I will take you with me on a first visit to a psychiatrist with Dr. David Koczerginski, Chief of Psychiatry at William Osler Health System. Some people are afraid of the questions that might be asked. We’ll remove that fear together.
There are some people who enter the system through the emergency room of a hospital in the middle of a mental health crisis. We’ll go together into the emergency room with Ajimol Mohan, transitional care worker at Headwaters Health Care Centre in Orangeville Ontario.
In 1999 I was diagnosed with chronic recurrent depression. Looking back in my life, I can see that depression had been my constant companion. I remember when I was 13 years old, I developed a horrible case of hives; huge red itchy welts all over my body. They were a reaction to anxiety over my exams. I was in grade 8! After that, I remember anxiety playing a huge role in my life. It dictated my life. I was always afraid to try something new, step outside my comfort zone, for fear of failure or fear of the unknown. Fear triggered anxiety and anxiety is my trigger for depression.
But, I didn’t know any of this until I was diagnosed with chronic recurrent depression.. There is a big difference between being depressed and depression. To be depressed is to experience a deep sadness that usually has an underlying cause, like death of a person or a life- dream. Sometimes grief can become unmanageable and falls into depression, but often a depression that is based on an event can be taken care of quite quickly with psychotherapy and perhaps medication. Chronic depression is different. It is heavy. It is mind-numbing. It is exhausting. It feels like Atlas looks, carrying the troubles of the world on your shoulders. Mine stalks me stealthily, like a creature of the night, waiting patiently for the right moment to seep inside me, without warning, then enveloping me in darkness that gets progressively heavier. I lose all feeling. Don’t care. No highs, no lows, just indifference.