thirty years of therapy and what I have learned

Thirty years of therapy and what I learned

I’ve been in therapy since I was 15. After 30 years and 15 therapists, I’ve called it quits. Not because I was cured because I couldn’t get the care I needed. Not all therapists are the same. And even if someone has the credentials I am looking for, doesn’t mean it will work out. I have seen social workers, psychologists (PhDs and PsyD), psychiatrists, and psych RN. The first 10 I saw within the first 10 years of starting therapy. Each therapist I saw didn’t last more than a year. One resident I saw lasted three years, till the end of her residency, but she moved on and I didn’t see her again. I tried DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy), CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), and the various psychodynamic therapies out there.

My suicidal career took up talk for the last 10 years of therapy, maybe more as it got more serious and I didn’t want to live anymore. I started researching into the different treatment options and found very little to help myself. The therapist I was seeing at the time was stuck in her ways didn’t want to adapt to what I wanted her to do in therapy to help me. It was frustrating. Then I saw a PsyD with the credentials and I thought yes! This is going to work out finally. But it didn’t because she didn’t have empathy and couldn’t give me validation when I needed it the most.

What I learned from my research into suicidology is that the person needs to tell their story of why they are suicidal. It needs to be heard by an empathic person who validates why they are suicidal. They also should appear eager to listen and to know more about the person, their pain and suffering. To find out where it hurts and to try and heal it the best they can. I can go on about things like perturbation, lethality, constriction, and psychache but those are just words no one uses anymore.

Living with pain— physical or emotional— for years is a traumatic stressor. The experience of living with pain evokes many of the same responses that being subjected to abuse or neglect does. — Dr. Glenn Patrick Doyle

I came across this quote while scrolling through Twitter. Dammit this guy always posts something when I am in the feels. He is correct. Pain does have the same responses as being abused or neglected. I have suffered physical pain consistently 24/7/365 for the past twelve years. Each time my foot or ankle flared up, I had flashbacks of when my back gave out ten years prior. I had to go through a series of checklists to make sure it wasn’t happening again, each time, nearly every single day. Once I had a diagnosis for the pain the checklist checking stopped but the feelings of the trauma didn’t.

My therapist who I just stopped seeing, asked me what I was looking for in therapy. But I didn’t have the words. As I am reading the book Building a Therapeutic Alliance with the suicidal Patient, I am figuring out what I need in therapy. I knew she wasn’t able to give me what I need. I am not really sure what I need. I know I want someone to talk to tell my story to. For them to listen, empathically and compassionately to what I have to say about why I am suicidal and why it has become my only option left to me.

a blog about being blah

A blog about being blah

I am feeling really depressed and blah today. I woke up late, around 1330. My neck has been hurting me since last night. I put some heat on it while I was having my coffee. It is really warm out today so I was sweating with the heat. I didn’t feel like going out. I don’t feel like doing anything today. I should shower but I don’t even have the energy for that. I still need to do my meds for the week. I’ll do that after I write this blog.

I put in my appointments for the month in my calendar. They are mostly PT appointments. I have a few sessions left and then I am done. She has done as much as she can do for me. I am glad I am not waking up in pain anymore with my shoulder anyway.

“rather die than live in fear”. I got this quote from somewhere, probably Twitter and it has been resonating with me the last few days. It has increased my suicidality. I would rather die than live in fear with my family. The resentment and disrespect is sometimes too much for me. The gender dysphoria sets in and I wonder why I am the way I am. I question who I am and wonder if it is worth it. I just feel so worthless at times that I wonder if it would be better if I was dead.

I see my therapist tomorrow and will be bringing this up to her. I don’t know if we are ever going to start work on the pain workbook or not. Seems to be always something in the way of us getting into it. I am having some serious pain right now in my leg. My ankle and shin hurt so bad. It is getting hard to write. I hate CRPS so much. All it does is take, take, take. I can’t remember the last time I had a day without pain. Now I got the shoulder and neck thing going on for god knows how long. Just something else I got to live with. Been living with this pain for five months now. I think it can be called chronic pain. Just add it to my list of why I should die.

My neck is acting up again. I just took some Zanaflex to calm it down. All my muscles are tense in my shoulder and neck. Stretching my neck from side to side is still hard to do. It hurts so much. I have been trying to keep off my phone so I don’t aggravate it further but it has been hard. I don’t know why the neck has flared up. It takes so much to calm it down and I don’t see my PT till later this week. I have been working really hard with the exercises and stretching that have been given to me. I just can’t seem to calm down the tension in my neck and shoulders. The pain is so bad it depresses me every time because I can’t do much when I hurt. All I do is lay down and stay as still as possible.

I don’t know what to say

I don’t know what to say

Been a hard few days for me with pain and depression. I had therapy Wednesday and it was a disaster. I became suicidal after we went over some negative thoughts and then we both became frustrated. I told her I didn’t want to be in the hosp. She wanted me to join a group of some sort. I called the chronic pain support and they have a long waiting list so I won’t be able to go to that for a while. I got the impression she doesn’t know how to support me when I am suicidal. Yesterday I wrote her a message telling her about the suicide response plan and safety planning by Brown and Stanley. I don’t care which one we use but I think it is important to use one of them. I told her I prefer the suicide response plan because it is what Jobes uses for CAMS. I told her what CAMS was and how I find benefit from it but there are no CAMS trained therapists in Boston.

I got really upset and thought she didn’t want to work with me anymore because she said that she was tired of this cycle we get in when I get suicidal. She wants me to check the facts about this. I was sure she didn’t want to work with me anymore because I was too suicidal. I still feel like I might need another therapist but I know finding one now is going to be impossible because of the pandemic and because of my history.

Last night I had a runny nose and was sneezing my head off. I felt lousy. I still feel like I am coming down with a cold so I am trying to limit my exposure to my mother in case I am sick. I need to shower and shave my head. I got my haircut Wed. I didn’t have it all nice when I was talking to my therapist though. I had rinse out the hairs and it was messy. I didn’t care. I haven’t showered all week. I am trying to get enough energy to do it. I just feel so tired and don’t want to do anything. I really need to go to the grocery store to get more Gatorade. I have just six bottles right now. That is not going to be enough for the month, or even a week.

Yesterday I had PT and my deltoid is sore today. It feels bruised but there is no bruise mark on it. She did a lot of work on my arms yesterday. I got more stretches for my neck. I am glad because my neck has been such a pain. I need to put heat on it. Only thing is my family keeps moving my heat wrap on me so when I am in the kitchen, it isn’t there for me to throw in the microwave. It is the only way I can put heat on. PT also gave me some tennis balls for my back and hamstring. I have to rig something to have it between my shoulder blades. She said that I can use scotch tape but I think the balls will be too heavy for it. Will try it and see. Otherwise I will have to think of something else. Maybe a sock or something.

I got a letter from my pcp yesterday. He is leaving to go to the CDC. His last day is April 1st. This really sucks because I really liked him. He was a good doctor. I am going to miss him. I see him Monday for a follow up. It will be our last. Really sucks.

you deserve to be treated

You deserve to be treated

Those were the parting words of my therapist today after we talked about how my father said that I gotta die when I am sick. We deduced that he is flawed and not mental as she couldn’t know him. He died four years ago, long before she was my therapist. I know he was narcissistic and a pathological liar. I should have known he was lying but when your 11, you tend to believe your parents and what they say. You really don’t know if they are lying and even if they are, you can’t prove it. You were always told to respect your parents and that is what you did, no matter how wrong it seemed.

We also talked about my suicidality. She brought it up. I was going to but didn’t really want to. She asked what I was going to do if the feelings came up again over the weekend and I said I would cope like I usually do. That was the wrong answer as she shook her head. I don’t know why but apparently calling a hotline is the answer. I don’t think so but whatever. Sometimes it is good to call one but most of the time I just don’t have the patience to wait for someone to connect on the line. Even texting can be a pain as you wait for someone, especially during “peak” hours. Most of the time I get annoyed and then hang up or text cancel or stop. I am usually too agitated to stay on the line.

I had my meeting with my pcp. It went well but I didn’t ask for a pain med increase. It was on my mind but I was too chicken to ask. He asked a few times if there was anything I needed from him but I just couldn’t bring it up. He doesn’t want me to be on the meds to begin with and I find that it hinders my conversation about my meds. But the fact of the matter is I have pain and until that is dealt with on some level, I need to be on the meds that I am on. I can’t just stop taking it because he doesn’t want me on them. He does want me to go to the pain clinic for an evaluation, just to talk. But because of Covid, making an appointment is hard. I don’t know if I would be seen in a timely manner if at all at this point. I know once places reopen it might be better to call and ask for an appointment. Sucks because I got the ride now to take me there. I have it for another few months and then I will have to reapply for assistance. I don’t know if I will get a letter or not. I just need to be aware of the time frame. I only got six months because of my surgery. I don’t know if it will be longer when I reapply.