Last week I had to make a return trip to the psychiatrist. Every now and then the docs like to re-evaluate my medication to keep me from going completely crazy. Since it was my first visit with this particular MD, I had to fill out the anxiety/depression questionnaire.
I am familiar with this particular quiz. APPARENTLY, no matter how much experience you have with this same standard medical evaluation, doctors still expect you to simply rate your thoughts on the scale of 0-3.
However, I maintain that sometimes these questions need a little explanation. (Although I will warn you that docs donâ€™t necessarily appreciate it when you add your own little commentary via asterisks on their forms.)
Because the brilliant medical minds behind this generic overarching survey clearly havenâ€™t taken motherhood and office work into consideration.
The items on the questionnaire that relate to anxiety are:
I feel tense or wound up
Working full-time, raising toddling twins boys, continued updates to this blog, attempting to finalize my book (the boys story), laundry (my god the laundry, THE LAUNDRY), trying not to burn down the house with efforts to share in meal preparation responsibilities.
Sure. No sweat.
I get a sort of frightened feeling as if something bad is about to happen
I never suffered post-partum depression. I planned in advance. Instead I was diagnosed with PTSD. So yeah, your question is kind of the definition.
Irrational thoughts go through my mind
To be fair, this is a trick question. Sure, the thoughts may be irrational, but to me â€“ they are perfectly rational. Which is what then causes the frightened feelings that something bad is going to happen.
My thesis advisor used to point to comments amid the red ink bleeding across my draft and question, â€œDoes this paragraph make sense/seem clear to you?” Well yes, thatâ€™s why I wrote it that way.
I can sit at ease and feel relaxed
Twins. Toddlers. Boys.
No, no I cannot sit at ease and feel relaxed. The mere posturing of a potential relaxed pose sends my tiny peeps into a frenetic frenzy of chaos.
I feel restless and have to be on the move
See above response. Also, theyâ€™re totally mobile now. Youâ€™ve got to be on the move to catch them.
I get sudden feelings of panic
Sometimes. Theyâ€™re lessoned now â€“ which reminds me, you should TOTALLY see my collection of tinfoil hats. They are AH-mazingly tin-foily conspiratorially protective. (Who me? Paranoid? Never.)
The items that relate to depression are:
I still enjoy the things I used to enjoy
I still like Disney. Like the latest movies, which Iâ€™ve now seen 8,657,942 times. Each.
I can laugh and see the funny side of things
I like to think my adorably self-deprecating humor here on the blog proves that. Oh sad â€“ you donâ€™t read it do you dear doctor.
I feel as if I am slowed down
An example of before and after small peoples. It takes some serious time.
I have lost interest in my appearance
Oh sure, now you want me to be Supermom. I havenâ€™t lost â€œinterest,â€ Iâ€™m keenly aware of how easy it will be to go splat on the pavement if I wear those heels to preschool pickup.
I can enjoy a good book or radio or TV program
Define â€œgood.â€ I mean, â€œGoodnight Goodnight Construction Siteâ€ is very well written.
Are you able to sleep without fitful awakenings or insomnia?
Sleep?! I have twin toddling boys named Search and Destroy. If I was able to get copious amounts of sleep – THEN you should be concerned because I’m clearly comatose.
Do you drink caffeine on a daily basis?
Yes. NEXT QUESTION! (Happy daydreams of coffeeâ€¦)
How much alcohol do you drink per week?
Probably more than whatever you think is the right answer since you went with the â€œweeklyâ€ question.
At this point it was pretty clear to me. I was definitely going to fail this test.
Do you feel life is out of control?
Yes. Yes I do. Because in case you missed it, the Million Dollar Miracle Muppets have done nothing if not prove that raising little ones is lifeâ€™s way of stripping every ounce of control away from your being.
And given the rare occurrence where you suddenly think you might be getting a handle on things â€“ youâ€™ll suddenly find yourself tripping over a Lego and hopping over toward the coffee maker/wine fridge.
Or sitting in a doctorâ€™s office waiting room, filling out a question about your depression/anxiety, waiting to be medicated.