Category Archives: Therapy

A Long Overdue Update

Image: blank wordle computer game board

I just realized I never gave an update on my Covid experience. After 19 days of isolating, I finally tested negative and was feeling better. I had given a month’s notice at work, but I was out for 3 weeks. I only worked 2 days/week, so I went back for my final 2 days. They quickly improvised and had people sign a card and ordered cupcakes. It was nice.

I am not sure what I want to do with my time, now. I have been going to an activity center that I used to work at, as a member now, and participate in a group. It is a course that ends in 2 weeks. I think I will continue going to one or two groups/week after it ends. I give talks for NAMI, National alliance on mental illness. I did one over zoom and they played it on the tv at the center.

I do want to do other volunteer work, but I don’t want to commute or commit too much time. I have some opportunities already. I stopped working mainly because I was having trouble hearing. I got hearing aids at the beginning of the year but it has been hard to adjust, I am having another hearing test and they will clean the hearing aids in November. I want to get to where I can hear well, before I commit to any type of peer support.

I like playing little computer games. I finally tried wordle and I think it is fun. I usually can get the word but it takes a number of guesses. I find it relaxing.

About a month after I got over Covid my husband and daughter caught it. My husband travels and I think he must have caught it at a conference. My daughter is super careful, but she still caught it. She felt pretty lousy, lost taste and smell. She isolated for 10 days. My husband did pretty well, he took Paxlovid with no rebound. He was better in 5 days.

I have given up on making the coconut milk yogurt for now. I am making chia pudding with coconut milk instead. It tastes pretty good. I add fruit and granola.it is really easy to make. I have a recipe for a small volume but I make more. If anyone is interested I will post the recipe. You can use other types of milk.

I saw a video on internal family systems therapy. It looked interesting. I don’t know if I would be able to connect with other parts of myself. I searched for a therapist and found one but she does not work at the company anymore. They recommended a few other therapists. I don’t think the woman on the phone understood what I was asking for. I have a zoom appointment with a therapist on Saturday. She is on my insurance plan. I like the therapist I had/have?, but he only wants to see me as needed and I think I would feel more comfortable seeing someone on a regular basis. I can’t find much on the new therapist through google. Just on the company’s website.

I had an issue finding a psychiatrist my insurance would cover. I saw one who I liked, but I they first denied the claim and eventually changed to covering. I saw a different psychiatrist in the same office. I had a bad experience the first appointment. The next appointment was better. But, I found the other psychiatrist is in network now, so I switched back. I go in November. He does therapy, too, so that could be an option and I always have the one, as needed. I think he will retire soon, also,

Inviting the Dragon to Tea

I don’t have an appointment with my therapist since I am seeing him as needed. I emailed him the dragon slayer story. He suggested that I should invite the dragon in for tea. When he starts saying I am worthless, a failure, no good, I will argue with evidence to prove that is not true, I wrote something, listing some of my qualities. I can’t get out of the values assignment.

Dragon silhouette

I saw an ad on Linked In for a site called Share Well, sharewellnow.com It is a site for hosting video support groups. I went to one on depression tonight. It was pretty good. After you go to one, you can sign up to host. I made one for psychosis and/or mood disorders for the 15th. I am going out of town the 6/8-6/14. I set it for one hour. I am hoping people want to talk but I will prepare some things in case I need. They are free sessions. If you are an expert, you can charge people to attend.

I went to a family gathering, my husband’s side. I went off by myself quite a bit. His family is friendly, no one was bothering me, I just did not feel social. At one point I left and sat in the car just to get away.

My car airbag light turned on. We had to get it fixed at the dealership $1000. I was not sure if we should get a new car but my husband pointed out that we can’t sell a car like that. I do want a newer car, but everything is so expensive right now.

Dragon Slayer

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My therapist decided that I am doing well enough and run out of things to say, so he will see me as needed. I was feeling down earlier this month and he was able to give me a phone appointment.  I had an epiphany of sorts, maybe obvious to others but it struck me.

Image: Dragon silhouette

I was raised that you were valued for performance/achievements. So, any time I feel I did an inadequate job I think  I am bad/worthless.  So, little things can spiral me into depression.  

I emailed that to my therapist and this is what he wrote back:

       ”  do two things:

first, list the values you would choose to measure your life by then how you see yourself adhering to it…..

second, would you use the same standards that you grew up with to measure your children’s worth or value…..

write this out…..

lastly keep the things you have written out to re read anytime you begin to experience these thoughts….. and shame that comes with it”

There is no time limit since I don’t have another appointment set, but I have started thinking about it.  

I went to a journaling group on zoom last night. Everyone has some kind of illness so I can talk about mental health and it is not weird,

They have different prompts and you choose one and write for 10 minutes, then you can share. I usually share,

The prompt I chose was fighting your metaphorical dragon.

This is it, It is really rough but I like the imagery. 

The dragon in my life is negative core beliefs. I was raised to believe that how you performed was related to your worth. Whenever I think I did an inadequate job, I think I am a failure and worthless, I fall into a pit rapidly.

To fight my dragon, I would face him head on at first. I would yell and stab at him to get my anger out.

Then I would turn away in disbelief.   The dragon is not real, but I am keeping his image alive.  When I stop believing he will get smaller and smaller until he disappears.

I will rejoice and not miss him when he is gone.

Update

Image: Yellow smiley face

My therapist was able to fit me in with a phone appointment on my lunch break Monday. He validated my feelings which helped a lot. Then, he gave me cognitive behavioral therapy homework to find evidence about being worthless, a failure, etc. There is no deadline. I don’t have a scheduled appointment. I will let him know if I need an appointment. He is going to retire soon.

Then, I talked to the assistant to my boss, I don’t know her title, and told her how I have been feeling. She said she has had no complaints from anyone about me. That helped, too. I made sure to document my encounters this week and this month already looks better.

I have a LinkedIn friend, I don’t know if we have met ever, who volunteers in my field. She mentioned she was looking for work. I told her we had an opening, part time and how to apply. She jumped on it and got the job. I think today is her first day. I hope it goes well for her.

I saw my new psychiatrist. He works in the same office as my last one, but he is covered by my insurance. I don’t know what to think of him. He barely spoke to me, just checked boxes while I talked which was off putting. He took a personal call. I am maxed out on the meds I take and he thinks my antipsychotic is too high, so he decreased it and told me how to taper down. No one has wanted to change my meds because they are working. He does not want to see me for 3 months.

I am a little worried I will destabilize in that time. When I made the appointment for August, I asked if they can switch me back to the other doctor when they get the insurance worked out. They put me on a list.

Sad

What do you do when all your coping skills only help a little?

Image view of blue sky from hole in ground

I am in a pit. I know it will pass, but it feels agonizing. My dog and husband try to comfort me, it helps some. I had thoughts of not existing but I have decided against that. I am here to stay, even if I am miserable. I want to quit things that cause me stress. My husband wants me to wait a month to make Important decisions.

I am not sure what I would do with more free time. My therapist moved my appointments further and further out because I was doing well and had trouble coming up with things to talk about. So, he moved me to “as needed”. Now, I need it but I have to wait for a time he can fit me in. I see my third psychiatrist this year next week. My insurance has been denying claims.

If you have any tips on how to ride this out please comment

Therapy PRN?

Image: dinosandcomics cartoon I hate leaving the house, why are you here then, well…, I have to have something to talk to my therapist about

I started seeing a new therapist when my insurance changed in January.  He started spacing our sessions further apart because I am doing well and run out of things to say.  Last month he told me he thinks I just need to see him, as needed, and to contact him if I need an appointment.

I don’t know what to think.  I am happy I am doing well but did not know I could finish, with a chronic mental health condition.  I do like checking in with someone but I have a psychiatrist and support group and people around me.

When I ask people about it they think I am unhappy and tell me to speak up, but that is not the issue.  I am unsure how I feel.  I am getting used to the idea now.

 

I also changed psychiatrist with the insurance change. But, I am having more insurance issues. He is part of a medical group that is covered but they are not recognizing him in their system. They covered the first appointment but denied the second. I filed a grievance and the psychiatrist office says it will be taken care of.  It still makes me nervous.

 

Work is going fine. I work 2 days and they hired someone to work the other 3.  I was wondering what he was doing. Work would be piled up for me when I came in.  I just found out he has not been working there for over a month  I feel silly for not knowing, but no one told me.

 

Weight watchers is going fine.  I had a birthday and celebrated with some desserts.  My weight has been going up and down but at least it I have not be gained.  I am getting back at it. I got a recipe book when I signed up and have made a few recipes.  I made slow cooked oats with fruit and a hash brown and egg meal.  I have coconut milk yogurt cooking overnight.  I plugged in a blueberry muffin recipe and it is 6 pts which is okay for a treat but I have to limit to one.

 

 

New Year, New Docs and Parenting Woes

Image man lying down on therapist couch

My health insurance changed in January. My primary care is the same, but I had to get a new therapist in January. I was approved continuation of care with my psychiatrist, but that fell throug, so I had to find a new psychiatrist, too.

I saw the new psychiatrist on Thursday. Fortunately, he did not want to change my medications. I have been on this combo for years. A friend had recommended a different doctor in the practice but he was booked up so they assigned me to this one. I googled and found him but did not get much information. He seems nice. He ordered refills. Our next appointment is over the phone next month.

I like my new therapist. He makes me think. I asked him what he meant by that article on brain hemispheres and he said just that you can change your thinking at any age.

My daughter is 23 and lives with us. She graduated college last year and plans to get her teaching credential. But, she has not applied, yet. She is afraid to learn to drive and is afraid of Covid. She has a job at the library. We drive her back and forth, which is okay. She just goes to work and home and spends a lot of time in her room.

My therapist suggested we are enabling her to avoid self awareness, and how satisfying is her life if she is isolating? Another thing that is making me wonder. I don’t go out much myself and I feel content. It is not out of fear, I am just fine at home. I mentioned her at a support group and they said we are enabling by driving her and that she may stay home until in her 30s. I don’t know what to think. She seems fine, rarely complains. We did not get along for years and we are in an okay place now.

I don’t know what we should be doing, if anything.

I have joined an art journaling group. It meets once a month. The teacher is a therapist, but it is not therapy. She just charges a donation. She brings up a subject for inspiration. This week she wanted us to bring light to Ukraine. We worked with mandalas which is a circle. I like the way mine turned out. I am not artistic but it is still enjoyable.

Image: blue and yellow circles with yellow heart and sunflower in center. Words: hope, support, power of love

I also joined an online journaling group. It disappeared and I thought they weren’t going to have it anymore, but it is back at a different time. It is enjoyable, too.

What is one thing you have always wanted to do?

Image palm trees and water

I saw my therapist today telehealth. One thing he asked me was what do I do for fun or to relax. My knee jerk reaction was that I don’t know how, but I corrected myself. I am a couch potato but I enjoy computer games. I am happy on my couch with my dog typing right now. He asked what is one thing I have always wanted to do, for example, travel, and would I be disappointed if I never do it. I rarely travel, and would like to, but I don’t have a dream destination that I would be upset about not going. I can vacation in my backyard. We go on short overnight trips about an hour away that I enjoy.

It did get me thinking, though, I want to visit my sister in Boston when the weather is nicer. She suggested summer or fall, I have been there once when she first moved but it was a different house. She has a lake she likes to go to that I want to see. I can start planning that trip. My nephew is getting married out of the country but I don’t think I will go. I would like to but it won’t upset me not to be there. Just the coat is too much.

I have new health insurance and took a survey and the result said I am depressed but I feel fine. I am going to ignore that result.

I joined this zoom journaling group through the Mighty. I know everyone has a health condition, not sure if it is all mental health. They list prompts, give 10 minutes to write, share and then repeat. It goes for 3 hours but I leave early because I have another zoom, DBSA later. I feel like my writing is rainbows and puppy dogs and other people go deep. They are nice to me, I can’t go this week but I think I will continue. I know I have other emotions they just aren’t being prompted.

i zoomed with endocrinologist after therapist.My labs were good. I told her I stopped keto in dec and don’t want to go back to where I started but I don’t like logging food and counting carbs. She said I can visually see if my meals are less than 1/4 starchy carbs. I fill myself up with veggies. Beans are my main starchy food. I can do that.

I got a call from an old co worker. we worked at an activity center for adults with mental health issues. we have both moved on. he is now working at a new peer advocacy non profit, I don’t know if it is the grass looking greener. I am content where I am but get antsy when I am not busy I have a lot of down time that should change once I can get trained on some more tasks.

Sensory Coping Skills

Image: essential oil inhaler, sock, modeling clay, lemon heads and phone with image of bedroom with dog

My health insurance changed, so I have a new therapist. I have seen him twice, so far. I am doing well, so we may move to monthly appointments.

He went over some sensory and other coping skills and assigned me to get items. I have a post “Coping With Schizoaffective Disorder” https://lorib434.wordpress.com/2017/03/20/coping-with-schizoaffective-disorder/ These are additional tools

The first is a calming essential oil, like lavender. I don’t like that so I got chamomile and an inhaler. I was skeptical but I enjoy the scent.

The next was a photo of a safe scene.it could be a place in nature, whatever you feel is safe. I took a picture of my bedroom with my dog. That is my safe place.

Music. Something relaxing like rainfall or ocean waves. I found some nature sounds on YouTube.

Fabric, an item that is soft to hold. I bought a fuzzy sock at the dollar store.

Lemon drops or sour candy

Some other things he recommended:

Box breathing (inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, exhale fir 4 seconds).

Exercise

Watch a funny show

Take a shower

Throwing something safe, like modeling clay

I told him I did not think I would do the throwing, but he encouraged me to try them all.  I bought clay but have not tried throwing it yet.

 

When I told him I have trouble getting in the shower. I don’t like to get cold. He asked if anything had happened in a bathroom or shower. I did not go into details but told him yes, when I was 8 years old. He told me to have all the coping tools and journal from the perspective of an 8 year old. I don’t know how to do that, so I journaled what I remember. I think the tools helped me stay calm. I don’t believe that has to do with me having trouble with showers, though.

Insurance Woes

Image: Skeleton with phone, on hold

My health insurance changed at the beginning of this year. I have been dealing with the insurance company. Monday it was impossible to get through. Tuesday I was able to chat and call and get most questions answered, I thought. My primary care physician is the same and she can refer me to any specialists. I see an endocrinologist, a sleep disorder pulmonologist, and a specialist dentist who monitors an oral appliance I wear for sleep apnea. But, I need a new psychiatrist and therapist.

I filled out a form for continuation of care with my current psychiatrist hoping I could at least get my meds refilled before I switch. Up until Monday, I thought he was covered, but he isn’t in my IPA, whatever that is, I thought it was a beer. I found a psychologist and had an appointment on Wednesday. He suggested calling my insurance to ask about a psychiatrist and to double check, he, the psychologist, is covered.

The problem is, this insurance covers medical and behavioral health, but they are different departments and don’t seem to communicate. The first person I called said anyone I see has to be in the medical group, which limits me to 4 psychiatrists to choose from and does not include the psychologist. Then, I contacted behavioral health who said the psychologist is covered, it says in network. I was getting conflicting info so I texted and it took all day but I got confirmation that behavioral health is not required to be in the medical group and does not need referrals but medical care does. I screen shot the text in case there are problems.

So, I looked at the list of psychiatrists and called one who seems to have a lot of experience. I found out she is the medical director and I will be treated by a psychiatric nurse practitioner. I am a little uneasy since I have a complex disorder ( schizoaffective disorder). I am stable now and just need medication management. I made an appointment but checked out some of the other psychiatrists. I found another that sounds good that I will call Monday. I am not sure if it will be the same.

Also, I have been taking a medication called modafinil for excessive daytime sleepiness due to sleep apnea even with the appliance. The insurance rejected the order. my dr is trying to get it for me. I am completely out and so so sleepy.

The therapy appointment went well. I told him I feel shame about past mistakes and have trouble forgiving myself. He asked if I would forgive someone else and I said yes. Why the different standard? I first said “I don’t know “ which I learned he does not accept as an answer, so I reflected on it and decided I should be able to forgive myself, but I still don’t know how. Baby steps?

Then I told him I get uneasy sometimes at work when there is a lot of noise and commotion even though I am not directly effected. Or if my husband raises his voice at home. He told me to journal when I feel uneasy. I have not had to deal with loud noises lately, but dealing with all of this insurance stuff gets me worked up. I want to drink to calm down, but I also want to stay sober. So far, sobriety is winning. I have a blood test in February and I am hoping for good results. We agreed to monthly appointments since I am stable.

Did I mention I got my hearing aids.? They work well. A little bit of trouble getting tangled in my mask. They have blue tooth capability and I have them connected to my phone. I am slowly learning how to disconnect if I want to use my phone or I hear nothing. And, I get notifications through the hearing aids. I go back to the audiologist for follow up soon. Sometimes it seems like only one is working and I don’t know if I am doing something.