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Posts Tagged ‘therapist’

After fighting a deep depression for 1½ months, I finally came out and settled in at “normal”.   After a few days I should have been very pleased but I was frustrated. I felt bored. Totally and hopelessly bored and I didn’t know why or what to do with myself.

I had an appointment with my therapist. We talked about my sleep problems, I’d been getting only a couple of hours per night for a few weeks and by afternoon I would feel starved for sleep. We determined it was either my new meds causing it or a rebound effect from coming off the old meds if they helped me sleep.   It could also be a combination of both.

Finally, I told her how bored I felt. She asked me what I have been doing and I told her it was just the same routine stuff—nothing had changed. She said, “Oh, but it has.   How are you feeling?” “Normal.”, I said. And then she blew me away. She said that “normal” has left me with nothing to work hard at. When I’ve been at anything but normal, which is usually most of the time, I’ve had to work hard to continue to live a normal productive life.   It can be incredibly hard work but now I had nothing to work hard at, just routine chores or errands. She was right! It made perfect sense.

I’ve achieved 12 days of “normal”! And I feel free and content. Boredom fled when I realized the reason for it. This is bliss and I have to believe it will stay this way. I know in reality the odds are stacked that I’ll slide up or down again. But negative thinking brings me down. The work now is to stay positive, believe for the best outcome and live in the moment. That’s not very hard work at all.

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Last week I went with my husband to see a psychologist he had an appointment with – it was supposed to be about him and how he supports me.  Somehow, the attention turned to me.  The therapist took great interest in me, my bipolar experience and some issues I have.  She asked if I would like to be her patient.  I like her, she’s very direct so I said yes. (My husband will now come with me only occasionally. He is no longer the patient, which was his intent anyway.)  Tomorrow is my very first visit as her patient.

I know she will be asking tons of questions, but I have a few of my own for her too:

  1.  What methods will we be using, CBT or others?  If others please explain them.
  2.  How do you treat a bipolar patient when all goals have been reached?.  When you feel your
    client has mastered all the coping skills, and we have completely covered any other life
    issues, are we done until I have a problem again? Or in the beginning, do we have regular
    follow-up visits every 3 or 6 months to be sure I stay on track? (Past therapists just cut me
    off until I had another problem. I’m not sure if this is good or bad.)  I think 6 month
    or even yearly follow-ups might be a good idea to help me remain focused and tweak coping
    approaches.  Why wait until there is a fire to put out?
  3. Besides honesty, what do you need from me?  What are your expectations so I have a clear
    understanding?

Then there is what I want her to know:

  1. I am a hard worker, compliant with medications and doctors instructions, and I do my best, whatever
    it takes, to achieve wellness and order.
  2. I am a quick learner and will ask questions if I need to understand a concept completely.
  3. I appreciate directness, even if it hurts sometimes. It brings me to the heart of a matter much
    more quickly than dancing around an issue to spare my feelings.

It should prove to be an interesting morning.

What are some questions you would to pose to a therapist you are just getting to know?

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When I was first diagnosed with bipolar disorder, my psychiatrist and my husband were the only people that knew. And only my psychiatrist and I knew what meds I was on and why. My family physician didn’t know and I didn’t have a therapist yet.

 I read an article about the importance of sharing information between doctors so that they and I would be my healthcare team. A loved one (my husband) would also take part and be prepared to act as an advocate in case I can’t speak for myself. This really made me think hard.

Why is it so important? Most of us don’t have doctors who talk to each other. My family physician knows my diagnosis so she can be aware of improvements or declines in my condition. She also checks my thyroid and cholesterol levels along with a few other tests to know whether or not my medications are impacting my health. They have in a couple of areas so I was able to report back to my psychiatrist exactly what my physician found. We were then able to discuss whether or not I needed an adjustment or change in my meds

 I eventually did find a therapist and kept him informed of all that was going on medically. He could often tell if there were changes for better or worse and suggest what I might want to discuss with my doctors. He also helped me deal with my early frustrations with just having bipolar and my fears about what the meds might do and were doing to my body. (I just started seeing a new therapist and like her so far.)

I keep my husband informed of all that is discussed with all of these doctors and the therapist. Often, he goes with me to the psychiatrist so he can ask questions because he wants to be a strong support for me..

I am the one at the core of this team, keeping each of them informed of what is happening with the others. And I work hard at leading a healthy and active life. I’ve learned numerous coping skills to help me live a productive and normal life as best as is possible.   And the coping skills that I use are discussed with everyone on my team. I have been reminded by one or the other of them a couple of times to remember to use music or some other method that slipped my mind

My husband, my psychiatrist, my physician, my therapist and I make a good team and I can say I’m quite healthy because of it.

Have you put together a team or plan and has it worked well for you?

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Rev. Shane L. Bishop

Musings of Rev. Shane L. Bishop

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The triumphs and struggles of living with bipolar disorder