A Blood Pressure Check

Every few months, I go to the doctor to check my blood pressure. While the appointment is not invasive, I still dread it. So many things can affect my blood pressure on any given day. It can be triggered when I have a lot to do and there is a long wait at the doctor’s office. Or maybe I was late for the appointment due to traffic or something beyond my control. And sometimes, I’m just having a bad day.

One time, my doctor came into the exam room and thought he would make idle chit-chat with me by talking about the Trump administration.

“What do you think about Trump’s response to the pandemic?”

I told him I would be more than happy to offer my thoughts on the matter AFTER he took my blood pressure. He thought that was valid.

Yesterday, I went to the doctor for another blood pressure check. Two medical assistants came in, took my vitals, and asked me what I thought would be some routine questions: Do you still take this medicine? Have you had your mammogram yet this year? Stuff like that.

This time was different.

“Have you been depressed over the last two weeks?”

“Yes,” I chuckled, thinking about how overwhelmed I have been at work and this feeling that I have been disappointing people left and right. I also thought about being a card-carrying member of the sandwich generation and the concerns that come with it. I also have a constant playlist running through my brain of things I need to do today, this week, and this month. The weight of it all can be pretty depressing.

The women looked at each other alarmingly. They weren’t expecting this response. The taller assistant looked at me and asked a follow-up question.

“Are you thinking of hurting yourself?”

“God, no!” I shrieked. “I take Zoloft.” (By the way, this information is already on my medication list).

“Oh, okay! So, your depression is ‘managed.’ “

Yes, it’s managed – thank G-d – but that’s not what she asked me. We moved on from there to a series of much less-complicated questions, but her first question lingered. I considered the emotional rollercoaster I’ve been on recently. My work/life balance has been nonexistent. Over the last few weeks, I’ve been trying to catch up at work after a major fundraiser while simultaneously launching our new brand. This means working 10-12 hour days just to feel somewhat accomplished. I’d force myself to turn off my computer at night and promptly fall asleep on the couch. There have been plenty of mornings lately when I woke up at 4:30 am and couldn’t fall back to sleep.

Yes, my depression is under control, but sometimes when my life feels out of control, I get depressed. Am I unable to get out of bed? No. Do I enjoy my life and all of the incredible milestones taking place? Yes. Do I feel exhausted, frustrated, and unproductive? At times. But thankfully, it’s managed.

As for my blood pressure, of course, it spiked. Did it spike because of that question? Who knows. See you in a month, doc.

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