The Cure for Depression: Get a Paid MEDICAL Friend

A few weeks back, I wrote about 14ish items that help “cure” Depression. Shortly after, I covered connecting with a human and getting a paid friend.

I realized, however, that I did not have information regarding a medical friend (AKA a psychiatrist). Therefore, the post you’re reading RIGHT NOW is Item 2a on that 14 item list, as an amendment to the one before it.

A moving freight train on railroad tracks on a cloudy day

Let’s back the runaway train of thought up just a tad so you can get on:
Do you or a loved one experience some reactions to life situations that interfere with normal behavior?

We’re talking inability to leave the house, extreme anxiety to the point of a raised heart rate and panic, thoughts of suicide, and/or manic and depressive episodes.

Honestly, I could go on and on. I could name ev’ry depressive phenomenon… but there are many, many possible symptoms to consider. I highly suggest you follow my second advice to get a paid friend.

But… should you consider a psychologist or a psychiatrist? They are more than a few letters’ difference.

All of my personal experience has been with the former; of the familiae Counselor or the subclass Therapist. That’s not to say I don’t have any knowledge of psychiatrists. I have several family members and friends who have talked to me about them, plus my flash internet education just a few minutes ago (don’t worry; I read fast).

Sigmund Freud, by Max Halberstadt (cropped).jpg

One website I read over said that psychiatrists are a good choice because they attend medical school first. After all that work, their residency is specifically in psychiatry. They’re a doctor who understands your brain better than a zombie would, and can use a medical foundation with any treatment plans.

One family member I read over, however, says the psychiatrist is only there to write her prescriptions.

I know some psychiatrists who fit a little of both, and I think you can find a really great one. How? Even if you go more with the psychologist route; consider these tips:

  1. Get your regular doctor or counselor to give you a referral. Heck, maybe they go to a psychiatrist.
  2. Check if your insurance covers anyone and who that person might be.
  3. Internet stalk the recommended psychoperson to learn their credentials.
  4. Read about their work experience. If you suspect your cocktail of symptoms are Bipolar related, you may not want to visit a guy who says he’s good with eating disorders.
  5. Think about whether you want a dude or a chick. I prefer females, myself, as they empathize with my goings-on.
  6. Read through their internet ratings. You simply don’t want to go with the 1 star blender.

(By the by, I lifted these ideas from Health Grades.)

Psychiatrists have the legal ability to write prescriptions. Whether that’s mainly what they do or no, you’ll need them (or a regular medical doctor) if your symptoms could really use the help of medication.

If you’re unsure, feel intimidated, or don’t want to even think about medication; that’s totally cool. We’re about small steps, remember? Talk to someone you trust first. That may lead to feeling comfortable enough to ask your medical doctor about a psychologist. Said doctor or counselor might know a psychiatrist they play golf with on Saturdays.

Start small. Ask for what you need. You are worth it.

 

Photo credits:
unsplash-logoAnkush Minda

Image Two from wikimedia commons
Amazon sells blenders

The Cure for Depression: Get a Paid Friend

Sup, yo? I’m here to talk about my second suggestion from The Cure for Depression: the most amazing elixir to not actually exist and is therefore really a list of 14ish items that seriously help.

I need to work on my advertising taglines. Let’s try again:

Are you suffering from Depression? Do you think you might be? If yes or no; you’re reading this article, so there’s a good chance you don’t want to stay down in your hole.

You could use professional help.

“But… but, I don’t know who to talk to!”
I don’t either. I’m not you, sitting on your floor, living in your town, with or without your health benefits. That’s Google’s responsibility. -Google, or your old enemy Facebook.
Open up ye olde FB, and type something like “Hey guys, do you know a good counselor? Asking for a friend.” You’re not really lying because you should be your own best friend, right?
If that’s too intense, text a close friend. I literally did this to my neighbor, out of the blue, and got one of the best therapists I’ve ever been to (and, believe me, I’ve been to two in my life).

I have no way to pay for services.”
-I don’t, either. I’m a moocher off my husband. It’s not even covered by our health insurance, so there goes this year’s family trip and a few months of groceries. As he says, “It’s cheaper than divorce.” He’s sweet like that.
Do not get me started, rambling, and still cursing about health insurance. Even in America where I live, it has issues. I do happen to know that options exist out there. Use your friend, the internet, to look into what you can get.
If you’re religious, many ecclesiastical leaders are willing to help with what they can.
If you have parents, try asking them. Maybe they can at least let you live downstairs for another decade while you get to a better place.
If you have a rich great aunt, hope that she knocks off sooner than later. Okay; just kidding about that one.

“What if the person I get sucks?”
-Find a new person. It’s your hard-earned money (or, your great aunt’s). If you’re stuck picking from a certain office or a specific list, try asking the nurses who they think is good for what you’re experiencing.

“I can’t open up to a therapist or counselor. What if s/he judges me?”
-I may have this exact problem. Still. I am the slowest person ever, I’m sure; because I finally start opening up at the END of the session. Sometimes, I close off at the end. I’m a mixed bag of self-protective measures, really.
I keep going back to my paid friend because THIS IS HER JOB. She is supposed to “judge me,” because she’s trying to help me. She’s super nice so would probably want to help anyway, but she is also there because I’m paying her.

“Insert your excuse here.”
-Nope, not going to buy it. Do what I said. Try, try again.

Think of it this way: A counselor, therapist, or psychologist is like a tightrope instructor. Instead of tightrope walking the way you have for (possibly) YEARS now, why not pay a person who knows? After a few sessions, you may think, So I wasn’t supposed to be doing it UPSIDE-DOWN this whole time! Who knew?!

You’ve tried it your way. A paid friend can show you a better way.

In terms of a more advanced paid friend, aka a psychiatrist, I’m afraid I have no experience in this regard. I’ll do some more research, and get back with you next week.

Go get a counselor if you don’t have one. A good one is worth it because YOU ARE worth it.

unsplash-logorawpixel
unsplash-logoCasey Horner

The Cure for Depression: Connect with a Human

Looking at tips for curing Depression? If not, stick around anyway and you might make a friend.

Which leads us into the first tip: Connect with a human.

I don’t know about the rest of the crowd, but the last thing I want to do when I’m down in my cozy depression pit is seek out other people. They are often the reason I crawled into my closet in the first place. They should seek me out, preferably with a bribe.

Unfortunately, people are rather self-centered. Usually, a person is most concerned with his own thoughts and feelings because that is who he is literally inside of. So, your (and my) dummy friends and family need at least a little tiny clue that we could use a helping hand. And a bribe.

Another failing of mine is a tendency to look at the great big huge picture of a problem and find (somehow) that I cannot even take one step toward progress. This is even worse when I am inside my depressive mind, trapped in a swirling vortex of apathy and negative self-talk.

What do we do? I will beat this tip over your head about 14 times: Start with small.

I happen to know that you can still get cell phone reception inside your mind/mud pit/closet/bathroom. So, the way to start small is by:

  1. Texting a friend
  2. Reading and commenting on safe and open blog posts. Most of us are nice, and know what you go through.
  3. Talking to your friend, partner, spouse, or roommate from behind the door.

I am also a big fan of pets as comforters. Go ahead and hide from the world for some recharge time, but bring your cat or dog or chinchilla with you. You can pet them all Dr. Evil style, tell them everything that sucks about humans, then connect with a person.

As amazing as animal companions are, however, you will gain the most benefit from other humans.

Yes, I know that is a scary idea. I spent nearly an entire counseling session arguing with my paid friend about NOT TRUSTING ANYONE because people hurt you. However, I also know that I need a few good people.

Connections with peers was found to be the #1 determinant of happiness by some dude at Pennsylvania University, even more so than sugary dessert consumption. Knowing that, give it a chance. Start small, and you’ll eventually have some peeps you can send anything from concerns to dirty jokes to.

It’s worth it. You’re worth it. I know.

unsplash-logoSandrachile .
unsplash-logoNamcha ph

The Cure for Depression

Step right up, folks! Step right up!

Come feast your eyes on this marvelous tonic; right here, right now. What you may think is a simple bottle is actually the most secret of formulas from the Jungles of the East; from the hand of Marvelodijiling, the famed Healer and only man to live past 200 years of age without a health problem of any sort.

This is The Cure for Depression.

It is, indeed. You may shake your head at me, madame. You may wonder at the authenticity, young sir. I assure ALL that this product is exactly as it says. One simple dose each day will GUA-RAN-TEE to rid you of the woes of Depression.

Labelled glass bottles with various powders and liquids

…And if that sales pitch convinced you, then you and I need to have a long talk.

Actually, we can have a really short talk: Depression doesn’t work like that. For one, it isn’t “cured.” It is, however, a condition that CAN be managed once you learn the skills. This depends on the severity of symptoms and genetics and a whole crapload of stuff that would best be handled by a professional.

I am not a professional; at least, not that kind. I am merely a fellow sufferer with access to Google. I have, therefore, come up with a list:

1. Connect with a human.

2. Connect with a paid human; also known as a counselor, psychologist, therapist, and perhaps a psychiatrist.

3. Swallow that pill, if necessary.

4. Get up, then move.

5. Get outside.

6. Eat something healthy.

7. Do something that brings you real joy.

8. If it doesn’t fit in with #7, do something for someone.

9. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

10. Sleep, at sleeping times. Wake at morning times.

11. Follow a routine.

12. Meditate, pray, journal, etc.

13. Don’t get sloppy and skip what works.

14. Never give up. (Never surrender.)

Whenever you’re in your cave, I’d like you to pull out this list. Grab one; do it. Maybe steal another after an hour of trying the first one.

Furthermore, I’m gonna help a brother/sister/broster/sisther out by writing individual articles about each of these ideas. It’ll be a tetradecalogy. Stick around; eat some chocolate.

Come for the treats, stay for the community, and live life for the future you.

 

Originally posted at The Bipolar Writer Mental Health Blog on May 28, 2018. I intend to publish one of these articles each week.

unsplash-logoMatt Briney

How’s the Weather Up There?

A blogger I enjoy reading mentioned she is on the shorter side. I was surprised; she writes with a comfortable confidence and lexicon. She bestows advice, sounds self-assured, and describes life events that intimidate me.

I had pictured her tall.

And, I hadn’t realized I pictured her as tall.

Also, I didn’t realize that I had yet again broken a personal rule: don’t judge another as ye hate to be judged.

I may not have made up the phrasing for that rule on my own, but it’s how I feel. Most of my life I’ve heard or felt or experienced opinions based solely on appearance. My sorest issue is age: “Oh, that’s because you’re young,” “You’re too young to have seen this….” “Wow. You’re so young!” Hardly something to complain of, I know; yet, it’s a way of demeaning me and my wisdom, experience, and perspective. I have felt a distinct shift in treatment after another woman learns my age.

Another box I hate being placed in is the female one. Because I have boobs I must automatically like Pinterest, have my nails done, watch ….(what are women watching these days?) The Bachelor?, read romance novels, enjoy the color pink, and not have a reasonable opinion about politics or mechanical objects.

The list continues, and is the main source of why I hate being categorized.

I forget that I turn around and apply the same principle all over the place with height. I probably forget this because I am usually taller than other women and enjoy a small level of not being bothered or harassed as much because of it.

That, and my RBF. …Something I also learned the term for recently, because my expression may have scared people away from enlightening me…

The point is that I simply did not know I was hypocritical when it came to height until I finally got some higher altitude, and shortly thereafter met my husband’s family. This initial realization came about around 18 years ago.

His family is mostly very intelligent and talented as he is …and is on the shorter side. His oldest sister barely reaches 5 feet tall with static in her hair; her husband just an inch or two over. When I first met this sister and her family I thought something like, They’re like cute, little hobbit people. I’ve also thought some sort of wonderment that they are whole, complete, extremely bright and opinionated peoples (their entire little family, including all six children they now have) and yet are so small.

Like, how rude is that?

The second time I distinctly noticed I had become a height-ist was when I met my only brother’s wife. She’s taller than I and I found the experience disconcerting. I realized I walked about the world acting like the pickup truck in a lane of sedans.

It’s true.

I mean, I am unfailingly polite to strangers. I am deferential to people like store clerks or overladen mothers or anyone approaching a door or the elderly. When I pay attention, however, I see others automatically yield the right of way. I am given a space in conversation. I am listened to when I apply myself. I had nothing to contribute to the #metoo movement and was confused by how many females had issues.

Is it really all due to height?

I’m certain it helps.

Way back when I took an acting class in college, we learned about rôles. We read that every single time a person interacts with another he engages in a psychological exchange; a battle, even. The result of this is an assignment of rôles and a placement of one person over the other. We learned it in relation to how we needed to act a scene, but I’ve found the idea revelatory in the real world.

Height or lack thereof places one in a higher or lower position, literally.

For my part, I can’t help it. I’m not going to chop off my legs or walk around on my knees. (Although I have noticed I slouch more around a room of shorters and stand more upright in tallers.) On the flip side, we’re not likely to give less-tall peoples stilts, either.

Instead, let’s remember two important things:
I can, and am willing to, reach the cookies on the shelf above the fridge for others.
And, shorter people live longer (according to my husband).

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Light THIS Candle, Bub

So… September is Suicide Prevention Month. I’ve read a few hundred posts about it, due to my connection with the mental illness community. Instead of feeling inspired to ‘make people aware,’ however, I’ve become downright ticked off.

What are we hoping to accomplish?

Why, we want fewer people killing themselves, obviously.

OBVIOUSLY? I think you’re missing an ‘LI’ in that word. The correct term is OBLIVIOUSLY.

Granted, I’m not suicidal. I have not been, technically, since I have not sat upon a bridge or held a bottle of pills or even touched a razor to my skin without intending to use it to remove body hair.

I have stood at the top of the stairs, the edge of a parking structure, and the balcony of a massive performing hall -and sensed the sweet boundary of vertigo gravity beckons with. I’ve thought the question. I have wanted an end.

Dark thoughts for a Sunday? They won’t be eliminated by a candle, that’s for sure.

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Perhaps the tiny flickering glow in a few windows or on a few websites will warm others’ hearts, but that sort of ‘support’ has the opposite effect on me. Given that my depressive mindset is echoed by nearly every mental illness sufferer with Depression I’ve read, I feel confident setting down my little soapbox and ranting.

For example, a Facebook acquaintance of mine posted a very moving message regarding suicide. S/he admitted to having clinical depression and attempting suicide and how s/he felt about life sometimes. Writhing a bit in envy I read her/his 50+ comments of We love you, Thank you for sharing; you are brave, and You’re such a great person so don’t feel this way.

Internet hugs.

I’m sure a few people also managed to send out a text. You know: Saw on FB you’re sad. 😦 LMK if I can do anything. *Hugs*

After envy, I felt mad.

Want to prevent suicide, people? For real? Not just say or write so but feel and love so? Get away from your phone or keyboard and connect with people. Pull your head out of your apps and talk to a human -especially if that human has displayed signs of depression and/or suicidal desires.

Not sure what those signs are?

  1. Negative perspective to the point of poor self-esteem and a terrible outlook.
  2. Loss of interest in activities or life in general.
  3. Irritability.
  4. Extreme fatigue and lack of motivation.
  5. Over- or undereating.
  6. Insomnia. This may exhibit in late-night social media messages.
  7. Withdrawal. If a person stops writing online, doesn’t answer texts, or has literally said, “Goodbye,” alarm bells ought to be going off.

Maybe you feel like you can’t do everything for everyone and the candle-lighting will give you that small “I did what I could” pat on the back. I can relate; I feel overwhelmed by the amount of work life already takes, plus I’m depressed and can barely see outside the walls of my own house some days.

Still, we can do little things.

Try a vocal phone chat instead of a text. Run a store-bought cookie over to your friend and sit down and have a conversation. Pause for longer than a, “Fine,” when passing on the street and listen to a person’s day. Put your phone down, make eye contact, and act like you care. For bonus points, invite a neighbor out to lunch and a good visit. Heck, even hand-write a note (you know, with pen and paper, maybe even inside an envelope) and mail it to them if you can’t get to them easily.

A little thing may actually save a life. And that’s our goal.

If you, yourself, are considering the pull of gravity on the edge of life and can’t possibly talk to your family and friends, use the hotline (1-800-273-TALK). Heck, there’s even a text line if you’re too shy to talk (text NAMI to 741-741). They’re nice people. They care. They’re safe.

Depression, Anxiety and Lethargy.

I am officially breaking my “no re-blog” rule with the ever-hilarious Katie. Only a woman who names her depression Betty and her bicycle Claude could aptly refer to dealing with depressive lethargy as “wading through treacle whilst carrying a donkey on (her) back.”

Katie’s even gone the extra mile this time and given some sound, anti-donkey advice.

All You (Perhaps Didn’t) Want to Know About LASIK

I’ve put this off for awhile now, mostly because I don’t want my street cred as a depressive, put-upon, real-life person to be ruined. HOWEVER, when I was looking into getting laser eye surgery last year, I was frustrated that no one actually detailed the event to my satisfaction.

I’m a worrier. For some reason, I like to know exactly when the dentist is going to stab my gums or the moment when the scalpel will be applied during a Cesarean. In short, I hate surprise pain.

And so, a little over a year ago and thanks to reckless spending of Uncle Sam’s return, I had LASIK. Not only that, but I wrote about my experience once permissible to use my eyes. I include it here in the hopes that some other morbidly curious potential surgery-receiver may be helped by it.

I also split it into three parts, for your squeamish level convenience.

After all of the descriptions is the summary. Pick whichever section works for you, then scroll down to the three asterisks.

May 12, 2017

Safe Description (your queasy, paranoid grandmother could read this and not faint):
After sitting through a consultation in December, I finally scheduled and lay through laser eye surgery.
It was freaky but cool.
I seemed to be able to see as expected, so it worked.
Yay!

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Medium Description (you’ll only pretend to cover your eyes two or three times, but actually be fascinated):
In December, I sat through a standard consultation appointment at Hoopes Vision. It was free. It involved a video on an iPad, an exam with an eye doctor, and Dr. Hoopes himself talking to me about The Procedure. Then, I met with a man who discussed cost and price-matched what a neighbor of mine had been charged over five years ago. (It was still, understandably, a lot of money.)

After a few jinxed attempts at scheduling, I arrived ready for surgery the morning of May 11. This meant that I had arranged for payment, babysitting, a ride, two prescriptions, rewetting drops (that turned out to be the wrong kind), and self-control in the face of a terrifying situation.

Kevin (my ride and my husband) and I met with a woman who took our money and witnessed me signing the release agreement.
I was handed a summary of what-might-possibly-happen-during-each-laser, and it somewhat concerned me.
Then, we sat through a live human who gave us an automated message regarding surgery and recovery procedure (she did not crack a smile or deviate from her paperless script).
At her query, I reiterated that I did not wish to ingest the standard drinkable Valium. I was going in sober.
She put blue cloth covers (booties) over my shoes and a matching larger version (shower cap) over all the hair on my head.

I had another eye exam with a Dr. Macintosh because it had been nearly six months since the one during consultation. Six months is their cut-off time to get the surgery done, else one has to pay for a new consultation. She assured me that the summary description was generalized and I would not, in fact, feel pressure or black out as it suggested might happen. Yes, she’d had LASIK. Yes, she was still alive and could see.

I used the bathroom.

Just before entering The Room, I sat in a chair and had numbing drops put in each eye by another assistant. She explained that it would sting (it didn’t) but that was how I knew it worked. I explained to her that it didn’t feel nearly as bad as putting the wrong contact solution in one’s eye, and was personally concerned that it hadn’t worked because I hadn’t thought it stung. She assured me it had.

We entered The Room. Kevin sat outside. I was led to a space-age “bed” with a head area and a roll of cloth that was to sit under my legs. I lay as directed, and panicked a bit that they were just going to fire it up without telling me first. They talked me through another numbing drop in my right eye, applying stickers to my top and bottom lashes, and a special support to hold that eye open.
I saw a ball of light, like a picture of an atom in a science-fiction movie. Dr. Hoopes talked me through the machine getting into position and explained that the light was going to move around and then fade a bit.
Before you decide you’re too squeamish: It did not hurt. The only uncomfortable part was that the support piece holding the eye open poked my eye socket a tad. I have small eyes.
The right eye was done first, then the left. Each eye took fifteen seconds.

After moving the bed to the right, I sat up and walked over to lay under a different machine. This one had three colors of lights: two red to the right and left, and one green in the center. Things looked a bit blurry, but they always do for me.
Dr. Hoopes talked me through taping down eyelids/lashes and wetting my right eye then lifting the cornea. This is your second squeamish part. Again, it did not hurt. From my perspective, the lights got a bit blurrier. He told me to watch the green light; to keep track of it. The assistant said it would be nine seconds. The machine made a noise, Dr. Hoopes explained that the green light would blur a bit but it would be back again, and nine seconds later it was done.
He explained his actions in wetting and replacing the cornea.
They repeated this with the left eye, but it only took six seconds.

The bed moved, I sat up, and they led me from the room.

I was told to keep my eyes closed for ten minutes, while I sat in the chair I’d been in for my eye exam a few minutes prior.

Dr. Macintosh came back in, smiling and congratulating me. She looked at each eye, reminded me of the specific follow-up procedures, and gifted me a pair of cool shades.
She recommended we stop at Costco to purchase the correct rewetting eye drops.

I was on a schedule of Prednisolone (steroid) drops every two hours, Oxysomethingorother (antibiotic) every four, and rewetting drops every fifteen to thirty minutes. Expecting to have to record wet vs. soiled diapers as well; we were told that, unlike caring for a newborn, I only needed to apply the eye drops whilst awake.

Speaking of, I was also given two plastic eye shields to tape across my eye area when I slept. DO NOT APPLY ANY PRESSURE TO YOUR EYES in the next 24 hours, I was told -even to wipe away drop solution.

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Gory, Detailed Version (Do not read this if you can’t handle the truth):
I will only fill in some extra pieces to the Medium Description so we don’t overload l’internet.

The consultation video one watches on the iPad is informative, giving you the same information I did in the medium description. It tells you that the cornea will be cut by an amazing process of creating air bubbles in between the corneal layers to naturally sever its connection.
The video and their descriptions are detailed enough that you can safely say Hoopes didn’t mince words, but not so technical that you know the names of the founders of laser surgery and which machine they’re currently using at which speed per second laser, etc. That information is on a timeline on the wall, for Pete’s sake.
Many of the assistants have had LASIK. Dr. Hoopes himself had it done waaay back when, under much less safe conditions. He laughed and explained that his took more like a minute each eye, instead of a few seconds.
I found out that I have really good eyes for surgery. Who knew thick corneas were a desirable attribute? I also learned that surgery very rarely goes “wrong,” and most of those errors can be -and are- fixed by follow-up surgery.

Thursday of the surgery, we arrived almost-on-time. We handed over a cashier’s check for close to $4000. If you felt faint at that, you probably shouldn’t keep reading while I tell about the laser cutting my eye and such.
You’ve been warned.
I signed an agreement that said that many things could go wrong, although they weren’t likely to. It literally said they could not list every possible outcome and that I was agreeing that this was all elective and that I knew what I was doing.

The paper we were given from Assistant Robot Woman said that the first laser needed to come down and form a suction around my eye. It would apply a light pressure, and I might have my vision go completely black for a full minute.
I wasn’t able to read over all of the warnings about the second laser due to time, though Dr. Macintosh assured me (as I stated) that it wasn’t really as bad as I imagined it would be. She was right.

I was concerned about the numbing drops working because of perfectly normal paranoia, and also because of experiences with oral surgery and baby removal surgery in which the anesthesia had not fully saturated when they began operations.
Happily, Hoopes was correct. My eyes were numb.

I panicked a bit internally when the first machine came down toward my eye and formed its suction on the plastic plate. At the advice of Dr. Hoopes, who was detailing each step in a comforting tone, I trusted it would not hurt and that I was simply looking at a light.
It didn’t, and it is just a light. A glowing, ball-like light that moved in a circle; fading to a pinprick and then reappeared as a stationary, blurry ball.

On the second machine, the panicking part for me was the smell. As the laser was cutting for its nine seconds on one eye and six seconds on the other, I had trouble maintaining to my logical side that it was just a light when I could distinctly smell burning.
It did not hurt. It was not uncomfortable. It was just concerning.
I mentioned the smell to Dr. Hoopes. He agreed that the smell was there, and further explained that the laser used something called “cold heat,” and that doctors used lasers for years before a more technical sales person explained exactly why they could smell something as it worked. He also told me that the doctors performing this surgery repeatedly developed complications from ingesting the extra materials and now they all wear specially-formulated facial guards and why was his pink but his assistants got blue ones?
Just pull a blue one from their box. Sheesh.

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————————————–
***It’s safe to look now.***

After the procedures, Dr. Macintosh explained that my vision was like looking through water. I thought it was like looking underwater while wearing contacts. I could see, in a different sort of blurry than I usually did, and with the sensation of having a contact lens in.
In fact, I told several people this summary since: I felt like I left my contacts in for too long, and wanted to pull them out. But, I couldn’t pull them out because they were my corneas and I needed to leave those in.

At the follow-up appointment nearly 36 hours after the procedure, I was cleared to drive and told I had 20/15 vision.
I still had the sensation of the old contacts, however, and was told this would remain for about three days.
The steroid and antibiotic drops needed to be put in every four hours for a week, then discontinued. The rewetting drops needed to be used every hour for a week, then throughout the day for a few months.

I was banned from high-impact activities like swimming (for one month) or water skiing (six months?) or impregnation (three months).

Such is the miracle of sight. Thank you for reading.

unsplash-logoMatt Evan
unsplash-logoNonsap Visuals
unsplash-logoMatheus Vinicius

The Blue-Green Pill

Glasses

“You take the red pill, …and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”

Some small part inside me loves Morpheus’ challenge: Do you have what it takes to see and accept the truth? While others might settle back down on the couch, chewing another handful of Cheetos, I foolishly stand.

Truth is a deep motivator for me. I cannot be fully religious because of this, by the definitions of many sects. I squeeze under the radar of my current denomination, by telling myself I trust it will all be cosmically explained someday.

My rational voice, upset by a few years of Atheism, plays Devil’s Advocate (ironically). It warns that no explanation will come when I cease to exist.

Why bring up such things? This is where my mind goes; this is the side effect of swallowing the left-hand option.

Surely my mindset, worldview, and even depression are Truth. They are me, as much as my blood type or detached earlobes. I need to be true to myself, to accept myself, and -above all- to not smother my emotional expression.

And yet… my daily red dosage has somehow morphed to a less-swallowable shape.

I noticed a slightly misshapen quality when I began listening to a counselor. “Your core is never negative,” she told me. Furthermore, she said my depressive reactions and tendencies were all learned behaviors.

I read self-help books on the subjects of happiness and self-esteem. They made valid points as well; like, that people honestly can raise their baseline of happiness.

However, all the psychological affirmations and literary anecdotes in the world were not enough. With or without seeking Truth, it came anyway. It laughed at my hopes and optimisms as I repeatedly returned to the dark corner of my mind.

On Facebook, I wrote the following:

When I spoke fluttering lies and raised my smiling mask, I cried inside.
But you didn’t know.

I tried to write about sunshine, as my heart grew ever overcast.
You didn’t look between the lines.

I sat in my small, shadowed corner at home, as you visited each other and laughed.
And didn’t care.

Sometimes I curiously contemplate the world without me there. Surely my departure will cause a ripple somewhere.
Instead, you’ll stand with the friends you always do, and say, “I didn’t know.”
And forget what was never known.

I got a few internet hugs in response. I felt morosely validated that, yes, they did not care.

The problem is that there is no red pill. We cannot be freed from our minds, because we are delicately and intricately attached to them. And, Truth is always, always affected by our perceptions.

Had real-life Neo entered my counselor’s office with me, he may have been given a third option: a doctor’s referral.

I’ve been dreading medical intervention for years; assuming, as I said earlier, that I would lose myself. I also assumed I would only ever have the option of anti-depressant, horrible-side-effect, me-changing medication.

Instead, I have been offered the blue-green pill.

It’s a small dose of seratonin: popularly thought to be a contributor to feelings of well-being and happiness.

I’ve swallowed it once daily for the last three weeks. I thought there to be no difference, but my husband disagreed. Given that I’ve had only one depressive episode since first taking it, he may be right.

In fact, I have been able to think in a manner that is less depressive just this weekend -a first for me. I attended a few social events Friday and Saturday; and did not feel the lingering effects of my usual, self-critical social hangover.

I feel able to agree with and utilize the strategies outlined, previously, by my paid friend and the self-help book.

I see, now, the red pill was the placebo all along. To change my life for the better I needed a new perspective -not some supposed Truth. It could not come from only me, however, since I stand a few feet lower in the ground than others.

Are you, like me, sunk in the Swamps of Sadness? Affirmation will not work. Get someone to look at all your options. Even if the dry ground you need is found through heavier medications, I can now say it’s worth it.