NOTE: If you are new to this space, I would suggest you go back a couple posts to catch up as I have this aversion to repeating myself. If you are a long time reader and wondering what’s up with the new direction, I suggest you do the same. I assure you, fashion is still a big part of this blog, but this is my life now. I’m receiving treatment for my longtime mental illness and thanks to my support system I’ve been inspired to make the posts I write for therapeutic purposes available to the public. I was asked several times to share my story and the process of recovery, and I now understand how important openness is regarding this still taboo subject. thus, I plan to do my part and be as transparent as possible while preserving the necessary privacy of myself and those around me.
Today was the first day of my outpatient treatment program. I met with a new psychologist who will focus solely on me, as I already have another psychologist I’ve reassigned to work on my relationship with my husband. She took my history and was very compassionate and understanding. We went over a handful of my PTSD triggers (social situations, being in the hospital, past physical, sexual, and mental abuse, and my experience during training in the Army) and my social and general anxiety. We also spoke of my negative coping methods and vices I feel a strong desire to address and manage, as well as my goal to attend group therapy.
I began the day very nervous but hopeful. I was excited, yet annoyed that I would have to start all over again with a new therapist and repeat my story yet once more. But I knew I needed to do this. I have no other choice. I find myself barely functioning, and there are still days at a time where I am completely indisposed dealing with my psychosis. I’m sick of those days. I’m sick of being sad for no apparent reason. I’m sick of feeling the sheer terror on an almost daily basis. I’m sick of feeling like I’m going to die. I’m sick of missing out on quality time with friends and family. I’m sick of failing my co-workers and feeling like my job is in jeopardy because I can’t bring myself to focus on my work. And I’m just plain sick of the physical sickness that manifests during these episodes and the toll it takes on my body. I just can’t anymore. Its time to move forward.
The Dr sat across from me taking notes and listened attentively as I recounted instance after instance of neglect and abuse. I took my ADHD medication this morning to try to maintain focus so I could stay on topic and relay cohesive thoughts, yet she still had to politely interrupt me to keep me on on track and on schedule. She said things like “that must have been hard for you”, and “You seem to hold up very well given all of these circumstances”, validating my feelings and assuring me I was capable of recovery. We set goals such as getting to the root of my social anxiety so I can attend intensive outpatient group therapy in the future, addressing and breaking my dependencies on vices, and developing more positive coping methods. She listened to my story about inpatient care and was shocked that I went through so much in a week, letting me know that that specific hospital should not be an option for me in the future as it does far more harm than good. She asked me to explain what a flashback consisted of and what happens in my dark place. She was easy to talk to, easier than any other Dr I’ve ever had. I feel safe with her and I know she will be able to help me. I did fail to tell her about my goal of overcoming severe hydrophobia, but I feel like that specific problem can wait for a while, I’ve got more pressing issues to address right now.
We went to schedule more appointments after the hour was up, and unfortunately she is not available during the month of August as often as I would like to see her (my goal was 2 or 3 times a week for the foreseeable future) but I will see her once a week for now and then twice a week beginning next month until I am ready to attend group sessions. Its not quite the intensive program I want and need, but it will have to due for now. I’m just thankful I have a job that allows me to take these moments of mandatory self care and a support system cheering me on the entire way.
I saw my Psychiatrist (the Dr who only prescribes medications if you are unfamiliar with the difference between the two titles) as well today and she decided to adjust my medications, again. The new anti psychotics I received in the institute seem to be keeping me pretty stable but my general and social anxiety is so high, its time to try something new. But allow me to give you some of my history with this woman so you may understand how hard it is to receive proper help. She is in her late 80s. I am not an ageist, I honor the elderly and feel you should do whatever in the fuck you wanna do until you just can’t do it anymore. And this woman, in my opinion, just cant do it anymore. She needs to retire ASAP. She is combative and defensive, and worst of all, very VERY forgetful. She forgets what meds she has put me on and argues with me all the time about what I’ve tried and what I haven’t. She loses important documents constantly even though they tend to be in the chart shes holding in her hands. She absentmindedly changes my appointments, insisting that she has or has not seen me that month. She asks for the same info over and over again even though I watch her write it down each time. And she gets angry when I question her. When I asked to be officially diagnosed because I felt like I wasn’t being treated for the right ailment as some of my symptoms plateaued and some became worse, she copped an attitude with me. She literally threw the paperwork with the neuropsychologists contact info at me, dismissed me from her office, and took me off all of my meds… leaving me to fend for myself for about a month. She has significantly messed with my well being, I’ve been bedridden because she messes with my meds with no rhyme, reason, or explanation. I eventually stood up for myself against her when she argued a silly case of semantics with me (the topic was whether or not I was on the ‘wrong’ medication. The fact is, I was indeed on the ‘wrong’ medication, I was on something I was allergic to and needed to be placed on a different brand with in the same class of medications, they just don’t like to say ‘wrong’ medication in the medical field… they like to say you need a ‘different brand’ of medication) and she actually threatened to dump me as a patient. I’ll go more in to detail regarding how hard it was to find her clinic in the first place in a future post, but lets just say, I was furious with her and had a bit of a freakout, refusing to leave her office until she addressed all of my concerns to my complete satisfaction. Now, I will admit shes been pretty easy to deal with since that blow out, and I believe she was spoken to by her boss, who also happens to be my marriage counselor, so maybe she was told to adjust her attitude. I only put up with her so I can get my meds to function. I am actively looking for a new Psychiatrist, but getting help in this city is tiring work. Regardless, I got what I needed out of her today.
So thats it. For all the anxiety, it was a relatively painless day. I feel like I’m finally on the right track and getting the help I need. I can’t wait until next week, we will be going over the stress around my wedding which did quite a bit of damage to myself and my husband, including our relationship. That is a subject I won’t go too in to detail with to preserve the privacy of my husband, our family, and my friends, but it is something I’ve needed to address and cope with so you’ll hear more about my session next week. If you suffer from PTSD, anxiety, or any other serious mental illness, I hope you take the steps towards recovery. Its hard, but you are worth it. Please feel free to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments.