I’m curious what you all think. I mean really lay it on me, tell me all of your thoughts and wishes. Tell me your self-hate speech and what that little voice is like inside of your head. Tell me your positive self speech and what that little voice is like inside of your head. Tell me if you don’t have one or don’t have the other. I’d like to know.
I’d also like to know what you think about your therapist, briefly, sharing a struggle they’ve had in order to relate to something you’re saying. I know some people don’t like their professionals to “get personal” with them, but I’m curious why this is. I’m curious why you wouldn’t want someone who is there to help with your mental health prove to you that everyone struggles in one way or another at some point in their lives? I thought the whole point wasn’t to feel alone?
I salivate over the idea of mental health peers being counselors, therapists, psychiatrist, psychologists, people who really understand and can share their successes with you and how they got to where they are: that to me is inspiration, not a sign of a bad therapist. I don’t think they should sit there and tell you everything about their life, I don’t want to know about the star shaped mole on their husband’s nether regions, but telling me about a coping mechanism they’ve used for anxiety would be helpful.
Maybe this is just me. That’s why I’m sending it out to all of you, what’s left of you at least, since I’ve taken so many hiatus’ from this blog that I don’t know who actually reads me anymore or who doesn’t.
Since I will be giving a speech on peer supportive opportunities tomorrow, I’m in the spirit of talking about it.
How useful would it be that your therapist knew exactly what severe anxiety felt like.
How useful would it be that your psychiatrist remembers what their psychotic break was like.
How useful would it be that your counselor knew exactly how low your energy got during a depression because they’d been there before.
I think there’s a lot of compassion and empathy missing from the system sometimes, and I think a lot of that has to do with not really, truly, understanding what we go through. I think it also has to do with this “just do your job” mentality that happens from working a career too long–at least for some.
I know there was a big difference between the physician’s assistant my dad saw in the emergency room versus the doctors that had been practicing for years. You could tell the P.A remembered all of his motivational interviewing skills. He knew how to connect, he knew how to negotiate, and he did it all with some serious humor. Maybe he’ll just be a great doctor one day. Or maybe it’s because he was new.
Somehow we have to keep that passion up. How should we do that? Should we, as patients, clients, residents, guests, members, whatever you refer to yourself as–should we start a ruckus? Should we remind our doctors why they became doctors in the first place?
Then there are the nice doctors who you do connect with who make simple mistakes. But it’s how they handle those simple mistakes that tells me whether or not they are decent at what they do.
For example, the nurse practitioner who handles my psychiatric medications (yes I am once again back on meds) told me that Abilify’s starting dose is 15mg.
It most certainly is not. How can it be if the first “therapeutic” dose is 10mg? I have yet to mention to her that the physician’s desk reference tells us that anything above 10mg hasn’t really shown any true efficacy in all the studies its been through, that will be a conversation for when she decides to try to take me to 15mg.
When I told her that I wanted to start at 5mg because my body is sensitive to this bullshit (I didn’t say bullshit, but I wanted to), she said oh, okay, we’ll do that–and didn’t argue with me. She trusted that I knew what was best for my body and I respect that. Not every psychiatrist or doctor will do that. Some of them pretend to know everything. Throw some Calculus at them, I bet they forgot how to do it. So they don’t know everything. Ha.
I think this also speaks to be able to speak up for yourself. It’s taken me a lot of years to learn that skill when it comes to doctors, because you want to trust what they have to say, you want to trust what they say is best for you, but the truth is only you know what’s best for you. Sometimes that means no medication, sometimes that means swallowing your pride and your arrogance and quelling your hatred for pharmaceutical systems and taking some form of medication until you can better handle yourself.
I don’t believe anyone is doomed to medication for eternity. Including myself. But I also recognize now that it’s an essential aide sometimes in life.
The point is, speak up for yourself. Don’t let someone, especially a professional, tell you that you don’t know yourself.