The Diagnosis

After a long pause during which I kept telling people I am super busy. Which is true but I can’t stand people who constantly say how busy they are. Anyway, after this “busy period” I think it is time for an update on the state I am in.

Remember that 6-month long waiting-list I was on to get a diagnosis at the Academic Hospital (AMC)? Turns out it’s not that popular after all so I got in early.. Yay.. or something.

I got the call at work of course. Uncomfortable calls tend to come in during specifically heated discussions in front of a Kanban board, or if not that, at the very least during an important meeting.

I could come in to the Academic Hospital for my diagnosis and if I could please bring a family member for the historical background. I’m so old I’ve got historical background, or, I’ve just been crazy for a long time.

My middle sister was kind enough to come and at some midweek morning we met at the dreariest place in Amsterdam. The steps of the big cement hunk that is the AMC. It’s surprising not everyone gets diagnosed with depression is what I thought then, but surprisingly, the closer we came to the psychiatric department the cosier the halls were decorated. Smart move.

I was nervous of course but when I walked in the room and there were 5 people sitting behind a table I got downright anxious. It felt like I was going into the worst job interview ever but here they were not going to tell me if I got the job or not but if I am Psychotic or “just” Anxious.

My sister went with a nurse to another room to be asked some questions. For three hours. I stayed with two people, a psychiatrist and a doctor and got asked what felt like a 1000 questions as well. Questions ranging from: “have people on television ever spoken to you directly?” to “how often do you wash your hands?” It was Exhausting!

After the grilling, me and my Sister reunited and waited in line for about 1.5 hours so I could give 8 vials of blood to get tested. Yup, you’re reading that right, EIGHT. At least they are thorough.

Then, the big waiting game started. The results had to go in front of a review board before I would get my diagnosis. This took forever. In the meantime I almost grew a beard (not) but did cut my hair (major regrets). Attached picture is old, was going for the Damn.

Eventually we got called back in. My Sister could not make it so I found another family member crazy enough to go along. My lucky Mom. Another Psychiatrist was waiting in the now familiar room and while I was trying to sit still, with sweaty hands and every muscle in my body on high alert, I was told I am not psychotic. Big relief!

However, I do have OCD next to my Anxiety Disorder. Yes, I have an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Like those people who cannot stop washing their hands. Turns out that constantly checking if you do not take too much medication, reading labels 5 times and still not trusting your brain, checking with other people if you are not going to die on a daily basis, all of that and more is OCD.

They told me that after going to a review board again with this diagnosis I could start an internal program for a day a week. Also, my Citalopram could be upped to 60 mg a day since the amount I take will not work on OCD. I did not say much, mostly spluttered a bit about doing quite well at the moment. My go-to answer.

Right now I am waiting for the psychiatrist to call me on the 12th and explain what the next steps are. In the meantime, I have gone over the whole thing in my head many times. After the diagnosis I thought: I do not want this! I am fine and I am definitely not upping my Meds. I mean, do you guys remember last time I did that..?!

Also, is it really that bad? Or am I just making it worse than it is? Creating the Drama, I am known for?

Now, some weeks later, my thinking has changed. I am coping now but that is all. I am coping. Mentally there is no room for much besides work. That part of Life I have under control but anything besides that costs immense effort. I want to do more than just cope and here I have an opportunity to be treated by the specialists in this field.

I am terrified but maybe I will take my chances. After the 12th I’ll take the final decision. Most importantly I’ll have to start seeing the funny side of my second Disorder. Two! Who would’ve thought..