4 Months Since Therapy

It’s been four months since the last time I’ve been to a professional therapist/psychologist/psychiatrist. I may have mentioned in a previous blog that my psychologist that I had been seeing at the Vet Center (part of the VA) moved on to a better job. I don’t blame him. I know I’ve mentioned before that all the good ones leave the VA and the ones that can’t do the job very well get comfortable at the VA because they get paid whether they do a good job or not. The ones that are worth a darn know they don’t have to put up with the bureaucratic stupidity that is the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, they can make it elsewhere. In the last couple of years, I’ve seen way too many mental health professionals come and go at the local VA I use.

Overall, I’ve been doing well since my doctor left. So, let me first say, to make sure there’s no confusion, I do not feel like my world is crashing down on me. I’m ok, I promise.  However, I am starting to notice some things about myself that suggest I should start looking for a new therapist. In the last month, I find my frustration with life events to be more easily provoked. My attention span and interest in things has gone downhill. I have had minor, but very noticeable, bouts with depression.  And I have not been sleeping well at all.  Again, I say, I am handling all of this. I am in no way a danger to myself or others.  (https://storyofmylife.blog/2016/05/21/im-ok-i-promise/).

It was a rough week at work. Three schedule changes, a few contentious exchanges with the boss, and people not showing up to work. I actually started to wonder if I made the right decision in going back to work after taking a year off because of mental health issues. I wasn’t having bad thoughts. Not like the ones documented in my psychological evaluation from last year that the VA ordered. During that session, I discussed with the psychiatrist some of the morbid thoughts I had during my last job. This week, my thoughts were more questioning if the job was worth it, if it were good for my sanity. And with that, the doubts of me being able to function in the workforce flooded my mind. That’s where the bouts of depression came from, I’m sure.  (https://storyofmylife.blog/2016/07/16/depressed-ptsd/).

I took my truck to the shop this week. I only let one shop work on my truck. I told him my budget and a few things that I needed to get worked on. Nothing major. So, I thought. The one issue I figured would be the easiest and cheapest part of my short list was twice as much as my entire budget for maintenance and repairs on my truck. I’m not good under the hood, so I’ll explain it as best I can: The fluid reservoir for the clutch was leaking and the housing for the transmission must be removed to get the root of the problem. Ouch. OUCH. My truck is 16 years old and paid for. The money I spend yearly on maintenance is still much cheaper than a car payment. But, ouch, all at once this time. Well, all at once again.  (https://storyofmylife.blog/2016/07/23/448/).

These were the two highlights of my lows for the week.   I remember not too very long ago how either one of these stressful events would have derailed me. And while I am feeling the effects of these things, both financially and psychologically, I am in control. I am handling each of these things better than I did similar events in the last year and a half. I have my moments when I want to run away or simply punch someone in the throat. But I don’t. I can’t. I’ve come too far in my recovery from my own mind to go that far backwards. A few steps back on a long, forward journey are expected, but I’m not going to start over again. I can’t.

As far as the job goes, YES. I was supposed to go back to work when I did. Any earlier and I might not be handling this as well. Any later and I would have missed out on a great job that I feel at home with. I missed having a job during the year I was not working. And I’m very happy to be where I’m at now, it was perfect timing and I love what I do. I’m learning how to cope with the challenges of functioning in a work environment again, challenges that didn’t seem to be there before I went to Afghanistan. I’m doing pretty well with it.

My truck and I have a lot in common. We both have a lot of miles and wear and tear on us, and both need some maintenance from time to time. And if the maintenance falls too far behind, we run the risk of a catastrophic breakdown. In August 2015, I had a complete breakdown in life and I got “put in the shop” for a while. Since then, until four months ago, I had been getting regular therapy maintenance. Similar to checking the tire pressure or getting an oil change in the truck at regular intervals and having a mechanic check things over. Sometimes for preventative measures, sometimes for repairs, for both me and the truck. I do still take my medications daily, but I think I need some more maintenance than that right now. Nothing imperative, I just think it’s time to go back to therapy.  (https://storyofmylife.blog/2016/04/16/the-pysch-ward/).

Now I have to find a new psychologist and start all over. That’s the whole reason I’ve gone four months without therapy. I don’t want to start over. But I will say that the timing for my previous doctor to move on was good for me. I had made tremendous progress with him in the 10 months we met for my therapy, and by the time he left, I didn’t really need to see him weekly. Now, because I know I need it, I have to find someone else for therapy. A few years ago, I would have scoffed at the idea of needing therapy on a regular basis. But, like my truck that needs regular upkeep, I know I need it, too. Basically, I’m far enough along in recovery to realize that I need to go back to therapy. I think knowing that is a good sign. But it doesn’t mean I’m looking forward to it.

I put links throughout this post that relate to the idea of specific paragraphs.  If you haven’t read them before, it will give you an idea where I was, what I’ve gone through, and where I’m at now.  Also, go check out my friend Frank’s blog, here’s the link.  I think most of you would enjoy it, he’s a very talented writer.  https://fnvaughn.com/

That’s what I have for the week. Thanks for taking the time to be part of my week and reading Story of My Life. Good day, God bless.

Dave

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14 thoughts on “4 Months Since Therapy

  1. Dave,

    Great to hear of your progress! Several things, as usual, resonated. It used to be that my need for therapy felt like a zit in the making, pushing from underneath, but it wasn’t there yet. My therapist retired last June and I’m amazed that I’m not antsy almost a year later, but so far so good. I didn’t want to start over either, but I’d been with the woman for 12 years . . . .

    One other comment: the not wanting to devalue or endanger the progress you’ve made. I’m very defensive of my mental health gains. In the long run, it’s what made me detach from my family. (And keeps me that way.) I can cope with most of the world, but my family had a bad door and slipped under my defenses, again and again. It takes me 2 weeks minimum to get back after a major flashback. When I asked myself if the relationships were worth two weeks? The answer was “No!” for everyone, up to and including my husband.

    I have spent decades fighting myself to get where I am and anyone who continually pushes me back gets written off. Family, friends, jobs, whatever. Hard and cold it may seem from the outside, but it seems to work. I keep the relationships which are mostly healthy, like my husband, and shed the others.

    It’s great to see your progress. It took me years to move from A to B. It took you a year. I’m really glad for you (and a mite jealous too)!

    Teacup

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I really like this blog. You seem to have yourself under control and know your needs. Seek that new therapist. Maybe the replacement at the VA is a good one. Keep working its good for you. I wish you the best in al you do.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I think that your capability to know that you need additional support is awesome. It may have felt like your world was crashing down, yet it seems like you handles two very stressful situations and came out the other side unscathed. I wish that I could do that at this point! What an inspiring post.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I like your analogy of maintenance for ourselves just like a car. Nobody really wants to make the time, or spend the money, but it’s cheaper than a complete overhaul. Glad to hear that you’re going back. Anything to keep you from throat punching another employee is worth it!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Try to focus on some of the things your therapist taught you. The fact that you’re recognizing these signs says you’re doing much better and you’re much stronger. Try to focus on as many positive things as you can. I know it’s hard to push aside that bad things but when you’ve struggled before they try to swallow you. Steal your joy. You can do this.

    Good luck finding a great therapist. I’m sure it was hard to let your last one go.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: A Good Rant, I Guess | Story of My Life

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