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Ashamed of not being okay, and ashamed of being okay

Today I went to see a counselor. I didn’t want to, but I’ve been having weird episodes, and one of my professors got concerned. She put in a referral, so I didn’t really have a choice. The counselor didn’t think I’m okay, either, and recommended a psychiatric evaluation. I really don’t want to go. It’s like I’m ashamed of not being okay, and ashamed of being okay. The thought process is that if I’m not okay, it’s somehow my fault, and I have no right to ask other people to fix my problems, and if I am okay, I’m wasting people’s time, which makes me a horrible disgusting attention whore. I’ve been stressing about this with no break for about the last three straight days, and it seems like I’ve had about a dozen full-blown anxiety attacks over that alone. That in and of itself seems like a problem. I know I’m probably not alright. But I can’t seem to stop the feeling that it’s a horrible mistake to go, and I should figure out a way to get out of it. If it’s what I should do, why does it not feel that way?

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I don’t want to assume that depression is something you struggle with, but someone wise once told me that “depression lies.” Depression and other mental illnesses lie to us; they make us think that we are unworthy of the things we need.
From what you’ve described in your post, it seems that at the very least you need help and guidance with anxiety and panic attacks. I think you should continue to see the counselor.
Perhaps confronting your fears will initially be very painful, and who really wants to experience pain? I know that in my own life, knowing that something will cause pain keeps me from doing things, even if I know that the outcome will ultimately be good and at the very least a helpful learning experience.
Maybe seeing a counselor will cause friction in relationships with people who don’t believe that therapy and counseling are worthwhile things; maybe you are anticipating possible judgment from such people and that has been causing your panic attacks?
I know that in my own life, I at times feel guilty when I feel “okay” because in my own thoughts, it’s like getting over my problems means that the experiences didn’t matter. But they do matter, in a way.
I hope that you keep your appointments with the counselor and that even if it is not from them, that you get whatever help you need in order to be okay and healthy.

Thank you for the response. It means a lot to me that someone would have take the time to read and reply to me. What you said about depression was a good reminder, even though I’m not depressed. I have weird episodes where my thoughts suddenly get super fast and loud, and I can’t pay attention to anything, and feel basically the urge to do about a dozen completely unrelated things at the same. I was also having weird physical symptoms and mood swings. These can apparently all be warning signs of a major psychiatric problem. That’s terrifying. I don’t want to think about or deal with that. I’m dysfunctional and eccentric. It’s embarrassing, but I’m not a danger to anybody, so I have the option of pretending nothing’s wrong, and doing nothing. That definitely seems like the easier choice. It sort of seems like being pushed to deal with things might be making them worse. On top of that, I’ve prayed about the situation a lot and I’m pretty sure the answer is that I need to go through with things, but I still feel intense apprehension, to the point of panic, instead of peace of mind. Either I’ve heard from God himself, or I’m delusional. I just want my mind and body to calm down and let me rest. Sorry this post is so long.

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Firstly you don’t need to apologize for a long post, it’s good to get everything off your chest, it’s cathartic!

I completely understand how you feel about not WANTING to know what’s wrong. It’s a scary thought right? I’ve been there! Being labeled is scary, but the good news is that the “label”, is only there to help your doctors provide you with the best possible support because they care, and whatever goes on inside that office is between you and them, no one else ever has to know if you don’t want them to!

You deserve to be happy, to live your life free from this internal battle you’re feeling. It may not feel like it right now, but it can and it will. I really hope you stick to your appointment and listen to that feeling inside of you that’s telling you it’s time to go through with this. You’re worth so much more than you know, simply because you have a heart beat.

I wish you all the luck in the world, and I’ll send positive thoughts your way!

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Here is an update on the situation: I can at least stop worrying about being okay. I’m not. I almost had a full blown panic attack in a class on Friday because I couldn’t stop thinking about how someone left a box of donuts open on a desk, and had to get up in the middle of a lecture to close it. It’s not the first time something like that has happened.That doesn’t seem normal to me. My body is also, like, incapable of sleeping, even if I take sleeping medicine or supplements. I’ve gone from being my usual, almost obnoxiously hyperactive, self to floating around in a miserable heavy daze all the time. Caffeine does practically nothing. During an orchestra rehearsal the other day, I could play about two measures at a time before losing my train of thought. I may actually end up flunking out of school in my second-to-last semester, simply because I am incapable of paying attention to anything long enough to get work done. My band director was the concerned professor, so at least one faculty member knows something’s wrong. I am too frustrated and exhausted to be embarrassed about trying to get help anymore. Unfortunately, the counseling center at my university is terrible. They are severely understaffed, and have a policy that if you are not acutely suicidal, you go on a long waiting list. It’s almost like students are supposed to give up and go away. There is no way to tell how long it will be before I can actually talk with someone. I don’t even have an “appointment-to-set-up-an-appointment” until over a week from now. Two hours of sleep or less per night severely clouds your judgement. I’m am still not suicidal, but if I have to wait indefinitely, I can probably get there. I still want to give up and cancel the appointment I have to set up a psych evaluation, but now out of frustration and hopelessness more so than shame. Most of me hopes if I can just sleep the whole nightmare will be over. I can’t. A miracle where I go back to being sane and functional would be great.

It seems like you have at least taken one step in the right direction by acknowledging your situation.
I’m sorry that your school has that sort of policy where they aren’t able to help you right away. Do they maybe have information on other places in the area where you could get help? Like, informational brochures or anything like that?

Hi friend.

I just want you to know that you don’t have to feel ashamed or embarrassed for getting an evaluation. I’ve had a few myself over the years as I swapped doctors and therapists. (I move a lot) It’s not a bad thing at all. It allows the doctors to better get to know you and know how to help you. That’s all.

It’s perfectly normal and common. A LOT of people, even those who seem to have it all together get evaluations done. It can be scary, but in the end you’ll be grateful for it! It allows them to properly diagnose you and prescribe you medication to help with the anxiety you are feeling.

I know “psychiatric” can be a scary word and make you feel like you’re broken. But I assure you that’s not the case.

I’m proud of you for speaking to a therapist. That’s a great start. You don’t have to go at this alone. Let them help you.

But I do understand the feeling of shame when feeling like you’re not okay. And I also understand the worry behind getting better.

I have carried worry in my years that if I got help and took medications to help balance my anxiety and depression that people would only see the mask the medication put on me. I was worried that the treatment would blind people from my diagnoses and think I’m “cured” and be blind from the silent illnesses I fight. I was afraid people would have high expectations of me and expect me to be perfect. Even on medication I still fought with my diagnoses and I was so afraid they’d be overlooked. So I became afraid of being “better”

I hear you friend. It’s not a mistake. It’s a really good thing. I know these fears can be crippling but please don’t give up hope. I am very glad that I went. Because it helped give me answers that I didn’t have before and taught me how to face and have better control over my mental health diagnoses.

Stay strong

  • Kitty
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Thank you for the words of encouragement. The counseling center does not have information on other places to go, but the situation is now getting dealt with. It seems the counseling center at my school is terrible, but the clinic is not. I went there, explained the problem, and got some bloodwork done that confirmed nothing obviously physical is wrong with me. The person I talked to agreed that I probably need to have a psych consult, and said the clinic actually has someone who comes there directly. I’ve made an appointment with her. There are apparently ways around the counseling center’s red tape that students are not told about. The original issues have not gone away, but I feel a bit better knowing things are getting dealt with, which is helpful in the meantime. I appreciate the suggestion.

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Another update:
Based on the information I’ve been getting the last few weeks, I most probably have some form of bipolar disorder. At what point should you be concerned about not sleeping? I have been awake for the last 30 hours, have had almost no caffeine, and do not feel at all tired. I went kind of manic yesterday, and still haven’t come all the way back down. I don’t know much; just trying to figure how concerned to be, and whether it matters.