Thursday, February 10, 2011

Move Away from Depression

It was fitting that today was the day that my therapist, Dr. T, decided to tackle her battle of letting go of the label "depression".  Since the summer of 2010, I have been seeing this wonderful therapist who doesn't let me bullshit her.  When the winter rolled around Chris and I were no longer able to afford the sessions, so she graciously reduced the fee to only $25.  I will be forever grateful to her because there has been progress and stopping therapy could have caused some delay in moving forward.  

Before I dive into it, I probably should explain why Dr. T needs to be able to see through my bullshit. I am a great bullshitter.  Really. It might have to do with my educational background or pretending to be fine for most of my life.  Dr. Brown explains it the best when she says "You need to see a therapist who see therapists... because their bullshit meter is really good". The majority of people who know me out there in the "real world" a.k.a. everything not blogosphere probably have no clue who I really am.  It's only those people who are really close to me (an now whoever  reads this blog) that know about my saddness, distorted body image , insecurities and issues with food.     

DEPRESSION.  I have been diagnosed with this label and have been comfortable with it for many years.  Five and a half years to be exact.  But my therapist has been trying to convince me that it isn't depression and that it is important to get away from this label.  To drop "depression" from my vocabulary, especially when describing myself or emotions.  Since the summer I have been arguing and dismissing her recommendations.  

Dr. T knows me well enough to know exactly the way to convince me to start rethinking depression.  She sat down with me, DSM-IV in hand to go over every single diagnostic criteria.  We debated, I got frustrated, she stayed calm and redirected me to facts (because she knows, I <3 facts).. and I can start to see her point.

At the end of the session I did what I know she dislikes very much.  I dropped a random "enlightened" bomb on her with 30 seconds left on the clock.  Most likely, Dr. T will bring it up first thing next week and ask that I quit doing that... in the very polite way that she does.  Since I'm not at the point where I feel comfortable disclosing every single detail of my sessions.  And, most likely I won't feel comfortable because there's something special about sharing just in these session.  I will however share my end comment because maybe there's people out there who have felt the same or have an opinion.  

Being labeled as "depressed" has been more accepted by others than having a distorted body image and an eating disorder.  In the past, when I was open about the way I see myself or seen not eating, it was usually met with negativity.  When disclosing to people that I really look ugly, it was heartbreaking to have them respond by saying something like, "you're crazy" or "you are just looking for compliments".  To admit the way that I saw myself was hard enough then to have it rejected was emotional beyond words.  If I was seen not eating, eating only certain foods or not finishing a meal there were comments which I had to respond with lies.  Telling people I wasn't feeling well, or that I ate before was my usual bag.  Even though I do meet some of the criterias for depression, Dr. T is convinced I'm not depressed... 

However, depression is something doctors seem to be more ready to diagnose and treat with medication.  Depression was an easy way to explain to people that I'm not happy.  When I would say depressed, I would get sympathetic nods, hugs and reassurance... something I was looking for when I was trying to be truthful.  I can recognize that there were real periods for a few months when I would meet the diagnosis for "major depression". But not now. Now, I'm just not happy with the way that I look.  It causes anxiety in certain situations and stress throughout the day.  Something I can change.  

Thinking about giving up on depression is kind of a liberating thought.


Macarena - Chic et Posh said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Dear Ashelle, your post is really touching. It went straight to my heart for a lot of reasons. Just wanted to tell you that I can understand how you feel about depression. A huge hug girl. XoXo

Shybiker said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

The field of mental health is uncertain and one aspect of it which you touch on is social stigma. People react differently to different labels and those reactions affect interactions.

I respect your courage in admitting you have sometimes understood and manipulated this to your advantage. I don't blame anyone for the compromises they have to make to fit into society. Lord knows I've pretended to be male my whole life when I'm actually not.

The only danger in this is internalizing your compromises. It's important to have an honest, accurate view of yourself. Certainly, in private sessions with a therapist, you want to focus on your actual problems, not the ones you present to the world to avoid stigma. It sounds like you and your therapist are making progress in this direction. Good luck.

Jenarcissist @ the closet narcissist said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

First of all, the pics are GORGEOUS - so artistic!!

I'm glad you've reached a new turning point and found a label - or non-label - that fits you better. It might not be one you can hide behind quite as easily...but maybe that's a good thing?

I'm sorry you were met with such comments in your real life attempts to share what you were going through. If there is a silver lining to it, though, and you know I always have to look for one ;), it should tell you that those people think you're so pretty already that they can't imagine you not seeing yourself the way they see you. I'm not saying others' opinions of you should be what you find validating, but the fact remains!

20 York Street said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Another post that I took the time to read over and over and I feel ya babe! Though I can't exactly say I know what you are saying, I can feel all the emotions behind this post.

I am glad to hear that nice therapist gladly reduced her fee (maybe I should start seeing her!) but even more happy that letting this label go is liberating for you!

Have a Happy, Happy Valentines Ash!


Roshan said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

The post was about ur struggle with depression - but you look so pretty in those shots, I couldn't but stare at them for a few minutes. Good thoughts and pleasant memories.

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