately. I have much to smile about & I feel so happy & so secure & very well-loved by a pretty damn fabulous handful of people who include my very handsome & supportive, everything-I-could-have-ever-dreamed-of husband. (No, really. Years ago, I set my bar high & vowed to never marry if those standards could not be met. The fact that I am married tells you that he really is “all that.” But, that’s a different story.)
Yet, for what seems like absolutely no reason, my eyes fill with tears that are spilling down my face before I even realize what’s happening to me. It’s maddening. It makes me feel helpless & out of control.
It’s not so bad when I am able to keep myself occupied. School work, housework, errands. It might seem like busy work — & I view it that way from time to time too — but, in reality, it is what I think keeps me sane. . . Because these feelings that make me cry at the drop of a hat or want to go curl up in bed & go to sleep for a good long while make no damn sense at all. . . They make me feel like there is something seriously wrong with me that I can’t just be happy — & that I, somehow, am waiting for “the other shoe to drop” even though I do know that there is no other shoe looming out there.
My emotions contradict my actual thoughts — then they swing right back around to be inline with my thoughts. It’s a sickening roller-coaster ride (& I don’t even like roller-coasters, so there is absolutely no way in which this is even remotely enjoyable).
This is where the people who aren’t comfortable with this line of communication or who want to lighten the mood will insert jokes about how of course there is something wrong with me. . . Am I just realizing it? Haha. Or, this is where those who can sympathize (&/or empathize) with how I am feeling will say something about how these are “classic” signs of depression & that there will be some good days & some bad. . .
Neither of those responses are so horrible, really. It’s just that I know these things. . . & having them further pointed out right now is just as maddening & frustrating as what I am feeling. . . (& I feel guilty even saying that because most of the people who say anything at all genuinely seem to be saying it out of sincerity & concern & a desire to help or relate in some way, which I do appreciate so very much)!
So, what does all of this have to do with my “all or nothing” mentality that I started off about?
Well, I finally made up my mind nearly ten months ago that I needed to see someone about my depression, so I made an appointment at one of the local doctors’ offices to establish myself as a patient & to get a referral of some sort. To have gotten to the point where I was ready to take action means that I had been thinking about it for quite some time & had finally reached my boiling point. I knew I needed help & I went to ask for it. I was met with a receptionist that made me feel inferior for being there for such an issue & a doctor that pulled out her laptop to do a stupid depression survey, just to tell me to call the ComPsych number on the back of my insurance card for a referral. Yeah fucking right.
It took me months to make the call; in my mind, that was something entirely different from what I had originally mentally prepared for. When I finally did call, it was a three-week wait until my appointment time. . . Then, just a couple of days before my appointment, I am contacted by their office to tell me that the doctor I made an appointment with fell ill & would not be seeing any patients for at least six weeks & that they wanted to move my appointment to meet with, basically, a counselor-in-training. Ugh. I fought my urge to decline & start over & took the suggested appointment.
The gal I saw was nice enough. . . I thought much of what we talked about was redundant & most of what she suggested I think about or do to “retrain” my brain, I was already doing in some way. . . I guess it was nice to have the confirmation, though. . . I saw her for three weekly appointments & right at the time I was starting to decide whether I would stay or go, I got voicemail canceling my fourth appointment, due to a two-week hiatus the office was taking as the result of the death of the head doctor (the dude I was originally supposed to see?). That was at least six weeks ago; I haven’t heard from them since. Ugh.
In the meantime, something that counselor had said had been floating around in my brain. She knew I wasn’t too keen on the idea of getting on medication — especially without being absolutely certain that it was, in fact, needed — but, she strongly suggested that I see my primary care physician to have my thyroid checked & to see if there could be any other physical reason for my depression. Hmmm.
I’d done that before, but it was years ago. A lot changes, right? So, a few weeks ago, I finally called the office where the handsome husband has been visiting & scheduled an appointment with that doctor to be seen for depression.
De ja vu? A little bit. . . Except, this time, I do not intend to ask for a referral. I intend to ask about testing my thyroid & any other “whatevers” that he thinks could be a physical cause for depression & I will let those results lead me to whatever comes next. . .
All I know is that I can’t keep doing what I’ve been doing & expecting things to change.
My “all or nothing” mentality has been holding me back in this area because, even if I don’t realize it in the moment, I am, basically, telling myself that if I can’t get care in exactly the way I pictured it, I won’t get care at all. I’m not sure that is the right mentality for me to have in this regard. . .
Third time’s a charm, right? We’ll see what happens. My appointment is on Friday — in five days.