Getting Help… An Update.

I had my appointment yesterday to have my annual pap smear and talk about my symptoms of depression. The woman I saw is an ex-midwife, and while she no longer delivers babies she still deals with women’s health in all sorts of different ways. I’ve always been to big offices with lots of nurses and doctors scurrying to and fro, so being in a smaller office with only two staff members was very different.

I met with B, and we started talking. She asked me a lot of run-of-the-mill questions (are you allergic to any drugs? Do you smoke? Do you use your seatbelt?) and I answered them. She caught me off-guard when she suddenly asked, “Do you go to church?”
“Well, no..” I replied. This question always makes me uncomfortable.
“Why not?” she asked.
“Well.. We’re not exactly Christians.”

I expected a lecture, or a judgmental glance while she scribbled something on a piece of paper but she didn’t skip a beat. “That doesn’t matter,” she said. “There are lots of different churches for people of all sort of different faiths. I believe it’s important to nurture your spiritual side and to have that community and family. You keep looking; you’ll find a place for you.”

I left it at that and didn’t push the issue, but Josh and I haven’t really ever been ones to seek a “spiritual community” because we do have very alternative beliefs. The closest I’ve ever come is a Unitarian Universalist Church and even that’s too organized for me. We’re just not big fans of organized religion. Anyway..

She asked me more questions.. About how I came to be in Chattanooga, about my family, about my relationship with my parents and brother. She took a lot of time to ask and listen to my questions, and I appreciated it. I never felt rushed or hurried like I have at other OB/GYN offices before (and that is not me saying that OBs are evil, I liked my last one just fine). She gave me a “depression self-assessment” and had me fill it out. When I was done, she explained to me that it was in no way a diagnosis, but based on the answers I’d circled it was a safe assumption that I had moderate symptoms of depression. She wrote me a prescription for a very low dose of Zoloft, and said to call her in three weeks if I didn’t notice a difference and we’d talk about where to go from there.

My exam was a pretty normal, uneventful yearly exam. She did tell me afterward, however, something that surprised the hell out of me. I had mentioned that during ovulation, I sometimes felt pain and discomfort on my left side. Not every month, usually every other to every two months. And only on my left side. I have had at least one ovarian cyst that I knew of in the past (when I was pregnant with Nellie, in fact) but have suspected that I’ve had them before. I actually suspect that I’ve had one rupture in the past. She told me that my left ovary felt firmer than my other one, and that I shared some characteristics with patients she’d seen before with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). She said that she was in no way making a diagnosis of PCOS, and wasn’t even concerned enough to investigate it further unless the pain I felt around ovulation was hindering my enjoyment of life (it’s not). But she said that some of the hair around my pubic area is darker than usual, and the way I carry my weight is reminiscent of many women she’s seen with PCOS. I was really surprised, and asked her if that could be why it took us almost a year to get pregnant with Nellie. She said yes, and said that it could have also been a reason we miscarried. She said that it was possible that the ovary had produced a bad egg that could cause a miscarriage.

When all of that was over, I told her that I was interested in beginning counseling/therapy and asked if she had anyone she’d recommend. She gave me the names of two people she refers her patients to, one of whom I am a little hesitant to see because she is a Christian faith-based counselor. However, she is also very cheap. I am really, really not interested in Christian based counseling, because I am not a Christian and don’t ever plan on becoming one. I’m not sure what I’m going to do yet.

Overall, I’m happy with my visit. I’ve got my new medication and am hoping that it can help take some of the anxiety and depression edge off. I know that medication is not a cure-all, and that I need to begin to see a therapist. I have a lot of issues to work out in regards to my past, and I feel like maybe I’m ready to finally start doing so. The thought of facing down old and ugly demons scares me, I’m going to be completely honest. I’ve built up a pretty good wall around those emotions the past 13 years or so of my life, and I know that when I start to chip away at those walls it’s going to be hard. But I need to. I need to be the best person that I can possibly be for my daughter.

Thanks for reading, and thank you for all of the great support from my last post. It means more to me than you guys know.