Going to the mental health clinic, what can I expect in the time ahead?
May 21, 2013 6:51 AM   Subscribe

I made an appointment at a local clinic. Assuming things start well (right Dr.+ right drugs). What can I expect 2-3 years down the road?

After years of fighting myself, I'll be going to a mental health clinic in about two weeks. I recently made a distinction between an unhealthy inability to have motivations/enjoyment and what feels like an "inner wall" which I always have social troubles with. But life shouldn't be a mix of depression plus whatever other condition one has. I want a family of my own, a place of my own, a supportive spouse, some friends, interests I actually eagerly follow... I have a job, great... but I have none of those other goals now and can't even imagine having any of that the way I handle myself now. It is just a black hole beyond being someone's good acquaintance.

So I'm getting help.

I don't want to waste more time fighting myself all the time to do even the easiest of things. Last weekend I set a very easy to do item for each day and did it fine. Every week before this was going to work every weekday, mentally exhausted back at home and just spending time at home trying to recharge my mind. This can happen for 3/4's of the year basically. Why repeat this for years and never get any actual personal life goals done? I don't get it. The main reason why I was able to call up the clinic I'm going to is that I finally argued myself on taking medication. I already take a supplement of sorts for another condition (life long one as well), why hesitate to treat another illness in the same way?

So I'm getting help. Finally after years of fighting alone.

I'm not entirely sure what my other condition is (the inner wall). The main thing is, I'm really "habit" or routine based and among a few other self-reflections I find that in recent years I have leaned toward Aspergers... But there are plenty of Aspergers who live fine doing what they like right? I can't even do that right now.

So anyway, I'm getting help. I dread all the time I might spend on this, but the time I waste fooling around punching myself is just as bad.

Due to my company's financials I do not expect to not have my job in 2-3 years. Besides all those personal goals, I need to be stable enough to look for a job again. I'm in my late twenties and yes, I wish I had this question years ago.

So for any of you who have had similar "co-existing" conditions looked at in therapy or at the psychiatrist... How did it go? 2-3 years down the road, is everything 180 degrees different?
Throwaway: yankoponpon@gmail.com
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
It wasn't 180 degrees different. It was way more different than that, yet also less different. My mom compared the difference between being unmedicated and being on the right drugs to the difference between hanging from a bluff by your fingernails and sitting on top of that same bluff in a deck chair enjoying the view; it's not that you're SO much higher up, it's just so much easier. Like, you can just get up, and brush your teeth, and take a shower and get dressed, and be on your way to work, without getting hung up in those eddies of immobility where you stare unhappily at a spot on the floor for 15 minutes. Life just gets a lot more frictionless.
posted by KathrynT at 8:52 AM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

My internal dialogue has overwhelmingly switched from, "I can't handle this," to "I can do this."

Rather than imagining how overwhelming things will be in two to three years, for example, I can think about where I want to be and start taking steps to get there, without getting too anxious or overwhelmed.

I love KathrynT's mom's analogy. Spot on.
posted by jaguar at 11:33 AM on May 21, 2013

I've had mild depressions where my approach to getting help was "I don't change my own oil, getting mental health care is similar" and depressions where I was barely able to function, and mental health care and medication are about being able to get out of bed, and able to go to work. I've worked with incompetent therapists and really competent therapists. You deserve to feel better, you deserve a great therapist. In 1 - 3 months you should feel better, in a year or more, your experience will vary, as everyone's does, but your goal should be to feel good, to be able to live your life, and breathe, and have a life, and the odds are very good that that's what you'll feel. Come back for more help if you need to.

Co-existing conditions - I have an autoimmune disorder, chronic fatigue, and am pulling out of a long dark spell. Medication and therapy are critical for me.
posted by theora55 at 2:30 PM on May 21, 2013

This isn't related to depression or mental health (well, not directly, at least) but I started seeing a sleep doctor after my husband encouraged me. I had been tired all the time for a long time and it was having a negative impact on my life. I was too tired to hang out with friends, work out, volunteer or do much of anything besides work and rest.

After seeing the sleep doctor and taking sleep tests, he diagnosed me with idiopathic daytime sleepiness, which means they don't know why I'm sleepy during the day but I am and the quality of sleep that I get when I sleep is inadequate. He wrote me a prescription which has seriously changed my life. It's not perfect and I have experienced side effects but I really think that everything else in my life is workable now because I am awake. It's not like there's a light at the end of the tunnel - more like I've been wearing a blindfold for ages and while the weather is a little cloudy, it's nothing like wearing a blindfold.

I have depression as well and have been taking an antidepressant for years but adding the drugs from the sleep doctor has been transformational. A few months ago at work, it was an extremely busy time and I thought to myself, I'm stressed out but I can do this. Having that realization was incredibly worthwhile. I felt like all of the work that I put into scheduling appointments, sleep tests, arguing with the pharmacy for my prescription, etc. was totally worth it. I wish that type of moment for you. Best of luck.
posted by kat518 at 6:40 AM on May 22, 2013

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