Chemist homework – done …..

{I just gave myself a gold star, because actually I deserve it}

I really do not want to confess that I have spent at least 3 therapy sessions discussing why I cannot go to the pharmacist to explain that he made an error filling my script and I had experienced a bit of a downhill slide.

{understatement on the bit}

My CBT doctor gave me a home work assignment last time and encouraged me to go to the pharmacist and explain he made an error.

We spoke for ages about why it was so difficult for me {I feel at fault, even though it was not my fault, I still do.}

We spoke about what was the worst that could happen if I spoke to the pharmacist. {I would feel embarrassed that I had done something wrong.  I would feel bad that I was making him feel bad.  I was scared he would make it appear that it was my fault … you know because everything always is}

We spoke about the ability to see a situation for what it is.  Facing your fears and appreciating that your perception of something is not always what actually happens/happened/is going to happen – your video feed of a situation is really laced with your own {warped} self-doubt.

Yesterday I went to the pharmacist because I had Dr CBT today.

The idea was to talk to him, and then say “It’s done, I confronted him, look how I roll – word to my hommies!”  {or something of that ilk}

I bought wet wipes and vitamins the size of suppositories I will never use.  I don’t buy vitamins. I do not buy wet wipes that cost R45.00

I did not speak the pharmacist, because I felt too embarrassed to.  I bought my bizarre assortement of items, and left the store.

I had an appointment with Dr CBT today and we discussed the pharmacist, and several other issues.  I did feel a bit embarrassed/annoyed that we were rehashing the pharmacist thing.

The vision I conjure up, the perception that it is all going to go so very badly.  My coping mechanisms that I employ to deal with situations where I think I am going to be uncomfortable, then the anxiety and stress those coping mechanisms create. {repeat cycle ad nauseam}

The issue is not whether I actually confront the pharmacist, the issue is why I won’t and how it is an illustration of what I do in my day-to-day life.  Over and over again.

I avoid situations – at all costs – as I am scared of feeling bad. I am terrified of embarrassing myself, drawing attention to myself.

I am scared of how the other person will react.  I am anxious to avoid the uncomfortable feelings that I imagine will occur.

The result is often that by the time I arrive at a place/space/situation – I am so stressed and anxious about feeling stressed and anxious and worrying I am going to say or do something that will embarrass or draw attention to me.  It is often a bit crippling.

My “coping mechanism” is to do something, or say something, that I know is inappropriate or not “socially acceptable.”  Then I can say to myself “there, done it, now you are embarrassed, people think you are an arse, now get on with your day already!!”

Works.  Not well.  But works. {basically the theory of “Out yourself before someone else does.”}

I did not say it was a healthy coping mechanism, I just indicated it was one I employed.

Anyone after Dr CBT appointment I was feeling quite wired, and wanted to just get this pharmacist confrontation over and done with.

I went in and waited at the counter.  When the pharmacist approached me, I explained I would like to talk to him for a few minutes.

{sweating bullets, thinking everyone is looking at me, feeling embarrassed and highly anxious – and overcoming an overriding need/urge to run screaming out of the pharmacy}

He said, of course.  Finished what he was doing and he led me into a separate little office.

I explained that I had been given the incorrect script in November and it had been repeated over three months, with the result that November, December and January were a bit more shaky than they needed to be.  He has swapped out the medication I was prescribed for a generic and then got the grammage wrong, so I was on the wrong stuff, and too low a level.

He apologised profusely, and then I had a bit of a cry.  And then he gave me a bit of a hug.  Strange pharmacist giving me a bit of a cuddle in the private pharmacy room – nope nothing strange going on here, move along, move along!

I explained to Pharmacist that I was getting better as the medication had been adjusted.  Mr Therapist writes out script, Pharmacist fills it, I put it in my mouth with a sip of water.  That is pretty much how it goes, I do not check and am {wasn’t – am now} not aware of what I am on or the grammage.

When the script had been filled, I had queried it twice, but I was made to feel {or I made myself feel} that I was being silly and should just take the pills, so I did.

He was so great about it – and said that if I wanted to scream at him, it was fine, I should.

He was really kind, really sorry, really apologetic, and really understood how I felt – probably helped he was holding my latest script, and based on the cocktail of drugs on the list he was quickly able to assess that “stability” was not my middle name. It is Lucille actually.

Nothing in this situation was horrible or bad.  Not ONE of the bad/world is ending outcomes that I had imagined and been ruminating over for the last few weeks had occurred.

I don’t feel all sorts of wonderful, but I feel good {well a bit good} and have a real sense of achievement — I realise it is a bit silly and is difficult to explain to someone else.  Who is sane.

I decided to buy myself a cow-patch straw basket that was for sale at the Chemist, it was my reward for being brave!

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The Mindful Way through Depression …..

I am not big on reading self-help books on depression or anxiety.  Partly because I think most of them are shite, and secondly because my filter system between other people’s issues and mine gets a bit hazy, and too much seeps over to my corner of the garden.

If I had to immerse myself in a book about someone and their issues, it would only be a matter of time before I started exhibiting the same issues.

I am funny like that.

That being said, on Saturday I stopped at The Book Lounge in Roeland Street, primarily to get a gift for the lovely Julie Hall, but whilst there I decided to spend my children’s inheritance on books.  For me.

This book titled: “The Mindful Way through Depression – Freeing yourself from Chronic Unhappiness” by Mark Williams, John Teasdale, Zindel, and Jon Kabat-Zimm jumped off the shelf at me.

I have no idea why, the cover looks like something from a really bad Jodi Picoult novel, and it is titled SELF HELP/PSYCHOLOGY – which would normally have me running for the hills – or at the very least rolling my eyes in sarcasm and prejudgement.

I picked the book up, parked my rather large rump on the leather couch and read a few pages.  I did it with a slightly raised eyebrow as I was expecting the usual “decide to be happy and you will be” bullshit.

I am pessimistic that way, go figure.

The part where I knew I was hooked was the example mentioned on page 20

You are walking down a familiar street … You see someone you know on the other side of the street … You smile and wave.  The person makes no response … just doesn’t seem to notice you … walks right past without any sign of recognizing your existence.

Question:

How does this make you feel?

What thoughts or images go through your head?

The example illustrates the ABC model of emotions.  The A is the facts of the situation.  B is the interpretation we give to the situation, while C is our reaction.

Logically one can work through this exercise and come up with the possibility that the person on the other side of the road was listening to his iphone and you could not see the earphones, and he did not see you.  Or maybe he was really distracted as he was thinking about a fight with his wife earlier in that day, and did not hear me, or notice me.

That is logic.  All of those are possibilities.

Me = immediate hot flush to my face, shoulders and chest and I start to feel this gnawing feeling that the person did not “not see me” he did.  But he ignored me because I had slighted him or I had upset him, or I done something to offend him.  But I had done something to upset/annoy/alienate him, and now he was angry at me.  Why do I do this to people?  What the hell is wrong with me?

{you can see I get totally lost in the interpretation of a situation, and tend to see the bubonic plague and the big bad wolf in everything}

Today is Monday night, and I still feel bad that the guy on the other side of the street did not acknowledge me.

Please let me bring you back to the fact that this did not happen to me, it was merely an example in an introduction of a book.  But since Saturday I have been running through the ways I could have offended this person.  This imaginary person.  On a street I have never walked on.  A greeting I never made, because it is fiction.

Crikey moses!!  Does this give you some idea of how warped General Anxiety Disorder is and how really ‘out to lunch’ my thought process is?

I am going to sit here and sip my wine, and wonder whether my script can be filled yet, and whilst I wait think a bit more about the “guy on the other side of the street and what I have done to hurt his feelings…”