Denial Revisited

Last week I wrote a blog about a communication problem that i was having with my therapist. Remember? I always thought that I was an artist but I hadn't done a painting in months. I had been suffering from depression. Literally crawling around on my hands and knees and sniveling every morning. Apathy was sucking me under. I was a mess. So I started seeing a psychologist. I found out that depression is a common reaction to to Parkinsons Disease. That made sense. Parkinsons lands a blow to egos. Who wouldn't be depressed?

Things went fine but during one of my visits she told me that I should go see a psychiatrist in order to get a prescription for an antidepressant. Yikes. I didn't like the idea of taking another med to treat my depression. I'd tried three antidepressants already and they all gave me insomnia, left me constipated and made me even more depressed. If all I wanted was to pop some pills I could have seen someone else. I wondered why I was seeing her. I decided to make that the topic of my next appointment but she cancelled the next appointment. It was an emergency. Last week she said that i was angry at her for cancelling the appointment. I told her that I wasn't angry with her. She said that I was in denial. But she was wrong. It was awkward. I had left her office feeling confused.

A week went by. I had a noon appointment. It was raining. I had a sneezing and coughing and itchy eye cold. It would have been easy to just cancel. No. I had to go to the appointment. I had to resolve this situation. I decided to ride my bicycle to her office. My chest felt a little tight. Maybe it was stress.

Across the street from her office there is a school . Out by the street there's a row of bike racks. I locked my bike to one of the racks and walked over to the office. When I got there I blew my nose about ten times found a chair in the waiting room and waited.

When she came out to get me she asked me how I was. I told her that I had a bad cold. I sat down on her couch. She put a box of tissue in front of me. There was no point in stalling. "This is going to be my last session"

She looks at me and blinks. "Every other week you bring that up".

I blew my nose and dropped the tissue into the waste basket "Every week I wonder why I am here".

She says."You want to get well but you don't want to take a pill. You want to find a natural cure but in order to do that you have to resolve the specific issue that caused the depression".

Here's what I knew: "I have Parkinsons. Having Parkinsons makes me depressed".

She seemed upset. I asked her "Are you o.k.?"

"This isn't about me it's about you"

I said "I had painters block and you got me painting pictures again. You did that. But you can't cure Parkinsons Disease".

I closed my eyes. I needed to think.

Something had happened to our relationship. I suppose that I could have mentioned that I wasn't angry over the cancelled appointment again. There would be no way to prove that I wasn't angry. It was sort of silly. In my heart I knew that my sessions weren't working out. We were debating not healing. It wouldn't work.

She said "Have you made up your mind about whether you are going to stop coming back?"

"Yes. I'm leaving"

She got up and walked to the door. Opened it and stood off to the side. I did start painting again. She did that. I reached out to shake her hand. She withdrew her hands and put them at her side.

"What? No handshake?"

Silence.

I walked out to the waiting room and put my shoes on. Then my gloves. I looked down the hallway. She was sitting at her desk.

"Susan"

Silence.

"Happy New Year."

It had stopped raining. I went over to the bike rack and took off the lock. The window of one of the class rooms was open. I could hear children talking and laughing. I thought about all of those beautiful children who died in Newtown Connecticut. It was sad.

I needed a break from all of this.

9 Replies

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  • Hi Joealt, I'm sure your not the first nor the last, to be given the choice of antidepressants, I wasn't clued in when I stupidly nodded like the toy dog in the back of a car, but what a waste of money, I never went through a more depressing, brainless, cold, dark, I could ramble on for hours how bad the antidepressants left me, I slept and slept, but I felt lifeless, months crawled by, I don't think I had a natural thought the whole time, but common sense or luck kicked in, I fought to get of them, and won, but even with this experience in my Pd cv, every neurologist I have seen since has tried to give me some kind of antidepressant. Why?

  • Anti depressants I dont think are the answer

    I also do think that only you prersonally can get rid of that depression demon

    Ok, so it will keep coming back as little demons always do, but if you are in control you can cast it aside and get on doing useful things in your life, like art..

    If you have painters block get a big lump of charcoal and a big sheet of paper and just scribble away surprising what comes out.

    I wish you good luck

  • I am certain that you will find the following book very interesting and may even send you down the road to feeling normal and invigorated once more. It is very easy to read and uses no jargon.

    "How to lift depression [...fast] - The Human Givens Approach" by Joe Griffin and Ivan Tyrrell - ISBN 1899398414

    Available via Amazon or you can go direct to the Human Givens publications website which is - humangivens.com/

    They have other websites apart from the publications one

    In the world of psychotherapy their ideas are not yet widespread. Now, I am a trained counsellor and in all my training which introduced many ideas, e.g. Congitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), Transactional Analisys (TA), Bowlby's Attachment Theory, psychodynamic counselling etc. etc. I can tell you that the Human Givens Approach to psycotheraby is the one that makes most sense, is most intuitively correct. It could all be nonsense and of course the people who came up with these new psychotherapeutic principles have a vested interest in your subscribing to their courses or publications etc. But then don't they all.

    Griffin and Tyrrell have quite a good entry in wikipedia. The wikipedia link is - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human...

    Their approach does not use medication but on the other hand if you are already taking antidepressant medication then keep taking those tablets until your Dr. guides you through the correct way to stop taking them.

    Useless piece of information for today -> A Greek guy (Epictetus AD 55 to 135) said something like"A man is not so much disturbed by events as by his view of those events"

    Two things, especially if you are in the depths of depression:-

    1. Don't have too much sleep. Set an alarm and get up immediately

    2. At bed time always plan some activity or job to do the next day. The activity should at first be something very small, e.g. vacuuming the lounge or cleaning the basin in the bathroom.

    |It doesn't matter if you fail to do the planned activity BUT if you do complete that planned thing then you are liable to feel so much better

    If these 2 things are done and if you are quite depressed then that is more than enough when in all probability your head feels too heavy to lift off the pillow. But if they are done then that will help ease your depressed state just a little. It will be a start.

  • Hi Joealt,

    It's painful to read about what you are going through. Depression runs in our family, and I'm lucky that my Parkinson's has not included depression - yet. My daughter had gotten herself a little sweet dog but found that her new job demanded long hours at work. Reluctantly she gave Lilo to my husband and I, not only for the good of Lilo, but also realizing that a dog would be really great for me and my husband both. She was so right. Lilo wakes us up everyday around 6:00. Sometimes, we're up before her. My husband takes her out first. Then, after breakfast, I take her out. Her needs are met first and it helps me as I take her out. It makes me forget about my own problem for a while, as the walk going up and down small hills benefits me in return. I am physically and mentally stronger now. Maybe, it might be a consideration for you. I stay away from prescription meds also. Sounds like your psychiatrist had a depression issue herself - certainly didn't consider her patient's needs.

  • The other respondents make sense. Glad you're painting again. I'm sorry, but your therapist sounds like a nut to me. I'm not depressed but I'm seeing a social worker for family issues. Have a good holiday.

  • I agree with all of the above. You were not seeing a therapist regardless of her credentials. I am curious about your response to carbidopa-levodopa. It seems to be the best mood elevator for me... I definitely feel mentally off when I'm due for the next dose. Like right now.

  • First of all, thanks for sharing your story. I always find your posts cogent, fluent, and illuminating.

    Second, it looks to me (and to everybody who wrote here) that you made a good choice ending your relationship with that therapist. She's weird. Riding your bike in the rain when you are sick already, now that choice is debatable.

    3) I think the neuros say that depression is often a symptom of Porkinson's (sic) for reasons relating to brain chemistry, beyond any emotional reaction to all the many objectionable consequences of our ridiculous condition. So talk therapists, even good ones (I had one) can only do so much.

    4) My depression lifted whe I started Sinemet at the time of my dx two years ago. The dep started creeping back in a few oths ago when I started getting diskenesis and I was reacting emotionally to my degenrative condition degenerating. My neuro keeps proposing anti-deps but like you, I've been there and don't want to go back.

    So this is what I did:

    • increased my exercise regimen by about 40%, but allowing myself rest days as needed

    • managed to be generous to others in ways big and small (small, mostly, but it all helps)

    • using this blue light generator called a goLITE by Phillips that is supposed to make me feel better (a holistically minded psychatrist prescibed it)

    • when feeling useless, worthless, weak, etc, I remind myself of the many very smart people who have shown they appreciate and even love me just as I am.

    • finally, and I know it is trite, I consider all the good things going on (house paid for, decent pension, health insurance, family healthy and happy, god friends and my own artistic outlet).

    BTW the "attitude of gratitude" works much better for me than reflecting on all those who have it worse (PD and cancer, loss of partner, unemployment and poverty, chronic pain, etc.) That gets me more depressed plus it somehow adds guilty feelings to the derpession. (How dare I feel sorry for myself when person A not only has advanced PD, she also was trampled by elephants when she went to the circus.)

    • finally, I allow for a little depression. Friday night I had some very disappointing and even humiliating encounters with certain people, and then Sat. morinng I had a dental problem that just floored me. I took a spare vicodin that was lying around and just stayed in bed, wallowing in the misery and listening to the radio.

    Today nothing objectively has changed but i got up and faced the day, cold and rainy as it may be.

    There, that's my bit. I feel better talking to you!

  • It wasn't raining that hard.

  • I have several comments.

    First, You are a terrific writer. I hope you are keeping all your stories. You could write a memoir and get it published. People would be interested in your stories.

    Second, not every therapist is the same, and that is a big understatement. I hope you keep trying and find a better fit. I also would have quit the one you saw. Nobody has the right to tell you, or assume, how you feel! It's outrageous that she did that.

    Third, depression is tough whether it's from PD or another illness, or has no apparent cause. I am depressed on and off especially since my PD diagnosis, but also throughout my life for various reasons. I have a family history of depression. My mother has been on meds for years. They help her, but I don't want to take any more meds. I don't even want to take my PD meds--but I do so I can function.

    Fourth, the best thing I've found for both PD and depression is regular exercise. It makes a huge difference. I used to take classes at the gym, but now I've got an exercise bike at home so I can get on it any time. And I use free weights and do mat work. And can follow exercise videos. I don't bike or run outside because I'm afraid of falling-- I'm unsteady.

    Last, we have a lot in common. I started doing art as a hobby-- first pastels, then oils, now digital. And I'm writing a memoir. Like your post, I'm using dialog and scenes. I'm studying up on creative nonfiction. I find it therapeutic.

    Hope this is helpful and looking forward to your next post.

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