A Journey To Finding A New Therapist
It took months of fighting with my husband to get me into a therapist.
I was afraid of the old stigma, what would people say if they knew? Would finding out more about a possible diagnosis keep me from being able to work? Would this damper the relationships with family and friends? I was starting to worry about what it meant to be truly crazy, if that is what I was.
As far back as I could remember, my life was always chaos- my husband eventually saved me from that. I grew up in an abusive family with a father that was later diagnosed with his own mental illnesses but chose not to take the advice of the doctors and instead would go on bipolar rampages abusing everyone around him. I fled from the home as much as I could as a child, by my teen years, my mother who had her own bouts with long term depression would take to kicking me out, saying in her mind she thought it was the right thing to do because she was protecting me from seeing the chaos we lived in- only it made me feel more isolated and vulnerable, I now realize as an adult.
I never got into drugs or drinking, but I found boys which lead to many situations where I was taken advantage of and I just went with it because I was made to feel like it was the only way that I would belong. At some point in my later teen years, I went though a six month depression where I only left the house to go to school and work. I don't really know what the falling out with friends was about, just I no longer had the interests that they had.
I never actually tried to kill myself with intention, but I thought things would be easier and tried all the typical teenage motivations like starving myself, and cutting with razors.
Somehow I made it into adulthood, in this slow zombie crawl where I never felt focused or part of the group.
Looking back I grabbed onto the wrong people because I felt like I finally had a family but they were always someone else's friends that just regarded me as an acquaintance, yet their interactions meant the world to me.
Before I met my husband, I actually stayed friendly with a man that was always pressing to be more than a friend and on occasion we would play at a relationship but he reminded me of my father with his outbursts and treated me terribly. I was always looking for a way out and tolerated being around him because I was told it was the only way to keep the mutual friends in my life. Most of the time he was too drunk to even do more than scream and at me and pass out, but after tolerating a few assaults, I finally pulled myself up by my bootstraps and decided I couldn't live like this any longer.
Thankfully the man that would later become my husband was now in my life and for a time things got better. I was elated, happier than I had ever been. I was finally finding a purpose to be alive.
But after years, the darkness that I had told him about in little spurts was coming back and the more I tried to hold it inside, the dam finally had broken.
I was becoming combative for no reason with people at work, my family, my in-laws, and I couldn't explain why I was always so sad.
My anxiety was at a ten and I was constantly paranoid. My day would start from being afraid to drive to work, go to work, come home from work, what happens if the house was on fire, what happens if I lost my job...My life was just beginning to be one run on sentence.
My husband begged me to get help.
The first therapist I found I made it to the office but had a breakdown in the car and kicked and screamed and cried until my husband drove me home without seeing the doctor.
It took months again, things were getting worse. I felt like I was going to lose my job. I was losing my mind.
My husband talked me into going to a psychiatrist. For six weeks before my appointment after I had gotten a referral from another therapist that I saw for only an hour before running and never going back; I agonized what they would say. I studied up online what was the questions I would be asked. I tried to understand what exactly would happen.
I was terrified they would take me away from my family if I said the wrong thing.
For weeks I agonized over what types of questions I would be asked, studying up on how to clearly give responses that wouldn't be taken out of context. I was paranoid of doctors because of my parents views on them and how they would lie to their own doctors to keep from divulging too much information.
Dr John, Then He's Gone
I don't think I had slept for about three nights before I was finally going into to see a the psychiatrist that I will only refer to as Dr John.
The morning of the appointment, I was convinced that I was never coming back to my apartment in one piece. My husband was worried, but he was stern with me, chasing me down to the car and deciding to drive so I couldn't turn off anywhere else. As we waited for the clinic to open, I sat in the passenger seat digging my fingernails into my palms. Somehow pain always made everything better mentally.
That goes back to childhood I guess when I figured out getting hit by your parent was better than their disillusioned I'm disappointed in you- especially with crazy parents that instead of the typical terms would refer to you by nasty swears and vulgar terms looking to add further humiliation to the ordeal. I'd lived though being called a curse word for finishing a gallon of milk and then have it be followed by a day more of curse words and my father adding phrases like "I wish you were dead," so taking a beating or retreating to my room to jab myself with a razor blade under my fingernail was always better.
When I was given the questionnaire, I wasn't sure how helpful it was to play all my cards in one hand so I amended the portions about sexual abuse, domestic violence, and only really said I was experiencing severe panic attacks and I didn't know what about stress with work, marriage, and general adulting was kicking them into high gear again.
I instantly felt comfortable with Dr John, although I don't know why he reminded me of a uncle that I never really knew from my mother's side of the family. Something about the way he actually seemed to listen to me when I was talking and didn't really insert his opinions.
I was given a prescription for a medication to take the edge off the anxiety and scheduled to come back in two weeks but I was just about to start a new job. I said that I would call later that week once I knew the start day and schedule my appointment.
That was the last time I saw Dr John.
The Longest Months
I called back once I knew the schedule at the new job, ready to take on the responsibility of getting healthy, both for myself and my family.
I couldn't apologize enough to my husband what a tyrant I had been for the last year. I thought a lot of it was hormonal after the birth of our son, but I wasn't sure as the doctor never really diagnosed me with postpartum but I hadn't been too honest either. I remember a night about three weeks after he was born when I was laying in bed next to my husband wishing that I could just die. There was no really threat to it, just that if there was an afterlife, could I be ported there now as I was ready to leave everything behind and go.
I called the clinic to reschedule my next appointment with Dr John, whom had been so considerate of my feelings in the first session and I could feel myself about to open up to more about the things that I couldn't share with anyone. Not even my husband sometimes, in fear of hurting his feelings. I wanted Dr John to be my leader in this process.
The reception told me that he didn't have evening or weekend appointments, which ruled out my new work schedule. I asked if they had any suggestions and said they would talk to Dr John.
I was hoping that he could still take me on as a patient somehow, I hadn't reported back how I was responding to the medication. I wanted to share some of the insight on things he asked for me to reflect on for the next session.
The best he could do was transfer me to the care of someone else in the practice.
My anxiety grew tenfold.
I didn't know what any of this meant, if I would like the new person. Could I trust this new doctor? What if they didn't agree with the medication I was on? Was there a chance that I could still end up losing everything if the new doctor couldn't fix me?
It took about six weeks before the new doctor could ever get me on their schedule and I fretted and made matters work for myself. I had several freak outs. My husband would sometimes cry watching me go crazy as I waited for this new appointment.
I had gotten cross a few times with people at the new job, unable to explain that I was in therapy and was still trying to figure out medication and that my whole embankment into mental health had been cut short when I couldn't get back into the Dr that I thought I could trust.
Fortunately, I didn't lose my job or the friends I was slowly gaining in the new workplace.
I counted the days until I met with the new Dr, who I will call Dr Greg.
Now Presenting Dr Greg
Seeing Dr Greg was almost over before it even started after waiting six weeks for an appointment.
With no insurance from my old job, and being under ninety days at my new job, and deciding to opt out of the benefits package as I couldn't afford to lose that much of my paycheck- I didn't have a way to pay for seeing Dr Greg unless he had a sliding scale or I would pay out of pocket.
Twice the receptionist called to change my appointment as first the week they had me at a later evening appointment, Dr Greg wouldn't be available. Then I was changed to a weekend, even though I swore the receptionist had told me no one did weekends when I was still with Dr John.
I fretted and worried for days about what to say to Dr Greg, my same old worries that played whenever something was out of the normal schedule. I wondered if he would think I was crazy. I wondered if he would change my medication.
The day came, and I met with Dr Greg. It was a weekend and he was dressed down in blue jeans and cable knit sweater. He was rail thin, hardly intimidating with a kind face that I remember on Dr John.
I had things I hadn't told Dr John, downplaying the elements of the depression and making my panic attacks seem less frequent but to Dr Greg, I gave a little more information; still testing the waters to see how I felt about telling everything to a strange man I was paying to listen to me.
Dr Greg gave me another prescription and tweaked my previous one. I don't know if its an actual affect of the medication or the feeling that I may finally be on the right track to finding a cure and the source of my anxiety that made me feel better.
Since seeing Dr Greg, I have only been a little down, hardly frazzled. I hope to be able to open up more to him overtime and see if there is anyway to fill in the cracks that have been left in me from previously in life.
I need to keep going for myself and my family.
I need to keep working on getting better.
I have to thank my husband for not letting me give up on getting help when so many times I wanted to just turn away from it and let whatever happens happens but I can't let him down like that.
I can't let myself down either.