Daily Archives: September 8, 2014
Thanks for reading my blog! At my desk this morning with my feisty writing muse Lucy, age 5 & 1/2 months
It’s one-thirty in the afternoon, and I should be sitting on Dr. Awesomesauce’s couch right now. I’m not, however, because an hour before the appointment, I got a call from his office asking if I could come in another day because he needed to cancel. Needless to say, I hate it when this happens, especially when it’s on such short notice; there’s a process I go through to get ready for therapy sessions, and when an appointment is postponed I feel like I’m all dressed up with nowhere to go.
Now my next visit is scheduled two weeks out, and while I’m a little disappointed, I’m not in any particular psychic distress so I can roll with the punches pretty easily. And I realized just now that my way of thinking has changed a great deal in the course of the past couple of years: I don’t take these things personally anymore.
It’s amazing, really. I used to get all butt-hurt when something like this happened, thinking that the other person just didn’t want to deal with me for some reason. I remember a couple of previous occasions like that with Dr. A; since I’ve been seeing him, there have only been a few instances when he needed to cancel, but when it happened in the past I’d think he didn’t want to see me or that he was just too busy for me.
Now I understand that it’s not about me: he’s a doctor, for Pete’s sake—he might have to work in a patient who’s in crisis, or he might have had an emergency hospital admission. He’s also a human being whose kid might have gotten suspended from school, he might be sick and need to go home early, or he might simply be having a horrific day and needs to get the hell out of the office before he loses it.
In other words, feces eventuates. And if it eventuates on me once in a while, I can be OK with it.
I don’t know at what point my outlook changed, but I do know I probably never would have discovered it if I hadn’t had the benefit of good treatment. I was still somewhat emotionally immature when I started all of this, and it’s taken a lot of meds and therapy for me to understand that I’m not the same sad little girl who always got the fewest Valentines and was rarely invited to parties. Medications open the door to recovery from mental illness, but therapy is what enables one to walk through and see what’s on the other side.
This must be what normal people do when faced with minor disappointments; for one thing, they don’t turn them into major disappointments, and for another, they realize there are extenuating circumstances in almost every situation. Of course, that’s why I enjoy my therapy sessions so much; I learn something new every time. But right now, I’m doing OK, and if things were to go to hell for me, I know I can count on Dr. A to toss me a lifesaver. It’s all good.
Filed under: Posted Thoughts
I recently received a text from my therapist telling me that he feels I have a lack of interest in perusing treatment and when I feel like making my appointments to give him a call. I am not being dramatic, that is what he TEXTED me.
My initial response was shock quickly followed by anger then uncontrollable laughter. Had I just been dumped by my therapist? Yes, yes I had.
This therapist had some boundary issues. He told me in our second session that he was bipolar and that e has been hospitalized numerous times. At first, this made me feel better. Who better to treat you than someone who has intimate knowledge of what you are going through, right?
Then I started to see all the things that I wanted to change about myself in him. Frequent tardiness, forgetting we had appointments, cutting my appointment short because he accidentally booked another patient during my time and so on.
The majority of our sessions consisted of him telling me stories from his life. When I would bring up topics of concern for me, his advice was usually run away from it. Logical me knew that this was bad advice and behaviors I wanted to change about myself. I always ran away when I was on the verge of failures. But illogical me told myself that I was getting the green light for these behaviors from a health care professional.
This text came after I left his waiting room after waiting for 20 minutes while he was with another patient during our scheduled time. I was particularly antsy that day but as usual I granted him allowances because he was Bipolar and I’ve been there. While waiting for my turn to go in, he then had his patient call in her two children who were waiting outside to join the session. At that point, I was out of there.
I’m not heartless. I know emergencies come up but at least show me the courtesy of popping your head out and acknowledging I am waiting and you’ll be with me shortly.
He text me after I left and asked where I went and I told him I had left after the two children joined the session. Then he became defensive. Now I have near mastered the art of quick draw defensiveness to hide my mistakes and his responses showed me that is exactly what he was doing.
I suppose in the end, I’m grateful he “dumped” me. I knew it was a bad relationship and he was enabling me. I just felt bad discontinuing treatment with him. I thought he would feel I made the choice because he told me he was Bipolar too.
So here I am, on the hunt for a new therapist but I’ll always remember the time I got text dumped by my therapist.
Target Exercise: Relapse Prevention Planning
© NAMI Peer-to-Peer Recovery Education Course Week Seven Class Handouts (Rev. 2006) included the Target Exercise shown above, the text of which I’ve summarized below.
- In the bull’s-eye, we put what we MUST do, or MUST not do, to live well with mental illness.
- I MUST take my medicine, sleep, and not overdo it.
- In the next ring, we include what we MIGHT do to improve our health. These we suspect prevent or trigger relapses, and we may move these items into the bull’s-eye as MUSTS.
- I MIGHT walk, exercise, and eat healthier.
- The third ring represents what we CAN do. These we can do without risk to our health and that we can do to improve our life now. These include things we are already doing to stay well.
- I CAN (and do) read, write, blog, take part in groups, and meditate.
- Outside the target, we put what we WANT to do ~ dreams, goals, and desires for the future.
- My WANTS include volunteer for NAMI, take classes to further my training as a California licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (perhaps Dialectical Behavioral Therapy training), become an expert public speaker, and travel internationally. Here I got ambitious, and it felt good to once again be ambitious, for I’ve felt hobbled by bipolar disorder for far too long.
© NAMI Peer-to-Peer Recovery Education Course Week Seven Class Handouts, Rev. 2006
Filed under: Bipolar Disorder, Disability, Mental Health, NAMI, Posted Thoughts, Psychosocial Education, Psychotherapy, Public Speaking, Recovery, Writing Tagged: Relapse Prevention Planning
Podcasts often keep me company during bouts of insomnia or when I want to quiet the voices in my head. Specifically, I listen to a suite of podcasts from How Stuff Works. One show in particular, Stuff You Should Know came out with an amazing podcast that broke down Bipolar Disorder in a way that people on the outside could understand.
I was struggling to get my family to understand that my nervous breakdown wasn’t just a cop out. I really lost my ability to process anything. They never talked to me about it and when I brought it up, things got weird really quick and the conversation quickly changed.
I forwarded this podcast to my sisters and mother for them to listen to. They put it off for days until I was finally borderline rude/insistent. The podcast helped them understand a little better from a third party in terms they could understand, what I was going through. It opened dialog about my diagnosis.
So I wanted to pass this along to you. Maybe you have someone that just cant seem to wrap their head around your diagnosis, maybe you just want someone to understand a little better. Regardless, its worth a listen.
I am trying to BREAK FREE from all the negative thinking I have going on.
BREAK FREE from smoking
BREAK FREE from feeling blah everyday
I’M STRONGER THAN I’VE BEEN BEFORE!
Filed under: Music, Uplifting, Videos
After an uneventful but highly productive weekend…
And the end of shark week…
Today I feel low, I am tearing up, and every tiny thing is making me take offense. No one cares. You suck. This is what my brain is telling me.
Today I get my fucked car towed away. And maybe this is the delayed response to knowing just how fucked I am. I don’t have a dollar to my name. How am I gonna buy a car? And why does all the bad shit happen to me and usually all at once.
Perhaps it’s hormones being wonky still.
The temp has dropped and it’s getting colder, less daylight. Maybe the seasonal affect is knocking on the door.
This tearing up and feeling fragile and paranoid thing SUCKS. WTF is wrong with me? And why am I surrounded by people who don’t get it and keep telling me, “It’s not so bad.” “Don’t get so bent.”
What is the appropriate response when your car blows up and you have no options? How is that not worthy of an emotional response like this?
Though I rarely cry so this is weird for me.
Fuck fuck fuckity fuck.