Diagnosis Murder

I received a wad of stuff from Dr T (psych… no not “Psych!”, I mean, Dr T is my psych, oh for gods sake…) in the mail today. A bill, firstly, which was preposterously large, and no doubt worth every penny. At some point that will be paid I’m sure, hopefully before the next bill arrives in a months time.

The rest of the bundle was the array of psych tests and ‘Am I Mad or Not’ paraphernalia. I think I did one of these things before, but I was erm, mental at the time, so can’t remember what it was for, or which test it was. I also can’t remember if anyone ever read it. Wait! No, I do remember. It was when I was referred to the local mental team, the CPN squad. I had one appointment with a CPN, about a year after I first was referred. For some reason it was the only appointment I ever had. I think they decided I wasn’t about to top myself and fuck up their stats for the year, and let me loose to fend for myself. No great loss I think, they didn’t seem too bright to be honest.


What the hell was I talking about?

Tests! Yes. I am a little hazy this evening. Rough day. Mood low. Fight the good fight and all that.

I have before me an SCL-90-R (Pearson Symptom Checklist, measure of psychological distress), what appears to be a BAI (Beck Anxiety Inventory), a BDI-II, which is The Beck Depression Inventory, an Inventory of Interpersonal Problems (could take a while…), a Social Activities and Distress Scale, and a Body Sensations Questionnaire.

This seems fairly comprehensive to me. I have thus far filled in the BAI and appear to have made a pretty zig zag pattern on the multiple choice boxes. I hope this doesn’t mean anything. It reminds me of the General Studies A Level I took, which I had failed to turn up to , erm, any of the seminars for, because it was a ludicrous and pointless A-Level that nobody cared about. It was multiple choice, A to D, and I did indeed make a zig zag patter, ticking box A, then box B, etc so on. I was done in 10 minutes and day-dreamed the rest of the seven gazillion hours that we were forced to sit in the room. I do believe I had taken some quantity of LSD the night before and hadn’t actually slept at all, and wait – it’s coming back, I think I was still tripping a little because it was a morning exam. So anyway,  I got a C, a free A level. Woot.

Why must cats always trample all over any paper that is put down anywhere? Why I ask you? Get the frick off my psych evaluations you crazy cat!

Ok. So I got bored after that. Or worried. Or nervous. I don’t know. I’m supposed to answer the questions according to how I’ve felt in the last week. How strict is that? I can’t remember exactly when I felt certain things. Am I supposed to be strict about that 7 days? Does it mess it up if I felt something 8 days ago that totally throws the curve out? Is it important? Is the fact that I’m worrying too much about the answers being accurate worth more than the test reults themselves? Arghhhhh. Why must they torture us crazy people so?

Really though. I sometimes go a couple of weeks without any severe anxiety issues, and then go all out and have a couple of freak outs in a week. It depends on whats happening in my life. How am I supposed to give an accurate measure of my levels of anxiety if they restrict me to this week? Should I just answer honestly, and hope therapy will gradually unravel my slow madness, or try to give an average level of craziness in my answers and hope it saves time, and gives Dr T a better handle on what goes on in my mind.

There needs to be a box at the bottom for a personal statement or something. Like you get on benefits forms…


elephant in the room

Recovery. I always (somewhat naively) thought recovery would be a process whereby my mind would slowly return to sensible thought patterns and a gradual reduction in the usual anxietal and emotional outbursts to, well, pretty much anything. I’ve read numerous books about depression where the author charts their rise from utter hellish blackness into a perfectly normal life once again. I am beginning to feel these accounts are either a) lies b) wishful thinking c) lies.

Recovery from depression (anxiety, or whatever the hell my problem is, I see a clinical psych this month so maybe some actual insight into a label will come) seems far more akin to recovery from alcoholism. It is always there, waiting, whispering in your ear. You don’t get rid of it, but learn techniques to ignore it, to pretend its not there, whispering in your ear, until like an alcoholic, you just learn to live with the siren song and accept that you will always be fighting it off. It becomes so much of a habit that it gets easier, but weak moments test you, they can set you straight back to square one.

I do wonder sometimes, if I’m just fooling myself, if I’ll ever be free of these reactions to things, these emotions that grip me in their clawed fingers and no matter how much I chant the logic mantras, hang onto me, and leave me miserable and exhausted with fear. I am learning techniques to avoid falling into their grasp, but once they have me, I seem to be helpless. I’m a lost cause. It’s a lot like trying to ride a wild horse. You don’t – you just learn how to hang on, how to not fall off and break your neck.

I was expecting more somehow.