26 October 2009

DBT Therapist, Appt #1

Well, I am finally caught up with keying in everything I had written in my journal since my “visit” to the ER. No more date stamping my titles! You know, my handwriting can really suck at times!

I agreed to this appointment as a condition of my release (in addition to the outpatient treatment program I am in, they wanted me to start seeing an individual therapist). Just so it would appear that I was being a “good little girl” I showed up.

While I was in the waiting room, filling out yet more “new patient” forms (hell, they already have a copy of my records from the hospital, why can’t they just read that?), I could feel my anger building. I didn’t want to be here. I had no expectations. And I sure as hell don’t trust the system not to lock me back up if I say how I really feel.

(For the first time since I started this blog, I am not so sure I feel safe even writing what I really do feel here. No one who knows me personally has the link to or the name of my blog, not that I can remember, anyway. At what point do I end up surrendering my 1st Amendment rights?)

I was actually somewhat surprised by this first visit. I wasn’t even sure we would “click.” I tried to get through to her that I did not care whether things “improved.” Of course she asked me if I was suicidal and I just laughed and asked her if she really expected me to answer that after everything that had happened (she started scribbling on her clipboard). She asked a few questions about my history and previous suicide attempts (more scribbling), but all-in-all, she got it that I was incredibly angry. She said my continued participation with her was strictly voluntary at this point.

Sure, I told her that I thought that my life sucks (did not expand on why at this point, but more scribbling anyway), that I had no clue as to how I thought she could help me, and that I thought DBT was for the birds (more scribbling). Then I simply asked her, “How can you even deal with me if I’m in a space where I don’t even WANT to use the tools—that I just don’t give a damn?” And she said that this would be a good place to start. At least she acknowledged where I was rather than determining that I was “unwilling “or “uncooperative.” She said that a return visit was clearly up to me. She didn’t try to preach about tools/coping skills or what I should be doing. She said that obviously I had to decide if I wanted to try to figure out why I was feeling the way I did well before I could do anything about it. It was the first reasonable thing I had heard anyone say to me to date.

I could tell that the time was almost up. She asked me if I felt suicidal, would I be willing to call the hospital, and I emphatically told her absolutely not (more scribbling). Then she handed me my sheet with which to check out, gave me her card, and told me if I wanted to come back to just call and make an appointment.

As I stood in line to sign out, I looked at what she checked off under “diagnosis.” She indicated bipolar (good catch) and anxiety disorder (yet a new label for me, oh goodie). However, conspicuously absent (despite the records from the hospital and the information I filled out on her “new patient” form) was borderline personality disorder. She was still in the hallway, so I called her back up and asked her about that. She said that she didn’t think it was appropriate. Well, I got tagged with that label back in 2005, and with everything I tried to learn about BPD, it seemed to be right up my alley. I told her that I thought it was amazing how no one wants to deal with that issue with me, not even my own psychiatrist and now her. She said that I was operating under an assumption that she didn’t think was accurate, but reached over and checked it off on my sheet and walked back down the hall. What’s up with that? Is BPD the dreaded mental illness that no one wants to discuss? All anyone ever wants to deal with is my bipolar.

When I went to pay (yay—only have a 10% co-pay and today’s, the most expensive appointment since it was an initial workup, was only $12), for some reason I did decide to make a return appointment. Don’t know why, or what I expect, but I thought I’d give it a shot. She has been the only person so far that seemed to be interested in the reasons why.

Meanwhile, she’s going to contact the outpatient therapy program @ the hospital to indicate that I did complete the follow-up appt (I went to see her today instead of the outpatient program), as well as contact my psychiatrist (he asked me to have her contact him for ongoing continuity of care). Since I admitted to her that I hadn’t bothered taking any of my meds since discharge, I guess that cat is out of the bag. I see my shrink Wednesday. I wonder what that visit will be like?

Why am I so resistant to taking my meds—even the blood pressure meds? Everything keeps coming back around to “I don’t care.”©2009

1 comment:

  1. Well Alix, all I have to say is "YES"!!! I think it sounds like you have found a therapist who gets it! AND it sounds like you are ready to open up and try DBT too! I am in my last week of a 6 week intensive DBT group program. I am only just starting to get it now. The first few weeks were pretty tough. I thought the mindfulness exercises were silly. The "half smile" technique was ridiculous (it really works by the way) and how in the hell was I going to figure out how to tap into my "wisemind". Some of the people in my group are doing the class for the second time! That was encouraging (sense the sarcasm)? The trick was that I stuck to it and eventually it started to click for me. Just keep reminding yourself that for things to get better, it's you who has to do the work because no one else will! It sucks I know but who knows? Maybe this time next year you and I will be DBTing the shit of our "issues" and will be living a better life!:) I don't know where all of this optimism is coming from but I'm going to hold onto it for dear life! It's great being in touch with you and I thank you for your comments on my blog. It makes me feel like someone is listening;)