- Mental Health
Therapy for Clinical Depression: Day 1
I’ve decided to write an online blog about my therapy sessions to address my major depression and social phobia. I had a break down in May and was hospitalized in June. From there I have had six highly controversial Electro Convulsive Therapy (ECT) sessions. Here is an example of the process:
Finally I am able to attend therapy after much delays, that is being stuck in traffic and not being able to get through to the therapist. I was relatively calm on the way there. I thought I’d be panic stricken but it was to the contrary. My panic attacks come in waves and fortunately I did not have one in the therapy session.
I was early so I waited in the therapy room for about 10 minutes, sipping my coffee. The therapist, Nasreen, came in shortly and asked me how I was. Before I could answer you said, “In a bad way?” obviously noting the fact that I was shaking a bit. “Yes”, I squeaked.
“Have you seen your doctor?”
“I have”, I replied. “But there is only so much pills and ECT one can take. It doesn’t address the psychological issues.”
The rest came into the room shortly. She had to gather them from their wards. When I saw the 70 year year old, I was taken aback. Do 70 year olds need psychological treatment? Aren’t they supposed to have reconciled with their pain years ago? I don’t what else he should be doing. Rocking in a chair on the verandah, enjoying his retirement?
“Hi, I’m Simon*”, he said, extending his hand to me.
I was a tad bit disappointed that I was the only woman attending the session but they were a diversified bunch, the six of five of them. I felt anxious, too, because I have do not have good relationships with men because of my suspicion of them. Thanks, dad.
Before we came we had to write letters to ourselves addressing what we cannot accept about ourselves and how we can remedy it. No one read theirs out aloud but I gave my letter to the therapist and scuttled off. I won’t divulge what was in the letter but it is something I am struggling to reconcile with and I concluded that my only way out is therapy.
I could not help but notice how the one gentleman, about 45 years or so, resembled a guy I had briefly dated a few years back. I also thought it was curious how he had his wife’s name tattooed on his ring finger. Her name is Claire with the exact spelling as mine. Unusual coincidence. I also thought that men could deal with pain more than women but it is amazing to see how vulnerable they get when the layers of their shield they had constructed around themselves to cope become pealed away. It is exactly the same thing that has happened. I have never in my life felt as vulnerable as I do now. In fact, I think if someone blew at me, I’d topple over. I have dropped the weight of feeling guilty about not having a job, of trying to be brave, of trying to be a infowar warrior only to get massacred for it. I thought I could take every insult with bravery, not realizing I was absorbing it like a sponge. Now the sponge has been squeezed and the tears are now coming like the water being released from the sponge. I have also ceased to care about my father who is a complete psychopath, literally. My psychiatrist says so. Consciously, though, I have ceased to care. Subconsciously I am still hurting.
I soon learnt that I could identify with these men in some way or other.
Michael*, whose wife is Claire, said that he was in the army and that is wife Claire was not prepared to listen to his horrific stories and so he had no one to talk to. He had taken to alcohol to drown his pain. I told him that I started to develop an alcohol problem. It is genetics. My father is an alcoholic. He never had the courage to address that disease because he is a coward. It is only because I was transferred to another anti-depressant that curbed it because it has the effect of making one intolerant to alcohol. Perhaps I, too, would be too much of a coward to address if not for the anti-depressant? There was Oliver* who claimed to be too honest and honesty is not a trait that is appreciated in this world. He assumed the role of saviour to his friends and family and paid little attention to himself, helping them out emotionally and financially. I also paid little attention to myself because I am well off compared to others. For example, at least I’m not starving like the Somalians, etc. But that doesn’t mean I can’t feel sorry for myself either. It is unhealthy to not take care of oneself. Honesty is also a trait of mine, which makes me lonely because people don’t want to hear the truth about the world. The next patient was Carl*. He was a handsome young man and I was surprised to see him. I have all these preconceived ideas of what men should be like. I also presumed that young men were sure of themselves. Carl said he had to be his own parent. He never had a yardstick and so he conformed to the ways others were. I saw tears welling up in his eyes and that prompted me to shed a few myself. I don’t like seeing others cry. Simon said he had dad issues. You won’t believe how many people have parent issues, especially regarding their fathers. He said when he was 21, he was walking in a cemetery with his father when he father told him, cruelly, “You know, I never wanted children.” He then slapped him across the face. To that day, Simon never visited a cemetery again. I was consciously aware of the fact that my father was disappointed that he only had daughters. He once said of his “stepson” (not technically because he isn’t married to his mistress), “Jason is the son I never had.”
I said, “Being a parent is the most important role a person will ever have in their lives. Unity between the mother and father is important for a child’s security. My mother and father would have arguments but, ironically, not really arguing. My dad was like a brick wall. When you told him off, he’d just sit there without saying a world. That is typical of a psychopath. My mother would counter-act that by ignoring him. That tore my sister and me apart. More than anything I wanted my father and mother to love each other. My mother loved my father to a certain point but my father never loved my mother. He was a 22 year old man when he married my 29 year old mother and saw her as a meal ticket because she was earning and he was not. He believed that meant he could play around in university, which resulted in him failing three times. My father is disappointed in me because I am not worldly successful. He got a bit encouraged when he discovered my singing talent because of a song I sang at school which was well received. I was obliged to enter Idols in 2002 because I “had” to utilize my talent, only to get knocked out in the preliminary rounds. The next year my father coaxed me into doing a sound engineering course in 2003. My mother said, “I don’t think this course is for her.” “I agree!” my father said. “But her voice will be discovered.” He would show me Robbie William DVDs, pointing at the TV saying, “One day that will be you.” The sound engineering course was a completely disaster and my dad went back to ignoring me again.
I am looking forward to more therapy sessions in the future. Writing what I feel is going to heal me, for sure.