Two months ago, when I first set out to work on getting better, I took a Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) and I got a “great” grade … a 23 and adding my generalized anxiety issues into it bumped it to a 34.
The PHQ-9 is a clinical test that is quickly completed by the patient or doctor and gives a numerical value to the level of intervention that might be necessary. Scores over 20 are considered “severe“ and the suggestion is both medication (chemical interference) and psychotherapy (group or solo). My “great” grade is not as great as I’d like to think it is.
Each time I go to group, chat with my psychiatrist, or work with a counselor, I take a new PHQ-9 and score it. In November, I got that great grade … 23-34 and didn’t think much of writing it down in my notebook as I was asked. Each visit, I continued writing down my scores, as my doctors said that “one day” I’d be able to see the improvement very clearly.
Today, on the phone with my psychiatrist was that “one day.” For almost two weeks now, I’ve been feeling better than ever, and while I wait for my insurance to straighten itself out again, I’m not seeing my doctors as often. Today Dr. N had me take the PHQ-9 over the phone with her. We were both blown away. In two months (almost exactly), my score has dropped from a 23-34 to a 7-12!
Woo hoo! This seven is a clear change from 23 and I’m thrilled. I’m not cured; I won’t even be cured, but I am clearly doing better; I am improving.
Using the techniques and tools I’ve been learning about for 15+ years is actually working. The writing, the talking, the fighting I’m doing is absolutely worth it. Choosing each morning to wake up and fight against my illness instead of letting it overtake me has made a difference in my life. Tomorrow, I’ll wake up again and choose to fight; it can be that easy for me.