Camping, Take 2

Last year, we took a family camping trip.  Me, Hubs, the kiddos, and my parents.  My mother fell down a slope and broke her ankle.  This resulted in her and Dad heading to the hospital, while Mark and I patrolled four kids who were detoxing from electronics.  It was…rough.  So initially when I got the idea to go camping again, I was a little wary.  This time it would be just me and Mark…what if something goes wrong?

I pushed this thought out of my head with other thoughts, like “you have done nothing this horrible boring summer” and “the nearest hospital is only 19 minutes away-you can drive that while sick.” 

And so, I planned a camping trip for the two of us for our anniversary.  We are very excited.  We have never gone anywhere together.  10 years.  Nowhere.

We have been across state to visit his family a few times, but all our time was spent with them.  We had no honeymoon, no vacations, no weekend getaways.  This will be our very first, and here’s hoping it’s not one of those things we probably should have done before we got married.

I have two worries.  One is that I will get sick.  The other is that I will fight with Mark.

Now, sick or injured, I have an emergency plan, and a backup emergency plan, and I am confident in my current health.  No flareups for six days now, and that’s a very good sign. 

But, Hubs…

I love my husband, but he has a frustration issue.  Even small frustrations have triggered anger and rage.  He works on it, so now it’s mostly just big things that set him off (well, and video games…though we could debate whether that’s a “big thing.”)  The problem is, I have a rage issue myself, so when he gets frustrated by, say, A VIDEO GAME, and yells and throws a controller, my initial reaction is to throw something as well because I am angry that he is throwing things.  Yes, I see the insanity in that, but it is what it is.

I am afraid we will, say, set up an air mattress, and one or both of us will get frustrated, then enrage the other somehow, resulting in me throwing his belongings into a creek.  Or vice versa.

We rarely fight, but this is the one thing that makes us blow: both being frustrated at once.  It is rarely the other person, it is almost always the situation, but then we of course turn on each other like wild wolves.

But I have high hopes, because mostly this does not happen at the same time.  I can talk him off a ledge.  He can talk me off one, too.  But if we’re both pissed, just stand back.  And hope we’re not pissed at you.

So I’m going to be well and I’m going to have no relationship worries because I’m going to have a perfect trip because we deserve it, damnit.  10 years with this guy!  A miracle, I tell you.  I will be sure to tell you about it when I get back.

Here’s hoping no one falls down a slope. 

(That last lines for you, Ma.)

Hubs and me, doing what we plan to do all weekend…only not in the middle of the city.

Life and Death and Fishing

As previously mentioned, I have been super sick this month.  I don’t know why.  I have been doing all the things I am supposed to have been doing, and my mental health has been great.  So what the what, gastroparesis?  On Friday, Hubs and I are going camping for our anniversary.  I am determined to stay well and be well for this event.  Problem is, the worry of getting sick stresses me out, and stress makes me sick. It’s become a pray and hope scenario.

Every day that I wake up feeling well, I consider to be a tiny miracle.  If gastroparesis has taught me nothing else, it is to savor each day and try to make the best of it, because a lot of the time my days get ruined.  I have a new outlook on life itself, which is causing me to be grateful for the little things.  I am always looking for silver linings in the chaos, and this is the biggest one:  my appreciation for living.

One of the things that I have done to help my physical and mental self is take up fishing.  I got my license in May and Hubs bought me a pole for my birthday, and I have been taking quite an interest in it.  My favorite part right now is learning the different types of fish.  I literally knew nothing about fishing at all; Hubs has a basic knowledge, but nothing fancy.  So, we have been teaching ourselves as we go.

One of our learning helpers is a fisherman/YouTuber by the name of Leif Steffny.  He has a show called North West Fishing Secrets, and we watch it every week.  His M.O. is to catch some fish, and then cook them up shore-side.  It combines Hubs love of fishing and cooking, so it’s our #1 YouTube video experience.  We have learned a lot form him, because he talks about fishing as though he is talking to someone who is new to the sport, like us.  He is always sure to explain everything he is using and doing, and we learn something new each week. 

Now, one of the things we learned, as this gentleman both catches and cooks his fish, is how to kill one.

It looked really easy: you just bonk it on the head, but the reality is a little harsher, to me.

I caught a trout this weekend.  Not a big one, but big enough that he managed to swallow the entire hook right down into his stomach.  There was no way to get it out; he was bleeding.  We could cut the line and let him die in the water.  We could leave it and let him asphyxiate on land.  Or we could bonk him on the head. 

I held him in my left hand while Mark did what had to be done.  It looked so easy in the videos.   But then, I felt it…shaking and shivering my hand, spasming because it was dying.  It was maybe three seconds, but even that felt too long.  I ached for that fishie.

When it stopped moving, I dropped it to the ground.  Mark told me his death wouldn’t be in vain…we couldn’t eat it, but he would take it home and show me how to gut and filet a fish, and at least it would teach me something, I figured.

But I can’t forget what it felt like in my hand.

K told me she wants to go hunting someday and I grimaced (this was the same day as the fish.) I never wanted to go hunting, because I can’t imagine killing Bambi.  (Plus, the hating guns thing.)  But apparently I’m fine with killing Nemo?  Or am I?

I’m not going to give up fishing because the joy and health it has brought me far outweighs that sad moment with the fish in my hand.  And that’s kind of how I feel about most of my life right now.  I’m not going to let my good days get ruined by the weight of the bad ones.  I try very hard to make each moment count, now, in a way that I did not do before, and that is very important to me.  The moment with the fish was devastating, but the fact that I was out in the sun with my husband and daughters was the exact opposite.  It was rejuvenating and wonderful and healing.  That little fishie didn’t make it, but I was okay, I was still breathing, and I didn’t feel the pain of a hook in my belly, for the first time in a while.

On Books and Tummy-Aches.

It is midafternoon on a Monday, usually a time when I am far done with my blog, but today was a holiday, and this week has been strange.

I was sick, unfortunately, pretty much all week.  It was terrible and I have no desire to rehash it so let’s just call last week a wash and move on.

I came across a photo the other day, below.  Me and Kevin, maybe four-years-old.  I am sick and lying on the sofa, and he is sitting beside me, reading a book.

I don’t read much anymore because it is difficult for me, what with my eyes.  I do more now than before I got new glasses, but without bifocals it’s still tricky.  I have had two Stephen King’s sitting beside my bed for months that are unfinished.

And then today, Kevin gave me about fifteen more. 

While downsizing his life, he decided to get rid of his King collection and gave it to me, which is awesome, but now means that A. I need more bookshelves, and B. My reading list has just expanded greatly.  They’re all books I have yet to read, or have read once and didn’t have a copy of. 

Anyway, this special delivery reminded me of that little picture of a sad and sick Briggy being soothed by the fake-reading of a four-year-old Kevvie.  I was really sick this week, and I had a few plans with my bud that ended up having to be postponed because of it.  If there is anything worse than the physical pain that comes with gastroparesis, there is the mental anguish of always feeling like you’re ruining something by getting sick.  Every plan I have to cancel or rearrange haunts me.  I hate it.

Today, I hate the whole damn thing.

But tomorrow, who knows…maybe I will make a space on my bookshelf.  Maybe I will choose a new King novel to devour, hoping that it will get me back to the other two languishing on my nightstand.  Maybe I will read something, and the words will seep into my eyeballs and though my pores and wind their way though my body, and I will be healed by a story or tale or poem…little healings, that keep me going.

Always gotta keep going.

Good Days and Bad Days

Yesterday, I was on the phone with my therapist and she was commending me on how well I deal with my illness.  Every time I’m in the ER, she gets an email, so she has been worried about me these past few weeks.  I told her that the way I see it, I have good days and bad days.  And because I have so many bad days, I strive to make those good days into very good days, which is helping fight my depression in turn.  She was quite proud of this, and told me I was doing great work with my coping skills.

Afterwards, I hung out with Bernie, then Kevin showed up and we made brownies and watched drone footage of abandoned asylums.  After Mark got home, I made pizza and we hung out for a while and watched TV.  I took a nice long shower and went to sleep.  It was a good day.  Maybe even a very good one.

Today I woke up with a stomachache and immediately went full panic attack.  This caused me to throw up, which caused me to panic more.  It’s a vicious cycle.  I took my Xanax and my Zofran and wrapped up in my blanket and begged God for just one more good day.

I fell asleep sitting on the couch, and when I woke up again, I still felt crappy, but I wasn’t vomiting.  I took Mark to work.  I took a drive to the reservation.  I drank a cup of coffee, and when that didn’t come back up, I thanked God for one more good day.

Very good day has yet to be seen.  I still feel a little under the weather, and will likely just stick around the house and do some writing.  Still, a very good day is possible…I will likely work on my outline for NaNo, and maybe my final proof for my chapbook will arrive so I can look that over.  I can send out a few submissions, or if inspiration strikes, write a new poem.

I can open the door to my office, finally, blessedly, and let the sunshine in.  I can play my music as loud as I want because my downstairs neighbors are out for the day.  I can light my new candle, and maybe watch something on tv if I get bored.

Every day that I can do these simple things is a win.  So many days of my life are spent in a hospital, or recovering in my bed.  Sometimes it feels like those bad days outnumber the good ones, and that is, at times, unbearable.  But I don’t have a choice, see.  If I’m going to quit something, I have to be pushed to my absolute limit…but there is no limit on your life.  It can go anywhere, so you can’t quit, because what if something great is around the next corner?  And I will tell you, oh so many times in my life, there has been a great thing waiting. 

It’s the first really nice day here in Buffalo.  This Saturday is supposed to be gorgeous, and part of my plan for today is choosing a hiking spot for me and Hubs to hit up this weekend.  I am sitting in my office pecking out this blog, but I am distracted, because I want to be outside.  I think I will clean up the porch and maybe pull a few weeds.  Those are the kind of chores that make me happy, so I will do them as one of those coping mechanisms that my therapist appreciates so much.  The little tasks I give myself keep the depression at bay, and make my day feel worthwhile.  I appreciate each good day, and I strive to make them all into very good days, so I try to accomplish as much as I can, write as much as I can, and love as much as I can.

Someday, all I will have are good days.

That will be the best day of them all.

A Week of Worry

I’ll be honest, I didn’t even realize yesterday was Thursday.  I wasn’t feeling well, but not so bad that I couldn’t have updated, but I was so out of it that I didn’t even realize what day of the week it was.  So, happy Friday.

I don’t have a real topic today, so I will tell you a couple things that have been weighing on my mind this week.  First of all, there is my health.  I set up an appointment for Monday for a surgery consultation.  It looks like I will be getting a gastric pacemaker, provided I meet all the criteria.  I am both thrilled and terrified.  Thrilled because this may mean the end of my five-year long battle with my stomach.  Terrified because what if something goes wrong?  What if it doesn’t work?  I have been trying to keep these questions out of my head all week, but they creep in and cause me to panic.  For the first time ever, I actually had to call my doc for a Xanax refill.  I’ve had a panic attack every night this week, and it all stems from my health and worries about surgery.  Fortunately, Hubs has been wonderful, holding me while I cry I about it, reassuring me that everything will be fine, and reminding me of all the benefits of the surgery. Alas, I remain frightened.  I think it’s because I have tried so many things to make myself better and nothing has worked, so I am feeling like this won’t either.  Still, I need to do it, I need to hope for it to work, and I need to keep my head about me in the process.

Another thing on my mind, aside from my health, is my chapbook.  I sent an inquiry back in October to a publisher that I liked, and they replied in January and asked me to send along my manuscript for review.  They said I would hear from them in about three weeks.  I initially thought this was sort of a short reply time given that even when I submit singular poems I don’t usually hear back for at least a month.  But I figured it’s a small manuscript, so maybe they don’t need that much time. 

For the first three weeks, I waited patiently.  I reminded myself that no news is good news, and if they read it and didn’t like it, they would get back to me right away.  Well now it has been five weeks, and I am on pins and needles.  I am maintaining that it is a good sign that it’s taking so long.  Perhaps they are deliberating over it because they like it.  Perhaps they really like it and are drawing up papers before contacting me.  Or maybe they haven’t even read it yet.  Whatever the case, I am going crazy waiting.  This is my number one choice for publisher, as it is a small company in my city that has produced some poetry books I like.  Buffalo is having a poetry renaissance, and I am desperate to be a part of it.  When I started going to a local bookstore for poetry nights back in October, I was terrified.  My anxiety told me that no one would like my work, that no one would talk to me, that I would be alone and insignificant.  I can’t say I don’t still have those feelings, but I push myself to go each month because I am trying to overcome my insecurities.  And I will say it gets a little easier each time.  I am very much looking forward to this month’s reading, though I am having trouble picking a poem for the open mic segment.  I will likely read something from my chapbook, with the hope that putting it out in the universe brings it to life. 

The one highlight of my worrisome week is that Sahar is in town.  She is one of my dearest friends, and she lives in Kentucky, which I hate.  But she’s in town for about a month and we were able to go to lunch.  I am hoping to see her many more times before she returns to that hell-state.  Like Hubs, she knows just what to do to calm my worrisome head.

So, I walk into this next week with my head held high and my heart full of hope, but also worry.  I will see the doc on Monday and figure out what the plan is, and we will go from there.  Hopefully my worries will be unfounded, and I can face this surgery with courage. 

A girl can dream.      

Tummy Trouble

My regular reader is aware of my battle with my stomach, but a newcomer may not be, so here’s a short recap: about four years ago I was diagnosed with gastroparesis, a stomach disorder that prevents proper digestion.  It was described to me as such: every person has a blender in their stomach, and my blender had rusty blades.  As time went on, rusty blades turned into no blades.  It made for uncomfortable situations, like not being able to eat when hungry or feeling nauseous and bloated in the mornings, and it made for terrible situations, like landing in the ER because I was vomiting blood and had stabbing abdominal pains.  I was on a variety of medications for years, all of which proved useless.  Then they started doing regular dilation of my pyloric sphincter (the muscle that controls food leaving the stomach.)  This provided a month or two of temporary relief, and then it was back to the ER.  They are thinking I might have something called pyloric stenosis, which is a disease that is common in baby boys, not 36-year-old women. 

That brings us up to now.  Yesterday, I had my regular procedure with the added benefit of Botox injections to my pyloric muscles.  This is supposed to cause the muscles to relax and smoothen so as to transport food easier.  I read up a little on it, and results vary.  Some studies say it’s beneficial, some say they found no results.  All agree it can’t hurt to try, and I am in that frame of thought right now.  I’ve been living with this for years and any opportunity for relief is one I am willing to take. 

If this doesn’t work and I end up back in the hospital, then I will be talking to my doctor about surgical options out of town.  She mentioned some doctors in Cleveland that may be able to help.  I don’t want it to come to that, but I’m not going to go though the rest of my life like I have the past four years.  It has been terrible.  I haven’t been able to hold a steady job.  It has wreaked havoc on my depression.  The medical bills are out of control. 

But I’ll be damned if I let any of that get me down while I am trying to heal and improve my health.  I intend to do whatever I can to beat this ridiculous pain-in-the-ass disease and get back to the life it has stolen from me.  Today, I am hopeful.  I’m not hungry yet, but I’m drinking coffee again, which was a huge turn-off just a few days ago.  I am sitting in my office with the sun streaming though the window and I am content in knowing that there is a possibility, however small, that I might be well.

Christmas Crunch

Today is Tuesday.  I don’t normally write my blog on Tuesday, but I didn’t update Monday so I’m feeling a little out of the loop.  I won’t update until Thursday, and it may take me three days to actually write this as I don’t have a lot of material in me right now, but alas here we are.  It is Tuesday, and I am depressed.

I would assume it’s my usual Christmas season depression, but it’s not.  It’s something a little deeper, because I was in and out of the ER over the weekend and that has of course scared the bejesus out of me. 

I haven’t missed a Christmas, but I’ve come close.  One year, I left the ER and went straight to the festivities at my Grams house on Christmas Eve.  It was not ideal.  Another year I missed my parents annual Christmas party AND Christmas with the kiddos because I was admitted to the hospital.  That broke my heart.  I am determined to stay well for the next two weeks, even if it means I eat nothing but yogurt and instant breakfast from now until then.

I am also depressed because money is tight, as it always is at Christmastime, because I want so badly to give the kids everything they want and more, and then we overdo it every year, and then spend the week of Christmas living off leftover cookies and ham.

I am also depressed because we really wanted to get the girls bunk beds up this past weekend but I was laid up the whole time.  I will be giving them the hardware for a Christmas present, and Mark will put them up on Sunday probably, but it would have been nice to have them up when they arrive on Friday. 

And then there’s all the other things that need to be done, the day to day cleaning that has been untouched since last week, the preparations for kiddo Christmas this Saturday, the shoveling and the gift wrapping and the trip to the post office…all things I don’t want to do right now.

So, there’s a lot that’s got me down today.  I’m going to try to get some things accomplished, as much as I can, and hopefully when I check in tomorrow, things will be going better.

Wednesday came and went on a wave of morphine.  Up sick at five, I was at the ER by seven, and after that everything is a blur.  My father came and drove me home and I went straight to sleep.  When I woke, I was so groggy that I went to call him to tell him I was home from the hospital, completely forgetting he was the one that brought me there.  Mark came home and we watched tv and I went to bed early.  Nothing was accomplished.

Today I am not sick.  Today is Thursday, and it is nearly 8am, and I am so happy because I feel good.  I wish I had a car available to me so I cold knock out all the errands that need to be done, but other than that I’m ok.  I’m not depressed.  I wrapped the gifts.  Hubs got a little surprise bonus, so that eased the money worries and the kids will get a very nice Christmas plus we won’t have to live on leftovers.  I have my cards ready for the post office, I have my presents all done for my family (save the one I am making…but that is close to completion) and I have the whole day to work on cleaning the house, which is more cluttered than anything and shouldn’t even take too long.  Best of all, what keeps the depression at bay, is that I feel good today.  It gives me hope.  I spend a lot of time being terrified of my weird stomach disorder.  It’s not even a matter of gastroparesis now, it’s a whole other thing.  But that’s an entry for when I have learned a little bit more about it.  Look for it in January, when they put Botox in my stomach.  I don’t know what that means yet, but they’re doing it, so I’ll be sure to find out.

Anyway…happy Thursday.

Pancreatic Revolution

Circumstances beyond my control, I awoke this morning to find that my blogs were trapped inside my computer, which would not work.  This is a fixable problem that would barely register in my life were it not Thursday, and therefore, blog update day.  I wrote a piece about my Fitbit.  It was all ready to go.  Yet here I sit at my fathers’ desk with his weird keyboard trying to peck out something, anything…

It’s been a bad week.  I won’t go into much detail but the main problem for me is that I have been very sick.  I’ve been to the ER several times, and subsequently released to go forth and get sick again.  Tomorrow I am having a procedure that will hopefully alleviate some of my tummy troubles, but they are also looking at the possibility that my pancreas is playing a role.

This guy, again.

The first time my pancreas revolted I was 16 and failing all my classes.  I was sleeping though them, then coming home and sleeping when I should have been doing homework, so of course I was failing.  My teachers mostly wrote me off as a screwup that year, save two.  One showed great concern that I was not myself, certain that the screwup label was ill-advised.  Another, who had taught me for three years at this point, insisted something was medically wrong.  So, my mother came home and tested my blood sugar, and sure enough, I had a whopping case of diabetes.

I spent that night in the ER with my parents and my friend Chelsea, who was good enough to come with me so that I didn’t have a total panic attack.  She stayed all night and even went to school the next morning to tell my friends I was ok.  It meant a lot to me then, and means a lot to me now.  But back to my pancreas…

Anyway, the docs decide that while it’s producing insulin, it’s either not enough or the insulin is not doing its job.  Therefore, I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, not the dreaded Type 1 my mother was always certain I would acquire.  This was November, 1999.  20 years ago.

20 years!  And now it’s making its reunion tour by messing with my stomach?  Unacceptable.  Doc wants to put me on pancreatic enzymes.  I don’t know what that is or what it does, but I just cannot believe that we are still messing around with this piece of crap organ.

I mean, they might as well take the damn thing.  What has it ever done for me except make me sick?  I already take two shots a day for my diabetes, so it’s like I have Type 1 anyway.  Can one get their pancreas removed?  Do they do transplants?  Is this all just wishful thinking?

I’ve been sick since sixteen and my body continues to fail me even twenty years later.  My mother likes to talk about how strong I am for facing these battles, both physical and mental, and I appreciate her sentiment but the truth is, I don’t have a choice.  There is nothing but waking up each day praying that I feel well enough to live that day out loud.  Sometimes I don’t.  Sometimes, like yesterday, I know I will be in the ER the second I open my eyes.  The point is that I don’t have a choice to be strong or not.  It’s either that or give up, and I’m not very good at throwing in the towel.  So you won’t find surrender here, and you can call me strong if you want to, and maybe choosing to soldier on each day is strength, but I’ll be damned if I give up.  I’m not a quitter, I’m a problem solver.

Personal Triumphs

I was sitting on the sofa and thinking about what to do with my day when it occurred to me that it was Monday, which means blog day.  At first, I panicked because I didn’t have a topic, but then I realized that yesterday I hit a milestone.  I finished my chapbook.

I started thinking about this little lady around Easter, when I realized that several of my poems have to do with living with chronic illnesses.  I often write about my depression and anxiety, and have a few poems about my diabetes and gastroparesis, too.  So, I assembled all the poems I had in regards to chronic illness, wrote a few more, edited and organized them, and now I officially have a manuscript. 

I don’t know what to do with it, of course.  I have given it to my mother, Aunt Mary, and Sahar, and am looking for others to give me feedback.  Then it’s off to find a publisher, which means it’s time to take myself to school at YouTube University and figure out how one even does that.  I did a quick Google search while waiting on Mark yesterday and found one press for which my manuscript fits all the criteria, but I just missed their reading period.  This indicates to me that finding somewhere to send it might be a little trickier than finding places to send singular poems. 

For now, though, I’m unconcerned.  I’m very excited that I even finished it, as it has been some time since I have seen a project come to fruition.  The fact that it’s about the things that have held me back from my literary career only pleases me more.  It’s triumphant.

The last piece I finished was a play I wrote that, looking back, is garbage.  Yes, I have said many times that I think everything I write is garbage, and I am my own worst critic. This is so true-I tell myself things about my writing other people would never dare.  I think about that play, and often want to rewrite it, working out the kinks and changing things both big and small.  That play was written nearly ten years ago.  When I finished it, I felt great joy and relief.  That feeling returned yesterday morning, as I put the finishing touches on my manuscript. 

It was done.  I had completed something for the first time in a really long time, and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t pleased with myself.  Proud, mostly, that I was able to take something that has affected me for so long, and put it into words.  Then put those words into something someone else could read and relate to.  That’s all I want, as a writer.  For someone to read my words and see themselves.

So today I celebrate a little, because I did something I always wanted to do.  Ever since I was a kid, I have loved poetry, reading it and especially writing it.  To have my poems ready to meet the world is a beautiful thing.  What’s more…I don’t think it’s garbage, guys.  I think it’s kind of good, actually.  Which is, in it’s own way, terrifying. 

My biggest hope is publication, of course.  Still, if it doesn’t happen that way, I am proud of myself for creating something that I can share with others.  I feel like poetry takes a certain level of bravery, and this collection certainly did.  I am openly sharing my experiences with illness, and that is scary.  We, as people, don’t like to point out our weaknesses.  What we need to do is embrace them, and learn from them.  I may be sick, but I’m still strong.

That’s all for today.  I’m off to stare at my novel for a bit, as she has just moved off the backburner and into focus.  That’s a flippin’ mess, to be honest.  It’s more a large outline than a half finished novel, and it needs tons of reworking and additions.  And I’m stuck on a section right now, so that’s fun.  Hence, the staring instead of writing.  Sigh.

Happy Monday, friend.  Go do something brave.

Status Report

Apparently, they fixed my stomach, which everyone is hopeful about, except me.  I have almost no hope this will work, as I have had no hope for quite some time regarding different treatments.  I try to muster something optimistic and I suppose that miracles are possible but I feel that it would take as much for me to feel confident that everything was going to work out.  It is quite rare that things do.

I went to my first appointment at my new therapist today, which was less stressful than my panicked brain made it out to be last night.  I scored high for depression, anxiety, and trauma, the three subjects whose tests I always pass.  My counselor is an intern, which alarmed me at first as I am used to the hardened professional.  She seemed nice enough, and she knew what Trichotillomania was, which is my psych industry litmus test.  I figured that if she wanted to take me on as a patient in her last year of school, that I would oblige.  These days I am only finding therapy necessary for a quick checkup of sorts.  It’s more about the daily stressors and handling my anxiety and depression than it is about past traumas, Trich, and OCD triggers.

Mark has considered starting therapy, as he is sure he has PTSD.  I have more or less armchair diagnosed him after reading a crazy number of articles on healing trauma.  He is the sort that puts off going to the doctor though, and his first foray into it was not great.  He attended the initial intake session, and then felt overwhelmed.  It can be overwhelming.

First, you have intake.  This can be 2-3 appointments where you meet your counselor and they take down a bunch of information.  They’re a question and answer sessions more than anything else.  Today she asked me about my family, friends, living situation, working situation, meds, illnesses, and whether I use caffeine.  They give you little tests to take that tell what your mental state is within a period of time.  You fill out some forms.  For my husband, each appt will cost 40$.

This is why he doesn’t go, you know.  And that’s a whole other blog post.

After intake you meet with a doctor, which takes about an hour.  My appointment for this is tomorrow, as I was super lucky to avoid another month at the MAPP clinic.  After that, appointments with the doctor (or more accurately, prescriber,) only take about 15 minutes tops.  You set up appointments with your counselor.  They meet with you for about 45 minutes as often as you feel necessary.  Currently I go every three to four weeks.  And that’s it.  You just keep going, you take your meds, you tell the prescriber and counselor how you feel, and you get better.

I mean, you shouldn’t have to pay 40$ a pop for it.  But again…another time.

I only write this because you never know who might be considering getting help.  You might be a kid who is scared of how he feels.  Or a mom whose stress level is through the roof.  You could be anyone facing any number of problems, and you could be scared to make the phone call because you don’t know what comes next.  That’s how I felt when I first started therapy, and it’s what my husband still feels today.  But you should make the call, if you’re thinking about it.  It might be hard to open yourself up a little, but I guarantee it’s not as hard as the struggle you’re already living.