Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Health Report Update: What Do You Do When Your Therapist Cancels?

I'm just venting here because it's physically hurting me right now trying to keep this in.

This morning, my therapist's office called and told me my therapist would be out today, so my appointment is canceled. My appointment last week was canceled, too.

At least today I got a call first thing in the morning. Last week, the call came literally nine minutes before my appointment, when I was on my way to the office.

Next week, I have no appointment scheduled because her schedule was full.

Is this going to be an all the time thing? Three weeks without a therapy session is lot. I had to transition to this person because my second therapist moved, so it's not like I've been seeing her for very long. And I like her, but this is just driving me crazy. Well, crazier.

The thing is, I recently filed for disability because we're struggling and I can't work because of the way my mental disorders overwhelm me. It was embarrassing and I hated doing it, but it was the only thing I could do. I get so scared and overwhelmed that most days the thought of going out is crippling. Going out for a special occasion like seeing Guardians of the Galaxy is great, but I remember how much I loved the movie and not the pure terror of sitting there, waiting for the movie to start, because I can feel the crush of people all around me and I can't breathe. Without a distraction like a gigantic movie screen, I'd be crying on the floor.

I hate that I'm like this, but I'm trying to deal with it. I'm trying to process it and overcome this. I try every day, knowing that I can't do things like drive or work or sometimes even exercise or feed myself because it's just too much.

I don't know what else to do. This is not a "just get over it" situation.

So last week my claim was denied because the state feels that I can still work. I understand where they're coming from, but it's still hitting me in that place where I'm still the kid who is to sick to go to Sunday school only to have his mother say "Stop lying to get out of it." You know what happened that day? I puked in front of every single kid there. Turned out I had food poisoning something bad. I got sent to the office where I had to wait for church service to end because I couldn't remember what my parents were wearing. I had to go to the bathroom three more times in that hour, and, well, in addition to puking my guts out, let's just say they also had to give me a new pair of pants to wear while I waited.

I feel like that fucking kid again. What am I supposed to do now? Go work somewhere and then, when my frustration and anxiety turn into uncontrollable anger... what?

So in addition to that, my therapy was canceled (though not my group therapy), and then there was the Robin Williams suicide, which I wrote about a couple of times with my reaction to. That helped deepen a depression that was already setting in. Because I know what it's like to want to do it, and when I see someone nearly twice my age still wrestling with demons, and someone who was loved and admired and had everything he had, it makes you feel surprisingly hopeless.

I was caught in a depression for days that my wife said was the worst she'd seen me in years. Just listless when I wasn't angry about it. Eating would just make me deeply, profoundly sad. Looking back, I'm surprised I talked about it even the little I did, because I really don't think anyone cares. This is just for me to try and make sense of it for myself.

I managed to pull out of the spin late Friday and had a pretty good weekend. But now, therapy's canceled again, with no therapy next week. I'm in a group, but the final session is on Monday. Where do I go from there? How do I know I'm just not going to get canceled on again? I know I'm not supposed to personalize these things, but for fuck's sake, I had a goddamn knife in my hand last week. I'm trying to do my part in this, god damn it.

It's hard to pull out of this, because when you're in it, everything seems to reinforce it. Ferguson alone makes it seem like society is just unraveling and civilization is falling apart. I wrote my column on Hobo Trashcan about it this week, but I've been having a hard time talking about it elsewhere. I feel like there's only so much I can talk about here sometimes. It's kind of fucked that I don't always feel the freedom to say whatever I want on my own blog.

So now I'm back there again, back at the bottom, feeling like no one cares except me. I have no idea what's going on with my therapy, and I'm starting to feel like what's the point. My wife is going to be gone all weekend, which is always hard on me, because of these deep-rooted feelings of neglect that I still have from childhood. She's been out at work for 13 hours now. I hate feeling like I'm alone in this.

I know there are rationalizations for all of this. I have to try and focus on that, because when you're depressed like this, rationalizations are easy to dismiss. You're searching for confirmation in everything. For your deep self-hatred. For your despair. For your suicidal thoughts. I'm that kind of self-loathing, where sometimes I feel like everything is just that signal from the universe that, you know what, now is probably the time to just let go and say goodbye.

This morning I cried so hard that my rabbit came over and started licking my foot, like she was reassuring or calming me. That made me feel like things weren't so bad. It's just the way I'm seeing things right now.

I had to get all of this out instead of letting it tear me apart.

UPDATE 8/20: Thanks for the kind comments, email, advice and supportive notes, and thanks Jessica for checking up on me last night.

Most people felt I needed to pair myself with a different therapist. To that end, a case manager from the same treatment center actually contacted me and I went to see her late in the afternoon yesterday. I'm seeing her again next week, too. She seems nice and was easy to talk to. I told her that the biggest problem for me in this situation was the sense of not knowing what was going on. I'm sure my regular therapist had reasons for canceling--and they can't tell me what it is, so I didn't ask, but it was intimated that there was something big going on. Like I said, I keep trying to rationalize it. Maybe she's sick--she was coming down with something the last time I saw her--or maybe she has some personal emergency regarding her family, or for all I know one of her other patients hurt him or herself and needs more attention. It's just the uncertainty of my future that makes me feel like I've got no solid ground in this situation, and that's harder for me to rationalize because I'm not hearing anything at all from my therapist.

I didn't even want to go in yesterday, but I needed someone to hear my worries over this and at least validate my feelings, and I got that. And I wanted to go for Becca, because I want her to go to Wizard World this weekend and do her best rather than worry that I'm at home curled up in a mess on the floor. There's part of me that hates bothering people with my problems so much that I resent needing to go to therapy at times, but it really does help.

So that's where I am now. This case manager backup seems like it might be helpful to keep up with. When I do finally see my therapist again, in September, I'll talk to her about how this made me feel and address that, because trust needs to be the foundation of a relationship with a counselor, and feeling shut out like this is a barrier.

I'm still kind of depressed, but I'm not quite like yesterday. Not tangerine yet, but not charcoal, either.


Yasmin said...

Ok, there isn't really much to write because it doesn't really matter what I write right now.
I do think you should try and get a new therapist if that's in any way possible. I'm someone who gets deeply affected by changes in my schedule or expectations . Maybe because I have to work so hard to even be able to plan anything and it sounds like you're like that, too. And now, on top on having wasted energy mentally preparing for the appointment you have to deal with the backlash of somebody canceling on you. Even if that person canceled for reasons which have absolutely nothing to do with you(which I'm 100% sure of).
Try to keep your world very small today, your thoughts very focused on your immediate surroundings and the simplest pleasures, like petting your rabbit. Anything big can wait, no matter how urgent it may be.

Jason said...

I agree with Yasmin... I think you need to confront your therapist with this, make her understand you need more reliability and more regularity, and if she can't provide it, find another therapist. I'm sure that won't be easy for you, but it seems really important.

And for what it's worth... hang in there, man.

Kelly Sedinger said...

That doesn't seem terribly professional to me. I agree with those advising seeking out a new therapist, if this is to be an ongoing issue. It's entirely possible that you've come on board with this one at the very point she has a good deal of stuff in flux, but she needs to commit to you or give way to someone else.

For what it's worth, you do seem to have a good handle on WHAT the problems are, and you also keep a healthy eye on how far you've come. That's huge, really -- sometimes, when the goal seems farther away than ever, it really is useful to turn around and see how far behind you the starting point has fallen.

Roger Owen Green said...

I know when someone I'm related to was in therapy, the same thing happened. Agreed that you need either a new therapist, or at least a backup. I KNOW it's a drag to get a new person up to speed with your stuff, but it's probably necessary.
And I don't entirely blame the therapist. The insurance payment game practically requires overbooking by medical professionals.
Good luck.
And again, not to sound like Stuart Smalley, but you ARE worth it.