It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Fun*Run Time
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
Sunday, November 28, 2010
If you are not proud
For who you are, for what you say, for how you look;
If every time you stop
To think of yourself, you do not see yourself glowing
With golden light; do not, therefore, give up on yourself.
You can get proud.
You do not need
A better body, a purer spirit, or a Ph.D.
To be proud.
You do not need
A lot of money, a handsome boyfriend, or a nice car.
You do not need
To be able to walk, or see, or hear,
Or use big, complicated words,
Or do any of those things that you just can’t do
To be proud. A caseworker
Cannot make you proud,
Or a doctor.
You only need more practice.
You get proud by practicing.
There are many many ways to get proud.
You can try riding a horse, or skiing on one leg,
Or playing guitar,
And do well or not so well,
And be glad you tried
You can show
Something you’ve made
To someone you respect
And be happy with it no matter
What they say.
You can say
What you think, though you know
Other people do not think the same way, and you can
keep saying it, even if they tell you
You are crazy.
You can add your voice
All night to the voices
Of a hundred and fifty others
In a circle
Around a jailhouse
Where your brothers and sisters are being held
For blocking buses with no lifts,
Or you can be one of the ones
Inside the jailhouse,
Knowing of the circle outside.
You can speak your love
To a friend
You can find someone who will listen to you
Without judging you or doubting you or being
Afraid of you
And let you hear yourself perhaps
For the very first time.
These are all ways
Of getting proud.
None of them
Are easy, but all of them
Are possible. You can do all of these things,
Or just one of them again and again.
You get proud
Power makes you proud, and power
Comes in many fine forms
Supple and rich as butterfly wings.
It is music
when you practice opening your mouth
And liking what you hear
Because it is the sound of your own
It is sunlight
When you practice seeing
Strength and beauty in everyone,
It is dance
when you practice knowing
That what you do
And the way you do it
Is the right way for you
And cannot be called wrong.
All these hold
More power than weapons or money
All these practices bring power, and power
Makes you proud.
You get proud
Remember, you weren’t the one
Who made you ashamed,
But you are the one
Who can make you proud.
Practice until you get proud, and once you are proud,
Keep practicing so you won’t forget.
You get proud
Saturday, November 27, 2010
A few weeks back I had a micro-freak out. Nothing mentionable really, less then 5 minutes in my head, no where anywhere near having a panic attack. I needed groceries. In September a new store opened up about 2mi away, so the closer one, maybe 1mi away, a different chain that sells overpriced food of no better quality, closed in October. Forget about the fact that I have a Trader Joe's 3 blocks away and a 7-11 (for emergency milk & dish washer detergent) literally across the street. I waited all day, until it was dark and cold, to roll to the new grocery store.
It was after this that the almost imperceptible freak out occurred. What am I going to do when it snows? How am I going to get food this winter? People / the county just don't shovel sidewalks very well and it's too far to roll in the street. At least you could get to the old grocery store by cutting through the mall and you'd barely be outside at all. It's too cold for me to be outside that long in the winter. Cold hurts. Even in the daylight, in a few weeks it will be too cold. It's 20-25min each way. I don't want to take paratransit somewhere I could roll (absent snow). I don't want to pay a cab to get somewhere I could roll. What a waste of money and time and aggravation.
Then I stopped myself. I thought about all the grocery stores that I can roll to in 20-25min or less, including Trader Joe's (4). Of course I can't roll there in the snow, but I can take the bus (if the bus stop is cleared). Bus stops often aren't cleared in the county or the city. The bus stop right outside of my building is always cleared though. I can even take the bus easily to a 5th grocery store. Not just the bus, the QuickBus. I have a decent feeling that stop will be cleared, although I bet the curb cut to get to it will be dicey.
I can take paratransit even though it frustrates me. I can afford a cab. I can ask friends with cars to take me when they go, even though I don't want to. Two of the grocery stores deliver. I can order food online and it will show up at my door. I can afford the delivery charge, which I think is free for your first order. I won't starve. Why I momentarily though I would is ridiculous.
So then I thought about how lucky I am. Many people don't have that many grocery stores that close to where they live. Have you ever heard of food deserts? I'm not even talking about 3rd world countries -- just go into Baltimore city. The city hired a "food czar" to try to rectify that problem. We also have a problem with "hack cabs" something I'd never heard of until I googled Baltimore food desert. I'm lucky to have so many transportation options that are easy for me to access, even if paratransit is frustrating. It's not difficult for me to get food, and for that I am thankful.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Sunday, November 21, 2010
I read an article yesterday about a guy who was having asthma attacks brought on by Facebook. Think what you will. The comments to that article are interesting. Facebook is making me depressed. Well it is not making me depressed, but it sure isn't helping the depression I am already in.
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Is it the economy or the nature of the disability or just the type of person who would opt to go to a support group? Or a little of all the above? Why is it that everyone I associate with (myself included) is struggling so much? Where are the successful people with psychiatric diagnoses? The Andy Imparatos of this world? They're not coming to my support group.
Of course I shouldn't put Andy on a pedestal, my best friend reminds me that people are people and you shouldn't ever put anyone on a pedestal. It's not Andy per se, but rather the idea of Andy. The doctor, lawyer, teacher, who is still a doctor, lawyer, teacher, not someone who used to be and is now on SSDI. People who are not working 2 jobs to afford their medications. Does that even exist in this world? In this country? Maybe in England? I don't know a thing about the NHS.
We're all surviving in the system and that's an accomplishment. Don't get me wrong, that's a HUGE accomplishment. We've only had 1 fatality, a death "from depression" as my best friend puts it. Survival is HARD, tough, a LONG road worth fighting for. But I wonder if in all this surviving we've forgotten that what we really should be doing is fighting not just to survive, but to THRIVE. We CAN thrive. It is possible. There is more then 1 Andy Imparato, Kay Jamison in this world.
The question that I wonder is if anyone really is thriving at all in this economy, psyc disability or not? Is everyone just surviving? I think that's it. The world just sucks right now is all. Although those of us attending support groups, whatever they are for, are always going to be having a bit of a harder time at life, then those who have other types of support systems. It's just the way things are. But just because I don't always see people who are THRIVING doesn't mean they're not there, that it's not possible. That's an important thing to remember.
Friday, November 19, 2010
We're in the middle of another 8 week WRAP session. Different volunteer facilitator, different set up, larger group, so I wanted to do it again. We keep getting good ones. Last night she gave us an assignment to come next time with the name of someone we plan to give our WRAP to. I really like that she did that. It's easy to conceptualize that WRAP is something that you do for yourself and yourself alone. But it isn't. WRAP is a working document that is meant to be shared. Especially the crisis / post - crisis plan part. Like mine has the name of the person designated to do my laundry. Generally these people should know these things...
Some people had these blank looks on their faces, so I piped in and said "I have a WRAP I did previously and the first thing I did after I wrote it was make a copy of it and give it to my therapist." I think I saw some wheels turning. Apparently this isn't as obvious of a thing to do as I thought it was.
I don't take notes during WRAP like most people do. I'm more of an auditory learner. Writing would be too distracting. Nor did I work on it in between or have I read any of the now 3 copies of the red book that I have (I may have given 1 to my shrink, can't remember). The way it worked out for me last time was that I was having a bad day, I think it was 6 weeks into the last WRAP session, I can't remember what was going on that day, but I do remember that I wanted to do anything to keep myself from going home and crawling into bed, so I sat outside the library at school (it was a nice day in April or May) and wrote it out in 1 sitting. Then I immediately went in the library and made a few copies, went to the student union and bought a big envelope, took it over to the school post office and mailed 2 copies, 1 for my shrink and 1 for my pdoc. While she would have copied it for free in her office, for whatever reason I wasn't going to see her for a week and a half or something (I wonder how close I did this to the spring action, can't remember) and I thought it was best for her to have read it in advance of our next appt, especially since it was so far away. Then I let both of them know to expect mail, as I unfortunately didn't have the option to scan / email it.
We had a really good session that week, talking about 'when things are breaking down,' 'early warning signs' stuff. Things that I thought she picked up on back when I started seeing her in 2007, but that apparently she missed. Like the fact that when I feel really bad I tend to dress up, put on make up. Because the last thing you want when you feel like crap is for people to ask you if you're OK. If you look good and people give you compliments you have the option of just saying "Thanks," or saying "Thanks. I feel like crap," depending on who it is. If you look like crap and say "I'm fine," they know you're lying. This isn't a conversation we would have had if I hadn't mailed my WRAP, and it was a conversation we needed to have.
Why wouldn't you share your WRAP with your shrink? One of the main components of WRAP is the concept of having 5 supporters. Why wouldn't your shrink be one of your supporters? They're not going to come over and do your laundry, but if your shrink can't help support you with the other stuff, you need a new shrink.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Spitfire always has a sign like this on her chair. It says "Nursing Homes = Hitler's Final Solution" and has some swastikas
Banner says "DEFENDING OUR FREEDOM" I'm all the way over on the end in the baseball cap. Did I post this before?
We went to DOL just to use their deck so we could scream at Nancy Pelosi who was getting an award in this building across the street. Thanks DOL!
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Monday, November 15, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 1:00-2:00 pm Eastern Time (10:00-11:00 Pacific)
- Mike Oxford, Executive Director of Topeka Independent Living Resource Center, Co-Founder of Kansas ADAPT, National ADAPT Organizer: Mike has been an active member and organizer in the disability rights movement for the past 25 years. He served on the Board of the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) for nine years; he is the immediate past president of NCIL. Mike served on the Board of the Disability Rights Center (DRC) of Kansas, the state's Protection and Advocacy organization, and is the Board President of the Atlantis Community in Denver, CO. Mike also served on the Kansas Association of Centers of Independent Living (KACIL) Board of Directors and the Statewide Independent Living Counsel of Kansas (SILCK). Mike is involved in national efforts to promote choice, independence and freedom for people with disabilities through his work with the University of California/San Francisco Personal Assistance Services (PAS) project and by helping to draft language for national personal supports legislation such as the Community Choice Act, formally known as MiCASSA, and the CLASS Act. Recently Mike became involved with the University of Montana Nursing Home Emancipation grant. Mike writes and presents all around the country, offering technical assistance for consumers who are organizing, state agencies that are seeking to support people with disabilities in the community, and community partners who are finding new ways to promote choice, independence and freedom for all people.
- Heidi Siegfried, Esq., Health Policy Director, Center for Independence of the Disabled, New York: Heidi is Project Director of New Yorkers for Accessible Health Coverage; a coalition of organizations serving people with serious illnesses and disabilities and a project of CIDNY. She has served as NYFAHC’s project director for two years monitoring and analyzing trends in federal, state, and city health policy affecting access to care and coverage; writing and presenting testimony, bill memos, and action alerts; and organizing and leading monthly roundtables. She has twenty years of experience in policy analysis, lobbying, and advocacy on behalf of women, children, older adults, and people with disabilities on a wide variety of issues such as: hunger and poverty, rural transportation, work programs, privacy, civil liberties, housing and homelessness, and access to health care. She is a graduate of the State University College of New York at Oneonta and has a Master of Social Work from University of Nebraska and a Juris Doctorate from SUNY at Buffalo School of Law.
- How do we establish relationships with newly elected officials?
- How can we bring in community members with disabilities to meetings with elected officials?
- How can we use the process of educating new elected officials to organize more people with disabilities?
CART: The call will have real-time captioning (CART)! The website for where you will be able to view the captioning is: http://www.2020captioning.com/livefeed.php?event=AAPD . Thank you to the Center for Disability Rights,Inc. of Rochester, NY for sponsoring the captioning of this call.
The Justice For All Action Network (JFAAN) Organizing Workgroup hosts these calls the third Tuesday of every month as a resource for disability organizers, in an effort toward building the organizing capacity of the disability community across the country. They generally follow the format of a Welcome followed by 2-3 experts in a given area speaking for 10-20 minutes on their experiences, advice and challenges. The calls conclude with a 20-30 minute question and answer period.
To ask questions via CART: Sign-in to the Chat function on the right side of the transcript and type your question. One of the call facilitators will read out any questions posted there.
Because we want to maximize the generously donated CART services, we will be beginning the call promptly at 1pm and ending the call promptly at 2pm (Eastern). A few other reminders about call etiquette:
- Say your name before each time you speak
- Speak one at a time
- Speak slowly and as clearly as possible
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Survey to Gather Information on Individuals with Disabilities Who Have Ever Been Sexually Abused in School
I used to follow my facebook news feed soooo closely and then I stopped. Randomly looked at it the other day. There are so many things I miss by not looking at that news feed... like this...
My name is Mary Lou Bensy, and I am a Doctoral Student and researcher at Hofstra University, located in New York. As part of my Doctoral Dissertation, this ground-breaking research and survey is being conducted to help us learn more about the sexual harassment and abuse of special education students in schools. We need this vital information to help protect this victimized population. The survey is designed primarily to gather information on individuals with disabilities who have ever been sexually abused in school.
Parents, guardians, advocates and caregivers of students with disabilities are asked to respond on behalf of ONE victimized student per survey. If an individual chooses to respond on behalf of more than one student, he/she can feel free to take the survey more than once. Adult survivors are asked to complete the survey for themselves.
At the beginning of the survey, you will be asked to answer questions about the student on whose behalf you are completing the survey. Then there will be questions about different kinds of sexual harassment and abuse that may have occurred. If you responded 'yes' to one of those types of abuse, you will automatically be asked to answer additional questions about that particular abusive experience. This survey is anonymous, so no one will know who the survey taker is. I do not ask for your name or contact information, or that of the victim, on this survey. When I report my research results, it will be done with no identifiable information from individual participants.
I know that many of these questions may be painful to answer, but please be as honest as you can in answering them. Please be sure to mark all responses that apply for each question. You can skip most questions that you do not want to answer. Your patience in completing this survey is very much appreciated.
Please understand that this research is not designed to provide therapeutic intervention or follow-up for the responder or the victim. If you feel the need for professional assistance on behalf of yourself or the victim, there is a link, at the end of the survey, to a list of resources available to you. To protect your anonymity, and that of the victim, please do not make an effort to reach me by phone or email.
Friday, November 12, 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010
First, Some blogs
Big Noise was briefly on my blogroll, but Cilla was never posting. Apparently she got inspired by Mike. Keep a look out. She may be back on soon if she keeps this up.
Through Networked Blogs on Facebook (here is Uppity Crip's page) I found Sasha is a Monster. Looks interesting. She's Jewish, in her 20s and has BP II. Remind you a little of anyone?
I also somehow recently came across Love on Wheelz. Google Love on Wheels and you come up with other stuff. The title of the latest post is offensive, but the writing is good.
I also recently rediscovered Deeply Problematic, good if you ever want to read blog posts that make you think. If you like thinking about the intersection of feminsm and disability that is.
Next, A Blog Post
Of course it's by Therese:
A few weeks ago Emma posted that she had an article (a really good one) published in Disability Now. Read People Say the Strangest Things. I also found other great articles on DN:
As someone who uses a wheelchair and is interested in human services, I was really interested in Facing out the Elephant. Other good Mental Health related articles are Questions of Balance: Work and Mental Health and Trisha Talking the Talk, both of which have made PINT apperiances on this blog.
I can't finish with DN without mentioning their article about the current goings on of DAN, ADAPT's counterpart in England. Read Direct Action! Life on the Streets. I find DN so much better and to have so much more of a wealth of stories then New Mobility, the closest US counterpart I can think of. Oh, yes, DN has work by Americans too. There's Coming to Terms by NYLN's Betsy Valnes.
Lastly, an article in Monday's Baltimore Sun State Health Chief Pledges to Safeguard Public Mental Health Dollars
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Speaking of Zyprexa... I have a friend, who took it as an adult, who had a MASSIVE heart attack and has serious diabetes from taking that. Which is why I am seriously cautious about anything that's been out for less then 5 years...
Also, Monday I spent way too much time online and stumbled across some articles on childhood bipolar. When is childhood bipolar no longer childhood bipolar and is just bipolar? Anyone know? Because I really wish I was diagnosed at 15 and not 22 (lot of years in between there), not that it matters what it's called though... *end tangent*
from babble.com Are More Kids Bipolar? That article links to articles from the New York Times and Slate, all good reads.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Monday, November 8, 2010
This was not the post I was planning to write for today, maybe Thursday... I hope that this post doesn't make anyone feel bad or make it seem like I feel superior, because I don't. I was just struck by how matter of fact, how black and white the following thought came into my head 2hrs ago.
I am not a binge eater.I was heading into the kitchen earlier for my second left over halloween cookie of the day. If you buy a box of halloween cookies [which look nothing like the one on the left] on Nov 2nd, they're cheap, and I was craving cookies. I felt slightly guilty buying them, but I bought 3 bagged salads too. I felt guilty eating a second one today too, until, as the sugary goodness touched my tounge I simoutaneously realized that I have had the box for a week and that this is only my 6th cookie. They're going to go bad before I finish them. And so, I thought
I am not a binge eater.Just like that. I do eat a lot of processed convenience crap. I put fish sticks in the toaster oven for lunch today. But that is the topic of another post. Or not.
I know quite a lot of people who binge eat, and I have spent the last 2hrs thinking about how hard life must be for them. To them eating is a matter of exhausting almost insurmountable wills. I know someone who had the willpower not to buy the crap I eat and then binged on carrots and peaches. It's not about willpower at all. If it were about willpower and fight these people I am thinking of would not still be dealing with this. They fight.
So I ponder something with no answer. Why are some people binge eaters and others not? Why do some people have multiple psychiatric disabilities and others none? Why does one person jump off a diving board and win a gold medal and another breaks her neck?
What I'm saying is that life isn't any harder for the binge eater then it is for anyone else, it's just that person's particular brand of hard. It isn't fair, is all, that life has to be this hard for anyone. Eating is supposed to be so simple, but yet for many it is not. And I feel for these people I know. I feel for them because I cannot do anything to help them really. I wonder though why I don't feel like this for the people I know who hear voices that aren't there or for people I know who have non-psychological disabilities. Maybe because there are cookies and a giant thing of peanut butter (that I've had for 9 mos) sitting on my kitchen counter that I see all the time? I don't come in contact with voices.
This came on all of a sudden. I don't know why I thought of the cookies, and oh yeah, of the ice cream that sometimes gets freezer burned. Any thoughts anyone? About how life's not fair? The more I've been thinking about binge eating the more I've been thinking about other things that aren't fair. Like nursing homes. And I don't want to go there today.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Check out sexuality.about.com Cory has GREAT stuff. Or, I suggest also, buy his book. No, I am not on comission, I just found it that helpful.
Friday, November 5, 2010
9) If you're in the kind of therapeutic relationship where the therapist generally runs the show, decides what to talk about, and you just go along with it, BUT one week you have something you need to say that you're sure won't be on the agenda...
Call / text / email them, whatever their preferred method, enough in advance that you're SURE they saw it, and simply say "I have something specific I want to talk about this week." They'll be so curious about what it is, and so shocked at your unusual behavior that they'll ask you what it is first thing and you'll have plenty of time to talk.10) Use students with CAUTION.
They're cheaper (or sometimes free) but the quality you get is iffy. The first student I saw was clueless. The second was GREAT! [Not to say that this hasn't happened to me with licensed professionals also] The other thing you have to consider is that you'll end up having to get a new therapist every year or every other year. Are you OK with explaining your history over and over?11) If a therapist thinks that antagonizing you / pushing your buttons is good therapeutic motivation, chew that one over.
Maybe it is, but maybe they're reinforcing negative behaviors you'd like to curb.12) If a therapist utters the words "people like you," or "those people," repeatedly, or even just once, FIND ANOTHER THERAPIST!
Back to the putting people in boxes thing, but HOW ABLEIST!!!! ICK! And PATRONIZING! I'm not a diagnosis, I'M A PERSON! G-d damn it! There is no person like me! Treat me! Help me! NOT my diagnosis! Can you tell I have baggage???13) Take your medication. Or don't. But then try yoga or something...
If your reading this blog chances are you have some grasp of the medical, social, charity models of disability. Way to medicalize! Not everyone knows disability theory of course, but some people just innately know NOT to medicalize people. FIND THEM!
My point in this is not to be all, bow down to big pharma. The idea of being forcibly medicated sends chills down my spine. My point is that you need something to put you / keep you in balance, be it a mood stabilizer or an acupuncturist. Therapy works best in conjunction with things. Someone I know swears by his chiropractor, another by transcendental meditation, and another swims 10hrs / week. Do it with pills or without. Whatever floats your boat.14) JOIN A PEER SUPPORT GROUP!
Feel like your treatment team is being too forceful, intentionally giving you a one sided picture of things, (especially of DANGEROUS things like ECT), or is even just the tinyist bit vague? Antagonize them. One pdoc suggested maybe I try a medication that, after searching the interwebs, I discovered has a possible side affect of muscle spasm with pain. I thought I was the crazy one. He's crazy for even considering this medication for someone with a diagnosis of spastic CP.
In addition to the yoga, time with furry creatures (a favorite of mine), or whatnot.15) If your therapist can't coordinate with your other treating professionals, DITCH THEM!
Who has the money to go to 6hrs of therapy a week? What therapist wants to see you everyday of the week? Unfortunately, they won't let you stay past an hr. Sometimes you need more then an hour in one sitting. Try searching for a DBSA affiliated group. My group is open 2.5hrs twice a week for unstructured time, followed by a 90min support group both days AND is open a 3rd day for a 2hr WRAP session. It'll get you through hopefully... My therapist might be more grateful then I am...
Don't be nervous to find out that there aren't any licensed professionals present at a peer run support group. "They're" not as crazy as you think, and can share more honest stories then a professional can. Plus, peers don't tend to medicalize.
I'm not even talking about keeping in touch with my botox doc aka pain doc aka physiatrist (the technical term) because that is so complicated (Um, NOT! See #2). Let's start with the most basic and work up to that one. I once had a therapist and a pdoc who had never heard of each other, nor made any attempt to contact each other. Now if that isn't essential, I don't know what is...16) Lastly, if you happen to find someone who is email savvy, is actually interested in what you have to say, DOESN'T medicalize or make you want to punch a wall, will willingly coordinate with other treating professionals, AND is open to your ideas for alternative treatments, HOLD ONTO THEM. They're a rare breed...
Thursday, November 4, 2010
FYI Cory Silverberg is a certified sex educator, part owner of Come As You Are sex shop in Toronto, Canada, the about.com sexuality guide & Co-author of one of my favorite books, The Ultimate Guide to Sex & Disability.
Every so often I will plug the words "disabilitiy sex" or "sex and disability" or something like that into google and see what comes up. Apparently it's been quite awhile as I've never come across the National Sexuailty Resourse Center before. This lead me to google Cory Silverberg (which I am surprised in the 4 years I have owned his book I have never done) and find the video below. It is the first of 2 videos featuring Cory that I am going to post, and discuses how to adapt sex toys to meet your needs as a PWD. ENJOY!
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Just my ramblings gathered from dealing with 8 shrinks over the course of 20 years, so take my advice or leave it.
says you: Hasn't she said she's 25 (and a half)1) Write. A LOT.
says me: I know... but that's what it is...
Writing helps you express things that are too embarrassing to tell your therapist in person. This has rarely been an issue this time around, but it still is sometimes, even after 3 years. Sometimes you may finally see an opening to discussing something you haven't ever been able to tell anyone. See #2. Make sure they read it before your session. Once they know, they know. You might as well talk about it.2) Find a therapist who is email savvy.
See the other post for another reason why writing is good. Writing just helps you express things period. You might feel put on the spot during a session, or like if you sit there going uuuuummm... for too long you're wasting both of your time and your money. Sometimes it just takes awhile for thoughts to form. Writing gives you that time. Write some, take a break, delete it, write some more. Take a 2 day break and go back to it if that's what you need. Or write it all at once in one sitting if your mind is on the ball. Things definitely come out of my head more eloquently and cohesively on this blog then they ever do coming straight out of my mouth.
There is no way I would ever see a therapist that didn't have a work email and/or wasn't into checking email at least twice a week. I never realized how beneficial writing was to me until I started blogging. What was horribly frustrating for me was printing things out and spending the first 15mins of each session twiddling my thumbs while she read something she could have read on Saturday or at 1:30 that afternoon.3) Availability by text is optional.
I would never fault a therapist for setting that boundary. In fact, I know lots of doctors that have work emails, but I don't have any doctors or know of any friends who have doctors or therapists who welcome text access.4) If you don't like to write, try art. Or, even better, do both.
My current one does. I find it much more convenient to reschedule by text then to call, wait for her to check office voicemail, call back, miss her call, etc... It also frees me from being tied to my computer like I am with other doctors. That, and well, I get answers MUCH QUICKER. It's also the most convenient way to say "AAARRRGH! The stupid cab hasn't shown up yet," When it's 2:55 and my appt is 3.
PLUS, if, for example, I am extremely irritable on Thursday, but am fine by my appointment 5 days later, the chances are I'll have decided there are much more important things to talk about in the 1hr I have. Maybe there is, but maybe this is important. The jury is still out on whether or not this makes me codependent, but I'd rather mention it right when I am irritable then not at all.
I like to do art when I'm extremely anxious. Others I know like to do art because not only are things too painful to talk about, they're too painful to write about. However you can get it out is a good way to get it out.5) If you leave your therapist's office feeling like you want to punch a wall, and you didn't feel that way when you went in, find another therapist.
If you're really into art, try an art therapist. Just because someone is a board certified art therapist (has the letters ATR-BC after their name), doesn't mean you can get money back from your insurance company for your time with them. To do that the person has to have ATR-BC after their name, but additionally has to have one of the following groups of letters as well: LCSW-C, PhD, PsyD, LPC, LCPC, DSW. That means they have separate additional training in psychotherapy. I don't agree that this is necessary, but it's the way it is.
It's obviously more challenging to have a therapist review your art work in advance, but it isn't necessary like it is with writing. Reviewing art should be a dyadic process. There's too much complexity to art to gain a true understanding without asking questions.
By the way, if you go to someone who has one of those 6 groups of letters after their names, but is missing the ATR-BC, you're not really doing art therapy, you're just playing with crayons in a therapist's office. To find an art therapist check the link above, or in Maryland try the Maryland Art Therapy Association.
If they try to twist things around and convince you that you're the problem, not them, definitely find another therapist. If you believe them and schedule another appointment and then get home and go "what have I done?" Call back immediately, tell them you just remembered something you forgot, and you'll have to call back to reschedule. Then find somebody else and forget that person. Don't call back.6) If that happens, DO NOT pick a new therapist out of a book. Ask someone or someones that you trust for a recommendation.
If you've been to a lot of therapists in the past, (I mean, this is my 8th) you know what you want and what you don't want. My main criteria is that when I ask a therapist a direct question they actually answer it. "What do you think?" is not an answer. "I can't say right now. I need more information," IS an answer.7) If you walk into your therapist's office feeling like you want to punch a wall and you think their assessment is completely off the mark, I encourage you to argue with them.
Don't be afraid to ask the therapist what their approach is and to tell them what you like and don't like on the phone before meeting them AND during the first session. I was told by the 'what do you think' people that answering questions "isn't therapeutically appropriate," so I found someone who agrees with me that this is bull.
If they insist on keeping you in the little box they created and are unwilling to explore other possibilities that coincidentally have that same specific common symptom, consider getting a new therapist. See #6 (unless they won you over and you now, truthfully, agree with them).8) If for some reason you find you can't look your therapist in the eye, don't. Fidget.
However, if they agree with your assessment right off the bat, keep them and smile to yourself for being an insightful genius.
This was never a conscious issue with me, but I spent years in therapy fidgeting. Even the bad therapists don't mind. The good ones will have something to fidget with. I'd take my necklace off and play with it. Or, since I've had long enough hair, I always have a pony tail holder on my left wrist. I've broken quite a few pony tail holders in therapy. Those ones that are glued will eventually snap if you play with them enough. Or I'd take my hair down and put it back up. Repeatedly. For awhile I brought in theraputty.
I don't know when I stopped fidgeting. It's not something I was conscious about either, for awhile. When finally I realized it was one of the times went "WOW she's good!"
Any suggestions on what guys can fidget with? Maybe borrow your girl/friend's pony tail holder? I once gave one to a platonic friend (who is bald BTW) and it made all the difference to him.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Monday, November 1, 2010
I don't know how I got to Virginia Wood's blog. I'm a public follower but she'll never be on my blog roll. She doesn't post frequently enough. As you may have guessed, the main reason I take people off my blog roll (after I find a replacement) is failure to post. Anyway, I never read the blogs I follow that are not on my blog roll, I just don't feel like scrolling through my dashboard. So, I don't know what brought me to check out her blog again back in August, but I did and noticed that she links to a very opinionated practice website. I mean, look at it, check out the FAQs-- the one about using insurance to cover therapy. Most people can not afford to keep insurance out of the equation, even if they are using out of network benefits, which in my case are good thank god. Why make people feel uncomfortable about it? At $80-$150 a pop depending on qualifications and geographic location, if you have a serious mental illness, you'll go bankrupt.
Totally going off on a tangent... The point of this post is that I looked around her site (I find it tacky and distasteful that she continually links to her facebook fan page) and found a list of how to benefit most from therapy. "This is really good," I thought. "I should blog about it." And then I forgot. Until last Friday that is, when Therese posted Sue Atkinson's 9 rules for surviving therapy. These lists are completely different and I think it's beneficial to look at them both.
- Talk a lot
- Talk some more
I went to a therapist for awhile and sat there and stared at him ALOT. We stared at each other, and then I'd look at him and say "WHAT," if he didn't decide to start opening his mail or walk over to check his email while he waited for me to say something. Sometimes he would tell me the weather report. Often he could tell that I was about to say "WHAT" and would say it first.
I was rather surprised when I started talking to this shrink the 1st appointment, even though I couldn't stand her at the time. It felt WEIRD not to just stare at her, but then again, she isn't an asshole. I guess that was the 1st good sign -- me talking more then she does. That is, after all, the point.
- Keep a journal [or a blog AND every once in awhile go back and look at old stuff, reviewing both the new posts and revelations about old posts with your shrink]
Recently a friend asked me if I write poetry and I said "Not that much, but I did write this, back when I was so messed up I had therapy 2X a week." The catalyst for writing it was something my psychiatrist had asked me earlier the day I wrote it that I hadn't been able to articulate in her office. I just needed another half hour to chew it over, and I was able to give a much more extensive answer then I ever could have done in her office. She was immensely grateful I took the time...
- Write down your dreams
I know everyone dreams every night, but is it weird that I only ever remember my nightmares? That I don't write down. I can remember that I was so freaked out about getting somewhere on time (something that is hard for me) that I woke up in a panic 2hrs early...
- Don't drink or drug 24 hours before or after your session--or better yet, stop using altogether
Why is it that all my treating professionals think it is wrong to use alcohol as an alternative treatment for pain management?
- Attend regularly--especially when you don't want to
That's when I make sure that I go. Even if my apathy makes me late. Not that I think it does me any good... I'm too depressed to get anything out of the actual session. However, having a reason to shower, get dressed, get out of bed, get some fresh air, does me a world of good.
- Pay attention to, and talk about, your feelings about your therapist and your therapy. Or, from the other list, even if after ten agonizing sessions you still think that the therapist hates your guts, it may be worth going on, but tell him or her.
I've never had a shrink that hated my guts, but I have had a few where I hated their guts. I'm batting 1 out of 4 in the bad shrink department (out of 8 total). How do you know if a therapist is truly bad (3 out of the 4) or if you do just have to really stick things out (the 1 out of the 4)? I don't know...To be continued...