What I am is what I am

I always feel wacky after posting something overly emotional – not because I don’t think I should have shared it, but because the release of the words helps to change my mood and then I no longer feel quite like what I wrote.

When I was 16 years old, my step-mom snooped through my school bag while I was away at a conference. I came home from one of the best weekends of my life to serious faces and a “we need to talk” from my aunt. My step-mom had found a letter I wrote to nobody in particular, a letter I wrote about depression and hatred and insecurity and wanting to die. I admit the letter read like a suicide note. It wasn’t.

There was a reason the letter was buried behind a stack of other papers inside of a folder in my school bag. There was a reason I didn’t share it with my friends and family. My aunt understood that before I told her. She understood that I’m a writer and that sometimes the only way I know how to get past pain is to write it out in its deepest, rawest form.

I came home chock full of smiles and bubblyness to hearing about how some people thought I was suicidal. My dad had called my school. I had to go in the next day with my aunt to talk to the school counselor. After that, I had to speak to the school psychologist. It wasn’t that traumatic. I’ve been seeing shrinks on and off since I was 8 years old.

The difficulty for me was explaining to people over and over again that I meant every word I wrote at the moment that I wrote it, but that once it was released, I changed.

It works the other way around as well. I intend to make an appointment with the doc this week to talk about medication options and possibly seeing a shrink again. After all the years I’ve bounced between psychologists and psychiatrists and counselors and psycho-therapists, I’ve figured something out – I don’t always get the help I need because I’m not always the person who needs help when I walk through the doors.

When I am in a happy, grateful, always-look-on-the-bright-side mood, it is difficult for me to explain the me I am when I’m in a crazy, life-is-spiraling-out-of-control, my-head-is-screaming mood. My shrink will say something that makes a whole lot of sense. I’ll stumble on my words. I’ll think, “Well yeah, I guess it’s not that bad. I’m okay. What am I doing here anyway?” And then the next time I have one of my crazy moments, I’ll think, “Why the hell didn’t I explain this to my shrink?”

I think I have a possible solution. I’m going to print this and my last two blog posts out and take them with me to my next appointment. This way I can say, “Here, I can’t explain it right now because I’m in a pretty good mood, but this is why I’m here and this is why I need help.”

We’ll see how that goes.

12 responses to this post.

  1. i understand just what you mean. when you are in the thick of it, you feel one way, and once you find a release a differant way. not too mention, when you first meet someone, it’s awful hard to release all the crazy at once lol stupid manners and ettiquette!


    • Exactly! I think we talked about this on the way home from Copa (I was a lil’ bit drunk, so I don’t recall the specifics 😛 ).

      By the way, I finally followed your blog . . . I thought that I already had, but apparently I didn’t! If I don’t get to checking it out during the week, I will definitely get over there this weekend!


  2. Good morning Dayle. I hope this will help with your sessions so they understand you better.


  3. SUCH a good idea. I was seeing a therapist a few weeks ago and I always wished I could go to the appointments when I was at my lowest. I would sit there and think, “This would really be helpful a few hours ago when I was sobbing my heart out.” I think taking your last two blogs is a fantastic idea.

    I must ask, how did you deal with your stepmom reading your letter? Were you angry? I have written before about how my mom used to snoop through my room and how it “made” me afraid to even have a journal for most of my life. It’s been years and years, and I repressed it for a long time, but the anger has come back up and I’m REALLY angry still.


    • Now, I just have to make an appointment with the damn doctor! (It doesn’t help that every time I go, it takes up more than half my day thanks to bus travel and wait time.)

      My family has a knack for not actually dealing with any issues and I pretty much followed suit with that on the snooping thing. I did set up traps though. I wrote all kinds of hateful letters and put them in various places around my bedroom and I’d leave a piece of really thin string attached to them so I’d know if they were touched. They never were to my knowledge, but my dad stopped speaking to me a couple of months later and it was 5 years before I talked to either of them again.

      It was a totally different environment with my aunt and uncle (who I lived with). I could leave my journals on the dining room table (and I often did) and no one would touch them. There was trust and safety there.

      I imagine if I had lived with my dad and step-mom, I would have had that same fear of keeping a journal. I’m sorry you had to deal with that! One of the worst things you can do to a writer is to keep them from writing!


  4. I totally get you! The one time I have talked with a professional about my depression, it was really hard to explain what I go through and how I feel when I am really down and I ended up feeling like I came across as a perfectly well adjusted woman with no real depression because at the moment of talking to him, I was in an open mood and wanting to change things…….when I am really depressed, I don’t have the want to to change and I wouldn’t even of be able to force myself to go…..so yea, I can see what you mean…..

    This also reminds me of going to the regular doctor for a sickness, it seems like every time I make an appointment, I end up feeling better when I am actually there so I feel like a liar trying to explain what was going on! ….Which actually relates completely to how I felt the one time talking about my depression when it wasn’t as bad at the moment I talked to someone….hmmm….


    • I have the same problem with the regular doc as well . . . In my senior year of college, I had a week when I kept getting fevers. After the first couple of days of people yelling at me to see a doc, I went to the school doc – no fever. A couple of days later, I went back – no fever again. When the fever came back again, I was yelled at again to go to the doc . . . so, I yelled back that I kept going and they kept telling me I was fine. The next night, I ended up in the ER with 104 fever and it turned out that I had pneumonia. . . . That wasn’t exactly relevant, but your comment reminded me of it 😛

      Anyway . . . “I ended up feeling like I came across as a perfectly well adjusted woman with no real depression”

      That’s exactly how I feel almost every time I see a shrink! . . . There was one exception – in college, I saw an art therapist (she was the first one diagnose me with anxiety). Because ever session focused on some form of art, instead of just me talking about stuff, she was able to pull things out of me that I wouldn’t have otherwise shared.


      • That reminds me of what my mom told me of when my brother was born. He would stop breathing but by the time my mom got to the hospital, he had always started again and appeared to be fine. My mom was a nurse and they still didn’t believe her UNTIL he stopped and DIDN’T start back one time and the doctor raced to get him breathing again….
        I didn’t remember exactly all the details of what happened but my mom said he would respond to noises before that one incident and afterwards, nothing….and then they found out he was deaf for sure when he was a couple of years old. She really thinks it was due to him having stopped breathing for so long and so much before something was done.


        • That’s crazy! A lot of doctors dismiss parents as being irrational about things because of their emotions. I wish more would actually listen!

  5. I can relate to the “When I am in a happy, grateful, always-look-on-the-bright-side mood, it is difficult for me to explain the me I am when I’m in a crazy, life-is-spiraling-out-of-control, my-head-is-screaming mood.” Just like you, writing has always helped me to deal with that. And I think that printing out these posts and taking them to your doctor, is a really good idea. Hopefully, it will help him to help you. Big hugs, Dayle!


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