So in the next couple of weeks, I finally meet with a psychiatrist to decide what medications they think will help with the ADD and depression. My shrink told me yesterday he thinks I have chronic low-level anxiety, which kind of surprised me.

“Do you think you don’t?” he said.

“No, it’s just that no one has ever said that to me before. It hadn’t occurred to me,” I said. But the more I thought about it, the more sense it made. We discussed medication (he’s a psychologist and is as cautious about drugs as I am, which I like) and I told him I’d heard many bad things about anti-anxiety drugs. I’ve also seen them kick off a whole cascade of related problems in people I know, so I’m very wary.

He said he’s seen a pattern in which I overwhelm myself with information and stress out about the possibilities of things.

“I’m a blogger,” I said. “It’s kind of inherent in the job description.”

14 thoughts on “Mental

  1. There’s no doubt in my mind that the work you do each day, Suze, would be enough to bring on all sorts of depressing thoughts! Hey, God bless you; I admit couldn’t handle it. Frankly I’m too much of an idealogue to deal with the daily stupidity and greed of the upper classes in this country. I hope the therapy you new doc prescribes is helpful. Keep us updated…………….thx

  2. And that’s the whole whirlygig, isn’t it? Symptoms in *you* doesn’t mean the *source* of the problem is somewhere in you. (RadBehaviorists and some kindred shrinks love to benefit from false dichotomies and the illusions of discrete boxes). It also doesn’t mean that constant low level anxiety would be your default m.o, regardless of circumstance. It means you are attuned to what’s going on.

    Personal bias: Why do we aim to medicate the intelligent, empathic individuals in our society, so as to match up with those who are pleasantly oblivious? MoNay (Mother Nature) gave us the capacity to respond so we could listen to our own indicators and set about making things better in our environment – for everyone. And yet, we find ourselves in a Shhh! Don’t complain environment, where speaking up, or even registering pain, means you’re the problem. No, not just the problem, you’re *defective*. Indeed, some have already been entirely sold on the idea of robotic elimination of emotion, because it is a sign of weakness. To my way of thinking, these are the folks who have major issues with their own humanity. And we’re all walking through these iterations of “how to get around it, how to avoid it, how to pretend it ain’t so.” Sigh. I only hope we work it through before it’s too late. Yeah, saying something like that will get you the lable of nihilist, but quite frankly, it’s not I who has given up on what it means to be human. Talk about nihilism.

    I wouldn’t trade places with those who are wired to remain oblivious, or who scratch the surface but then quickly set about locating others with whom they can collude to create a mutually-reinforcing do-si-do of pretense, posturing, denial and obfuscation. No way. I’ll keep my senses about me and be the canary in the coal mine if I have to. It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s got to do it : )

  3. I appreciate the argument, but it’s been clear to me for a long time that you almost have to medicate yourself to survive in capitalist America. You’re supposed to produce 24/7, damn it!

    But seriously, I can’t function as well as I’d like to.

  4. I hear ya. Keep turning over stones and there are many to consider (systems gal thinking here). One source of “ADD” symptoms that we don’t hear much about is just sheer exposure to EMF. It is worse in large cities/financial districts than in rural areas. Generalized exposure is a lot like taking a bucket of water and applying a foot tap to both sides. Just watch the interference patterns. That’s your brain on EMF. Focal sources are even worse, inducing a range of interference in the range of zombie to narcolepsy. (But all of this isn’t mainstream info because it’s bad for bidness). There’s speculation about cumulative effects, just ask friends of Johnny Cochran, whose cellphone was a relatively permanent appendage.

    As for getting the most out of where we put our energies and how it dominoes into other areas of life management, I’m guessing a little guitar time would be fabulous. It’s the kind of indulgence that, if we allow ourselves, carries over synergistically, and makes us more apt to whistle while we work. (More) Contentment all the way around. (I’m consulting with the Muses, btw, and will get back to you). If I may be so bold, you ain’t ADD. Lack of followthru, overwhelm and don’t wanna can all be explained by a lot of other things. But yeah, when interference patterns are the order of the day, and they are irrepressible and/or unrelenting for the moment, we want to grab the reins back so we can focus and do what we value that is ours to do. I grok that. Believe you me : )

  5. btw, a friend of mine tipped me that apples have a wake-up effect on the brain. Indeed, they do : )

  6. If you have a lot of early history with uncertainty and chaos, your mind and body together (oddly, your brain is part of your body and made of the same stuff) get locked into a habit of staying alert and prepared for something bad to happen. Un-focused fear that has forgotten its object is anxiety.

    You get out of the habit of anxiety by learning to relax. Mindfulness meditation and breathing is a good way.

    Spending all day reading about stuff that makes you angry but that you can’t control is a guaranteed process of reinforcing anxiety.

    In other words, you got a problem, Susie. I recommend this for people. It helped me and I assign it to my Ethics classes. Cheaper and less toxic than Xanax.

  7. Un-focused fear that has forgotten its object is anxiety.

    Be that as it may, pretty much any average adult who is the slightest bit up to date on current events would register some level of ongoing angst about where all this is going, wouldn’t you say? It’s not like we need to page Dr. Freud to get to root causes. Additionally, a comprehensive read of any of a number of books out on disaster cap would suggest we have more recent stressors that would give rise to ongoing anticipatory anxieties (Home loss? Job loss? IRA loss? Bueller?). But making it about individuals and their “unique” pasts is a quaint, and unconscious way of further isolating people (divide the herd). It’s a tool of the denialists, wielded by those who are as-yet untouched by any facet of the current morass, which enables them to imagine that their bubble will be maintained indefinitely by their sheer, proof-positive worthiness. As if. You can try to call ongoing anxiety some type of an Adjustment Disorder if you like, but it’s more appropriately addressed as the body-mind’s Adjustment (to) DisOrder. Meanwhile, neoCalvinism is making great strides, for as long as it can possibly fend off reality, it seems.

  8. Nutritional supplements can help. If, like me, you are too broke for that, eat food that has tryptophan, B6, B12, calcium, and magnisium. In other words, tuna, salmon, poultry, dairy and eggs.

    If you need ritalin or other medications, take them and don’t let the naysayers get in the way of proper medication.

  9. Recognizing “the possibilities of things” I think it’s called being a human being with a capacity for sympathy and empathy. Whatever works for you, keep on keepin’ on. Just know that you are valued and have an impact way beyond anything you can imagine.

  10. Did that guy just call me a “tool”? And a “quaint” one at that.

    Maybe he’s right, Susie. I guess that there’s nothing that you can do to help yourself until the world changes.

  11. I’m not ADD-literate but reading your posts about it and the comments here (although I didn’t understand one thing zm said), I’m struck by one thing (besides wishing I had the energy and intelligence my ADD friends have!). That perhaps repeatedly writing about things that oppose your obvious values of empathy, compassion, fairness and justice would certainly cause “low-level anxiety” and I’m guessing pretty much exacerbate your depressive tendencies. Is it possible to step away from the awfulness intermittently? (I’m assuming by previous posts that this is not your full-time job?). My perception of you is a person for whom justice and fairness are paramount. Stands to reason that repeatedly exposing yourself to injustice and unfairness would certainly cause anxiety. I read your blog, Karoli’s and a couple of others every day and while I look forward to that first cup of coffee and Susie, I’ve realized there are times when it’s more addictive than informative. I have to step away and leave you. This is a Crapland we live in, no doubt about it. If I’m not vigilant I could let my life be filled with the criminals and trash I read about on the blogs, but whom I wouldn’t let into my house or my circle of friends, so why am I letting them capture my consciousness? When I immerse myself in the awfulness I get more riled up, more anxious and more depressed. I learned long ago how to cure that. For me it’s having a 3-year old grandson I can take to the park. I can be roiling inside with the state of the economy, the corruption of Congress, the endless violent capacity in humans, and on and on and on. And, yes, I when I look at my grandson struggling to get to the top of the slide I think, Buddy I’m sorry you have to grow up in this piece of shit world. But when he gets to the top, comes down that slide with those little apple cheeks – wow. It’s the best medicine of all. Susie, while I loudly applaud your tenacity and commitment to our (shared) values of truth and justice, it’s probably the very thing that is contributing the most to your battle. Go sit in the park and let the the sun hit your face.

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