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.

Annoyed, anxious, and aggravated

Annoyed, anxious, and aggravated

I have been having an anxiety attack the past few days. I don’t know what set it off. I was reading an info graphic about the difference between panic attack and anxiety attack. I read it and found I had anxiety I was feeling. Been like this for the past three days. I took some Ativan like my therapist said and did some deep breathing exercises. It helped a little but I am still on edge.

My mother wasn’t well this morning. Her sugar was low but the meter thing didn’t detect it or go off. My sister said she was still off so I took her blood pressure. Her pressure was low and then we found out she was taking an extra fluid pill that affects blood pressure. We called her doctor and told us to take the BP a few times a day each day and then call next week with the readings. I have been taking her blood pressure manually all day. It has not returned to normal. It is still low but she is not having symptoms so I think she is fine. She has been drinking fluids and we gave her some Gatorade to try and get her sugar up as well. I made dinner of chicken with BBQ sauce and rice. It was a good meal for cooking for the first time. I never made it before. I wanted to grill it but I didn’t have access to the grill. I plan on taking my mother’s blood pressure one more time before she goes to bed.

I got aggravated when my sister texted me again to take her blood pressure all so she could go out. I am pissed at this. I told her I wasn’t going to take it until bed time and she pulls this shit. She said she ordered a monitor and good luck with my mother being a good patient with that. I know my sister she will take her BP every fricken hour or every half hour to see if there is a change. Pisses me off because what is she going to do with the readings?? She isn’t a medical professional like I am. I know what to do which is why I had called the cardiologist to find out what to do about my mother’s low pressure. I am sure if it gets lower she will have to go to the hospital for fluids. Doesn’t help she has soft diarrhea like stool.

I am so annoyed. My stomach has been bloated the past few days because I am constipated. I have been taking Miralax since Monday and have not had a movement all week. I took a double dose of Miralax this afternoon. I just hope it doesn’t cause colon blow. I feel stuff moving but I still have not had the urge to go. It is frustrating me. To help my anxiety I have been taking Neurontin. Surprisingly I have been ok with a large dose. I haven’t walked into any walls. I just been on edge. My anxiety is getting really bad and I don’t know why. I took my night meds early because I have been up since 0530 and haven’t had a chance to nap all day.

I went grocery shopping and spent over a hundred dollars on food. I bought cold cuts, fruit, yogurt, juice, and my Gatorade but I forgot to buy onions like my mother wanted. I forgot to put them on my list. I brought 4 bags of stuff up the stairs and I was so winded. It took a really long time for me to catch my breath. The bags were not heavy but were heavy enough to cause shortness of breath. I was really fatigued afterwards. I had my mother help me put the things away. Then I ate my ice cream that I bought. It had rum in it but because Covid affected my taste, I couldn’t really taste the rum like before. It was a real bummer.

I have started my taper of citalopram and I think I am going to stop taking antidepressants for a while to see what happens. I have been feeling ok the past few weeks. I know I have had suicidal urges but I haven’t been depressed. People think that you can only have suicidal thoughts if you are depressed and I don’t think that is true. I think suicidal thoughts can be independent of a mood disorder. I firmly believe this.

about pain meds

About pain meds

“It’s ok to be on pain meds. Can we stop acting like not taking pain meds is some sort of moral success? Being in pain doesn’t mean you have an addiction. It’s okay to not want to be in pain. I’d go so far to say that it’s normal.” Lupie Linda

I feel like I don’t deserve pain meds because I’m a bad person. I sometimes feel evil so I feel that I deserve to be in pain. I also feel guilty about taking pain meds because I know there are plenty of chronic pain patients that don’t have access to pain meds anymore. I know I am dependent on my meds and though there maybe times where I take and extra breakthrough med here and there, I am not addicted/ Pain levels dictate how I take my meds. If it’s above a 10 I may take more than when my pain is a 7. Often times I will go about my business and pain levels will go from a 3 to a 12 in a blink of an eye. It’s at these times when pain is a 12, the here and there come into play. I feel bad about taking the extra pain med I need to calm down the level of pain I am in. I know what works, usually. The bad part is my pcp doesn’t want to go up on my BT meds, even though I think it will be beneficial for me. He wants to put me on methadone and I don’t want to be on it. The people I know who take it don’t get relieve of their pain while on it.

I sometimes feel that I shouldn’t complain about my pain to my providers because of the ping pong ball back and forth I get. Almost like pass the buck. Or I get the sorry you’re in pain there is nothing I can do for you. That is the one thing that makes me feel so suicidal. Doc knows I am in pain but can’t do anything for me. So I feel like a) I got to manage anyway I can with what I got and b) have the why bother taking anything at all if it isn’t going to help? I flip through a and b frequently. Usually it’s 3am when I cry uncle and take something for the pain because all the non-narcotic meds haven’t done shit for me.

The downside to trying to play catch up to the pain is I may look “high” as my lil sister has constantly pointed out to me. My eyes appear dilated to her. I will not feel high or drugged out. I won’t even feel good. I usually just feel nothing or “normal”. I hate that she judges me like this. It makes me feel bad and guilty for trying to ease my suicide level pain. I try going without pain meds when I am below a 10 but CRPS pain can change in an instant. The level 6/7 can quickly become a 12 or higher. I use numbers above a 10 beciase chronic pain doesn’t fit neatly into the 1-10 scale. Chron pain scale is 0 to 14+ (see photo of scale). Level 14 is unbearable pain where you cannot function and wish you were dead. My breaking point is usually a 12 though. It will last for hours to days when I am in a flare, especially if the weather is whacky like New England weather can be. I feel it when the barometric pressure goes up and down. I have kept a record of it and usually the barometric pressure of 29.5 to 30+ will increase my pain. I don’t sleep during these flares which only makes the pain worse to cope with. I have found that the higher my sleep deprivation is during these flares, the more likely I am to think of suicide and plan for ending my life. Once my sleep is some what back to normal, the suicidal impulses are lower.

say this not that

here is a link to an important article on suicide

Suicide: Say this, not that

what to say to someone that is suicidal. Please learn it and don’t be a dick.