I would do just about anything to avoid calling my doctor. It doesn’t matter if I’m calling a physician or OBGYN, I absolutely hate having to deal with a receptionist who puts me through to a nurse who is never available and then I have to listen to the eight hundred myriad of options on the phone prompt just to leave a voicemail for a stranger that says something like, “Hi, it’s me again. I have another yeast infection. I am dying. Send help. And wine.” Because I am the utmost professional.
It may speak to some of the issues with health care in our country that I have to call repeatedly to get medical help for simple issues like prescription refills.
It may speak to my agoraphobia that I just don’t want to be weighed and touched by nurses and have my blood pressure taken and discuss my dads’ high blood pressure and the embarrassing number of drinks I have in a week, and be looked at by the waiting room weirdos for something that can be taken care of long distance.
Every time I go to the doctor I leave feeling fat and bothered and I am almost always asked to pee into a cup for a test that I will never get the results from.
I bit the bullet though, when I was nearing a mental breakdown. Staying home with kids is hard work, not the hardest work, because honestly, building bridges or spaceships is probably so hard that it makes me look like a wuss. The staying at home parent gig is hard because of the mental isolation. My oldest companion is five and whiny. My youngest companion is a baby who falls down a lot. There’s even a two year old at home with me who hits the baby and says “MAMA UP” a lot.
Nearing a breakdown? Par for the course.
But I am a respectable enough human to know when my insanity is normal and when my insanity is dangerous. I’ve put off the warning signs for a quite a while, but I was hitting my mental panic button and called the doctor like a responsible lady should.
“Hello, my name is Cindy, how can I help you?”
“I am calling to make an appointment.”
“Are you a patient here?”
“What is the visit for?”
“…Uhhh…errr…eczema.” Yeah genius, way to think on the fly. Now nobody will know how crazy you are and you’ll just walk into the office and bombard your doctor with questions about your mental health. Totally fine. I’m sure passive aggressive agoraphobics do this on the regular.
And there I sat, on white paper having just been weighed in a fully-clothed high-heeled nightmare.
“My shoes alone added ten pounds” I said to the nurse.
“I’ll make a note.” She replied through a halfhearted attempt at a smile.
“I got excited to leave the house and dressed fancy.”
“Blood pressure’s good, the doctor will be in shortly.” And just like that, the only compatriot I had in this sterile, whitewashed, and florescent patient mill is gone. I suddenly suspect my blood pressure is higher.
I sit and crinkle on the table and nervously wonder how I am going to segue from eczema into my anxiety without getting kicked out for being a liar pants.
Naturally, the doctor went on about eczema and wanted to know at the very end of our appointment if I had any other questions. At which point I blurted out, “I think I need therapy. Can you refer me to therapy? I have a problem. I can’t stop talking. I can’t clean my house. I can’t remember anything. I can never pull myself together and I’m always in a haze or a fog. I drink six cups of coffee a day to just feel normal.”
And then the doctor sat down, slowly opened up his laptop and said, “I am going to ask you some questions. I think I know what is going on here.”
I answered each question like a complete rambling idiot, and dotted all of my I’s with tears.
The doctor confirmed that I had easily diagnosable ADD.
Oh good, easy peasy.
Why was I not flooded with relief?
He had me fill out forms and pee in a cup and said they’d call me in a month with a prescription because it’s a controlled substance and I’m breastfeeding and blah blah blah the words he spoke muddled together in my addled mind and all I could think about was crying and screaming and breaking things.
I felt the opposite of comforted.
So I called my husband and fell apart in the parking lot because I know now why I can’t function and where my anxiety stems from but I feel hopeless and bereft and cluttered. I feel cluttered everywhere. From my overwhelming sadness and my constant stream of jumbled thoughts, and my messes and the receipts piled up in my minivan and the random baby sock in the cup holder. I am filled with sudden fury and I want to throw everything away. I allow myself the fantasy of a tantrum. I imagine the satisfaction of tossing socks and receipts and random charger cords out the window as I drive towards home. I want to run into my house and just throw everything on my counters into a garbage bag.
The Home magazines full of luxuries I can’t afford and loose change and markers without caps. The earing missing it’s other half, the last tea bag out of the box that has no other home. The spool of ribbon I used last year that is sitting in the corner, behind the paper towels because, what do you do with a little spool of ribbon? The only things I know how to do are make piles of everything or throw everything away. There has never been an in-between stage of organization.
I want to declutter and live a life that is free of the mess that I feel contained to. But it’s a mess that I can’t escape because it runs through my brain and it follows me like a haunting. When the kids are out of control, I am powerless. I shrink underneath the shroud of what ADD can do. I lose focus, and I lose the ability to process in simple steps, what is taking place and how to address it.
I park outside of the post office only to drive away without ever mailing my package, because I am again, blocked by the fog and the failure to process procedures. I become overwhelmed and driving away becomes easier.
I have forgotten three birthday parties this year and gave up trying to schedule them, because every time that I RSVP “Yes” I don’t remember that I’ve missed the party until everyone is talking about it on Monday and I am filled with instantaneous regret, and I resent myself for not being able to be more stable for my kids.
Here I am, with the diagnosis and no access to the cure. And it feels, useless.