Today I started my first ever “detox diet.” I always thought detox diets were for people trying to flush drugs out of their system before a drug test. Don’t psychoanalyze where I got that idea. With all of my stomach pain, someone suggested I try to cleanse my system by doing one of these detoxes to start over the probiotics in my stomach. I asked my doctor about it, he seemed cynical. He also said if this will make me more mindful of eating healthy and drinking lots of fluids for 7 days, then he supports me trying it. Today I had a hard time passing up the desserts. In fact, I feel like I’ve been hungry all day. Fruits, veggies, and occasional whole grains or protein just don’t fill me up like the fattening food I love. I’m hoping it will get easier as the week goes on, but I’m still wondering how I’m going to make it a full week without chocolate.
Tomorrow I’m going to a new therapist. My brother, who is getting his PhD in Clinical Psych, was kind enough to research the resources in my area and even called the woman to make sure she takes my insurance. Going to new therapists is always intimidating, but I’ve gotten to be a pro at it over the last few years. Since I started seeing a therapist, five or six years ago, I’ve only had one long-term therapist. Having a long-term therapist makes a huge difference. I was lucky enough to have one see me directly following my hospitalizations all the way through to graduating college. Therapy is such a long, draining, and sometimes downright upsetting process, but all the progress I made in those couple years blows my mind. My quality of life is much better because of my work in therapy, so I just have to go into my appointment tomorrow with an open mind and the desire to improve myself. It’s interesting that admitting to going to therapy is so taboo. I try to be open about it, but I sometimes forget it’s still not talked about in some places. For instance, in a group of small town folks, without thinking I said, “My therapist says…” and then I realized I’d just made everyone uncomfortable by admitting I have a therapist. I, personally, think everyone should have a therapist. What better way is there to self-reflect and develop self-awareness? You get to talk for one hour straight while someone listens attentively, provides alternative ways to view situations, and always supports you and reminds you to be nice to yourself.
My dad seemed jealous of my self-assurance the other day. I was packing a bunch of my painting supplies, and it was a lot of crap to hall back with me to the convent. I didn’t think it was a big deal, because one nun had suggested I bring my painting stuff, not to mention, I have my own room where I can store it, so I don’t know why anyone would care.
My dad said, “Are you really taking all that shit?”
“Yeah, why?” I said
“Is it your meds that gives you the confidence to do that, or therapy, or what?” he asked.
This response shocked me for several reasons. The first and foremost: I’m far from being a confident person, and did he really think self-assurance can come in a pill? My parents also ask me if I’ve taken my meds if I’m upset about something. People struggle to understand that anti-depressants aren’t really happy pills. They don’t protect you from experiencing all of the emotions that life brings. There’s a quote I like, although I can’t remember the author. It’s something along the line of, “The opposite of depression isn’t happiness. It’s human vitality.” The medication just balances out the chemicals to take care of the physical symptoms keeping you from having the energy to do things that help you feel better. I don’t think people understand that mental illness can be physically paralyzing. During my second hospitalization, I could not get out of bed, and I honestly didn’t care if I got better. I didn’t have the energy to fight anymore.
Thinking about how far I’ve come, I try not to get discouraged that I just had to get my meds increased. I’m trying to remind myself that brain chemistry changes and that going on more medication is not the same as getting worse. It’s actually me fighting and my refusal to go back to where I was. I really don’t feel bad mentally yet, but it’s interesting how our bodies can sometimes tell us things we’re not yet conscious of. Maybe this physical detox will help detox my mind.