“Do you want to reschedule?”

So, I made that all important phone call to p-doc today to cancel my next appointment – and every appointment thereafter.

His (very condescending and rather snarky) receptionist said, “Do you want to reschedule?” Umm, no, but thanks anyway. 🙂

I said, “I’d like to speak to p-doc so that I can tell him to shove his therapy where the sun don’t shine… and talk about the report he’s writing for my GP.”

Of course I didn’t actually say that, but I felt like it. The receptionist said p-doc wasn’t available. Of course not. Funny, he suddenly became available about 5 minutes later…

I told him I didn’t think it was going to work and I had cancelled my appointment. He didn’t give a toss – I guess that’s the therapist’s way. I was shaking like a leaf, but did everything I could do hide that (I’m usually pretty good at that, on the phone anyway).

I asked about the letter to my GP.

P-doc said “Yes, well, I’ll need to finish that. I’d like to go through it with you.”

Me: “I’d be happy to look at your draft if you email it to me.”

P-doc: “No, I’m not prepared to do that. I’d prefer it if you’d come in.”

Me: Ha ha ha.
Not on your life, sonny.
When hell freezes over.
When the sun rises from the west.
When there’s two Thursdays in a week.
When chicken have teeth.
When pigs fly.

Me: “I can’t do that. I guess you’ll have to finish it and send it to my GP.”

I can’t tell you how liberating this was. I felt so incredibly powerful. I think it’s just about the first time in my life that I’ve stood up to anyone like this. Wow. It feels great! 😀

I’m sure p-doc is sitting in his ugly green faux-leather chair dismissing me as being “resistant” (my therapist said he would probably wipe me off that way). But, you know what? I don’t care! Not one little bit.

“Don’t go back”

This was my therapist’s conclusion when we discussed the situation with p-doc today. Thank god for that. I was starting to think it was me, all me, something terribly wrong with me.

My therapist said she only suggested I consider staying with him because she wanted me to have someone while she’s away; didn’t want me to be without anyone while she’s on holiday.

We talked about most of the things that p-doc said and did, and the way I’ve felt after my last two sessions with him. My therapist said she’s loathe to criticize another therapist, but admitted she thought some of his approaches were “unusual” and “inappropriate”. Thank all the copulating implausible deities for that.

She concluded that if p-doc is making me more vulnerable, and more unstable, and making me feel worse about myself (which he is), then … “don’t go back”.

I felt so much stronger after my session tonight – the complete opposite to how I felt with p-doc. I’m sure she was trying to bolster me prior to our break, but whatever her intention, it worked.

I am strong. I am powerful. And I can’t wait to ring p-doc tomorrow to cancel my next appointment. 🙂

Thank you all again for your love and support. I really am truly grateful.

I feel grubby

My therapist sent me an email in which, among other things, she said it might be worth considering seeing p-doc again. Just when I thought I’d made up my mind not to go back. Damn.

I’ve been thinking about my sessions with him. I feel grubby. Dirty. Yucky.

As if his sexualised comments aren’t enough, one of the things he does is draw attention to things that I say, or do, or ways that I move/don’t move. For example, he’ll watch me fiddle with my jewellery and say “What’s going on there?” or watch me sitting with my arms crossed and say “See how you’re sitting? And breathing?”

Granted this might be good for me in a therapeutic sense, but I can’t stand it.

I hate myself and my body enough without him constantly drawing attention to it. At risk of disclosing too much information – my father used to “spy” on me in the shower and I’ve always hated people looking at me; it’s very shame inducing. It’s like they’re undressing me or something. I don’t know.

Is this a trigger? Or is my anxiety just looking for an excuse to freak out some more? I don’t know.

I do know that I’m hysterical. I can’t believe this, just when I was starting to get back on track and feel like I might be making a little progress. Ugh.

More on p-doc

So, I had another appointment with p-doc yesterday. It didn’t go very well. The best part was that he remembered who I was.

I came home hysterical. I cried. I threw up. I cried some more. I slept. I wrote. I talked to some friends here – thank you all for your love and support.

I still feel like a train wreck, but I’m trying to believe that it will be ok – I will be ok – this too shall pass.

Thanks to my regular therapist I mustered the courage to tell p-doc how I felt after the last session. I was calm, if teary – but not angry as I’d feared. I said that I’d felt bullied, betrayed and belittled. He was very defensive and didn’t accept that he’d done anything wrong. We agreed to disagree. I said something about being annoyed that he wouldn’t accept my point of view – he said he didn’t need to. !

He asked if it was worth trying to salvage the relationship. I said I wasn’t sure but the first session made me think it was worth a try. He said he wasn’t fussed either way and that he was comfortable with his reaction because it meant he wasn’t “locked in” or experiencing “counter-transference”. Ugh.

He suggested that we put the letter on hold for the moment and focus on rebuilding “the therapeutic alliance” (I cringe whenever I hear psycho babble, even if I understand what it means, as much as a layperson can. I don’t mean that disrespectfully. I think I just prefer it when I don’t feel like a science experiment.)

He asked if the letter had brought on flashback/nightmare hell. I said no. He’d asked me in the last session how I’d cope afterwards. I told him at the time that it was fortuitous I was seeing my regular therapist, and that I would probably eat myself into oblivion. He laughed (as was my intention) but didn’t offer anything else. This made me mad because if he thought that a downward spiral was a possibility, then he should have suggested something.

He asked me a stack of personal questions about my libido and previous sexual relationships, to which he only got half-truths. I just don’t trust him enough for that yet.

He mentioned something about some work he does with a particular therapeutic intervention. It makes me cringe. From what I’ve read its just soooo not me. Role playing. Yuk. I’m sure it might work for some people, but to me it’s just hocus pocus. I may as well drink holy water.

We talked a bit about my job. He said I must thrive on the organisational politics because I am a “combative person”. Hmm… not a description I would have used. Emotional me went into a tailspin about this, but rational me now thinks it might be saying something about my guardedness with him?

So, in all, it wasn’t great. Is it worth me persisting with him? I don’t know. I don’t like the person I am with him. I don’t like him sometimes. But I don’t want to fail with another therapist. My regular therapist tried hard to find someone decent after the Stone Therapist episode, and I don’t want to stuff her around. I don’t want to feel like I can’t make it work with anyone else.

I feel like my regular therapist is starting to bring out the best in me (or trying to, even if we have to wade through a mountain of toxic waste to get there). I don’t know how or why, but p-doc seems to bring out the worst. I’m so incredibly guarded with him. Defensive. Prickly even.

With my regular therapist I feel supported – she “holds my pain”. With p-doc, he just points out my pain to me and tells me to hold it. Yuk.

I’m wondering about him being male. Is my guardedness because he’s male? Or just because I don’t trust him and think he’s a tool? I feel disappointed in myself; a failure, and that I will have let my regular therapist down if I give up on the male thing. Ugh.

My hysteria has abated, but I’m still a wreck. I’m completely exhausted. I know I’m still fragile from seeing my therapist this week. And I’m also still sick. All not helpful, I’m sure.

I know many of you will say it’s time to cut myself loose from this guy. I’m just not sure. I’m so conflicted about it, particularly as my regular therapist goes on holiday this week, and I don’t want to be left without anyone. Then again… is it worth it if he’s doing more harm than good? I don’t know. I just don’t know.

Update on psychiatrist consult

I had my second consult with the psychiatrist this week. Unlike the first session, it didn’t go so well. I was incredibly upset after the session, and now that I’ve processed a bit more, I’m also getting kinda angry. (Ok, I’m ropable!)

The main purpose of this session was for the psychiatrist (I’ll call him p-doc) to go through his “assessment and management plan” for me. I think this is just psychobabble for a “letter” he’s sending to the GP who referred me to him.

A few things stood out for me:

  1. The session started badly when he asked me how my kids are. What? What kids? Basically he’d screwed up and confused me with someone else. Ordinarily I would say this is unforgiveable, but he has only met me once before, so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. At least he had my paperwork in front of him and not the other person’s.
  2. The letter. Within the first couple of paragraphs he’s gave my GP a detailed account of my child abuse history (which she knows nothing about), my current relationship with my father and how I wanted him to die, my “history” of drug and alcohol use (which hasn’t been an issue for over 15 years), “his” diagnosis of depression and PTSD and my associated symptoms, and a bunch of other stuff I have pretty much obliterated from memory.
  3. The letter upset me and I got quite angry. He told me to stop reacting to him like he’s my father; that he’s not my father. I know that. I told him I know that. I also said “yes, I think you’d call this transference, would you not?” That shocked him a little bit. Is everything transference with these people? Can’t you get annoyed with someone without them calling it “transference”? Geez.
  4. He told me it’s a good thing most of my friends are female, because men usually just think about sex when they have a friendship with a woman. Excuse me, what the…? A little unusual, but fits with his sexual comments from the first session. Is everything about sex with him? Perhaps I should ask him about counter-transference next time?
  5. He wants to use the letter to “educate” my GP about mental health issues. Noble aim, just don’t use me as your vehicle please.
  6. In reading the letter out, he felt the need to define “complex” clinical terms for me – things like “depression” and “insomnia”. Oh please… give me a break. (By this time, he was just making me mad. Can you tell?)
  7. At the end, he said that he gets the sense I want to be treated as an “equal” and to be “respected”. Really? No sh1t Sherlock. Did I have to pay him $485 for this piece of wisdom?
  8. As I was leaving, his receptionist was busy so I said I’d ring her to make another appointment. His response: “When? When will you ring?” By this time I wanted to yell and scream at him – “Listen, I’m not an unreliable, drug-crazed psychotic lunatic, so don’t treat me like one!” – but I was too upset and only just holding things together as it was.

In fairness, I’d have to say there were a few good things about the session:

  1. He apologised for the letter upsetting me so much. And he acknowledged me when I said I felt bullied, and betrayed. I also felt patronised, but I’ll save that to tell him next time.
  2. He agreed he won’t send the letter until I’m happy with its contents (although does have some “medico-legal obligations” to fulfil).
  3. He talked about doing meditation with me. Good. This would work for me, and would complement the work I’m doing with my regular therapist.
  4. He talks quite a bit about sitting with emotion. Feeling it, and letting it pass. Not responding as I have in the past – although that probably served me well once. Good for me to learn this stuff.

In all, I hated the session. I hated him and the way he made me feel. I hated the way I reacted to him. I feel like I turned into a nasty troll again when I was there. I haven’t seen that side of me for awhile, and I don’t wish to.

I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. Thankfully I had an appointment with my regular therapist straight after, so I cried my way through the drive to her office. Thank those copulating implausible deities for her, is all I can say.

I know some of you have said this guy sounds like a quack. I’m not sure. I’m torn because if he’s really no good, what then? I know I’ll blame myself for it not working (and worry that my therapist will also blame me).

A friend suggested I see if I could find if any complaints have been lodged against this guy. I looked, but so far have found nothing. He’s a model citizen. B@st@rd.

I’d like to discuss all this with him next time, but I obviously need to calm down a bit first. I really hate confrontation, so I’ll probably just chicken out anyway.

A big week

I’ve had a big week. I had my regular therapy session on Tuesday, followed by a consult with a psychiatrist on Thursday morning, and a double session with my therapist and my mother on Thursday afternoon. I was also scheduled to have surgery Friday morning, but one of the machines is broken so that’s been put off until Monday.

I was initially disappointed about the surgery delay, but now think it’s probably a good thing as I completely underestimated how stressful these few days would be. By Thursday morning, I was a complete mess and my anxiety was spiralling out of control. I managed to keep it together enough to get to my psychiatrist appointment. I’m glad I did.

He’s delightful. Warm, funny, sensitive – gentle but firm. The antithesis of Stone Therapist – thank goodness. I was very worried that if I didn’t like this guy, then it could only be because there’s something horribly wrong with me. (Funny, my therapist knew that’s what I would think.)

So, he did the usual history taking thing. At one point he said that it’s unusual for someone like me not to be in a relationship because I’m so attractive (he might have said pretty, I can’t remember). I found that hugely embarrassing because that’s sooooo not how I see myself. I also thought it an odd thing for a shrink to say to a new patient, but I don’t think he meant anything sordid by it.

The main point of me seeing him was to have medication reviewed and as a “back up” to my current therapist. He said he wants to get to know me better so he can do that. He also said he’d like to find a way for him and my therapist to work together with me, which I just think is so fantastic! The thought that I could get something useful from each of them hadn’t occurred to me, but I like the idea. (Well, the part of me that always wants to run to the end likes the idea. More therapy = better faster, right?)

At the end of the session we did a little “activity” – you can even try this at home. He made me cross my arms, thinking about how it felt. Then to cross them the other way, thinking about how it felt – Was it hard? Did I have to think about it? Did I feel ridiculous? Awkward? Uncomfortable? Yes, all of those things. We did it again three more times.

The lesson?

Doing things differently takes time and effort. But with that time and effort comes a level of comfort. Over time, these new ways of doing things might even come to feel “natural”.