A friend said she thought I should get counselling, she said she thought I was depressed. I didn’t really want to think about it, but she’s right, she usually is, on most things, not all, but that’s another story.
I decide to check, online I find a DIY rate your depression questionnaire, neat easy to answer, scale of 1-10 stuff, are you binge eating chocolate fourteen times a day, are you forgetting meals, do you lock yourself away in a dark room and hide from the world, when you look in the mirror do you feel happy about the way you look, you get the drift.
I filled out all the questions, I answered them pretty honestly, some, as nobody was looking I scored myself as less dysfunctional than I actually am. I pressed the button and my result, I am on the borderline depressed and of severely depressed. Holy Shit, I just thought I was a bit miserable, now this bloody questionnaire is telling me I am bordering fruit-loop. A message flags up on the screen offering me psychiatric services, in California, (its an American website), nice idea a Shrink in Malibu………………….
Ok, my friend thinks I need help, the Yanks tell me I do, its time to go to the Docs, to the glorious NHS, that pantheon of social care.
I book my appointment online, I get an email confirmation, then a series of daily text reminders confirming my appointment.
When my appointment time duly arrives I head to the practice, I don’t need to speak to a human being, on arrival I simply have to key my date of birth, initials on a touchscreen, then the door opens for me. I sit in the waiting room, watching for the screen display on the monitor above to flash my name and the room number I am to be seen in.
A few minutes later an electronic bell sounds and my name flashes up on the screen and i am summoned to room 12. Finally there is a human being talking to me, a young locum GP, she looks fresh out of college and a little uncomfortable, but ushers me to sit down and asks how I am today. The obviousness of the question is a little lost on me, this outstanding mind went into medicine to help mankind with their ailments, what on earth does she think I’ve come her for, to tell her I’m A1?, But lets not go there, I explain, I think I am depressed, Id like to see what you can do to help me.
Then I have to summarise the reasons why I may depressed, its funny really, I don’t mind telling it, but this young Doctor doesn’t really seem to be that comfortable listening. We go through a series of questions not dissimilar to those over online, just a little more anglicised, I tone down my responses, I am a little worried if i am brutally honest she will have me sectioned.
For a moment I conjure up thoughts of One flew over the Cuckoos nest, then It flashes through my head making a phone call to work, sorry, won’t be in today, I’ve been locked up, I’m in a Mental Health Unit, they say I’m a nutcase……………….At the end of the questions she nods a few times then brings out a large reference book, she goes to the index.
I am prescribed pills, I leave the surgery a few minutes later, I’m being referred for counselling and I’ve got some pills. Well thats sorted then isn’t it.
All is well, until I look up my medication, online, here is a list of the possible side effects listed: common side effects, difficulty sleeping,dry mouth,headaches,increased sweating,nausea,sleepiness, sleeping problems,weakness, abnormal orgasm in women ( phew I’m ok there, or am I, does it mean if I take the pills a woman I sleep with may have an abnormal orgasm? ) apathy, concentration problems, confusion,constipation,decreased libido,feeling agitated,diarrhoea, dizziness,increased salivation,itching,joint pain, loss of memory,strange dreams,tinnitus,tremors, the list goes on, in rare cases taking this medication leads to several side effects that I have no idea what they area, best i don’t investigate, they sound shitty, paraesthesiae,rhinitis,odema. The one that really gets me though, is depersonalisation, wtf, if I take these pills does it remove my personality?
I have to admit, I seriously wonder if taking anti-depressants is going to help, am I going to be depressed by my treatment for depression? Am I going to need medication for the side-effects of the medication? That’s before the counselling kicks in and I start to talk about my childhood and if being bottle-fed as a baby has meant that I am breast fixated, or being smacked has made me passive-agressive, oh I can see it now, that therapist is going to have a hard time with me, this feeling depressed mullarkey is bloody annoying and somebody needs to pick up the tab and I’m not taking responsibility for this one, oh no.
All I can say is thank God I am getting help, I had no idea how sick I was until I went to the Doctor. If you don’t see me around, just pop into the local chemists, I think I may either be there collecting enormous prescriptions for side effects or failing that you might try the mental health unit, I will post visiting hours if they do a Cuckoo’s Nest job on me and I’m sectioned, come and visit.
Don’t bother with fruit or flowers, I want to mainline chocolate biscuits. Oh, please bring newspapers, no Daily Mail, Times, Telegraph, just left of centre please. Oh and a decent cup of coffee, nothing, but nothing depresses me more than drinking instant coffee.