Friday, May 29, 2015

Stream of Consciousness, Mental Health Edition

Totally loving this summer weather. I have probably spent 80% of the past week outside (and I've got a couple pinkish shoulders to prove it). I found a new spot: a private little courtyard on campus with a couple tables and benches - perfect for reading in the sun. I swear, both reading (a.k.a. getting myself OFF the internet) and sunshine are just about the best natural mood enhancers around. I am currently chugging my way through this bad boy:

check it

Pretty dense but surprisingly readable. In essence it reframes how we make decisions—conceptualizing our minds as comprising two "systems." System 1 is automatic, impulsive, and emotional. System 2 is rational, conscientious, and analytical...but lazy, easily distracted, and reluctant to intervene without serious effort. Really makes you think about, you know, thinking.

Unrelated: my period is two weeks late. No I'm not pregnant, thank you very much. But I am so bloated it sure feels like there's a kid in there. Not sure what is up with this. Can't be stress; this is probably the least stressed I've been in two years. I'm not overexercising. I haven't lost weight (I don't think). Chalk it up to the never-ending Kaylee Has Fucked Up Bodily Systems series.

I've been going through one of those "I feel pretty okay so maybe therapy is pointless" periods. For the past couple weeks, I've kinda run out of things to talk about with Dr. P, and felt like we were just basically making chit-chat for an hour. I debated canceling this week because it didn't seem like there was a whole lot to talk about. I went anyway (TRUST THE PROCESS) and about 10 minutes in, we were both struggling to come up with stuff to say. Dr. P broached the topic of possibly meeting every other week as opposed to weekly, and see how that goes. And for some reason, although it made perfect sense, my first reaction was TOTAL PANIC. Not sure if it felt like the removal of a security blanket, or just a shift in my weekly structure, when my life is very open and flexible and needs all the structure I can get...anyway, I think I'm over it and will be fine, but it was a weirdly powerful feeling. Dr. P did remind me that, after all, the point of therapy is to not need therapy anymore.

Tangentially related: interesting article in the New York Times Magazine about depression during pregnancy. We had a psychiatrist speak in one of my classes last year about this very issue; maybe 5-10 years ago there was a big brouhaha about how SSRIs are UH UH NO WAY NOT ACCEPTABLE for pregnant women due to the potential harmful effects on the fetus. Turns out they are finding that the harmful effects of depression—like, concrete physiological effects—may actually be far worse for the baby (not to mention Mom...) in many cases. And the decision to discontinue meds is not so cut-and-dried as they once thought.


Also somewhat tangentially related, because apparently this post is taking a Mental Health theme: there's this girl I knew in college who likes to post all over every form of social media about her daily life, her friends, her hobbies, etc. and tag EVERY SINGLE FUCKING THING with some combination of #mentalhealthawareness #depression #anxiety #coping #healing #survivor #innerstrength #recovery etc etc etc and I'm like, seriously!? It's so irritating to me, and I can't quite pinpoint why. It just feels disingenuous, ya know? You might think we should be kindred spirits or something, but instead she sparks such hostility in me. Like, ugh just STOP.

Well, um, this has been a random ride, no? Sunburnt shoulders, cognitive psychology, hormonal mysteries, therapeutic adjustments, unexplained hostility, and obstetric musings. Great work team. BREAK.

1 comment:

  1. Catching up on posts, late to commenting, but have you read The Noonday Demon? Andrew Solomon is an awesome writer, and that story about the effects of depression vs drugs during pregnancy is one of the updates for the newest edition of what is now sort of a mental health classic. It's definitely worth a read even if depression isn't a current or ongoing issue for you; good research combined with pretty candid personal accounts of his own experiences with depression.