Friday, September 6, 2013

One Big Step Forward...

I took a pretty big step for myself on Tuesday. I thought about talking about it then, but I wasn't sure how I was feeling about this particular thing, so thought waiting a few days might help me sort out my thoughts. And, that was ridiculous because waiting hasn't helped me at all. So, I'm just going to talk about how I feel about it at this point, then maybe again later. I don't know.

On Tuesday afternoon, after having a really, really bad weekend, I made myself an appointment to see a therapist.

Originally, I was going to go to my doctor and see who she recommended, but have since decided to skip over her and go straight to making a decision on my own. I'd asked her, my doctor, about whether I should see someone before and her answer has always been "not necessarily." So, I checked with my insurance to see who they paid for and came up with a huge list of practitioners. Hmm, practitioners? That word makes therapists sound like witch doctors, but whatever. Seeing how many there were made me feel a little bit overwhelmed, so I narrowed it down to doctors in Stephenville and our neighboring town, Granbury (about 25 miles from here). That helped, but there were still tons of them, everything from Master's level therapists through psychiatrists.

Rather than being overwhelmed, I just started Googling them. It's the best way I could think to learn more about them. I finally decided on the one who seemed most competent based on what I could learn about them online. So many of them have zero web-presence, but without something out there how am I supposed to learn about them and their approach?

The woman I'm choosing to see, with whom I have an appointment at 3:00 p.m. on the 16th, is a cognitive behavior therapist. Since she's master's level and a licensed processional counselor she's not going to try to give me meds, which is a good thing for me. I've tried the meds and though they made me feel better for a while, there came a point when I stopped feeling better and couldn't stop taking them because the side effects of quitting cold turkey were substantial. Besides, I figure if she's not helping me, or if she's not a good fit, or if I end up needing to see someone who can prescribe meds, I can always seek someone else. But, I'd rather try this approach first and see where it gets me.

And, I'm not just a little bit nervous about it. I never know what to expect, but I definitely expect it's going to be hard to talk to a stranger about my issues. Of course, I know that's exactly who I need to talk to about my issues, someone who doesn't know me personally. I just hope this helps me. I haven't seen a therapist/counselor in years. Not since I was 17 years old, and back then my psychologist saw me once before telling me I needed a psychiatrist. That psychiatrist diagnosed me with schizoaffective disorder (with bi-polar disorder and manic depression--can you have all those problems at once?), put me on Depakote (after learning that Paxil made my issues worse, not better), and suggested that I should consider leaving my then-fiancĂ©, who she thought was making my problems worse. Clearly, to my detriment, I didn't listen to her.

This time, I'm going as an adult, making the decision to seek help for herself. I hope that I can see inside myself enough to make this experience a fruitful, helpful one. I'm pretty tired of being so low. Wish me luck.