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Next steps ...

Discussion in 'After Effects' started by SometimeSoon, May 29, 2013.

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  1. SometimeSoon

    SometimeSoon Member

    I'm unsure if this is the correct area for this post so mods: please move it if needed.

    I asked in a previous post, "And now what?", and I suppose I've decided a next step. Last week I made an attempt which failed. This was my first attempt and two days later I was going to try again via an alternate method and was blocked. I thought I could not feel any lower until after failing twice so I basically self-medicated with alcohol for the past number of days seeking some sort of escape. Despite the many people on another site urging me to make another attempt I've decided to try something I've never done and that is to speak with a therapist.

    It will be the first time in my life I've spoken to a mental health / behavioral health specialist and I'm absolutely terrified. I made the call today and received several names as reference and have telephoned each to speak with them though, I have no idea how to select the "right" one. Hell, I don't even know what to expect. Will I be asked to lie upon a sofa while he/she sits there tapping their chin with a sharp Number-2 pencil as I spew forth every secret detail of my life? And what exactly are they writing? A grocery list? Notes on evidence for my committal to an institution? Proper "meds" to prescribe to get me to shut up? Are they preparing for a new article on their blog, "My Next Great Mentally Insane Patient ... and my new Mercedes"?

    I have yet to have any of my calls returned but of course I didn't phone until this afternoon so I suspect I should hear something tomorrow. The thought of doing this brings me to a level of anxiety I have never known. I am shaking, perspiring, my breathing is heavy, thoughts are racing and I'm sitting here rocking back and forth as I write this. I'm extremely thirsty yet every time I drink a bit of water it does not stay down.

    I joined an on-line chat session with the national "Lifeline" and basically, it was a joke: "I'm glad you've taken this step - now you will see your previous attempts were mistakes and that you simply needed a rescue..." (end chat) RESCUE! There's that word again. As long as I can remember my "rescue" would be in the form of an exit to this existence and that any form of interference to my plans would be the total opposite of "rescue". I don't need all the mumbo-jumbo, I just need to try this as I've never reached out to such a professional. Then if it does not work for me ... then and only then will I be confident in knowing that I've exhausted all options.

    How did you choose your "shrink" and what is it like, this therapy? How did you feel during your first session?
  2. pickwithaustin

    pickwithaustin Staff Alumni

    Hi SometimeSoon

    We talked in chat. I understand your frustration. While I am a huge supporter of reaching out for help ("Call the crisis line!!!"), I also know that the 'operators' on those lines are generally just volunteers who really do not understand the feelings that you are going through. If I may share something frightening, when my son was discovered to be trying to attempt suicide (which he ultimately achieved), I was in a panic as his father who was worried and so I called a crisis line to ask for guidance. They basically ignored me, telling me that HE has to call. I told them I was calling them for help on what to do, and they kept saying they can't talk to me... that he has to call. What a bunch of B.S. They gave me no referrals, no compassion, no interest in the fact that I was in a crisis over my child... just, "He has to call." Okay, so I still urge people to call crisis lines because I think that just like a slot machine, you may hit the right person and it may pay off and help or save you.

    Regarding doctors and therapists, they do take notes during session. Some will do it directly into their computer or laptop. This is not because they are creating a blog. They may not even want to be taking those notes, but they are required to. It is important to document as documentation is everything in their line of work. Your information is confidential, don't worry, but they have to have a log of discussion. In addition, notes are necessary if you are going to see them ongoing... so they can remember things. Keep in mind that you have one doctor or one therapist, but they have potentially hundreds of people like you that they see. A human can only remember so much and it has nothing to do with caring or not caring. I know from my own experience in business that if I don't make notes on things about people (clients, employees, etc.), I won't remember later.

    Do not expect quick responses. Most mental health care professionals are overworked, overwhelmed, and over booked. I know of some where you won't get your first appointment for as much as a month or two out. It's unfortunate, but it is not their fault. Supply and demand. You may have to call back a few times, be persistent. Heck, even my own doctor's office (general doc I see about simple things like colds or sore muscles) has to be called back several times before I can get the information I was supposed to call back for (test results, or whatever). My doctor is pretty good, I don't blame him or his staff... over the years (I'm not young) I have come to learn and expect this. It's a part of the way it is.

    Best advice, once you get your appointment, is to relax and not be worried. Remember that it is always the worry and anticipation that is stronger than the actual application itself. Go in, be honest, be as open as you can, and allow them to learn who you are and what is wrong. Unlike regular medical doctor visits where they can figure out exactly the problem and prescribe the correct solution, mental health is still not fully understood... in fact, it's hardly understood at all. A doctor that you see (or therapist) can rely upon their schooling, published texts, and commonly known solutions, but for the most part they fall back upon experience from what they have learned over the years working with others. That said, they won't always have solutions. They will have the most likely and most logical things to try, and you should try what they recommend and give it a fair shot. Things like medications can be a shot in the dark and may take many adjustments or changes before they get it right. Meds alone are rarely the full cure though.

    I wish you luck and do encourage you to talk with others on this site who have experienced similar things as you. Peer support is probably the best thing, in addition to professional help.
  3. SometimeSoon

    SometimeSoon Member

    Thank you, PWA
  4. SometimeSoon

    SometimeSoon Member

    Ok ... one returned call out of seven after 24 hours. I know it will be a short while for them to return my call but ... ugh ... more waiting. The one I spoke with today: does accept my insurance directly and the normal rate would be more than $200/session so that one is off the list. I've since ran a query on my insurance carrier's web site and the six remaining doctors/therapists are listed as "preferred providers" so I'll not need to worry about this aspect. Still, the waiting.

    Earlier today I experienced what seemed to be an anxiety attack: cold sweats, shaking/tremors, nausea, thirst, headache, can't sit / can't stand, pacing back and forth, hyperventilating, etc etc etc all prompted by me waiting for my phone to ring. 30 minutes ago: *ringring! ringring!* I jump up, breath heaving, literally run to the other room (I'm sure the neighbour downstairs thought a brontosaurus was foraging about), grab the phone and see a bunch of digits on the display (this must be it!), answer and it's someone wanting to discuss the latest political aspirations of this city's fine mayor. I stood there with my mouth gaping and forehead covered in cold sweat and the only word that came out was "REEEALLY?!?". I disconnected and promptly began my second anxiety attack of the day.

    I know, I know: give them time - they'll call! It's just this waiting ... after basically 30 years of holding it in I'm ready and now I need to *wait*. I'm gunna go eat another cheese sandwich.
  5. pickwithaustin

    pickwithaustin Staff Alumni

    Call them again.

    There is an old saying that goes, "A squeaky wheel gets greased."
  6. SometimeSoon

    SometimeSoon Member

    I will tomorrow as it's now just past 4pm. And yes, a squeaky wheel may get the grease but a sleek wheel gets buffed & polished ;)
  7. SometimeSoon

    SometimeSoon Member

    I have an appointment for Monday. I chatted with the psychologist by phone for roughly 30 minutes to learn a bit about them and without going into detail to discuss "me". After making the "initial intake appointment" and concluding the call I navigated to their website and found they specialise in people with a background and history exactly like mine. She said after the initial discussion if either of us do not feel she would be "right" then she'll refer me to someone else. Even though we discussed no specifics and although I know she may not be the right fit, I felt a sort of relief and at the same time a bit of dread. It's still a few days off but at least I have something solid to focus on.
  8. paulhewson

    paulhewson Well-Known Member

    "...I'm sure the neighbour downstairs thought a brontosaurus was foraging about..."

    That's the best line I've read all day!

    Good luck with your search for a therapist. I truly hope things work out for you!
  9. SometimeSoon

    SometimeSoon Member

    btw: This is the first time in as long as I can remember that I have not dwelled on thoughts of harm to myself. This morning, I actually smiled a bit as I poured my coffee. I still don't want to face the world (although it's an absolutely gorgeous day outside) and would simply rather close the blinds and sit in the dark ... which I am doing ... but yeah, I'm "okay" with being here right now. First time in years.
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