A number of months ago (about seven according to my blog, which is the main way I measure time), I stopped going to my psychotherapist (https://wp.me/p4e9Hv-xj). There were a number of reasons, but here’s the main one:
My sessions are mostly an update on what’s going on in my life at the moment, plus a recap of my recurring problems. But those problems are ones I’ve faced before and know how to cope with. I already have the tools I need and use them without needing a reminder.
This week I had a new session with my therapist, also for a number of reasons.
My triggers are looming large. The last time my brain broke, there were a number of stressors piling up on me. Financial reasons. Health reasons. Relationship reasons. Job reasons. All combined with good ol’ bipolar, type 2.
Now those stressors are back, in slightly altered versions. So far I’m holding my own, but I know there’s a danger that they will do the same to me as they did the last time.
I’m catastrophizing. The lurking triggers are setting in motion a thought process in which I assume the worst. And the stakes may even be higher this time. Financially, we could crash and burn, owing our souls to the IRS and maybe losing our house. I need a reality check from someone outside. (I’m also consulting a tax attorney; these fears aren’t completely all in my head.)
I need another person in my support system. My husband is great, but I can’t always talk to him about my problems. For one thing, he’s not objective, since he’s facing the same stressors I am. And my friends offer me encouragement and moral support, but I hate to do a total meltdown in front of them. Dr. B. has seen it all and helped.
I need emergency help readily available. My irrational thinking at times such as this has caused me some suicidal ideation in the past. I know that’s not the right thing to do, but my brain has betrayed me before now and I can’t guarantee it won’t again. So I need someone – preferably someone more informed and present than an online help group or a 1-800 number – that I can talk to when the inside of my head gets too scary.
I have a therapist I know and trust. If there’s one thing I hate, it’s breaking in a new therapist, having to go through the Reader’s Digest Condensed version of my screwed-up life. Dr. B. at least doesn’t have to start from ground zero. I’m fortunate that she’s still available.
My meds have remained relatively stable; what I need is talk therapy. I’ve been on the same meds and the same dosages for quite a while now. I know within reason it’s not another or a stronger drug I need now. It’s something that meds don’t offer – a face, a voice, a presence that understands, listens, calls me on mistaken assumptions, suggests strategies, reminds me of what I’ve done in the past and how far I’ve come.
You’ll never find that in pill form.