I was told today by a therapist that I was going to have panic attacks for the rest of my life. I could take all the medication I wanted, do all the tricks, but I was going to have panic attacks for the rest of my life.
Needless to say, I pretty much blanked out any other “helpful” advice she had to give for me.
Why? Because now I was freaking out about how I was going to be able to have a job, have a successful marriage, have children, have grandchildren, how the fuck I was going to remain happy in my life with the fact that someone with a “Dr.” before their name told me that I was going to be suffering with panic attacks for the rest of my life.
I burst into tears as soon as she told me where the bathroom was. To tell a patient that they’re not going to get better, EVER, is basically the last thing they want to hear when all they want to do in life is get better and to be rid of the things in life that ails them. It doesn’t matter if you have depression or a physical illness. No patient wants to be told that all of their efforts are futile.
Now, I’m exaggerating because I’m clearly upset. She didn’t say that no matter what I do wouldn’t help. She said despite all of the medication I will take, my panic attacks will get immune to them and come back regardless and that I’m constantly going to have to think of new tricks to combat them. For the rest of my life.
Maybe she was trying to be frank. Maybe she was trying to be honest. I guess she was trying to help in some way. Either way, it wrecked me. The worst part? I believed her.
I don’t think some doctors truly understand how much power their words can have on their patients. We come to them for help and we take their words and their advice very, very seriously because they went to school for this for numbers of years, so they must know what they’re doing. So when a person with the word “Dr.” before their name tells me that I’m going to have panic attacks for the rest of my life, of course I’m fucking going to believe her.
Despite this, I talked to two very intelligent people while I was still having my winged eyeliner running down my cheeks: my flatmate and my mom. My flatmate has gone through many similar experiences as I have and more and has been super helpful in guidance and just helping me know that I’m not alone. She was shocked that a professional told me that and shared her experiences with other doctors who had told her unhelpful and even harmful advice as well.
My mom set my record straight. She looked at me and said, “Thats ridiculous. Of course you’re not going to have panic attacks like this for the rest of your life. Anxiety? Most likely. Panic attacks? I’m doubtful.” We had a very long chat about how these kinds of things tend to move in waves and that this may change, but no matter what, I was still going to be successful and would always have her support. She reminded me of the other two doctors I’ve had (and still have in Portland) who have helped me achieve great strides in my mental health who are convinced and have told me multiple times that I will get better. I have had so many people tell me that panic attacks are mostly temporary. Why did I believe this one stupid woman then?
To be honest, I’m in a vulnerable state right now and I went to a therapist grasping for help and gasping for a breath of professional “YOU GOT THIS GIRL HERES SOME SHIT THAT WILL HELP YOU IN THIS STRESSFUL TIME LETS GO KICK SOME MENTAL ILLNESS ASS WOO!!” and I got the exact opposite. I got what no one has ever told me before. That I will. not. get. better.
But fuck that.
No honestly fuck that. I sat in class for 3 hours thinking about how I’ve been battling with my mental illness for years and how that has made me a stronger person. I thought about where I was with in my panic attacks 2 years ago and how much progress I’ve mad in combatting them, learning from them, and helping myself. And you know what? I have gotten better. I have bad days, horrific days, and some days I think this will be the day that I hurl myself in front of those subway tracks. Today was one of those days I’m not going to lie to you. But you know what? I’m really fucking glad I didn’t. I have worked so hard and I’m not going to let it go to waste on some metal. I have made progress and I am going to continue to make progress.
You know what? I’m not just going to keep making progress. I am going to grab my life by its testicles and say, “LISTEN HERE MOTHERFUCKER. WE ONLY GET ONE CHANCE AT THIS LIFE AND IF ITS FULL OF PANIC ATTACKS, DEPRESSION, AND ANXIETY, SO FUCKING BE IT BUT WE’RE GONNA LIVE IT AND ITS GOING TO BE REALLY RAD BECAUSE ITS ALSO GONNA BE FILLED WITH LOVE, AWESOME EXPERIENCES, AND MAYBE A COUPLE OF KITTENS AND PUPPIES.” And my life is all gonna be like “DID YOU REALLY NEED TO GRAB MY TESTICLES FOR THAT JESUS CHRIST ALRIGHT!”
So when a therapist, a parent, a person, anyone says you ain’t getting better,
PROVE. THEM. WRONG.
cuz thats what I’m gonna do. 🙂
Have a day filled with kittens, Okay?
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