Checked another item off the to-do list — called to make an appointment with a psychiatrist. I feel fine!
I feel like I need to say I feel fine, mostly so my dad won’t worry (hi, Daddy!), which is sort of ridiculous. What if I didn’t feel fine? It should still be perfectly okay to mention that I didn’t feel fine and was making an appointment to see if I could do something about that. And yet mental health and mental illness are still so remarkably taboo in our society. Sad.
I’m actually going in for four separate reasons:
– I’m a little curious about whether I might have ADHD (clearly if so, I’m coping with it pretty well, but maybe I could cope even better with appropriate therapies?) — just from various things I’ve been reading and people I’ve been talking to, it seems not impossible that I might fall under that to some degree, esp. since Anand was diagnosed with it.
– when I asked my primary care doc for the referral, she wrote ‘personal hx of breast cancer,’ and while I do think I have mostly processed the cancer stuff pretty darn well through all the blogging (thanks for listening, y’all), every once in a while something does come up — a moment of anger or sadness, and it wouldn’t hurt to check in on that periodically.
– I have some family history of more serious mental illness, and while I haven’t seen any signs of that in myself, I find myself, at age forty-six, wanting to establish a baseline with a medical professional, just so that if my mental perceptions / behavior do shift, I have something established to compare it to, and someone I trust to help with the comparing — same reason I asked for a bone density scan after going into chemo-induced menopause. I like to keep an eye on these things, catch them early, treat them while they’re still relatively small problems if possible.
– just generally because in the last few years (hello, cancer), I’ve been trying to be much better about managing my health care (and my family’s health care), and it seems sort of silly to do all this prophylactic stuff for physical health and ignore mental health entirely.
What would our lives look like if, like an annual physical (which I realize many people don’t do, but as the daughter of a doctor, is something I’ve always done, even as a broke grad student without insurance, paying out of pocket for it), all of us defaulted to an annual mental health physical as well, from childhood on?
Internal medicine doctors do some of this, with little checks for depression, etc. at various points — at my annual check-up last week, my doc’s nurse gave me a one-page depression checklist to fill out as part of the 15-minute appointment. But if we go to a dentist for specialty dental work, maybe we should default to a psychiatrist, psychologist or counsellor for mental health work? Have an hour-long conversation at least once a year, instead of relying on a 30-second checklist?
Thinking about what a truly healthy society might look like…