Monday, February 16, 2009

10 years of therapy- the condensed version

If I talked about all of my therapists and all of my different experiences, I'd never get to the point in this blog where I could talk about current day stuff, so I'm going to try to give the condensed version of my therapeutic experiences starting with Dr. M.

I started seeing Dr. M in Feb 2002. She was smart, kind, caring, available to provide the help I needed, etc. The only initial problem we saw is that she had no DID experience, but she was still under supervision at the time and her supervisor had DID experience, so she took us on as a client. At first things were great. We felt really supported. She didn't freak out when we switched in front of her. She even let us e-mail her outside of sessions. I don't know when thing started to go downhill. I was functioning worse, but that's b/c for the first time in my life I was doing real therapy work.. the hard stuff. I was cutting more and we were meeting regularly twice a week. We did call her some outside of sessions, but only in crises situations, and she never let on that we were calling her too much. At some point, best I can tell, our symptoms began to overwhelm her. She lost the ability to keep good boundaries and began to get really stressed out over us all the time. One day she walked into session and said we needed to find me someone who could help me more. I didn't want a new therapist, but at first I wasn't opposed b/c she made it sound like I would see someone else temporarily or in conjunction with her. In Aug. 2003 we started trying to find me a new t. No one within 100 miles was willing to take my case. I think talking to other therapists who said I was "too much" for them to take on scared Dr. M, and she became more and more convinced she couldn't keep me. By Thanksgiving, it was definite that she would no longer be my therapist as soon as she could find me a new one. I/we had no say in the matter. For years after, we would think her dropping us was our fault.... If only we'd been a better client... not so needy... had it more together... The realization that Dr. M did not want to be our therapist a minute longer than she had to, along with the fact that no one else was willing to take us as a client, sent us on a major downward spiral. Dec. 26, 2003, I had my first hospital admission. I was only there for 7 days. Being in a treatment center freaked me out and my system shut down. In the week that we were IP, Dr. M found a replacement therapist for us whose office was 1 1/2 hrs away, and we had a terminating session the week I returned home.

The therapist that Dr. M set me up with, along with the 10-12 that followed were awful. One spent the whole time wanting to tell my how my faith was wrong (what did that have to do with therapy?); one told me she would take me, but could only see me once a week, and the first time I self-injured, she would drop me; I did settle with one lady for about 2 1/2 months, but I never liked her and she fell asleep during mutiple sessions. I basically just used her to get readmitted to the treatment center in April 2004, where I stayed for 3 weeks. I learned some good coping skills that stay and again discharged home to a new therapist. Who, surprise, was an idiot!!! I went about 6 weeks without a therapist at all when a friend of mine hooked me up with J. J didn't have DID experience, but he had a lot of trauma experience and a lot of years of practice under his belt. With J's help, I managed to stay outpatient for a year and a half to finish my master's degree.

Things were continuing to go downhill, and while J was an excellent therapist, he didn't have the time to learn how to help with DID issues because he was so over booked. I ended up in inpatient treatment again Aug. 2005, where I spent 1 month inpatient and 3 weeks in a day hospital program. I came back home to J (first time I discharged home to the therapist who put me in) and we worked for another few months, but I was still declining rapidly. In Jan. 2006, I ended up back inpatient for the fourth time where I stayed for 6 weeks. I think they would have kept me longer, but I was out of insurance days. My treatment team decided more needed to be done than what I was currently doing, so I picked up and moved to a larger city about 2 1/2 hrs. away from where I was living to see a therapist who was supposed to be a DID expert. I'm really beginning to wonder if those that claim they are experts are the psycho ones, b/c this lady was no exception.

I was very blessed to find my current t about 2 months after moving to the new city. It was chance if you want to call it that. I call it God. I called the first 20 counselors listed on my insurance list and left messages. Then I waited for return calls. I was surprised by how many never called me back, and out of those that did, only 2 were willing to meet with me in person. Current t met with me for an initial session, and I put her through the wringer. I was not wasting any more of my time on someone who wasn't really in this for the long haul. She impressed me by not seeming intimidated at all, but honestly I just thought she was too naive to know what she was getting into. The other lady I met with decided after 5 minutes that she couldn't help me, and told me bluntly that my current t wouldn't be able to help me either. Apparently, they knew each other. I am SO GLAD I did not listen to that lady!!!!!

Current t is the best t we've had. In May we will have been together for 3 years (longest I've ever stayed with one therapist) She and I have both had to learn a lot in the process. We've both made lots of mistakes, and I've had to go inpatient twice while seeing her, but she's sticking it out with us and learning new things all the time. Therapy is kicking my tail these days, but I think that's b/c we're actually doing the work you're supposed to be doing in trauma therapy, and I get the impression that current t and I both feel like rookies some days in session. We're struggling right now to find boundaries in sessions so as to not overwhelm us again. We haven't been inpatient this winter yet, and we'd really like not to go. If we don't go inpatient, it will be the first winter in 5 years that we haven't gone IP. It would feel like a huge accomplishment for us.

Anyways, this is a crazy long post, and believe it or not, this is the very edited version, but I think this gets us up to date on where we stand therapeutically. So, maybe after I see t tonight, if I want to blog about the session things will make more sense.

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