Therapy

I’m really feeling a little mixed right now.  I don’t mean a mixed manic-depressive episode, I mean that my feelings are a little uncertain.  I went to therapy today.  I remember having a lot to write about therapy last week, but I’ve since forgotten and because I didn’t get it down into words while it was fresh, I’ve forgotten.  Other than this: my therapist has read a few of my personal posts.  I sent her to A Canvas of the Minds because I think there is good stuff there that people are sharing, but she somehow got connected to this blog.  I’m not sure how I feel about that.  She hasn’t mentioned anything this week, but I haven’t written anything much that’s personal lately.  (I’ve got all these posts rattling around in my head, the ideas slowly slipping away before they pass through my fingertips to the keyboard.)  I didn’t bring it up because I didn’t even think about it.  I’ll have to think some more about it before I bring it up next week.

My therapist is wicked sharp – she picks up on things both in what you say and how you act.  She is a master at reading body language. She points out when I’ve crossed my arms or a look on my face or if I start tapping a foot.  Things that even I don’t notice. One day she commented on how I was dressed in brighter colors and my nails weren’t painted in this black (actually, a really deep plum) color and how it was indicative of my mood.  Well, the next week I wore black just to mess with her and she got that.  I don’t like having ‘tells’.  We all have them, but I don’t like having them.  Usually my clothes aren’t much of a tell these days because it mostly depends on what’s clean and what fits.  (Most of my clothes are too small now 😦 )

Back to therapy… sometimes it’s uncomfortable, but I guess it’s supposed to be uncomfortable. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable to have these things pointed out to you.  We talked about therapy being uncomfortable.  If it wasn’t, I wouldn’t get anywhere.  (So if PT stands for Physical Torture, does MT stand for Mental Torture?)  We are trying to work on mindfulness.  She’s been photocopying stuff from books for me.  The latest one is from Mind Over Mood.  I HATE self-help books.  I feel like I am being talked down to and that everything in there is so cheesy.  But I told her to present things to me as research results instead of just whatever – therapy talk, I guess.  So does this book qualify as research based because it’s got copyrights stamped all over the pictures and worksheets?

NOT MINE – See copyright

No, it’s still a self-help book.  I can buy it on Amazon for $16.47.  Maybe I should give her the benefit of the doubt – perhaps she is photocopying the clinician’s guide version of it.  Oh wait, I just checked that out on Amazon and it looks to be identical.

The basic theory makes sense: everything impacts everything else.  I’ll go so far as to agree that thought affects moods, behaviors, and physical reactions, but I have a hard time with the vice versa.  When I am feeling down, not even a walk is going to rattle me out of the blues.  It just doesn’t work for me.  Just like the magic ‘fake it ’til you make it’ doesn’t work for me either.  If that were the case, then I’d have self-esteem by now.  But apparently (based on my therapy session), I am being too pessimistic and that’s why it’s not working for me.  Just because I’m in a semi-stable mood, does that mean that all the psych tricks are going to work?  And if they work so well, why doesn’t everyone do them?

So maybe I am simply a pessimist and doomed to be miserable.  I don’t see how this is going to help me deal with difficult people or lift my recurring depression.  DH recommended a couple of chapters in one of his old psych books.  Maybe that’s more my speed.  I’ll try it.  That’s all I’m going to commit to.

 
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Bipolar 1.5

I saw my psychiatrist yesterday.  It was my 3 week checkup on the new Geodon dose.  She asked how the Celexa was doing, but I said I didn’t think I could adequately answer that question since it’s only been a week since I titrated off the Paxil and onto it.  So another followup in 2 weeks to check on the Celexa.  I think this “medication soup”, as I called it, is bringing my moods into line.  But I wonder… how much control do I really want?  Will I never get excited about things?  Will I never experience sadness again?  Yes, I want to feel better but I don’t want to lose myself in the process.

So we talked about a lot of things, and my time even went over by 10 minutes.  I love talking to her.  I feel completely respected, almost as if we are equals, but at the same time master and student.  We talked about panic disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).  She read snippets from the DSMV-IV.  We agreed that since my anxiety problems are not something that happens more often than half a week, and usually stem from specific events or situations, I do not suffer from GAD.  (I do have OCD.) We talked about medications and we talked about bipolar.

Then I asked her the question: do you think I am bipolar type I or type II or NOS? I was originally diagnosed NOS, but I’m not sure that has much meaning to it. She took a moment to collect her thoughts and then she said, I think your symptoms resemble bipolar type I more so than type II… but it’s really a spectrum… She pulled out a copy of Stahl’s Essential Psychopharmacology where he describes the bipolar spectrum and read some of the classifications to me.  But at that point, my brain had stopped listening.  I had the answer to a question that’s plagued me for a long time, but I’m not sure I really wanted it answered.

My first reaction to the call was to make light of it and say, “Well, if you’re going to do it, you may as well go all the way!” This is not meant as a slight to any BP IIs out there, it’s more of a statement as to my coping mechanisms.  I affectionately refer to my time in outpatient therapy as Daycare for Psychos.  I have my chill pill (Klonopin), my crazy pill (Lamictal), and now I need good names for Geodon and my antidepressant.  I once introduced myself to a pair of interns at the neurologist’s office with, “Hi! I’m crazy.”  (The neurologist politely corrected me saying that I wasn’t crazy but rather bipolar.)  Labeling myself, my medications, my experiences with these terms somehow lessens the emotional blow.

Yes, this is the same woman who won’t tell her best friends that she is bipolar.

Because I don’t trust them or because I don’t trust myself?  I don’t know.  Silence is a burden, but it is better than ridicule or pity.  I don’t want to be known as the bipolar friend.  One of my friends already has a bipolar friend and I hear about her every so often.  All the crazy things this woman thinks and does.  When we bought our house, our realator wouldn’t shut up about her crazy ex-daughter-in-law who was bipolar.  I think I wrap myself with twisted humor as a shield against the true face of stigma.

While my brain and my soul are still wrapping themselves around the idea of being bipolar I or perhaps bipolar 1.5 might be a better description, I still have to contend with my impending surgery.  I will try to post a little something tomorrow as it is my last day of two-handedness for a while, but if I can’t eek out the time, I guess I’ll report in when I can get the iPad to cooperate with WordPress.  (It ate half of my original post.)  Good thoughts requested for Thursday AM! 🙂