Cannot decide about anything. It’s taken weeks to figure out best possible flight itinerary for out-of-town family event. (Possible defense mechanism?) Equally overwhelmed by what to pack for school lunches and what to have for dinner. (Maybe due to fact I can’t figure out if I’m even hungry myself?) Stare at laptop and cupboards, waiting for answers to materialize. Nothing happens.
Results of waffling are more tv than usual for boys and new puppy, impending this weekend.
All because I can’t decide what I should decide and so I don’t really decide anything. (Can they watch another episode? Uhhh… well… maybe after homework…? Do we want to adopt the puppy our friend found? Uhhh… well… umm…) With my defenses down, it’s a free-for-all.
Describe recent strange and paralyzing uncertainty, waffling, indecision. All the things that are suddenly too hard to figure out—plane schedules and puppies. Therapist (mine) suggests Agitated Depression.
Whoever coined this diagnosis—mother coping with ADHD child, perhaps?—is brilliant. Never has a diagnosis—and I’ve had my share—seemed so custom-tailored and personalized. Every mother I know can lay claim to some degree of generalized anxiety (give or take the “disorder”). But Agitated Depression is practically sporting my monogram.
I elaborate: I’m shaky, churning, jumpy, and edgy. Full of perseveration and rumination. Spinning potential scenarios (most of them apocalyptic) further and further out into the unseen future—where I’m sure lawsuits and Kindergarten expulsion await. Always prepared to have banana or backpack or bike helmet thrown at me. Mad and fed up and bummed about how hard raising a family is with ADHD hanging over our heads. Hold grudge against family and friends for not having a pity party for me while, at the same time, profoundly offended if they remotely indicate they feel sorry for me.
Therapist nods. Agitated Depression. (Also highly verbal. Doesn’t help.)
But I’m just getting warmed up. I mean, does she understand how unnecessarily difficult everything in my life is? Does she get it that a two-mile car ride can ravage one’s sanity—as well as expensive electronic sideview mirror (v. difficult to avoid roadside mailboxes when turned around, grabbing jury-rigged weapons from McD while driving)? What it feels like to be braced for grab-bag behavior when the sun comes up each morning, at preschool pick-up, and until McD goes to bed? Is she appreciating what a stranglehold this places on the entire family? Does she realize I wanted to have three children? Can she imagine the guilt I feel for only enduring time spent with my little boy—whose wiring somehow got made slightly wrong? Can she tell me this is living?
Therapist interrupts. What she can tell me is this is Agitated Depression. Through and through. Suggests pulling to side of the road to disarm McD, avoiding perseveration, and (she’ll say it again) meditation.
On the way home can’t decide if I believe meditation will actually help, but do have breakthrough about waffles for dinner and possible puppy name.
Husband (Number One) asks if perhaps I misunderstood Therapist on point of meditation. Could it–maybe–have been medication, he wonders?