Meds? Talking therapy??

Everything I’ve ever read about treating Bipolar has said yes, while the meds are important, other things need to be done too.

One of the huge things mentioned is ‘talking therapies’ – what are they??

I’ve been getting help / seeing professionals for seven years now and I still have no idea what this is. I’ve heard about Cognitive Behavioural Therapy; I had a useless CPN begin this when I was nineteen but it was worse than useless. Within the past 18 months I was referred for CBT again, but I’m apparently too unwell / unstable for it to be helpful.

So what *should* be happening, alongside medication? All I’ve ever had were regular appointments (ranging from fortnightly to monthly), usually with a Social Worker. I saw the psychiatrist once or twice a year, but that was it.

These appts always begin with the social worker asking how I am, and then they don’t really listen to what we (myself and partner) say. If we said I was feeling really depressed and Gog was worried I was going to hurt myself, the SW would say “Keep taking your medication and lets see how you’re getting on at the next appt.” At one point I’d been severely depressed for over three months and just kept getting told to see how I was in a few weeks time.

There was never any advice. There was no information provided. No support.

Over a year ago we first mentioned me experiencing unusual symptoms outside of an obvious mood episode; the SW wasn’t paying attention at all and bleated her standard “and why do you think that is?”

I didn’t know. The SW didn’t react to this information at all, so I thought it was unimportant and brushed it aside.

A year laterΒ I am having psychotic symptoms 24/7, this has NEVER happened before. At the time when I mentioned it to the SW I thought I was having a ‘mixed episode’…maybe if the SW had listened and paid full attention she would have recognised these new symptoms and could have prevented it from getting as bad as it has.

We were always told to ring the SW if we were in a crisis, but when we did they didn’t do anything differently anyway.

The result of these appts (and I’ve seen 6+ different SWs regularly over the years) was that I began to dread the appts. I’d get so anxious over them, and resent what a waste of time they were.

What should professionals be doing? Am I just weird for not finding this helpful?

I’m struggling massively at the moment. Alongside the low mood and the psychosis I’m battling anxiety that makes me feel I can’t talk or I’ll be sick.

Gog seems really low and I’m seriously freaking out that he’s falling into a depression and it’s all my fault.

Hello breaking point, I’m back.

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7 thoughts on “Meds? Talking therapy??

  1. None of that is really helpful. I’ve never struggled with psychosis but talk therapies, group therapies, things where people can listen to you and talk with you and are concerned for what you’re concerned about are helpful alongside medication. I did CBT for a while and I didn’t find it helpful, but other people do. I see a humanistic psychologist right now with a Psy.D after previous “therapists” were just too stupid. It’s not even about fighting symptoms when I’m with this psychologist, it’s more about giving me coping mechanisms for when those symptoms arise. It’s someone who reminds you your feelings are valid but also reminds you that you’re not a prisoner to them. Just support, that’s all.

    There are some psychiatrists out there who also do therapy along with medication check-ins rather than just medication check-ins alone. Not many of those anymore, I don’t think.

    Talk therapies are just another form of support. It helps you cope with life and sometimes see things and yourself differently than before. It just takes a while to find the right person. Medication can’t fix everything.

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    • Thanks for taking the time to write this reply, it was really helpful.

      So talking therapies are about finding coping mechanisms…who would run a session? A social worker? Do they give you useful advice / input?

      The only experience I have with anything similar were both over 4 years ago… CBT where the person running continuously advised me to “just not think about” things that were making me anxious, and counselling where I sat in a room for 45 minutes and talked whilst the counselor didn’t say a word…that made me feel really uncomfortable and like I had to fill the silence. I dreaded those sessions! πŸ˜›

      Sorry for all the questions. I get so confused with all the different terms that are used…talk therapy, psychotherapy, CBT, DBT, counselling, psychologist, CPN…I hear them and have no idea what they are or what they mean in regards to me. I’m terrified of my appts anyway and feel stupid not understanding things that are said.

      Thanks again πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well I suppose someone could have a social worker run a session, but more commonly a therapist or psychologist or psychiatrist, depending on the kind of issues you’re dealing with and the kind of help you want. The good ones give great advice. The bad ones, like the counselor you had who just sits there and stares like they ain’t never seen a human being in their life before, usually give horrible advice or no advice at all.

        It’s important to find someone who is willing to work for you and with you, not someone who sees you as working for them, you know? I had one horrible therapist who basically did the same thing as your counselor and told me just not to think about things that made me anxious. I mean, if I could do that than I wouldn’t be sitting in your office seeking help. So after that experience I basically said F this and started looking for people with more experience, higher degree level (Masters, Ph.D, Psy.D) since those people usually have quite a bit of training and have often dealt with mental struggles of their own. I made sure that she specialized in mood issues and anxiety issues, both of which I need help with, and I made sure that I set my boundaries very early with her. The first thing she told me was that she works for me and that I could tell her I murdered someone and she would be okay, how does that make you feel?

        It has to be all about you or else they suck. It can’t be about making money, or just having a job, and if you get that vibe from someone than they probably won’t be much help.

        There are different types of psychotherapy, which are all types of talk therapy, like the ones you listed (CBT, DBT). I don’t know much about DBT. But typically CBT is supposed to retrain your brain. A lot of anxiety can sometimes be due to conditioned fear and ways to reduce that fear is to uncondition it. That’s usually done with mindfulness techniques (being aware of your surroundings and focusing only on those). My psychologist uses them only sometimes with me. When I get panicked reality flies out the window and I’m usually balling and confused and scared so she told me to use my senses: touch, taste, see, hear and just say things outloud. Like when I panicked in my car I started talking to myself: “I see the red light. I hear the rumbling car. I taste the juice on my tongue. I see the mountains.” And I was amazed at how quickly I pulled myself back into reality. Those are the kind of techniques that should be used with CBT.

        And wow I made this long as hell.

        But I have one last thing to say lol.

        It’s really hard to go into these places not knowing what’s supposed to happen because they can say anything or tell you to do anything and you won’t know if it’s right or not. I’d suggest researching all the stuff you’re confused on or, do like you did here, and just start asking people who have experienced it πŸ™‚ It’s always good to hold the reigns in your therapy because it’s for you, not them. It’s never about them. You have to be in control of your own recovery, that’s the best piece of advice I can give. Doctors and psychologists are educated in the science and theory and treatment behind your symptoms, but you’re a MASTER in what you experience. That trumps all of their textbook knowledge by a million.

        I’m studying to go into psychiatry and I’m dissing my own field, so you know I got to be tellin’ some kind of truth here! lmao πŸ˜€ Anyway, sorry about the long ass message but good luck!

        Liked by 1 person

      • This is incredible. I am so touched that you would spend the time and write all this out just to help me. Thank you.

        This is one of the most helpful things I have read haha. I’m gonna get my partner to read it too and we’ll talk about it, do some research and see what we can do to change the support we get. Thank you so much πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

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