Thursday, October 22, 2009

Contrary to Evidence

This morning it occured to me that I need to go back into therapy. I wish I didn't. I have a pretty good idea of what's wrong with me -- low self-esteem, depression, addiction, social anxiety. I also have some ideas about what's right with me -- talent, intelligence, wit, generosity. But I don't know how to get the two categories to balance each other out.

I've been sitting at my computer most of the morning doing the usual things, taking pleasure in none of them and wondering why I'm doing them. I need to get into my files, three feet away from where I'm sitting, and find some stuff for my publicist and editor. I planned to put away all the clothes that happen to be out. None of this is difficult work but I can't do it.

My brother called to tell me that my last and favorite aunt is in the hospital being treated for lymphoma. I spoke to the cousin I'm closest to in that family and it was good in the moment -- we cried about our parents and laughed about our parents, recounted the many ways her father (my father's youngest brother) and my father were tied together. But when I hung up I was empty. Empty or full. Full of a feeling of what's-the-point. I walked Daisy, then walked myself to the ice cream and cookies at Gristides, took two klonopin and we shared a bingelet.

Today I'm on the verge of tears.

The deal with me is that whatever happens, I accuse myself. Objectively, of course, I didn't kill my mother but it's easier to mutter "I hate myself" than be sad. That has to be fixed. So far, I haven't been able to.

When I realized I should get a shrink, I wondered what sort. I trotted my fingers over to the Psychology Today website to look for therapists in my neighborhood. Much as I love Dr. Miller, it was a three-hour commitment to get to the Upper East Side and back again. It's time to shop local. The website has a nifty diagnostic test and this is what it told me:

  • You appear to have experienced at least one major depressive episode.
  • You show signs of Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
  • You appear to suffer from panic disorder with agoraphobia.
  • Your responses strongly indicate that you suffer from Body Dysmorphic Disorder.

I also came up as having lesser symptoms, kind of like having a minor subject area in college, linked to "Social Phobia," post-traumatic stress disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder.

Who, I wonder, decides which of all these states gets capitalized??

My body dysmorphic would have been off the scale if it asked questions besides those concerning anorectia/bulimia.

I found a therapist a few blocks away and emailed him. I think it's time to try a male shrink again. Now I'll have a cigarette, brush my teeth and get ready to call my father about my conversation with my cousin. That may call for a nap.

1 comment:

altopower said...

Good for you for recognizing that more therapy now is a good thing, and taking steps to find a new therapist closer to you than the last. You sound on the cusp - aware of what's going on but unable to do anything about it by yourself.

I think we've all been there, done that at one point or another. Getting help to integrate those parts takes courage and shows me that you want things to truly be different and not to live in sad limbo-land.

Lots of love,
Anne