I don’t know whether it’s just because I feel so drained and not feeling like doing anything, but I sometimes wonder if I have set myself too high a goal in writing a post each night. I was reading another blogger today talking about quality over quantity and wonder if my desire to write daily is egotism. It’s hard – when I lie in bed at night or first thing in the morning, I have so many ideas, but by night time when I’m up in front of the computer, they’ve all gone.
I guess I’m worried that I’m heading for a (hopefully) mild low period. For the last two weeks, other than doing the bare essentials (work, child wrangling and medical appointments) I’ve pretty much done nothing. Oh except bible study – at least I made it to that this week. I’ve missed everything else though. I’m sure it’s just because I’m so physically exhausted ever since I had the gastro bug two weeks (the joys of post viral fatigue due to fibromyalgia), but physically post viral fatigue has the same effect as depression on me – missing all the enjoyable things I’d usually do, wanting to sleep all the time, etc. So it can be hard not to feel a little low when I’m physically struggling. I have to keep telling myself, it’s just post viral fatigue, to not be scared it’s another episode of depression coming on.
But it’s hard. After having had such a severe episode of depression earlier this year and the temporary relapse the first month I went back to work, it’s really hard not to be afraid. The thing is, I do know it’s not depression at this stage. If it were, I’d be struggling with other symptoms that I don’t have currently like thoughts of self harm, dissociation, anxiety, flashbacks etc. But just the feeling low that goes with extreme exhaustion and worse than usual pain can be difficult to deal with.
I did see (one of) my psychologists yesterday. She’s actually a student so I only have two more appointments with her before she hands me over to another student. She asked me if I wanted to continue on with another student or wrap up therapy. I said I wanted to continue because I know I have many issues that (even though they aren’t bothering me currently) that I know I need to deal with otherwise they’ll come bubbling up to the surface the next time I have a major depressive episode, but with more time to think about it, I wonder if I do want to. I am doing well, and I’ve found semi-closure on a some of the issues that have haunted me.
So I’m just wondering if I should save my money (it’s not much – $20 a visit) and not start over with a new student next year. The student psychologist I’ve been seeing is good. She’s a practicing psychologist but is upgrading her qualifications (to be a “clinical psychologist” I think) so she’s full trained and experience. And her replacement would be someone in a similar position. I just don’t know if I should or shouldn’t. She’s helped me a lot to make a written plan if I have another episode of depression, and it’s been really helpful to have someone to go talk to once a fortnight, but I think the only thing has has helped me truly get on top of my PTSD was to get on top of my depression which I got on top of just by changing medications.
I guess what I’m thinking is her help has been invaluable over this year, but I don’t know that I need help at this stage? I guess too, the thought of starting over with someone new is scary- but not scary enough that I wouldn’t do it if I thought it would help. I really don’t know.
I feel like not all PTSD can be cured. Sometimes people have to learn to live with it. And at this point in time, I’m okay living with it. It doesn’t effect me on a daily basis. Some things still hurt, some things still trigger, I still have nightmares, but none of these are impacting my life in more than an occasional mild way. I feel like if I’m not depressed, the PTSD doesn’t bother me enough for there to be anything gained by seeing a therapist about it.
I won’t be making any decision yet. I will talk about it with the psychologist herself, and her supervisor (who will come to either my next or final appointment with the psychologist in the next few weeks) and also with my psychiatrist when I see her again next month but I honestly feel like I would just be wasting resourcing that someone else could use more effectively if I kept going.
I know for some people there is the risk that when they start feeling better they cut off therapy and medication, but I know it’s not what I’m doing. I’ve long accepted that I’ll be stuck on medication for life and all the awful side effects that go with psych meds. And I’m not cutting off therapy altogether – I’ll still see my psychiatrist every few months to touch base, and I haven’t decided what to do about my second psychologist (the postnatal one) yet – whether to see her next year when the medicare subsidy I get to see her is much less (so she will cost a lot more) but I might for a few months. Even if I stop seeing her too, I can always be referred back if I start going downhill again, or I can see another student psychologist at uni. Either or both. I’m not too proud or stubborn to go back if I start sliding down again – and I tend to be painfully aware of when I’m getting to the point of having a major episode (not just a tiny slump from exhaustion like I am now).
If it were you, what would you do?
I guess it’s such a personal thing that anyone who answers, it will be right for them but may not be right for me. I’ve got a few weeks to decide though so I’ll keep thinking about it.
Thanks for listening.