Celina Caesar-Chavannesappeared tonight on CBC Power and Politics with host Rosemary Barton. She was there to discuss her experiences with depression, before and since becoming MP for Whitby and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Parliamentary Secretary.
Rosemary’s thorough, careful questions brought out responses I could relate to in my own experience – and even in present circumstances.
Sitting around in my “lounge pants” and t-shirt, unwashed.
Recognizing the signs of depression in these and other ways. Maybe I’ll do something about it, rather than wait for my scheduled psychiatric appointment.
It doesn’t seem like it’s enough to know what’s going on.
I do not feel like I am a danger to myself or anyone else. That’s probably important to note.
I really want to thank Rosemary and Celina. In this approaching season of “Let’s Talk.”
Would it be much of a surprise, even to the casual reader, that I am a mental health client? I have been since soon after my conclusive HIV diagnosis in 1990, although I wish now that I had sought such accompaniment long before then.
It started out with a window-shopping spree of psychiatrist seeking. Word-of-mouth recommendations, even from friends, do not necessarily mean compatibility.
I was diagnosed as depressed or, at first, “severely depressed”. Treatment for this boosted the deep lows, to be sure, but – in hindsight – did nothing for periodic highs which, precisely because they were not low, did not bother me so much. Now, with that 20/20 perspective, some of the highs were pretty destructive, and had been for a long time before I was HIV-positive. Could it be that they even led to my being infected? Such is the speculation of one who can spend…
Bright and early this morning, before I could slip into dishonesty, I volunteered to my diabetes specialist that I was depressed. Actually it was more like joining in conversation with her as she wondered aloud if any ‘black dogs’ were about.
There’s always something cathartic about admitting this after circular self-arguments about whether I am or am not. What’s with the shame? Jeez, I’ve been treated for major depression for over twenty-five years – what’s the big deal if I have a flare-up that meds, at least temporarily, don’t seem to be helping?
She asked if I had a friend I could talk to when I’m feeling down. Several came to mind.
Not unrelated, my diabetes is not controlled at this time (it would help if I did what I was told). I promised her I was already back on track and showing positive results. That’s true.
My weight is down about three kilograms. This is not good as my bony ass feels tremendous discomfort in typical meeting chairs. I can’t find a good cushion.
I’ll see my HIV doc on Friday when more of my blood test results will be revealed. I can’t say I’ll be surprised if there’s a problem.
Affirmation: I deserve to take the best possible care of myself.
I spent the afternoon yesterday in the Emergency Department of Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital after a drug overdose, albeit accidental, when I tried to eliminate a “HI” reading on my glucose meter with two, then three times the recommended dosage of my insulin. It was lost on me that doubling and tripling up on a time release insulin formula was plunging it well beyond my control, rather than naively reining it in.
“Stop chasing the ‘HI,” quipped the ER doc after an uncomfortable stay, clearing me out with an IV, a cookie and some orange juice.
Thank you to staff of my housing co-op for providing me with a ride to, and a taxi from, Mount Sinai and to Ryan for staying with me pre-treatment.
The latest ambitious awareness campaign by the AIDS Committee of Toronto (ACT), #HIVnow, “asks big questions, puts forward honest answers and issues clear calls to action”.
The “Times have changed” theme comes to mind as I watch the slow demolition of 40 Wellesley Street East, a medical offices building where I learned of my HIV status in 1989 and received medical care there for several years. Hundreds – thousands even – of HIV/AIDS patients were seen in these offices at the height of the crisis in the early 1990s.