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Mon Jul 29, 2013, 09:13 AM

question about the dread of going to the therapist

I guess I have a lot of lead-in to my question. Iíll try not to make this too long. I try not to do TL;DRs.

I'm 50 years old. I was 23 when I started the long road Iím on now. In therapy for a few weeks, I soon found myself in a psychiatric hospital for two months. Subsequent to that I was in therapy for thirteen years. Dr. Carol Brush saved my life (although she tells me ďno, you did the workĒ). After that time I was without a therapist for several years, but it was ok. The work done with Carol changed my life so that I was no longer suicidal, no longer had anxiety attacks, quit looking over my shoulder, learned to cope readily with the crap that life offers. I was happy, genuinely happy. Not perfect, but happy. I knew how to cope and did it well.

Cut to a couple of years after I moved to Maryland. I started having overt emotional problems again. I got a referral to a good psychiatrist, who set me up on some meds and referred me to a good therapist, Jane. The meds started helping, but the therapy was having some disturbing effects. The therapist referred me to the psychiatrist she worked with closely, and I've been seeing that doctor ever since. She takes good care of me. I am now on a powerful cocktail of four psychiatric drugs. They work well, but the main side effects of taking in all of these chemicals every day are loss of short term memory and inability to concentrate. These are terrible side effects for me. They affect my work, and thatís not good. Yet the slightest tweaking can cause serious problems -- although a few months ago we were able to reduce the dosage of one by 1.5 mg. That was a small victory. But I fear I will be on these drugs forever, because of that slight tweaking problem. I worry about this, especially as I realize Iíll have to retire sometime, and thereís that god damned donut hole. . . .

My biggest problem right now is that, after years without seeing Jane (she does not take insurance and is not cheap), I was having enough minor breakdowns that Mrs. V. and I decided, damn the cost, Iíd better get back into therapy. Well, therapy has me completely raw and completely vulnerable. Itís very painful and for the first few weeks I left her office feeling numb, then had to try very hard not to break down when I got home and was in a funk for a few days. That went on for a few weeks before we decided to ratchet back the intensity of the sessions, and now theyíre much milder. But I still dread going; I get a mild anxiety attack on session day.

Does anyone have any advice that might help me get over my fear of going to see Jane? I dread it so that it is a heavy weight on my chest.

Thanks for reading.

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Reply question about the dread of going to the therapist (Original post)
Bertha Venation Jul 2013 OP
LiberalEsto Jul 2013 #1
Bertha Venation Jul 2013 #2
LiberalEsto Jul 2013 #3
Bertha Venation Jul 2013 #4
mopinko Jul 2013 #5
fizzgig Jul 2013 #6
libodem Jul 2013 #7
postatomic Jul 2013 #8

Response to Bertha Venation (Original post)

Mon Jul 29, 2013, 09:39 AM

1. Oh, BV! I'm so sorry for what you're going through.

 

Have you discussed this with Jane, possibly over the phone?

Do you think it might be helpful to change therapists?

This might or might not work for you, but have you ever tried to do meditation? It's not easy; I still struggle with it, but it helps with anxiety. The best writing I've found on meditation is by Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist monk from Vietnam who has written many good books on mindfulness, meditation and peacemaking. His "The Miracle of Mindfulness" is one of the best places to start.

One of his meditations is my favorite:

Breathing in, I calm my body
Breathing out, I smile
Dwelling in the present moment
I know it is a wonderful moment.

I even use it to calm down my daughter's little dog. It helps when I'm stuck in traffic, or waiting for the dentist to start working on my teeth.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do!



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Response to LiberalEsto (Reply #1)

Mon Jul 29, 2013, 09:56 AM

2. Hmm.

Well, for starters, I can't do phone work with Jane. She has an odd speech pattern that makes it very hard to understand her over the phone. She suggested this very thing and I had to tell her tactfully why it wouldn't work. I don't want to change therapists -- Jane is very good. It was I who wanted to work so very hard in the beginning several weeks ago, and she who suggested we slow down, thus saving me a lot of grief. I still don't want to slow down; I want to heal NOW. Pfft.

I have never seriously tried meditation. My sister does it and occasionally urges me to try it. This is a simple meditation you've posted. Perhaps I'll try it.

Thanks, L.E.

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Response to Bertha Venation (Reply #2)

Mon Jul 29, 2013, 10:05 AM

3. I will be using this meditation later today myself

 

when I'm sitting in the dentist's chair.

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Response to LiberalEsto (Reply #3)

Mon Jul 29, 2013, 10:11 AM

4. Oh, no!

That would be an excellent place to use it.

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Response to Bertha Venation (Original post)

Mon Jul 29, 2013, 10:50 AM

5. oh honey

i often think i did more work in anticipation of the therapy than in it. when it wasn't just mind gnawing anxiety, that is.

a little bit of slow deep breathing gets me through a lot of anxieties. but i guess you just have to find what works. but be kind to yourself.




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Response to Bertha Venation (Original post)

Mon Jul 29, 2013, 12:36 PM

6. i don't know that i have any advice

except to keep breathing. do you think the sessions can be ratcheted back any further?

my best to you

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Response to Bertha Venation (Original post)

Mon Jul 29, 2013, 01:50 PM

7. I'm usually full of free advice

But I don't know what to tell you. I'll empathize with you that it hurts sometimes, you feel exposed, and vulnerable.
Oh, sister dear, it reminds me of debriding a wound. You have to pick off the old, dead, useless tissue, to get down to the bloody meat. Then you can scab over and heal without the toxic stuff trapped under the scab and poisoning you from the inside. We love you here. And you are going to make it. No pain. No gain.

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Response to Bertha Venation (Original post)

Mon Jul 29, 2013, 03:06 PM

8. I'm returning to my old therapist in a couple of weeks

Stressed like you can't believe. I keep running 'conversations' through my head. I'm also seeing my drug pusher tomorrow and I'm dreading that because I know he wants to put me on stronger drugs. He also wants me to go to spend some time in a hospital but I'm not doing that. I can't.

I would tell your therapist how you feel. Discuss the anxiety. In the past I've had to take a Xanax (or two) before I went to therapy. Especially when certain hidden 'wounds' are exposed. I've cried all the way home after more than one therapy session. I'm going back because I am fearful of what my brain wants to do to me.

Remember, your therapist doesn't judge you. (I keep telling myself that) I also tell myself "what's the worst that can happen?" There have been times I've gone to therapy and we didn't talk for the first 1/2 of the session because my anxiety was through the roof.

I don't know what to suggest for you. We're all different and what has worked for me may not work for you. Just hoping the best for you. That you can get through it. Especially if in the end it is helpful for you.

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