Wednesday, August 6, 2008

What the Hell is the Matter With You

Mr. Y and I signed up for a new doctor in town. With the NHS, this means visiting the GP and doing a brief physical, getting an NHS number, etc. The form is straightforward-name, age, address, last time you saw a doctor, and a list of boxes that you check yes or no to, the standard things that your pen flies over and makes a tiny mark in a box.

Do you have or have you had heart trouble? No.
Do you have or have you had kidney trouble? No.
Do you or have you had cancer? Yes.
Do you smoke? No.

And then the one that stopped my pen. The one that made me think and made me wonder how to proceed.

Do you have a mental illness?

Do I have a mental illness? Mr. Y flew through his questions ticking no, and there I was, stuck. Do I have a mental illness...

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Helen is the contributing editor for Depression and Borderline Personality Disorder. She writes daily at Everyday Stranger where she also chronicles life with her twins, Nick and Nora.

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luna said...

helen, this is such an excellent and honest telling. thank you for your candor.

Lil said...

helen, i read you loud and clear.

Kami said...

Wow. Thanks for sharing. I came here via Bridges. My father has mental illness - different than yours, but I saw a side of it, but not his side. It has been 4 years since you wrote this post. I hope you are doing well.

Skerry said...

First time lurker here. I have battled depression since I was about 14 yrs old, I am now 41 yrs old. I did not get help until I was 28 and it still took another 6 years to get it right. My memories of my childhood come from pictures and stories from family, I do not remember much before age 13. As a teenager my family and I just figured my problems were normal teenage angst. I thought everyone felt the way I did. Skip to 14 yrs later and a late night crying jag that had me waking up my now ex telling him he could not go to work the next morning because something was wrong with me and I was dying inside. I told him he HAD to take me to a Dr. I could not have my then 3yr old son remember me this way. Clinical depression was the diagnosis, 6 years, numerous meds, and several Dr.'s later and the right Medication was found for me. 3 weeks into the new meds. and I was a different person litereally. I woke up one day and couldn't believe that "this" is what normal felt like. I took Elavil but have been off for 2 years due to treatment for secondary age related infertility. I manage because I am aware, as is my husband. I have not gone back to that dark place that required effort to breathe, but I will not hesitate to go back on the meds. if I feel myself slipping.
This ended up way longer than I planned, I just wanted to thank you and to say...I get it.