I thought I would write a follow-up to my last post after meeting with Dr. G. He agreed with me about the diagnosis of social anxiety disorder and we discussed how we’ve been working on my recovery all along. The key has been, and continues to be, developing my confidence to a level where I can go out into the world without the fears (or have lesser ones), of being judged or ridiculed. It will be a relief to not have the feelings of “Oh my god, what did I do? I look like an idiot.” “What did I say? No one will ever want to be around me!” It would mean being free! Having a life! Yay!
He pointed out many of the accomplishments I’ve made in the last year:
- I’m now volunteering and interacting with staff and patients at the hospital where I go twice a week;
- travelling on public transit;
- cooking and baking.
- I’m dealing with my lawyer, my ex, the bureaucracy that is social services and all with much less stress than I had before.
- I’m finally getting bored with being at home.
- I’m walking outside more, although still mostly within my comfort zones.
Most of these changes happened in the last 6 months.
Dr. G also talked about my blogging and how amazing it is that I feel very little discomfort writing about my private life for the public to read. I told him that these were faceless people except for a very few who do know me quite well and I already trust them not to think badly of me for what I reveal. They can ask me questions and I’m quite comfortable answering. He said it’s one of the best therapies for me. I think he’s right.
My interactions with my kids still have to change though. I noticed I was isolating myself from my daughter’s feelings and her life again. She’s still getting over the breakup with her boyfriend and some days are just still so hard for her. She was hiding and I was retreating somewhere too, not knowing what to do and not knowing that this was what was happening, until the other night when it hit me hard in the gut (especially #1):
- How would I feel if she did something to hurt herself or worse? I know I would easily blame myself and believe I would have every right to do so. Dr. G disagrees about that as he believes that’s the social anxiety talking. After 5 years of knowing me, he said, he knows I have a tendency to blame myself for all that goes wrong. But I am her mom.
- She needs me to be her mother, not her friend. A mother who can provide good advice, not be pushy and make sure she has unconditional love always as long as I live. That’s easy.
- I’m not to put all the pressure on myself to be perfect as a parent. I can always improve though and will make sure I do. Trying to be 2 parents at once for her isn’t easy.
My son has talked to me a few times now about how worried he is about me, my bipolar and my future. I’ve tried to explain to him about how I’m taking baby steps to get back to a life that will be more fulfilling, less stressful and, hopefully, one I can be proud of. It will take time for him to understand and he’s young, rather set in his ways and doesn’t really “believe” in depression or in bipolar treatments. I know its hard for him to understand that his mom is sick and has to use therapeutic medications probably for the rest of her life. He might finally realize that it’s not all about taking the drugs and “masking the symptoms”, I’m also getting extraordinary therapy from my doctor. I assured him Dr. G keeps track of my kidney and liver functions. This seemed to calm him down the last time he expressed his concern.
This has been a busy week for me with something to do almost everyday. I’m actually sleepy at 7 pm! I have to stay awake, though, as Carly has gone out with friends and I have to wait up for her.
Like a good mom.