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Looking after ourselves

Meggle
Senior Contributor

Psych Appointment

So I have been waiting to hear from my psychologist for an appointment after having to take a short break suggested by my psychiatrist. I finally heard from her this afternoon and I now have an appointment for next week. I have previously seen her for some time but now I am feeling awkward and anxious about seeing her again. She wants to do trauma therapy and whilst I know I need to do it as it will be better for me in the long run it's kind of like eating my vegetables. I don't particularly want to do it but it's healthy. I don't want to leave the trauma untreated until I am an old lady as it is still affecting my life today. I need to get healthier coping mechanisms. Has anyone got any advice on what I should say to her when I see her? I want to have a discussion with her about how we are going to move forward. I am a bit scared of the trauma therapy. @HenryX 

10 REPLIES 10

Re: Psych Appointment

Hi @Meggle  I understand about not wanting to face the trauma. I couldn't do it and I wanted more to understand how to cope with my diagnosis and positive psychotherapy. I just didn't know how to open up either.

I am interested to understand why your psychiatrist advised having a break as when I asked it was denied by my psychologist.   That's of course if you feel comfortable in disclosing, I fully understand if you prefer not to.

Re: Psych Appointment

Hi @Always-hope 

thanks for replying to my post.

Last year and even the year before I was very unstable with a lot of hypomania's then finally in December I had a full on manic episode and then went back into hospital in January with the follow on depression. So my psychiatrist wanted me to take a 3 month break from therapy until we could see if the new medication would make me more stable. However even though I was cleared to see the psych again in May I have since been waiting for the psychologist to have a slot to put me back into. Whilst I have been waiting the anxiety has been growing.

 

Meggle

Re: Psych Appointment

Such a long time you have had to wait to get back in! I am sure all your anxiety will disappear once you meet your psychologist again.

I really don't understand the sudden change in my treatment team, I know I was unwell, mixed state. So not vey agreeable but that is mental health.  Felt like I couldn't take any more and asked for a break.  I really don't understand how they changed.  I still don't know how they could treat someone that coldly when we all got on well. My GP wants me to go back but the words my psychologist said to me " I am not suitable for therapy, due to aspects of paranoia" really haunt me to this day, how can I ever have any treatment again knowing the very people I RESPECTED (and liked, but this was wasn't part of my hurt, I still like them that will not change) have told me that?

i am happy that you have been given a break and you can now continue with your treatment. Treat yourself to something nice at the shopping centre afterwards and focus on that for the first visit!

Re: Psych Appointment

Oh @Always-hope 

I am so sorry for your experience with your psychologist- that doesn't sound very professional or in the least bit helpful. I do know that I do better whilst in therapy as I was making huge strides before despite my unstableness. It's really hard to put trust in a treating team normally so I understand that you wouldn't want to put your trust there again after what happened. I hope you find a way to move forward in the future.

 

Meggle

Re: Psych Appointment

Hey @Meggle 

 

 

I think you just need to be upfront and honest. Tell your psychologist that your psychiatrist recommended a break and to why they had recommended it. 

 

When unravelling any form of trauma is very hard but as you have said facing it now will only help assist in your future. Saying all of these fears or anxieties to your psychologist should hopefully make it easier for you. 

 

Good luck 😁

Re: Psych Appointment

Hello @Meggle

 

It is great that you have the opportunity to address the issues that you want to deal with.

 

In the introduction to a counselling or therapy discussion, I find the first question, “How have you been since we last spoke?”, is a difficult one. As I write this, I am thinking, “is a difficult one” or “is probably the most difficult one.” Either way, I'm sure that you know what I'm thinking of, in that regard.

 

Preparing a few 'dot point' written notes on your feelings and concerns can help. Doesn't need to be expansive. Just helps with the first few minutes. This way, you have established the start point, to help get through the initial introduction. This, I refer to as the 'sign post' moment, at the commencement of the discussion. At that 'sign post' moment, we ask ourselves the question, “Which way from here?” If you have an outline plan, you have already addressed that question, prior to your appointment and the commencement of the discussion.

 

The next thing that I would plan to do, as you sit down at the commencement of the discussion, is to take a few moments to feel comfortable. Just being aware of any physical tension in your body. Mundane things help here. Taking notes out of bag, getting out glasses, if you wear them, preparing and having a 'feeling' for the room and your immediate environment. These little actions allow you to be aware of any tension in your shoulders, tightness in your legs, short shallow breathing, 'funny', unsettled feeling in the stomach. Being aware of these physical feelings allows you the opportunity to relax as you are entering the verbal/oratory part of the discussion. Consider what the feelings represent. Nervousness, apprehension, fear..... I believe that the person you are talking with, is likely to be aware of those first few preliminary actions, and appreciate that you are settling and 'grounding' yourself. This preparation, in the initial moments of the discussion, allows you time to reflect, consider and mentally prepare for the discussion.

 

Your commencement of discussion can be about how you are feeling, physically, at the start. It is interesting that you describe “feeling awkward and anxious about seeing her again.” That statement raises the question, “Is it that you are “feeling awkward and anxious about seeing her again?'”, or is it a feeling of concern and apprehension about disclosing your thoughts and feelings, with her, about issues from the past. Although this might seem like “splitting hairs”, I think that it is worthwhile to be aware of and conscious of the 'correct' foundation and reasons for each of your feelings.

 

You can mentally rehearse this 'commencement of discussion' and awareness of feelings and thoughts, prior to the actual appointment. This 'rehearsal', while you are relaxed somewhere, can be just for mental preparation. The 'rehearsal' need not necessarily be for the actual discussion, but more of an exploration of your anticipated feelings, in the next few days, prior to the discussion.

 

I think, that just like eating vegetables, most of the 'pain' is experienced while the vegetables are still cooking. In other words, most of the 'pain' of a discussion, with a counsellor/therapist, is experienced before the appointment. If we can explore the 'real' feelings prior to the discussion, it is likely to make our entry to the discussion much easier.

 

Another part of preparation, is to not consider that the discussion is a monolithic structure in front of you, to which you are taking a wrecking ball to crush and remove. But rather, a building of bricks, each wall of which you are dismantling and using to rebuild, according to a new, better plan. You will be essentially the same person, with the same materials, in a more substantial, structurally sound and attractive form.

 

I compliment you on making the decision to deal with the issues that appear to be complicating your life. Having them unpacked and then repacked, in a new accessible and controllable format, is much better than having them scattered untidily around your 'mental household'.Success in the discussions will mean not having to work around them and having them trip you up, at the most inconvenient times, as has occurred in the past. I believe, that learning how to 'dismantle, repack and store these issues', in a controlled, yet still accessible format, is what learning new “healthier living and coping mechanisms” is all about.

 

You have a reasonable idea about the differences between various forms of therapy, CBT, DBT, ACT, etc. So allow yourself the opportunity to be aware of alternatives, if your restructuring becomes too unsettling. Just knowing that there are other alternatives helps to maintain stability during the therapy discussions. In other words, you are not totally locked in.

 

I do hope that these thoughts and ideas will be helpful for you, during the next few days and during your discussions.

 

With My Very Best Wishes

@HenryX

 

Edit: I have rearranged some sentences so that, I hope, the text will be more contiguous and coherent.

Re: Psych Appointment

Thanks for your thoughts @Blep 

 

Re: Psych Appointment

Thanks @HenryX 

Your remarks have given me a lot to think about. Right now I don't even know what I would say to that first question you posed so I guess I had better think about it. I feel like I am more anxious about doing the trauma therapy than seeing the psych again but the thought of seeing the psych makes me so nervous. Just thinking about it and my stomach is all in knots. I think you are right though about the worst part being while the vegetables are cooking. I just want the appointment time to hurry up and get here so I can get it over with but its not until the end of the week. They did say we would spend some time getting reacquainted and that they would take it easy on me at first. Thanks for all the thought you put into responding to my post - I really appreciate it and find it so helpful.

 

Meggle

Re: Psych Appointment

Hello @Meggle 

 

I am really pleased to be able to share ideas with you about “walking the path together”. I had gone to rest, early yesterday evening, after doing some fencing work. I was falling asleep in the chair. Rest turned to sleep. I woke, just after mid-night. I was aware, when I saw your note, that I wanted to send a reply as soon as possible.

 

There were a few adjustments to my response, that I wanted to make today. So I have made some small edit changes to my note.

 

The answer to the first question can be a simple statement of fact.

Signpost: “I have been really apprehensive   about   our meeting   planned for today, but   I am pleased to be here   and   getting started.”

Needless to say, that may or may not be your opening statement. It is a suggested possibility. What you say needs to be true for you. The person you are speaking with is just allowing the opening of discussion to be on your terms, so to speak. It is a non-directive way of opening the discussion. It may be considered an ice-breaker, and allows the other person (psychologist/psychiatrist) a starting point on which to develop the conversation on your terms. You could consider it to be a conversational courtesy. Your response also presents, for the other person, a “signpost” with a number of possibilities for developing the discussion. I have underlined some possible directions, available to the other person to follow, on the Signpost.

 

Your statement about being anxious (anxiety) about doing the trauma therapy is very understandable. That is particularly so for anyone who has also travelled that path. If the trauma, and its subsequent effects on your life, were not so apparent to you, there would be no need for therapy. However, when you are cooking vegetables, there is no need to get scolded. It is the therapists role to guide you on the path, and ensure the least possible difficulty. You will know when you are near the pot/saucepan, because of the increasing awareness of the heat. Just take it gently and carefully.

 

I can tell you, in recent discussions that I have had with the counsellor, that I have felt the heat and become distressed, to the point where we had to allow me to regain composure, so that our discussion could proceed. That balance, in the discussion, is really just a measure of the heat approaching our tolerance level. It is a requirement, for successful therapy, that you both know where those heat points are.

 

I think that it will be helpful for you to be able to set aside a few special intervals of time during the week, to sit in a comfortable chair and reflect on the points that you, anyone else and I are discussing. The more that you prepare yourself mentally for the process of discussion, the easier the discussion will be. Mentally prepare yourself for some enjoyment during the discussion. It does not all have to be doom and gloom. The more comfortable you can imagine yourself during the discussion, the smoother the flow of your thoughts, memories, reactions and responses.

 

You have been informed and assured that the process will proceed in a gradual way. Some time to get re-acquainted, to build rapport and a sound working relationship.

 

Thank you for tagging me in your initial post, “Re: Psych Appointment”.

You can also be assured that I am always happy to offer my thoughts, ideas and suggestions that may, hopefully, be of help.

 

With My Very Best Wishes

@HenryX

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