I do miss Gary Larson’s Far Side, and this one pictured here is not only one of my favorites, but most à propos for me these days.
Yesterday I visited (whom I’ll refer to as) Gary, who was referred to me by Lucy. Lucy is a psychologist but Gary is a psychiatrist, the difference being that Gary, as a medical doctor, can (a) prescribe medication and (b) write a letter suggesting that a “patient” needs a medical leave. Lucy made this suggestion when we discussed how some time off work might be beneficial for me at this point.
So, how did it go? Well, Gary did not declare me “just plain nuts.” He called it “Ajustment Disorder” with “mixed moods” including depressive episodes, but that’s less severe than a full-out depression. What’s more, he did not prescribe me an anti-depressant, which is just as well because I would have refused it after a first visit/assessment. Mind you, he did prescribe a mild sedative which I’ve since looked up, and it’s meant to be for short-term use and is kind of an anti-depressant, but not heavy-duty. At any rate, his reasoning, as I understood it, is that full-fledged anti-depressants level off one’s mood and that would be counterproductive in my case because I need to live through and continue to think through the emotions and reflections I’ve finally let come to the surface. Further, he opined that taking two weeks off work with the notion of finally addressing the “noise” so that I can focus on the core is a sensible if not downright excellent idea. “I’m not dismissing the depressive episodes because I’m sure they’re very intense when they occur,” he said, “but the fact you’re speaking of your fundamental optimism and ‘being stalled in the middle of a tunnel instead of falling into a bottomless pit’ tells me you could be far more depressed and completely unable to function, but instead you sound like you’re on the right track to getting better.”
And you know what? As I was heading back home on the métro for my first client training appointment at 9:30, I’m pretty sure I had a little smirk on my face. Substitute “Just plain nuts” in the cartoon with “Lock-him-up depressed”: Gary’s assessment of my situation was the absolute opposite, and that, strangely enough, made me feel better.
I had another appointment with Lucy this morning and I told her what transpired yesterday with Gary. She thought my comparison with the Larson cartoon was funny, but she got what I meant in that “whatever works for you” kind of way. I know I’ll still have some “work” to do after my short leave; I’m still feeling a little touch-and-go. However, the granting of the leave, combined with knowing that I’m not as badly off as I feared, has renewed my resolve to get to the bottom of it all.
Pandora’s box? Whatever! Just bring it on.