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.

tiring day of appointments

Tiring day of appointments

I reluctantly got up this morning and didn’t want to leave the house. I had slept through the night but was still exhausted. I had coffee and then counted down the minutes to when I had to get ready to catch the bus. My legs were so heavy today as I walked to the bus stop. I knew it was going to be a challenging day for me as I had a lot of walking to do today.

I saw my PCP and we discussed my fatigue. He thinks it is multifactorial so he is sending a message to my psych team to try and find ways for me to sleep better. I told him my blood pressure has been high lately and he checked it. It was high so he is adding a new blood pressure medicine. Yay a new medicine. Not. I see him in three months.

I then went to my second appointment at the other end of the hospital for the covid blood draw. He couldn’t get me so asked one of the other medical assistants. She got me right away. After the blood draw I went to get my haircut. I slept on the train ride back home. I was so tired. I had to stop a few times.

I came home and was hungry. I didn’t feel like cooking so I had some cereal. I made a cup of coffee to try and avoid a nap. While I was eating, I did my shoulder exercises. I had worn the sling all morning so it was good to move it about. It still hurts. When I went to my room, I took off my sneakers and socks. Soon as I got into bed my ankle flared up and I had to take a BT med. I also took some ibuprofen for the shoulder pain. I don’t know why the CRPS is flaring lately. I started to hurt on the walk home from the bus stop. Each step I took was more painful than the last. I was dreading the last block home.

I am doing nothing tomorrow and if I sleep all day so be it. I am just going to have a down day. Might order pizza again. Actually, might order it tonight. I am a pizza junkie. I can eat pizza every day if I am able.

I need to schedule an eye exam so I can get new glasses. I haven’t had an exam in almost two years. I tried reading from my sunglasses today and it was difficult so I know my prescription has changed. I just don’t like the eye doctor I see. It is hard to see someone else because of my insurance. I’ll probably see someone by the end of the year though.

pain pain pain

Pain pain pain

All week I have been in pain, either my shoulder or my lower back. I am waiting for a call for an urgent care center to make an appointment so I can have my back looked at. I keep on getting spasms and it makes me immobile. I have been putting heat on as well as taking Ativan, Zanaflex, and my BT meds. I haven’t been sleeping because my shoulder has been waking me up in pain. I feel really depressed and last night was the worst night as I thought about suicide and came up with a plan. I just realized that I haven’t had the urge to pee the last few days. I just been cathing because it is what I do but I haven’t had an urge to pee. I hope this doesn’t mean something is wrong with my back. I just had an MRI about two months ago and things looked good. I got an appointment for this afternoon and I hope they don’t send me to the ED for MRI testing.

The pain I have in my back is severe. I still got spasms in it and think I just need PT to work out the knots. Maybe some dry needling is all I need for it, provided a disc didn’t shift and I need to see my neurosurgeon again. I took my breakthrough med and ibuprofen and that seems to have eased some of the pain I was feeling. Just hope I can get dressed and walk to the bus stop without too much pain. I am going to the hospital in case I do need to switch to the emergency room.

My left side of my body really hurts. The shoulder MRI report came back. It looks like I have two fractures in my shoulder caused by the dislocation I took when I fell. The urgent care doc that I saw said that it is really important that I keep my appointment with ortho on Monday for further treatment of my shoulder. I hope that doesn’t mean surgery.

I just came home from Urgent care. I was there for almost two hours, most of the time just waiting to be seen. I told him what the story was and he said I was on a good regimen and to continue taking what I have been taking. Then I asked him about dry needling and PT and he sent a referral for it. So now I am going to have dry needling on my lower back. I can already feel the pain. It is hot in my room so I turned on the AC. I haven’t changed into my PJ’s yet. I want to cool down first. I had a snickers bar and Reese’s peanut butter big cup with pretzels for dinner. I don’t feel like having anything else, unless I get hungry later then it will be a bowl of cereal.

My shoulder is aching but my back pain is worse right now. I am so tired. I think I am going to take my night meds early and try and be in bed before 9pm. Sox are off tonight. I finally mailed my ballot today so I feel good about that. It has been in my room all week. I am glad I didn’t go to the ED tonight. I nearly fell asleep while I was waiting to be seen in urgent care. Chronic pain just takes so much out of you. Not sleeping at night also takes its toll. I woke up three times last night with my shoulder hurting me. I guess the pain will stop when the fractures heal in another 6-8 weeks.

broken shoulder and other things

Broken shoulder and other things

My pcp got back to me late yesterday afternoon and scheduled me for an urgent care visit. I went this morning, which I didn’t want to get out of bed for. I am glad I went and had an x-ray because my shoulder has a fracture in it caused by a dislocation. The results said that it was prior but I don’t recall ever dislocating my shoulder before. I need to have an MRI done but there is a significant wait so I will be having a CT scan done on Monday, which means I need to reschedule my therapy appointment. I also need to see a shoulder specialist.

After the appointment, I was hungry and thirsty. I didn’t have anything to eat or drink when I got up because I got up really late and I had to catch the bus if I was to be at my appointment on time. I went to CVS and got a smoothie. I then went to the Square to go to Starbucks to grab a mocha and a sandwich before catching the bus home. I had to pick up my meds at the pharmacy so I went there before stopping home. I got out of breath when I got home. Stupid hill still makes me short of breath. I had to sit on my porch for a bit before going up the stairs. I was in a lot of pain when I got home from the exam and not taking any pain meds. I should have taken some with me but I didn’t think.

I am quite tired. Yesterday I woke up at 2 am and didn’t go to sleep again till around 2200 or so. It was a long day. I couldn’t think to write a blog so I just posted a pic of a puppy that I thought was cute. I had therapy yesterday. It went well. She was calling me out on shit and I was at one point like, is this Will Hunting?? She wanted me to take care of myself rather than rely on others for care as I’ve been neglected and abused for most of my childhood. I understood where she was coming from but it didn’t feel good to know that I had to do the caring from now on. That doesn’t sit well with me. I do take care of myself in other ways.

While I was at the urgent care, they took my blood pressure and my diastolic was high. I just took my blood pressure at home to see what it is and it is still high. Fuck. I might have to go back on the labetalol. I had stopped taking it because I didn’t think I needed it. My blood pressure has been good until now. Now I got to monitor it to make sure the high readings don’t continue. I am in a lot of pain so that maybe why my pressure is up. I haven’t given myself the T shot yet today that I am due for. I wanted to write for a bit before doing it. I am so tired. I plan on going to bed early tonight because starting Friday, my nights are going to be busy watching baseball and I need to be up to listen to the plays. Just hope I am wrong about them having days off and then playing. We need to win four games and it isn’t going to be easy with the Astros.