Motherhood, mental illness and beyond

At the moment I’m like an aeroplane tossed around in turbulence; dropping like a stone one moment and bouncing back up again the next. Never knowing when the next air pocket will take me by surprise. I just want a nice smooth journey where I can get up and stroll around and maybe have a drink from the trolley. Maybe even pilot my own aircraft for a while instead of having to rely on autopilot medication to give me a smoother journey.

I took the first step towards this today when had my psychiatric assessment. It was much easier than I had anticipated – I think I had built it up in my head as a big scary confrontation with a besuited bloke sitting in judgement behind a large desk. In fact the guy wore jeans and a shirt and was very affable and friendly.

He was very thorough and at the end of the assessment he told me that in his opinion I have generalised anxiety disorder. He’s pretty sure I don’t have bipolar 2 as my GP suggested but wants me to keep a mood diary for the next few weeks to check for possible cyclothymia. He’s going to refer me for CBT (hopefully the proper face-to-face one this time instead of the crappy computer one) and suggest to my GP that she increases the dosage of my anti-depressants.

We spent quite a long time discussing my mood cycles and their effects and at some point it dawned on me that I have no idea what it’s like to feel normal. I don’t know whether my upswings are what a regular person would call normal, or whether they take me higher than that. Fortunately the mood diary has a detailed scale in it so I just have to find the appropriate box to tick.

It did make me wonder though. I keep saying that I want to be normal, that I want to function normally. But somewhere along this road I lost sight of what ‘normal’ feels like. I have had depression off and on for nearly 20 years; I have self-harmed for about 25. Would I be happy being normal? Would I even recognise it? What is normal anyway? When it comes to mental health does ‘normal’ even exist?

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Comments on: "Ladies and gentlemen, please fasten your seatbelts" (4)

  1. Glad you got on ok today x it’s hard thing to suffer with, I have cbt and find it really helpful xx

  2. This is what makes diagnosis hard, What is normal, what is really an elevated mood. If you have sat in deep depression for a time and move to less severe or none at all, it would so wonderful that it may seem to be a hypomania period.

    normal is when you are comfortable.

    CBT could work great for you. 🙂

    • Yes, that’s what I thought. I’m keeping a mood diary though so we can see the ups and downs and whether there are any obvious triggers.

      I had a course of computerised CBT before and it was dreadful, hopefully this time it’ll be with an actual person!

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