Monday, October 26, 2009

A Step in the Right Direction

My therapist finally believed me when I told her that I totally cannot afford to come to therapy twice a week anymore.

I've been telling her that for months.
Years, now that I think about it.
But until recently I've always found the money. And in point of fact, I believe it was necessary for me to go to therapy twice a week until I was successfully off my meds. Going off psychotropic medication can be tricky.

It's a pretty big deal because I've been going twice a week since 1996 unless my therapist was out of town. If I was out of town, I called in for a phone session. March 1996 is when I got locked up in the looney bin for suicidal tendencies (Stonerdate 03.29.09). I didn't take meds before I that incident, but I had been in therapy off and on for a couple of years. Once I got out, it was clear that therapy was as necessary to my treatment as the medicine. And I was so heavily medicated for about a year that I could barely wake up - but that was just as well since I might have done some damage if I got agitated. Then I spent the several years at a fairly high dose of Depakote as well as an antidepressant which is typical for people who have been diagnosed with Bi-Polar disorder.

By paying very close attention, my staff and I were able to determine that I am not Bi-Polar. I feel my feelings more intensely than most people, no doubt, but that's because I process emotions like a three or four year old. I react to an environmental trigger (therapy-speak for "shit happens"), and if I get depressed - and I used to get suicidal so I was awfully depressed - my neurochemistry changed. Once the chemistry changed, then it appeared as if I was Bi-Polar or Manic or whatever the DSM-V likes to call it. When your mental state is determined by your neurochemistry, you even out the chemistry and the moods stay stable. That's not what happens when your mood fucks up your chemistry. You can try to keep the chemistry steady, but reaction to environmental triggers is the main determinant. Then you have to adjust the medication to stabilize a mood which might be considered a bit out of control.

During the months I was phasing off the Depakote, I was emotionally raw. As I understand the process, a person takes this kind of medicine to coat feelings so that they are not overwhelming. When a person can tolerate his/her feelings, then s/he can being to deal with the underlying issues that trigger depressions and stuff. Last year sometime, I decided I wanted my feelings back. I can't remember when I decided. I just decided. And it was overwhelming at first - not only for me but for the people closest to me.

It's done now. To tell the truth, I'm pretty tired of going to therapy all the time, but having only one appointment with her in my date book each week feels like a mighty big step. A good step, but a mighty big one.

5 comments:

Liberality said...

Nothing lasts forever. It does sound like they've given you a lot of drugs. Peace sister.

Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

Blogging is the public form of self-medication, imho...

Lisa said...

It sounds like a good step. I have days when I'd like to coat my feelings, but I've resisted. I think I'm afraid of being comfortably numb. I've seen what it does to friends and it worries me some. I hope that you'll keep taking positive steps. I'm cheering you on.

jenmorrison said...

To hear what you have overcome and accomplished - well it blows my mind. My hat's off to you sis.

PENolan said...

Thanks y'all.

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