Mar. 29th, 2011

invisionary: "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint.  When I ask why the poor have no food they call me a communist." (Communist _support)
What I won't tell someone:

I certainly wasn't ready to start my mental health service receiving career in the military. I was pretty staunchly against any sort of medication, and they were willing to listen. I was pretty bad off then, but it was easier for them to shuffle me out and back on my own rather than do anything to try to help me then. Just as well, but not exactly great.

My first civilian attempt several years later got a fairly indifferent social worker who just wanted to get me set up with meds and would consider talking to me once they'd started working. It scared me off - he'd done nothing to break through that wall. So it would be a couple more years before I'd try again for real.

It would take having my wife almost ready to give birth before I could bring myself to do it. And then it only worked because she sat in a clinic office, 39 weeks pregnant, demanding that I get service and would not leave until she did. Fortunately the service I got was pretty good, and probably the best therapist of the bunch, a wonderful kinky Jew, she was. But even she blew it when we found a paper she published about our case that did not adequately remove our identifying data and showed we weren't trusted or respected.

I stumbled upon a good psychiatrist eventually, but not after having been through over a dozen med changes. I don't do it justice to reduce it to a few words, but anyone who's ever had a medication screw with them - imagine that a dozen times. Atypical antipsychotics do the opposite of their intended effect in me - try explaining that to every provider you meet and expect them to believe it.

After having to leave my useful therapist due to moving I went through a string of them. The first was convinced that social anxiety and domestic issues were my real problem, not the bipolar I had been diagnosed with and was taking medication for. Oh, and he was part of what I refer to as the "penis cult" - a men's organization with some pretty shady ethics, whose indoctrination is essentially a false imprisonment for a weekend of running through the woods naked and being otherwise humiliated, for about $600, not including weekly follow-up sessions. It didn't work out.

Next guy I tried wasn't a total disaster, but his usual clientele was gay men that needed help leaving their wives. He wasn't used to bisexual men that wanted to stay with theirs. Bipolar wasn't much of a consideration. He wanted me to be his usual clientele. That didn't work.

The next guy, a psychologist, fared a little better. It worked decently for a while, but over time it felt more like I was going to a confessional than a therapy session. Not a massive Fail, just a bad long-term fit.

Then my head broke. I landed in an inpatient nightmare. There was no therapy, only medication. The psychiatrist was an absolute asshole and the most unprofessional medical provider I have ever directly encountered. He made no attempt to build trust in his patients - in fact he made himself as distant and condescending as he could. He disrespected my spouse every bit as much as he did me. At least I got my funniest psych story from the stay - a woman who wouldn't take Depakote "if Jesus came down and told me to!".

There's nothing quite like being told you're acting passive-aggressive by someone who is actually acting passive-aggressive. Yet that's what I got when I followed up with an intensive outpatient regimen. It worked out in the end with the help of a decent therapist that told me I could take my pick of sessions - and got into a trauma session that did wonders to help me put Brainless behind me.

The next one was a massive Fail. It was a very cleverly disguised trap that almost took my entire family down. I feel very fortunate we escaped a therapy cult that put up signs of plausible deniability at every turn. I reported it to my insurance company, and strongly considered filing formal allegations with the state oversight board. We completely severed all ties with them and with anyone we met through them.

I haven't had a therapist since. Not for lack of searching for one. The last time I tried I got shuffled off to some guy that deals primarily with domestic violence cases and possibly old enough to be our grandparents. Oh, and the person who set us up with that called at 10 PM to do it.

I tell my psychiatrist that I like him, but only in small doses. I see him once every six months. We're both happy with this arrangement. But this isn't therapy.

I tell others all the time if they need a therapist they have to suck up and deal. Most likely they'll be dealing with what I've deal with. My mind twists now-a-days when I give that advice. I need a therapist - not for the things I can predict, but for the things I can't. Having an advocate that can look objectively at our lives is very powerful, but I can't seem to find one.

What I will tell someone:

I've been there, more than I really want to admit. I am sorry you've dealt with the crap you have trying to do the right thing. I don't know if I'll be right for you, but I do know I won't do what they did - and if you catch me doing it let me hear it (politely, if you can, but if not, I understand). Here's what I will do:
  1. I will listen to you, actively and carefully.
  2. I will acknowledge your past and present situation, especially your pain.
  3. I will treat you as the expert of your own life, because you are.  You know what will fix your problems - my job is to point you in the direction towards it, and to tell you that you can do it. And take some of the burden where I can.
  4. I will tell you when I can't do something, and if possible, why.
  5. I will not force myself into your life. What happens in our space stays there unless you decide to take it elsewhere. I hope you will, but that's not my decision.
  6. I will let you go if this isn't working for you. I will let you go if this isn't working for me. I will in either case refer you to others who may be a better fit if you desire.
Here's my hand. Would you like to walk together for a little while?  You can lead if you like.


invisionary: "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint.  When I ask why the poor have no food they call me a communist." (Default)
Invisible Revolutionary

December 2011


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