Sunday, March 25, 2012

I Need Sunshine!

We have had a string of cloudy days, and my mood is feeling it. I feel dead and lifeless. If I had feared being agitated after going down on the Zyprexa, especially in the springtime, it hasn't happened. In fact, I have been able to sleep, and I spent most of the day in bed.

Sometimes I wonder if I should move to Florida, or at least somewhere south of here. The problem is, I don't really like heat- especially not combined with humidity. And I have family in the Northeast, which is keeping me here for the moment.

It took me a while to figure out the seasonal component to my illness. I don't even think they had light boxes during my first hospitalization for depression during in the mid-1980's. No one talked about SAD. It would be a decade or so before I read about it, and realized, that is what I have! And no wonder I seem to spend every December in the hospital.

I actually had a therapist who tried to convince me that I found the holidays traumatic and depressing, and that is why my depression would always break through whatever meds I was taking each winter. So I wouldn't have to see my family. And I knew she was crazy.

For years, I would dutifully go to a therapy for a year- and then generally change therapists after that year (which seemed a respectable amount of time), because I didn't find them that helpful. There are some exceptions- I did have 3 therapists who were helpful, and I only left because I moved.

When I started working again 8 years ago, and lost Medicare, and had private insurance- I tried going to therapy a couple of times. But the in-network therapists that I tried weren't that great, and I didn't have the money to go out of network. Some were actually atrocious! And I gave up on therapy for a while.

But when I moved here, I realized I was very isolated, and could use some support. After trying two in-network therapists, my parents are now paying for me to see someone privately. I feel bad about this- I make a decent salary- but I also have a lot of debt, and it would be hard for me to pay myself. Not impossible, but hard. Especially if I want to do things like have a gym membership and have a personal trainer once a week.

I like her. I do find her helpful, although it is hard to say how. Perhaps she is just social support. She does talk a lot about mindfulness, which I like- but I can't go the whole way to DBT, of which she is a big believer. DBT is just too complected, and actually seems to add more layers, making me less mindful in some ways.

During my years on disability, DBT was recommended to me, and I dutifully found a DBT group at a local hospital. I cut myself at the time- so the doctor said that this was the thing to do, in terms of research. Nowadays, they would call it evidence based medicine. But you have to look at the individual.

I was deeply depressed at the time, just out of the hospital, on disability, and I didn't know if I would ever be able to go to school or work again. I wanted to be a functioning adult human being, but I didn't know if that would ever happen. And so, I didn't know if I wanted to live.

It seemed to me that DBT was nothing but a string of coping mechanisms- ways of getting through the moment, but with no promise of function (how can you study when you are having a tea ceremony?). I didn't want my life to be one long string of coping mechanisms. I didn't know if I wanted to get through the moment. My distress was existential.

So I hated DBT. And I hated the rules of the group. And I also was very out of it- and inappropriate, in the sense that I had no idea where other people were coming from, and that some people where finding it helpful. I was totally self-focused at the time. And I managed to get myself kicked out of the group. They decided to enforce a rule with me that they did not enforce with anyone else- that my psychotherpist had to be at the hospital, and she was not.

I should never have been admitted to the group, I was just too depressed. So my view of DBT is probably unfair. And in fact, I really can't remember anything I learned from the group!

So I pick up little bits of it from my current therapist, like "opposite action," and it is like learning them for the first time.

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