Today was a breakthrough of sorts. For the first time in one year, I was able to sit through a visit with my psychiatrist without crying.
This is not something I have been able to accomplish with my therapist. Yes, I have one of those too. The psychiatrist is the one who prescribes the blue pills and the one I have to visit every few weeks to check in so she can evaluate me and be sure I haven't gone completely full moon clothes on backwards mental.
I like her. She's warm in her detachment and she wears her gray, streaked long hair in a bun. She moves quickly but silently in her sensible flat shoes and her long skirts. Her hands are always drawn to whatever beautiful big stoned piece of jewelry is around her neck and when you talk she looks you straight in the eye and tilts her head a little to the side, giving you the impression that she's mulling over what ever it is you just said very carefully. She's quite motherly in her approach.
The therapist is the one I talk to where I really cry. A lot. While I try and figure out why I cry so god- damned much.
I joke about being mental but the truth is I've never suffered life altering mental illness. I have dealt with depression on and off forever. I realize for some it can be brutal and is a very real disease, but fortunately, for me, depression is the annoying guest at the party who won't leave. I can still mingle at the party, snacking on pitas and hummus and mixing up a mean vodka tonic but in the backround I can't shake that loudmouth who is double dipping and talking too close and making me uneasy.
I have functioned up until about a year ago without any intervention or medicines. Sometimes better than others. I can remember times when I seemed fine, happy and normal. I can also remember times when I would cry, no, sob, silently in the bathroom at work over something or other. No matter what it was, it wasn't worth the emotional upheaval that I was going through and feeling.
A year ago, crumbling under the weight of post partum and post breastfeeding hormones, trying to adapt to a life that was no longer my own, an identity I was unfamiliar with and the overwhelming sense of responsibility I was facing, I started to come unglued. Getting ready for work became an exercise of frustration and stomping about. I would stand in grocery store isles for five minutes looking at the pasta selection, completely unable to come to a decision between elbow macaroni and shells. I would lose my temper and feel utter rage at not being able to find my keys, swearing and throwing things. I slept a lot but I couldn't eat. I didn't want to. Not because I was concerned with baby weight, but because nothing looked or tasted appetizing. I wasn't hungry. I couldn't even feel happy about fitting into clothes that I couldn't wear before I was even pregnant - If that's not crazy, I don't know what is.
I found this psychiatrist who heard my history and hooked me up with anti-depressents and a psychotherapist. She is a bit older than me, is very easy to talk to and had her two children (as my mother likes to say regarding anyone who's given birth after the age 30) later in life. She's given me some very obvious truths that are not shocking to anyone, but still reassuring to hear from a professional, i.e., Working is not a crime - it's not something to feel guilty about, It's OK to make a decision using your logical side and tune out your emotional side & You must let your husband do things. It doesn't matter how it get's done - stop that business right now.
Right now I feel as though we are at an impass. During our last meeting I reminded her of what I told her the first time we met, that I wanted to understand what was making me cry. If I sat on the couch and she asked me how my son was, I would cry and I would continue to cry until I left. Once I was out the door it was as if a switch flipped and I would be fine again. There was something about being in the office, on the couch, so to speak, that brought up something from my psyche and I don't even care if I never stop crying, I want to know why it happens.
During my last check up I made a point of telling myself as I walked in, I won't cry today. There's no reason to cry. I have nothing to cry about. But I cried. As I teared up I told her I feel fine, better than fine, I feel good. Very good. That if I wouldn't have come to see her I would'nt have cried that day. That it was frustrating and I didn't know where to go next. She said maybe it's time to take a break and think about it. That even the best therapists can only be a lightening rod to help you find what you are looking for, that only I have the answers.
I don't have the answers. I have theories. Maybe going to see a motherly therapist and admitting my self doubt and fear and frustration of losing control was a substitute for not being able to talk about those feelings with my own mother. Perhaps this was a volitile time in my life and I needed time to adjust to a miscarriage and a baby in a year. Maybe it goes deeper than that, to the way I was parented and a deep fear that I won't know how to do it better, along with a good dose of sadness that my own parents didn't recognize that I needed something different from them that my other siblings did not.
But I didn't cry today. That's good enough for now.