I have been thinking about doing a post about therapists for awhile now and then I was in the middle of writing out one of my shitty therapist stories for you when I saw a comment from Sandra about therapists and I thought okay well perhaps it is time.
Remember that all of this is my opinion and my experience.
I can see some of you are anticipating negative verbal spewage and are clasping your therapist’s business card to your chest thinking but I love my therapist….
I am not going to say here that therapists are bad and that therapy is useless.
Therapists CAN be good and therapy CAN be useful.
But as with all things the idea that it is as easy as just “finding a therapist” is bull.
The key here is finding a GOOD therapist.
And a good therapist is hard to find.
If you want one who actually understands Bipolar disorder………
pardon my laughter…
Don’t hope too much.
I’m not actually dissing them when I say that.
HOW is it possible for them to understand Bipolar?
Bipolar is very complicated.
WE don’t even understand Bipolar disorder and WE EXPERIENCE it every day!
If you want a therapist who TRULY understands Bipolar disorder than ask your best Bipolar friend to go to school and get a degree in therapizing people.
Second best is to find a professional who is so extremely super duper “learned” on the subject of Bipolar and has such VAST VAST experience with people with Bipolar disorder…that even though they don’t actually UNDERSTAND Bipolar they can be of some help in acknowledging the Bipolar at play in your life.
In my little opinion..a kick ass Psychiatrist who is also a Kick ass therapist and-get this- ALSO a kick ass human being….
is the HOLY GRAIL of Bipolar therapy.
Good luck finding that.
I actually found that. At least he hasn’t let me down yet. Fingers crossed.
But I have seen (to various lengths) TEN therapists…and EIGHT psychiatrists (Though I swear I’m forgetting somebody as I tally right now). 3 of them involved moves…the rest I fired for very good reasons. You would agree. Trust me.
am very picky have high standards and I have lived in places where I have had the ability to take my business elsewhere. I totally understand everyone does not have that ability.
Point just being that when it comes to these mental health people you have to kiss A LOT of frogs..
if you know what I’m sayin’
Just like with psychiatrists….
these therapists are SERVICE PROVIDERS
THEY are providing US with a service.
WE are paying THEM
of course there is always gonna be that obnoxious power imbalance because we are the “crazy” ones and they are the Doctorate holders (hopefully. I guess. Though I don’t necessarily think a Phd a good therapist makes. There is more to it than that)
And that is why you need one who RESPECTS you.
I know this is mind-blowing stuff here.
Imagine it being so hard to find people who respect you…
Oh wait you live with Bipolar….you can TOTALLY imagine that. Silly me.
Therapists are different and they all have strengths and weaknesses and they all provide different services.
And in my experience even the ones who market themselves as using an integrated approach and not leaning into one philosophy or another still do have their preferences…
and or they often end up kind of doing
So I think we should decide what WE want and need out of therapy. Because we all need and want different things.
Do you need a place to vent?
Do you want hard core CBT or DBT?
Do you want to uncover your “roots”?
Do you want to work through some life experience?
Do you just want someone in your life to come out about your Bipolar to?
Do you need support through a difficult time?
Some do hypnosis…
some do EMDR
(not kidding…super manic when I went to him…..called out to him in the other room that I was just going to take them out myself…if you ever want to be MORE manic…do acupuncture)
(oh god don’t go do acupuncture to increase your mania. That is stupid. Don’t be stupid. Nobody is allowed to be stupid because of what I say. That is a rule. hehe. I’m just some girl on the internet with opinions)
whoa Tangent much
anyway some offer Biofeedback stuff.
you get what I’m saying.
They can do different shit for you.
if all of the insurance crap rules allow it I think it makes total perfect sense to see MORE than ONE for DIFFERENT things.
now that is some rocket fucking science right there.
Because one might be awesome at desensitizing triggers with EMDR
while another totally gets you and helps you sort through the shit you are currently dealing with.
It is kind of like going to a General Practitioner AND an OBGYN AND a dermatologist.
they do different things. duh.
I think the one most biggest important thing about whatever therapist you choose ..
that they “get” you
You know what I mean.
There has to be a chemistry
You have to feel like they “get” you.
My other criteria are(is?)
- They have to tell me things I never thought to think before. (Or what the fuck am I doing there honestly? Being Bored. I can’t do bored.)
- They have to respect me and the fact that they don’t understand what it is like to have Bipolar (if they’re not going to admit to me that they are Bipolar that is their problem…I will continue on thinking they have no shit idea in that area)
- They have to have a sense of humor and be able to read sarcasm. Obviously, I would NEED that. The consequences can be disastrous if they lack this ability….though humorous.
That isn’t too much to ask now is it….?????
yeah it actually kinda is
oh yeah…it doesn’t work for me if they’re going to be weird about swearing either….
And when I “interviewed” my last therapist…as a jaded totally over all of these people experienced in this area person
I straight out said…
“I just want to let you know that I am not going to worry about “hurting your feelings” or “disagreeing”.”
Because you know how it goes…
You are sharing some kind of something with them and then they may say…
“hmmmm. This made me think of your mother and that time…..”
and you are thinking “what the fuck? that has nothing to do with anything and I really need to say this other thing…..”
but you know if you say so then it will be all like you are RESISTING or in DENIAL or some shit like that…
(and maybe you are I don’t know. But they aren’t always right you know. I’ve seen a bunch and they are usually wrong.)
and so you sit there…letting them waste precious minutes of the measly fucking 45 you are paying for…. telling you some shit that is not helpful.
and then you don’t want to “upset” them or flat out be like….”Um no sorry. stop wasting all the time.”
So you nod and make mmmhmmm noises.
No, I am so over that. When he starts that shit I really try to see how it applies before I say
“Um no. Not so much. ”
We are ALLOWED to do that and it shouldn’t be awkward.
All therapists SHOULD begin by saying that they WANT us to do that.
Believe me when I tell you that most of the ones I have seen do not seem to like that…
it throws them off.
Also…You don’t HAVE to fill out all of that paperwork before you see the person FOR THE FIRST FUCKING TIME.
(they don’t ALL do this but a lot do)
I cringe to think how many of those papers I’ve blindly and begrudgingly filled out….where they want you to tell them everything about everything… including but not limited to suicidal ideation and your childhood shit etc etc…..
Um are you kidding me? I am going to interview YOU first to see if I even WANT to tell you ANY of that.
I don’t even have to Tell you I am BIPOLAR until I decide I LIKE YOU
BUT you know what?
Most don’t even offer you an in person “interview”
actually who am I kidding
I have never seen one who did.
They jump right into the fucking
As in we just met and I want you to jump into bed with me.
Um no. Not that kind of girl.
The long long intake where you once again have to trot all of your most personal sensitive crap in front of this fallible human being stranger you know nOTHING about (who I guarantee you is fucked up (too?)).
This is really long but I want to get to that other thing Sandra mentioned.
Can therapy help us deal with the agony pain of Bipolar?
Here is my thought…
Can therapy help us?
Can therapy desensitize triggers?
Can therapy give you a person who cares about you and can look out for you?
Can therapy give you “skills” so you can try not to have a manic panic attack in the parking garage?
Can a therapist help keep you on the straight and narrow?
Can therapy be a crucial part of “managing” your Bipolar?
Can therapy make you feel better when you are paralyzed curled into a fetal position on your bathroom floor both numbed and glazed over and yet somehow sobbing but staring filled with the indescribable tumultuous cosmic voltaic agony of Bipolar?
since when can talking about anything get inside that funky ass brain and change the misshapen structures and abnormal firing of all those neurons and chemicals and shit?
(yeah I know about plasticity and reworking pathways over time blah blah blah etc etc etc but we’re not talking about your shortness of breath when you drive over bridges we are talking about writhing in electric Bipolar agony)
AND if it can then why do they have us filled up on these pharmaceuticals?
This is insanely long now and I still have about 1700 things to say about this so let’s pause here.
Next time on the “Overly Opinionated About Therapy” show you can expect to hear my thoughts on topics such as…
Bipolar advice versus therapist advice…
why therapy can be really damaging
and why they really tell us to go to therapy
I hope you can contain your suspense
Have fun at therapy if you’re going today!