Saturday, November 14, 2009

Good Help is Hard to Find!

First of all, let me express my gratitude for a few things.  First and foremost, I am very grateful to have the blessing of primary and secondary insurance that will cover the cost of psychiatric services (therapy, meds management) IN FULL, with no deductible or co-pay.  Also, I am unusually blessed to have no limits on the number of sessions I can have per week, per month, per year, or over a lifetime.  The gift of this coverage is humbling, and I am very, very grateful.

So, the good news is that I have coverage to handle the services.  Finding a care-provider who takes my insurance AND who is willing to deal with DID has been a challenge, to say the least.  It's been 12 years since I was last in private therapy.  I made use of public mental health services during the limbo period during which I waited for approval of my disability claim, roughly 2003-2006.

During this period I also trained as Peer Counselor, since it was thought that my experiences and insight would allow me to offer a very deep, real sense of empathy when supporting my peers.  So, I have some training from the other side of the table.  I understand what Transference and Counter-Transference are, and how they need to be managed.  I have a deep appreciation for the work that goes into therapeutic "presence," and the ability to actively listen to a client.

So, with that background, I've approached my search for a new set of care providers with a sense of humor, patience, and a willingness to keep searching for the people who are right for MY situation.  It took awhile to find an appropriate psychiatrist to manage medications.  The first guy, affectionately known in this household as Dr. Asshat, totally chickened out after two sessions.  That wouldn't have been too bad, but he initially offered to do therapy as well as meds management, so the process of telling our story had begun - and then the trust was destroyed.  Thanks, Asshat!

We've since found a new psychiatrist, who seems to understand the intensity of the situation.  Got set up on the anti-depressant that worked especially well previously, Wellbutrin.  Also have a very limited supply of anti-anxiety medication, and some Ambien for horrific insomnia and night terrors.  Okay, check.  Those of you who've read my other blog postings understand that the meds need to be in place first, so that there is a safety structure built around the process of exploring therapeutic work.

After getting the new psychiatrist on-board, we moved on to calls regarding therapy with psychologists and therapists.  We worked from the insurance list of providers, and got some feedback from the psychiatrist as to who might be especially helpful.  Placed countless phone calls, many of which were just never returned.  Rude, in my opinion, but at least I know they're not the provider for me.

One psychologist, who of course has a PhD, called back to say that I probably just needed to change my diet - without asking, of course, what my current diet was.  She also said that my issues are likely caused by the fact that I'm approaching Menopause.  Oh, thanks, doc.  So, I just need to eat nuts and berries, and accept the fact that I'm ancient.  Nice bedside manner there.  I think we found Asshat version 2.0!  I chose to thank the doctor, hang up, and then laugh hysterically...

Fortunately, I'm at a place in life where I trust my own inner knowingness MUCH more than I did when I was 30, or even 40.  I'll be 48 next March, which while not YOUNG, exactly, is certainly not certified geezerhood.

I have since found a psychologist who seems like an excellent fit.  A strong woman with substantive clinical experience and (it seems) a familiarity with what DID looks like, and how to deal with the many facets of treating someone with it.  (Yes, pun intended.)

I know from all my previous therapy that it is I who do all the work.  A good therapist can assist me, rather like a Sherpa guiding an explorer as they climb Mt. Everest.  But ultimately, even with all the assistance and guidance, the climber herself must do the work to get to the summit.  That's how I look at this process.  It won't be brief; I'm in it for the long haul.

The work begins, and I know I am strong enough to see it through.