“You’ve rejected your diagnosis at a visceral level. It’s like you are a clean slate. You don’t remember you have episodes of depression. And so every time it hits you, you are taken by surprise and don’t know what to do. Do you remember the strategies that we have talked about in the past of how to manage your depression better?”
Yeah that was my therapist the other day, at the end of our session. Apparently, during the last year when I was not depressed and happy, yes actually happy for a whole year, I basically forgot I had depression. Well, no I didn’t forget I had depression. I just didn’t think I would have it this bad…again. I got busy with living my life and forgot about what to do when the symptoms hit me. Apparently, that’s a bad thing. Okay, being happy is not, forgetting the lessons from therapy is.
Oh well. I can’t deny it. The lady had a point. I should have been better prepared. She said if you don’t inculcate the coping mechanisms into your life, she and I are going to have to go over this again and again.
I also heard about my ‘drug default’. Yes, I made the grave mistake of stopping medication on my own, as my own decision, without consulting with my psychiatrist. She had advised a lower dose but not told me to stop exactly. I have to admit, it wasn’t an intelligent decision on my part. So if you are reading this, I would strongly recommend you don’t play with your medication and don’t do any experiments with going off or on them without professional opinion. It cost me a lot doing just that.
That said. One of the factors why I “rejected my diagnosis” was the fact that at a deeper level, I also rejected the fact that I need medication to control my symptoms and function normally. I am aware it’s something I have to work on. I can’t deny the fact that the medication helped stop the non-stop relay of negative thoughts (the drug that I am prescribed, fluvoxamine, is for my ocd primarily) in a few days and I am feeling much better.
Coming back to what my therapist said. It’s true, even though I find it hard to believe, that I was surprised and acted like I didn’t know what I was experiencing were symptoms, just like earlier . I did not want to even go see the doctor.
I have to admit, this time my condition really put the “recurring” into my diagnosis of Recurring depressive disorder. I am finally beginning to see that what I have is chronic and I have to be aware of my moods, of things that can trigger my symptoms and most importantly I have to have my coping mechanisms ingrained in me like second nature.
Now that I think about it, we do tend to be adamant in accepting our diagnoses, we want to fight tooth and nail to not be put into labels like that, to not be suffering from x or y. Even if we don’t recognize it consciously, we do it at a subconscious level.
So until my next session, I plan to pull out all the lessons I had learnt during my previous visits and try and create my own strategies manual. I am going to put into clear words all the thought errors I make, all the tendencies I have of taking things the wrong way, what all triggers my downfall, what symptoms I experience, and the things I can do, the things under my control, to help improve my condition.
While I begin to do that, I would really like to know, has anyone else ever “forgotten” their diagnosis like me? Also, I would really appreciate if you could share some of your own strategies you’ve used successfully in the past or do so in the present to reduce the impact of the symptoms on your life.