Friday, November 03, 2006

Speaking of therapy..adolescent America

as the song goes "now that I have your attention".. (garden of Allah).
Yesterday I went to my first appointment with the psychologist who seems to be a psychotherapist as well. After he asked me for my reason for being there (and no btw, I'm not breaking my HIPPAA rule), he asked me a bit of history about myself. I jokingly said well, you know that list with the stress factors? Or it's called life changes chart (could only find one reference), well, I told him a preliminary time line of all my moves and changes and he said, wow! You're off the chart no wonder you're here! It actually made me feel good. It validated that it's not just a weakness or "it's all in my head", although, it kinda is of course. I've been feeling for a while as if all the things that have happened to me over the past 22 years since I emigrated, just saturated my system and I needed to find a way to get it out. I've moved more times than I like to remember, and come to think of it, I will make a time line for the good doctor so he can have a quick reference and poke and prod in a easier manner rather than just letting me talk. It's overwhelming to think of the things that have built up in me, but not so overwhelming that I feel I can't take it anymore. I've been on the Lexapro for little over a week and the xanax (the 'baby xanax'as the doctor called it) helps me to start the day.
As we briefly talked about culture and my experience/difficulties with this (American) culture vs the one I grew up in, he referred to this country as an 'adolescent' country. Aside from having been around for a relative short while, the values and attitudes are still far from mature. That reminded me of all the pathetic political ads I have been seeing on tv. Even when/if a candidate wants to expose the incumbents' or the opponents' short comings or illegal/clandestine affairs, you'd think, that's what you have the press for. The smear campaigns on either side just seem so immature and pathetic to me, I would not want to vote for anyone who runs a campaign like that. The excuse used is that 'the other one does it' and 'it works', but what does it say about American voters? What does it say about this culture? Yep, it's highschool adolescent behaviour although that said, I don't think in highschool that such behaviour is accepted.


Blogger Sothis said...

Sorry I have been around in a while--in fact, I've been going through quite the same problems on the other side of the ocean in your neck of the woods (small world). I think that "culture shock" can actually become a form of PTSD.

I'd be careful just heaping the problems on American immaturity. I find the same kind of anti-social behaviour over here, but it feels different when it is your own people doing it or if you are a foreigner living in someone else's mess. I think you develop a different skin to your own culture. I'm living in the land of "proberen gaat mee" right now, and I'm about to crawl out of my skin over the stuff I see people pull here.

I hope the meds can stabilize things--talking to a psychologist is definitately a good move as well. If you need someone to talk to, I'm here for you--I know what you are going through, believe me.

2:05 PM  
Blogger Ingrid said...

Sothis, I stand corrected! You are absolutely right that that kind of anti-social behaviour is in Europe too! I think in Europe it's easier dismissed as 'lower class' behaviour which you won't hear any mention of here in the US. Of course, here it's associated with red neck type behaviour but regardless of how one would want to classify it, you are right, there will always be ignorant people, regardless of country or culture.
I do think that having someone from your own culture to relate to helps dealing with the one you're in, although that said, not just any American (for you)or Dutch person (for me) necessarily makes it 'relatable'. There are many variables and subjective invisible people chemistry in the mix that make a difference, good or bad.
Apparently, the meds take 4wks to take into effect and I'm not really depressed feeling. I think I have been feeling 'off' for a long time and so used to experiencing, that it's hard to identify as the kind of depression that people think of when they read the word: sitting forlorn, down and out not knowing what to do. Ofcourse, depression has many faces and manners of expressing itself. The panic attacks have subsided quite a bit although I do take a (baby) xanax most mornings to get me started on the day. I suspect I'll be done with that soon though.
I think I should just email you privately since you and I 'can talk'! I also know what it's like to be pregnant and out of one's environment so I hope that you're not feeling the blues so much more because I do know that my emotions run more the gamut when I'm pregnant. The joy of hormones! Hope all is well with you physically and the baby as well. I'll send off an email tomorrow when I have some undisturbed time to write.
hugs Sothis, we'll talk,
Ingrid(and thx for setting me straight)

9:20 PM  
Blogger Sothis said...

I just found another online quiz of the stress/life changes chart at

Thanks for pointing it out.

4:02 AM  
Blogger tooners said...

anti-social behavior is here too, altho many try to hide it. it tends to be masked under fakeness.. ppl pretend to like you, accept you but in all actuality, they talk about you behind your back and don't like you at all. i find that i have the same probs over here... i think any time you're away from your homeland, it's difficult.

4:20 AM  

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