Thursday, March 31, 2011


I mentioned several weeks ago that while visiting my nurse practitioner for a physical, she noted that my chronic insomnia, recent trending to chronic low moods, and chronic tendency to eat entire boxes of cereal when not hungry (among other qualities) made me a candidate for referral to Mass General's Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine.

BHI programs aim to "reduce the impact of stress through a variety of research driven skill-buildling exercises to improve medical symptoms, mood and well-being" and whose 6 core components include "relaxation response, social support, physical activity, nutrition, recuperative sleep and cognitive restructuring to increase positive emotions and behaviors."

In simpler terms:  therapy.

Wanting to shift away from each and every one of these negative chronic tendencies, yesterday I had my initial consultation with an internal medicine specialist at BHI. The poor doctor. She asked questions from time to time, but I talked and talked and talked and talked and talked. I talked so much that upon leaving the office I saw the doctor greet her next patient by apologizing for being a half-hour late ..... because I kept her, by talking and talking and talking, and she was too kind to say so.

Obviously I needed to talk. (Date Meltdown Man's observation had a point, maybe?)

Obviously the doctor recognized that. After our talk, she consulted with her supervising colleague down the hall, and the 2 women returned for a follow-up. The first question the supervising colleague asked:
"Do you have someone you can talk to when you need to?"
I was able to say that I generally do, that I have friends and family who listen, although as our lives get busier and more child-dominated and we all get older, it becomes more of a challenge to track each other down. I didn't tell her about the blog, which could be construed as another form of "talking to someone." It occurred to me later that I often substitute talking with blogging .... that I don't have conversations with my friends in the same way because I assume they already know everything about what's good and bad in my life.

The upshot? The doctor thinks, based just on our preliminary talk, I have symptoms synonymous with depression. She thusly handed me another referral: to a personal counselor, and to a weekly "mind body" discussion group at Mass General.

Obviously I think I need to talk more, because both ideas sound peachy. In fact, just hearing someone else tell me "you sound depressed" took a load off the feelings of depression. I'm scheduling both ideas into my schedule. And thank God for health insurance.

Last night I was out for beer and salad with Balint -- talking, go figure -- and almost immediately I told him about the therapy. Balint is one of my best friends, and his response to this revelation was quizzical .... as in, really? You're depressed? You've been depressed since November? As in either he's been too preoccupied to notice, or I've been too closed-mouthed to admit how I was feeling, or we were both abashed because both oversights are probably true.

It's always a good thing to talk, folks.

Day 31 of 31: 2 miles
March Total: 50.93
2011 Total: 153.99

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My dear K (a little too much?):

Always a pleasure reading your blogs. Your prose, no matter the subject matter, is always such a pleasure to read. I'm sure it is not easy for you to always divulge your inner secrets (and demons!), but you do it so well and in such an open manner. Know that it is appreciated.

Good luck with everything going on in your life and if you ever need another set of ears, just let me know!

Get some sleep. . .

Until next time.