Snapping Turtle: After My Appointment With My Psychologist

I was sort of honest with Dippy. I even told her about my self-harm and intrusive thoughts. She didn’t have much to say about that. She kept asking me questions like, “Have you seen anyone lately?” and “Have you been leaving your place much?” I kept saying, “I don’t know”, “I’m not sure” or ” that’s not relevant.”

I told her I wanted to focus on now. I asked her how to cope with all of this anxiety and everything else going on. She suggested BREATHING. Again. I told her I don’t find that relaxing and there must be other ways to help. She gave me a worksheet (at least she’s trying) and said to try to fill it out. It’s one of those: situation, thought, feeling, beliefs, thinking errors and challenging those thoughts kind of worksheets. I told her I have done similar stuff in the past and that I am brilliant at coming up with positive challenges to my thoughts. The only problem is I don’t believe them. I said that I would do it but the true thoughts will always be there. The negative thoughts are my true thoughts and they will override anything positive I come up with.

I asked her if she honestly thinks she can help me and she said she never gives up. That’s a little bit different to actually being able to help someone though. I said I don’t want to spend the rest of my days talking to professionals. I want strategies I can use. She asked me what helps and I said, “Xanax and Valium.”

I wasn’t in the best mood. I was snappy with her. She asked me what I really want and I said to die. She said that wouldn’t be ideal or something to the effect. Of course it wouldn’t be ideal. It would tear my family apart. I don’t want to hurt anyone but I can’t stand the way things are.

We talked about hospital. My doctor thinks I should go back, my family thinks I should go back. She asked what I thought and I said I just want everyone to leave me alone for a few weeks. I want to stop taking all of my meds and just see what happens. I know that’s not a smart idea but hospital is scary. It doesn’t matter how many times you’re admitted, it never stops being scary. Even if I went voluntarily, I would sign myself into their care and if they decided I was too extreme or not “behaving” I would get scheduled to a public ward and I can’t go through that again. I told her I hate not having control.

She said it’s up to me if I go back to see her and I tried to say nicely that maybe there are other people who might be better at helping me. Then again, I could get someone worse. She said to talk to my GP, I have to anyway if I plan to go back to her or to see someone else.

I got sent away with my worksheet, still confused and still unsure of what to do next.

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12 thoughts on “Snapping Turtle: After My Appointment With My Psychologist

  1. Those bloody thought challenging worksheets! I know CBT is a great skill, one everyone should be taught, but those worksheets drive me INSANE. I think I’ve done too many of them. That’s what comes from spending too much time in hospital last year 🙂

    Look, I trust you to find your best way forward. Sounds like we both survived our appointments today with gritted teeth! (My medications bloke still hasn’t done the paperwork I need him to complete. No comment.) I saw my friend in hospital straight afterwards (same building) and it was really nice; she did the venting for me. Also, the nurses were very complimentary – “you’re looking well” – “you’ve lost weight” – which in my case is good, because I’ve been trying to. Then a difficult but helpful session with my therapist. Talk about one helluva afternoon!

    it was nice to see my friend doing so well in hospital. It really is a haven for her.

    Take care. Stay in touch. XX

  2. Hmm… Perhaps this is presumptuous, but I think you’re coming up against the same problem I’ve been having, despite experiencing different amounts/types of anxiety & depression.
    Having done the CBT, and DBT. I use those and they help, but I have asked, and there is a ringing silence in answer to this question “Those aren’t enough, what next?”

    I want another step past just what I already know and use, the next step in the process of coping with my anxieties. But there doesn’t seem to be one, at least not one I’ve ever been directed at, or have yet found, for all my attempts at googlefoo-ing it out of the net.
    Perhaps that’s because there’s still a lot of room for innovation and learning when it comes to psychology, we are after all still in the process of figuring out how the brain works. But I feel like there *should* be more strategies for coping.
    Wellness shouldn’t hinge on ability to make this same small set of things, which we have already repeated ad-nauseam, work. (this time, the hundredth time)

    Maybe it’s just *how* you use the skills that I’m doing wrong, but if that’s the case I feel like someone should have told me long before now. Hopefully both of us can sort this out and find some coping mechanisms that work.

    • Yes, you’re so right. Is there something more than breathing, thought-challenging and mindfulness and if there is, why is it so hard to find it?
      I have a feeling I’m using the skills wrong too because why do they work for others and not for me? Why can I come up with all of the expected answers and not really believe them? I feel like it’s tricking my brain and I’m too aware of that. Thanks for sharing your experience, I am glad I am not alone in this.

  3. Yeah, those breathing exercises…The moment I hear those words I pretty much shut down. I know it helps to distract you from panic and anxiety etc, but really…if breathing helped I’m pretty sure people like you and I would have figured that out long ago. The beginning stages of therapy can be so tricky…I guess you just have to go with your gut and keep looking until someone who resonates with you comes along. I know that sounds exhausting *sigh*

    I do agree with you when you say “never giving up” and “being able to help” are two very different things. You are not obligated to continue seeing this one in therapy. Do your best to make a clear decision, be clear with your therapist and find what you need so you can heal. xx

    • Thanks Grainne,
      I think the worst part of the breathing exercises is that I can’t do them around others. My anxiety wont let me. I also find that when I say something doesn’t work for me, I am told to do it more often.
      My therapist might never give up but I wonder how many people have given up on her.

  4. Hello Snapping Turtle, 🙂 Very glad to see you still have your snap! Dippy does not sound very good. Plus you don’t like her. IMO you’re unlikely to progress with someone you dislike, regardless of the theory she uses.

    I earnestly tried CBT on myself, and it didn’t help. I’d just go round and round arguing with myself so I do understand where you’re coming from. I don’t think it’s a tool that works for everything. There are so many other approaches to try in therapy.

    • Hi Ellen, Thank you for your comment.I like Dippy as a person but not so much as a therapist. It seems like whoever I see and whatever type of therapy I do, it doesn’t fit me. Have you found a type of therapy which works for you?

      • I’ve been to a few therapists. I’ve quit a lot. I like the one I go to now, though we have our moments too. I’m like you – I struggle with Ts. This round of therapy is the first one where the client therapist relationship is part of the therapy. So if I feel badly about him, I say it, and we discuss it. It makes a huge difference. Overall, it’s psychodynamic. I did go private though. Good luck to you.

      • That’s so great that you’ve found a therapist whom you work well with. It shouldn’t be so hard to find someone helpful, I guess it’s like dating though. You just have to keep trying until you find someone you’re comfortable with. I will google psychodynamic therapy/therapists, thanks.

  5. at the risk of you cyber smacking me… Breathing is very important for panic attacks, for anxiety, not so much. For anxiety it is more complex though when in a panic attack the thought that something could be more complex is hard to imagine. You haven’t said much about panic attacks though… I feel they are not so much of an issue.

    Over powering anxiety yes. Breathing is not truly the answer now. During a panic attack you lose control of your breathing. With anxiety this is not usually the case, though it can be when anxiety becomes overpowering. But then the queasy stomach is a powerful feeling too and breathing is not going to do a blankety blank for that.When you push yourself into a situation where breathing or a panic attack becomes an issue, then yes, breathing is very important.

    oh but I havent given you the magic answer. The one you and so many search for. Honestly it is not a magic or simple answer. But, before you shrink back and moan. Therapy that is tailor made for you, designed for your anxiety, with a therapist that works with you.. will help you and give you tools to combat and beat anxiety. it will not happen overnight. it may take quite a while.. there is a lot of reshaping, helping you to think differently, not just about anxiety but about yourself. Working with your self outlook your self schema. How you think of yourself Double S. You are special, In a great way, YOU are a great person, you are not wanting, not deserving of the suffering you are going through. I see this, I know this. It is a fact.

    I know this is not what you wanted to hear. Before you shrink back, or give up, please keep reading.

    you are at the stage where you want help with this, I think, and I have seen others that say they are, but are not really, wanting help, you want help now though, and may work differently when the right help is offered. Your doctor now, maybe he can tell or point you to a therapist that will provide you with the therapy that is going to help you. You are pressing harder, aware that the meds are a bit of a bandaid but you need them, and right now you probably do, so do not just stop them.

    tapering off, with some help may be great, but you need a path when the meds are removed too double S. If they are gone, then what? with out help? How will you cope?

    Now again, don’t go.. oh crap she is right I give up. Never give up, fight harder, fight noiser. Fight angrier, as long as you fight. now I feel you truly are wanting help. This makes a difference to those that provide help, when they see you want it. You are starting to fight, yay you!

    So, in the past, do you think you presented the impression that you really wanted help? (after reading this, too, delete it if you think I have said too much. hugs)

    When i see someone that really really wants help, I know I can do more with them. I can push them harder, offer more, explain more and they will get it.

    Some just come in and want a pill…. I cant give them more than just that pill until they realize they need more than that… and I am not pointing fingers or drawing references. But when some go hey.. what can we do, what else is there? I smile, because then I know they are now listening, and wanting. I can now help them, give them tools.

    I will finish this with the reminder, that you know, I am here, tis far away, but I am here, you are not alone.

    Super big hugs.

    • Wow, Amber. Thanks for taking the time to write all of that! Firstly, Big hugs to you! I really am so grateful for your support.
      I’ll work my way backwards because I am lazy and I am scrolled down. Thank you for saying I am not alone. I’ve found so much support here on wordpress from you and from others, way more support than I seem to get outside of my computer.
      For a while I didn’t go to therapy at all. Probably because I was forced into it as a teenager. I just wanted a magic pill. I saw my psychiatrist regularly but didn’t want to work with anyone (it didn’t help that I had seen a lot of dud therapists.)
      The last time I was scheduled (Dec 2012) was when I decided I really wanted help beyond medication or rather I realised that I needed help beyond meds because there is only so much medication can do. That’s why I resumed therapy. Not long after that, I started this blog so you know that it hasn’t gone very well for me!
      I would absolutely love to have another way to cope beyond the meds. What if there is a zombie invasion and I can’t get to the chemist? (I seriously think of stuff like this!) Seriously though, it would be great to not have to take so much medication. I am not ruling it out completely. If I could cope on just an antidepressant or maybe seroquel or something, that would be fine.
      You know, outside of hospital, none of the therapists I’ve seen have asked what makes me anxious, like in the specific moment. You’re right that my anxiety is more generalised. I do get panic attacks from time to time but this constant anxiety/agitation is what rules and ruins my life. I am so thankful that you said breathing is not so helpful for GAD. Really, thank you because everyone else seems to think it’s going to fix me and I understand that when I am completely freaking out, sometimes it helps to slow down and breathe. I get the benefits of breathing but when anxiety is there all the time, I need something more than that. My face twisted into a sort of smile of satisfaction when I read what you said, especially about how breathing wont do a blankity blank for the nausea I get from anxiety.
      I will definitely have a big talk with my GP (it may take me a few weeks to organise that, I’m scared!) about the type of therapist I want and everything else going on. I usually try to act fine when I see him because I don’t want to make a scene or worry him but he needs to know everything. Maybe I’ll tell you about this need I feel to protect my GP in an email. There is a reason for it.
      Thanks a million, Amber, I really mean that. 🙂

  6. Pingback: Play Scrabble On My Legs | stunnedandstunted

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