It’s kinda crazy in here… In my head. There’s so much going on all the time. It’s always busy with something or other – singing a song, quoting a movie in its entirety, thinking about the book that I’m currently reading (or the one I just finished), worrying about situations that my or may not be in my control, being self-conscious about how others see me, questioning everything I do, wondering if I’m living up to my potential or if I’m wasting my second chance. See? It’s a little insane being in my head. Lots of whiplash!
You see, I was “unofficially” diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and maybe ptsd. I say “unofficially” because at my last annual heart appointment, I mentioned that I was struggling in that area of my life – the mental side. My heart team called in the physiologist that works with the team, and we had a little conversation. He asked me what was happening and I told him that I had been “sad a lot” and “I wasn’t always happy like I used to be.”
We talked a bit before he told me that he was pretty sure that I had depression and anxiety…with isn’t a big surprise with what I have been through throughout my life. I guess it’s a common diagnosis, especially in transplant patients. Since then, I’ve been on a dose of an anti-depressant and meeting with a wonderful counselor!
Since that heart appointment, I have actually received a diagnosis. I have General Anxiety Disorder. What does that mean, personally for me? For me, it means that I am overanalyze and question everything every single moment of the day. One example of this that makes me smile is the night before I met my counselor. I was laying in bed, trying to go to sleep, wondering what I should wear the next morning for my appointment. It was the first time we were going to meet each other. I wanted to give a good first impression. I struggled with this all night.
The next morning, after worrying out loud, Ricky reminded me that it didn’t matter. She was going to see me of good days, bad days, and all days. It didn’t matter. It kind of helped ease my mind, but I still struggled with making sure I was cute and put together. It turned out that it actually didn’t matter, and since then, she’s seen me in all sorts of appearances. Haha.
Another one that I struggle with and am exploring with her is my constant questioning of “if I’m a good wife.” I was talking to her one day and we were discussing the different spirals that I often find myself trying to not drown in on a daily (sometimes hourly) basis. She asked me about what my most often visited one was. I told her, “if I’m a good wife or not.” With that thought, I immediately started down the rabbit hole. The sink was still full of dishes, the laundry wasn’t folded, I hadn’t made any plans for dinner yet, the house was a mess, the garbage needed taking out… Everything on my “not done” list led to some pretty dark stuff.
Once she was able to help me out of the spiral, we talked about what it means to be a “good wife” and what things I’m supposed to do to accomplish that. I told her that my mom is a good wife and so are both of my grandmothers. Good wives are loving, kind, supportive, and so on. I also explained that I know my husband loves me even if the dishes aren’t done and that he’s told me that he’s willing to help with things that I don’t get done, but my brain is focused on that he’s at work all day and I’m home so I should be handling the house.
We talked about that for a minute and then she mentioned a really interesting thing. From the beginning of time, we’ve had thoughts… Some of them true, some of them not. But whatever the thoughts are saying, they’re there to protect us, even if it’s worse case scenario. “Oh, I’m hungry…” (okay, eat so your tummy doesn’t hurt) or “I have to make dinner before Hubby gets home… (otherwise he’ll leave you for someone who actually makes him food.) See? It’s crazy stuff that our thoughts come up with.
With help, I have been able to understand, rationalized, and acknowledge the thoughts I have in my head without following them down their individual spirals. It’s been interesting to take that time to realize how much power I’ve been giving these thoughts.
Some of them are good and do me well, some of them are irrational and serve me no purpose, and some of them are silly and make me smile. I’m still trying to differentiate the difference and question (superficially for right now) why I’m having them. I’m excited to explore my mental health and take control of my anxieties with the help of my fantastic counselor! Wish me luck!