Beyond Blue

Thanks to readers Patricia and Lanette for asking for a conclusion to my Good Friday post.

I think I’ve been reading too many fairy tales to Katherine before bed, because I’m annoyed with happy endings. That’s why I left mine off.

Three hours after the Tin Man and Dorothy arrived at the Land of Oz and met with the Wizard and his colleagues (whom Dorothy asked for a new brain), the girl with the red slippers was admitted into the inpatient psychiatric unit of Oz’s hospital. (She was visibly shaking and couldn’t stop crying throughout the consultation.) From that day on, she began to get better because she was under the right care. The Tin Man (who already had one of the biggest hearts ever made) invited her back to live with him, and the two sort of lived happily ever after, with an occasional spat here and there: about the clutter on Dorothy’s desk and about whether or not the dog groomers have moved (Dorothy couldn’t find the bloody place and is sure these pet people have changed their location, while the Tin Man claims Dorothy is more directionally challenged than she admits).

A translation:

One of the doctors who evaluated me at Johns Hopkins, Dr. Smith, saw patients once a week from her office in Annapolis. I honestly believe she was sent to me by God, because she was the first psychiatrist I truly trusted. I had been to six and none were, well, a good fit (see next post). I was beginning to think it was me (like I do on just about everything).

Dr. Smith was conservative with meds, wanting to exhaust the benefits of personal therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, exercise, light therapy, nutrition, regular sleep, and a host of other tools alongside drugs. That impressed me–because I was committed to treating my depression in a holistic way (using anything and everything that would help me).

During the first rocky weeks, when she was trying a new combination of meds, she told me to rely on my family, my friends, and my faith–that I might feel worse before I feel better–because she didn’t want to adjust the meds until we gave them at least six weeks to work. That delighted me even more, having been to a doctor who tried 14 different medications in four months (which completely messed me up).

I didn’t feel better immediately. It took several months–six or seven before I felt like I was really out of the woods. Dr. Smith and I (we are a team) tried two mood stabilizer/antidepressant combinations, and the second worked once we got the right dosage. (That was my 23rd combination in less than a year.)

I do think the healing began the moment I wept at Jesus’ feet (the 10-foot marble statue, that is, not a vision) in the lobby of the administration building at Hopkins–when I told the Son of God that I really did believe in miracles and I was in desperate need of one.

That was the beginning of the happy ending to what seemed like eternity of mental anguish. Lanette: hang in there. It WILL get better. I promise.

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