The idea for this blog came to me after a conversation with friends during which I once again cited the level of my kraziness, setting it at an all time high. It’s funny, but then again it isn’t. I mentioned that I “again” cited the level of my kraziness, and that is because it happens to be something I do pretty often. There’s a concept among psychiatrists which determines whether the patient is “aware” of her own mental health status. l learned this only recently at a follow up visit with my own doctor. Except it wasn’t actually a follow up, since the doctor that I had been seeing for the better part of a decade decided to wind down her practice, forcing me to see a brand new doctor. That may not sound like a big deal, but I’ll just come out and tell you: IT IS.
Finding someone new after that many years was pretty terrifying. After all, my old doctor knew everything already. She had been there with me through the crashes, the trials of new meds, the downward spirals, and the resurgences. It was easy with her, because everything that could happen, already had. Probably.
So when I walked into the office of the “new guy”, I was expecting it to be the same as always: Hi, how are you doing, how are you feeling, anything new, anything different, here’s your meds.
It was like day one all over again, and it took me a while to realize he was diagnosing me! Ha! Me, the girl who has been krazy for as long as she can remember, the girl whose mom knew before she knew, the girl who thought it was something to hide until the day she started treatment and it suddenly became something to shout from the rooftops!
It made sense, though. He doesn’t know me outside of the notes left by my old doctor, which he didn’t appear to have read in preparation for our session. Nevertheless, after I answered a slew of questions, subtracted 7 from 100, 6 times in my head and spelled several words backwards, he had reached his conclusions. Among other positive things and a few dicey things, I had one particularly good thing going for me. According to my new doctor, I was, in fact, fully aware of my own mental status.
The second he said that phrase, I knew it was true.
I am aware. I know it. I feel it. I dream it. I live it. And I fully believe I am still here today because of the awareness.
Krazy can be scary, embarrassing, debilitating, draining. Or it can be just another part of who you are.
I have brown hair and brown eyes, I’m medium height, my hands shake when I haven’t eaten breakfast, I’m allergic to cats, and I suffer from major depressive disorder, recurring.
Is that a real thing? It’s not cancer or leukemia or heart disease or high blood pressure, but yep, it’s real. And so is the multi-billion dollar industry dedicated its treatment. Gone are the days when psychiatrists were backroom charlatans, scoffed at by “real” medical doctors. Straight jackets and ECT machines and scary asylums still make for great movies, but if you ask me, mental health these days is “cool”.
That’s what I meant earlier about wanting to shout from the rooftops. There’s no need to hide or put off seeking treatment or even procrastinate when the doctor who treated you for ten years disappears and you’re left with nothing but an expired RX and a list from your insurance company with random names of providers in your area. This is a new era, and we don’t have to suffer silently just because there’s no blood test to confirm anxiety. If you don’t believe me, just watch the commercials during daytime TV. Mental health is famous.
Don’t get me wrong, there are still those who want to fix depression by taking you out for a milkshake and a walk on the beach. They don’t get it, but they aren’t important. Those of us who do get it still may want to go for a milkshake, but in addition to that we also, want to embrace you, accept you, celebrate you.
Why? Because you are aware, and awareness gives you strength, and strength gives you power.
And with great power comes great responsibility. So I am responsible. And Krazy. But who cares…
‘Cause krazy is the new black