Today, I had a VA appointment. Given that I had just been referred for it on Monday and they called the same day to set it up had me feeling a little encouraged and a little bit more in control of my life. So I went in to see my new doctor, and spent most of the appointment in tears and having trouble expressing myself.
When I appeared on Ris’s podcast, Inciting Incident, I had mentioned that I have a tendency to worry myself sick. It doesn’t happen as often as it once did, but it still happens. Two nights before my wedding, I was up all night sick because I was so worried that my father would ruin my wedding since I was marrying outside the Mormon faith.
When I heard about Recovering From Religion and how they have ways to talk to secular counselors, I was drawn to the idea. They would know how to handle moving away from the Church influence and would understand the incredible pressures that I feel to be under because of my upbringing. When I appeared on the Odd Atheist Friends Podcast, I said that I felt I needed counseling. It was only half in jest, as I have felt that way for a while, and as I’ve been having more and more problems that I felt to be tied to the stresses I felt, I finally contacted my doctor at the VA and the appointments were made.
I’ve never seen a psychiatrist before, so I didn’t know at all what I should expect. I went in, and the first thing (after figuring out where in the hospital I was supposed to go) was to fill out a couple short questionnaires with the scale of reactions to each question (ie: how much do you worry about x? 0-not at all, 1-some, 2-a lot, 3-all the time). When my doctor added the answers and by the end of our little chatting session, she determined that I have severe anxiety and moderate depression.
I know that I’ve had depression before, but I never talked to anyone about it and just kind of waited for it to go away on its own, which it sort of did. My newly manifesting anxiety isn’t something I know how to deal with (though waiting for depression to go away isn’t exactly dealing with it properly either). We talked about my hobbies, the move here, my husband’s heart attack, and my friends.
Nothing like that to tell you that your closest friend just moved five states away and you don’t know how to go out (out! scary word!) to make any to begin with. One thing did stand out to her though: the majority of my anxiety started building when I earnestly started doubting the church, starting blogging about it, and knew that I would be leaving it.
And unlike so many people that just tell me, “You’re a big girl, you can live your life as you want. You don’t need your parents’ permission for that,” she understood. So we started by getting me an app that has tools to guide me through different calming exercises that should help to unwind the ball of nerves that I’ve become.
Feels like more than enough evidence to me that the Church and their indoctrination from birth are poisonous and destructive. And I can’t be more relieved to be out and on the path to recovery.