Blue is the coldest color

US 31

Photo: Lee Adlaf (CC)

My psychiatrist is worried about me.

When I make my biannual visit, I tell him that I have a mild case of depression, as diagnosed by my therapist a week earlier. He voices immediate concern: He knows me as a patient who rarely complained about any symptoms.

Having witnessed severe cases of depression in friends, having read about it for years, I find myself a sufferer, but not a Sufferer.

My mood and my sleep have been in turmoil in these last few months. I’ve been taking care of myself, but at a bare minimum.

This session is all business. Usually, we exchange pleasantries, but this time, he rattles off eye-opening statistics on depression and death.

He’s concerned that I’m not taking it seriously enough. That people often underestimate how deep they’re in. That depression leads to alcohol and drug abuse, accidents and injury.

I’m starting meditation, at the recommendation of my therapist. I have visited the meditation center near my house and use a daily reminder on my phone to spend 5 minutes practicing focused breathing. My psychiatrist also has me doing a daily mood score, which feels like a natural fit for my self-assessing tendencies.

He suggests medication, which I’m always fighting even though I’m currently taking medication for anxiety. I long ago accepted the benefits of my anti-anxiety med, and yet I am stubborn about more meds. I am the best/worst patient.

Fortunately, my drug can also help with depression, so we agree to up the dosage. He’s surprised to learn that till now, I’ve been taking it a pill a day instead of two.

He even recommends Ambien for my sleep. It’s a hard no. No zombie blackouts for me.

Instead of waiting 6 months for my next visit, he sets the next one for 2 to 3 months.

It seems like a long ways off. I’m weary from lack of sleep and from fighting this heaviness I’ve placed on myself.

I’m alive, but not Alive.


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