New Postings are imminent….
Met again with my therapist yesterday and we got a chance to tally and discuss my results on the anxiety and depression tests. According to the anxiety test a 31 to 50 indicates a severe case of anxiety. I scored a 41. This, coupled with the fact that I’ve felt my anxiety increase over the last few years, has led the therapist to diagnose me with a chronic case of severe depression. On the depression front I scored a 16 which is within the mild range of 11 to 20.
With these lasts tests outta the way it’s pretty clear that my mental health is in tatters. Still having a fully worked up diagnosis is a big relief. I feel like my actions and feelings make sense, in a twisted sort of way, when viewed in light of OCD and my level of anxiety. I’ve found a source for my issues, it’s been named, and now I can actually move forward and try to find ways to manage it. It’s like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I even cried on the way over to pick up the Wifey after the appointment. Not because I was sad but because I found a bit of hope that things will get better.
After going over the diagnosis we discussed treatment. The inpatient option was taken off the table first since there is not treatment programs offered for OCD in Colorado. That leaves us with medication, behavioral/cognitive therapy or a mixture of both. I was dead set against simply popping a pill and leaving it at that. The therapist was in agreement with this so she let me decide whether or not to try medication with therapy or therapy alone.
I’ve actually thought about the medicinal stuff quite a bit over the last week so I was ready to pretty much make the decision once the question was posed. Since I feel that there is a physical component that hasn’t responded to coping techniques I’ve learned in the past such as breathing, visualization etc. (learned when finding ways of dealing with IBS) I want to include it in hopes it allows me to tone down the anxiety faster. From there I hope to achieve a baseline which will make the behavioral/cognitive therapy more fruitful.
I’ll touch base with my family physician to discuss the specific drug this week but I’m well aware that it probably won’t have a positive effect until a few weeks after I start taking it.
My homework at the moment is to work on an autogenic exercise to help decrease my overall anxiety and depression levels. At first glance it seems a little hokey but I’m gonna give it a go since I’m unwilling to dismiss anything out of hand that may turn out to make life a bit more positive for me.
So, in short, I’m making progress. One little step at a time.
Action and Reaction (written 2006)
And, when I first met you
Amazed by your sparkling eyes and singsong voice
Infused with the joy of the moment
Laughing inwardly at all my past fears…
And, while I led you back through the rift
Worrying every moment that I’d turn around and you’d be gone
Rushing through the woods, past flowers I didn’t recognize
Away from your mountains and into mine…
And, while we were entering my campsite
I reveled in the look on the faces of my friends
Watching awe spread across their faces
Watching my past certainty find foundation…
And, while we chatted
Drinking our tea and mead
Listening to each others tales of our homelands.
Excited about what our meeting foretold…
And, while I stared at the night sky
To excited to sleep
Worried that I might wake up
To find this simply a fleeting dream…
Our people’s cities burned.
When I was meeting you
There were other meetings.
When I was leading you back through the rift
Others were finding their way.
While we were entering my campsite
Others were entering our cities.
While we chatted
Others were making war.
While I stared at the night sky
Others were looking at open graves.
OCD… I have OCD… Fuck.
We, the psychiatrist and I, worked our way through the checklist. The questions seemed so simple. I answered them, trying to keep my emotions in check, struggling to be honest even though I knew what that would reveal to both of us.
It’s official. I have OCD…
Now what? Apparently there are two forms of treatment, medication or in-patient treatment. Medication is the norm but one I won’t do without continued counseling. For me it’s got to be a tool to give me headroom to develop the tools necessary to live without it. Luckily, the doc and I are on the same page regarding this. The second, in-patient treatment, where the obsessive thoughts are triggered and then you’re not permitted to follow through on the compulsion, has proven successful for some. However, it’s apparently agonizing emotionally. I’ve tried to resist the compulsions, sometimes I’m successful, but the struggle is anything but pleasant. Still, I won’t dismiss the in-patient option simply because I’m afraid of the pain.
I have OCD… How severe? Anything else?
We’re still working on this. We only had an hour after all. But I have homework, worksheets regarding depression and anxiety, exercises to reduce stress. I won’t remain idle. Next time I know we’ll go deeper, explore more hidden issues and possibly find symptoms that the OCD has masked. An anxiety disorder is likely to be found. The Doc suspects it. So do I.
I also won’t hide. I won’t be ashamed.
Having OCD doesn’t decrease my worth as a person. It’s doesn’t mean I’m insane. I know that the obsession is irrational, even as I’m feeling the emotions and the tugs of the compulsions. I may not have the strength to ignore them but that doesn’t mean that I can’t resist, that I can’t fight against them. Others have their own issues, this is mine. But, I won’t let it define me.
I have OCD. It doesn’t have me.
So over the last week I’ve encountered two items that have me really rethinking where I’d like to take my life (as long as 2012 doesn’t end it of course.) I’ve always enjoyed doing the creative stuff but I often find myself at various times lacking the time, motivation or ideas necessary to pull things off. (Oh, and I’m sure there are tons of other excuses I’ve used in the past.)
Oh, I should mention the two things. The first is a PSN game called ‘Journey’. The game is put together by the same company that put out ‘FLOW’ and ‘Flower’. I’m totally in love with the visuals and the sense of atmosphere that it invokes.
The second source of inspiration is ‘Project KARA’. From my understanding it’s basically a technology demo. Still the writing is superb in my opinion and the short film has an uncanny ability to pull emotions out of me.
Anyhow, I’m going to attempt to cling to this new found energy and trying to figure out what talents I can develop to get involved in projects such as these. I’ve got a few things in mind though. I figure that I need to start developing a portfolio of my creative stuff, which should encompass the artwork, writing and technical knowhow to get my ideas out on paper and other media.
That’s my hope anyhow.