The Psychiatrist

So, now that I'm back you may be wondering why I was gone. Or maybe not, but either way I'm going to tell you.

I was spiraling down fast at the end of my original sites last blog post. I mentioned in the last, most previous blog, that I couldn't do much but sit in my chair, until COVID hit and then everyone was home...oh yeah, and I was convinced that I was just lazy. COVID is a horrible, horrible thing that took too many lives, but it did do something good for me personally.

Because of COVID, I had to admit that I was just lazy because even though my family was home all day every day, I still could not get out of my chair, only now I couldn't hide it. I kept feeling lower and lower and wanted to get out of my chair less and less. Some days I would sleep until noon and then go sit in my chair. My wife, who is always so supportive of mental illness, suggested that maybe I'm not lazy...maybe I've got something else going on. Finally that thought of not being lazy was put in front of me, and I wasn't sure what to think. But continuing to feel more and more curled up in my own mind and distancing myself from life outside my house, I decided to do something I never thought I would ever do...

I called and made an appointment with a psychiatrist. DUHN DUHN DUUUUHN

Because I am such a huge advocate for everyone else's mental health besides my own, which I push aside and try to hide, I had the number for a great psychiatrist that one of my children used for a short time. I felt comfortable with this doctor from my prior visits that weren't for me, and I hoped I'd feel comfortable with him at my own visits.

I was right.

I felt pretty nervous about my first appointment coming up, and I admit it...a little embarrassed too because as my son once told me, "everyone has a therapist mom! Hardly anyone has a psychiatrist!" Even though I was able to stand up and fight for my son's health, I was not so good at being the same for my own health. Anyway...lets move on...

Incase anyone reading this is considering seeing a psychiatrist, or even a psychologist or therapist for the first time, I will mention how the process went.

There was a lot of paperwork to fill out, of course. On that paperwork were some really hard questions to answer. They were easy to answer in my own head, but not easy to answer on a sheet of paper that would be read by another human. Honestly, I didn't answer the questions as extreme as I had been feeling *insert excuses of embarrassment here* However, I was honest enough for the doctor to know that I needed to be seen by him. I cried through the whole appointment...partly because all I was doing at that time in my life was crying for no real reason, partly because I was embarrassed to be seeing him (who WANTS to need to see a psychiatrist, right?! ) nd partly because he was going to read the half truth answers that I marked on the paperwork. I really could have used my little Heartlee at this time, but because I was so anxious and struggling so much, he didn't want to be around me and I can't blame him.

It wasn't until my second, or possibly third, appointment that I got a diagnosis. Again, I always new I had debilitating panic attacks, but now I was hearing the full blown truth about myself, from a doctor that specializes in mental illness..ugh...

So hello, my name is Stephanie and I have agoraphobia with panic disorder, anxiety disorder, AND major depressive disorder...*whew* It is always a little difficult to say it (or write it) rather than keep it inside my head. I struggle to own who I am, STILL, after all this time! This blog is a helpful way for me to manage it, process it, admit it to strangers, and deal with it to the best of my ability.

More next time, but after this diagnosis and a behavioral dog specialist that retired my Heartlee for health reasons, I was on the search for a new service dog. And here he is as a tiny baby!!!! More on Finlee and our journey to come! Until then, enjoy this cute little face, remember that you are not alone, and keep calm and panic on.

Love, Stephanie

Sweet Finlee at 6 weeks old, still living with his mom and siblings.That pudgy baby face!!!!