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Just a fun poll on bipolar therapy


Therapy  

141 members have voted

  1. 1. Are you currently in therapy?

    • Yes
      92
    • No, but I have had considerably therapy in the past
      13
    • No, but I have tried therapy in the past
      31
    • No, never tried it
      5
  2. 2. How often do you have therapy?

    • N/A - Not in therapy
      41
    • Daily (e.g. residential treatment)
      0
    • 3-6 times per week
      2
    • 2 times per week
      7
    • Once a week
      45
    • Biweekly
      24
    • Monthly
      10
    • Less than once per month
      1
    • On an as needed (PRN) basis
      6
    • Other - Please Explain
      5
  3. 3. What kind of therapy are you in?

    • N/A - Not in therapy
      40
    • Don't know / Generic
      18
    • CBT - Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
      17
    • Psychotherapy - Talk Therapy
      51
    • FFT - Family Focused Therapy
      1
    • Behavioral Therapy
      2
    • Any experimental therapy
      0
    • Court Mandated Therapy
      0
    • Other - Please Explain
      12


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i currently go to a support group (off and on), which I consider is better than therapy. I've tried group CBT, which helped a bit but not enough. I paid a low cost clinic $25 for one hour of therapy and the b*tch just made me cry. I went to another one (for $80) and all she said in the end was "How does that make you feel?" Did NOT help AT ALL! I think for my particular flavor of BP, being social is enough therapy, as well as taking the right cocktail of meds.

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I was just accepted by a new therapist but haven't started yet, therefore, I'm not sure when/how often we'll meet or what kind of therapy it is. And I've tried four therapists in the past.

New Tdoc:

I love my Pdoc and trust her and this new Tdoc was recc'd to me by the Pdoc.

Therefore, I am optimistic about the Tdoc, especiallyespecially since she's in the same office as my Pdoc!

Pdoc + Tdoc / ONE Practice (Communication) = Superwonderful 'Coordinated Care' for meg ;)

Past Tdocs:

1) dragged to a scary lady when I was like 14 or something who decided in the first 5min that all of my problems were due to my dad because I paused for a second (had to sneeze) when she asked 'how is your relationship with your dad?' who I have a fantastic relationship with. wouldn't stop asking about my dad. I'm not exactly a labyrith or anything, but even at 14 I think there maaaaay have been more to me than daddy issues. What's the point?

2) was a suicidally depressed college freshman who managed (by some miracle) to drag herself across town to the student disability/counseling center. saw a nice seeming lady who I didn't exactly click with but didn't seem like a nut. tad on the judgmental seeming side, which is one of my big fears in therapy, but I was giving her a shot because I was so.freaking.desperate.

keep in mind I was:

sleeping 23 hours per day, not leaving my room unless absolutely necessary for class attendance, not leaving my bed unless absolutely necessary to use the bathroom, taking too many sleeping pills constantly to keep myself knocked out since being awake was sheer torture, couldn't stand having the blinds open, any noise, showering, eating, or life in general.

so she:

gave me 'homework'.

to go to the public library (no school buses go there, no rides, must take school bus then public bus then walk in a sketchy neighborhood alone), sign up for library card (2 forms of ID, and current proof of residence- which I didn't even have since I was living in an ant-farm dorm), check out two books on depression, read through both and take notes, write 'responses' then report back to her about what I had read.

I could barely get out of bed to PEE. and she's giving me HOMEWORK??! because I needed more pressure and another thing to fail at. this is during finals, by the way. yeah, that was the end of her.

3) Sophmore year of college, also the end of the year- depression 'under control'-ish. Great, nice, sweet early 30s gal named 'Taffy' (the only strike against her, lol) who totally got my babble-style-banter way of talking especially about serious stuff that most people don't seem to 'get'. Just because I have makeup on and am laughing or talking candidly doesn't mean I'm not in extreme pain- it's hard for people to figure out, therapists and myself included. Helped me get accommodations set up, made me comfortable right away and got right down to the important stuff. Saw her twice and the school year ended :)Would have gone back if I could!

4) December '08- depression still in remission after a yeaaar. Want to start therapy when well and get some tools under my belt for dealing with future depression since I know this is gonna be one of those life-long things that I need to stay on top of. She was a nut. You stand in the middle of the room with both arms straight out parallel to the floor, she says a statement about you like "your favorite food is chocolate" and then pushes your arm down. your arm supposedly won't go down if it's true, but will if it's untrue. she does this with lots of self-statements "I am a confidant person" "I am content with my relationship" etc. and when she finds an untrue one with the arm-technique ("THE BODY DOESN'T LIE!") you sit and repeat it to yourself for as long as it takes until you believe it.

WTH? I forget the name of that kind of therapy and maybe it'd work, but not for me since I think it's mostly a load of BS that wasn't what I was looking for at all. No more thebodydoesn'tlie lady.

You totally didn't ask for a history of our therapy experiences, didja?

Whoops.

:)

Am giving it another shot. Hope I don't get a #5 to add to my list, oy.

m

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Oh, Meg, I loved reading your post. Brilliant, I'm tellin' you!

I'm in family oriented therapy (mostly for my kids) at the moment but I have a tdoc, unofficially, that I used to go to regularly and can go back as needed (but it's all off-insurance, so money limits my traditional "self-care" modalities). I have a pdoc for my meds. Since I'm in cruise mode for the past couple of months due to evidence based treatment (instead of, here try this cocktail/drug-of-choice for 6-8 mos and see how things go) I seem to be okay, mostly. I have glitches now and again --hell, I lost my "home" to the subprime-foreclosure crisis, been homeless twice as rentals got foreclosed on, had a major back injury, lost income, had two giant business deals fall through, the god-damned WGA strike, bankruptcy, the economy, and every other manner of bullshit everyone else is going through too all since 2006, just a little stress to fuck around with my wiring that lives life at 200% of "normals"...

I've been in talk therapy, psycho-analysis (I'm that old), CBT, and several other forms of official treatments to complement meds (pdoc) treatment. Some of the talk and CBT was helpful at times. CBT had extremely limited evidence of improvement so I don't do that shit anymore. Healthy cognition logically mandates "normal" or "normalized" wiring which I do not have. "Changing my mind" or my "thoughts" (which I already have very little control over) plus being OCD about that does NOT make Jack a functional guy. At least 18 months of data during which I had more cycling and mood crises than any other time in my life that I was documenting anything certainly didn't support a conclusion that CBT was useful to me.

Someone even tried to do some new age-ish owning-class positivism bullshit that just backfired... (it was the 1990s, afterall). Course tell a person whose brain cycles up and down that controlling their thoughts so that only positive thoughts get "entertained" or "programmed" is like saying, here, shoot thyself now and don't wait 'till you get home. My dominant mode is hunker-down and lay low punctuated by, quick jump that crevasse before the avalanche hits. Positive thinking ain't gonna cut it. I got four decades of lived experience as a lower class person that proves you can do the happy happy dance all you want, when the landlord or other owning-class boss says no, it's no. period. I know I'm an American heretic for pissing on The Secret and stuff, but I can only go with what I know and I know I can't just outwit my wiring by wishing it to be.

I've had EMDR for certain traumas and that helped some.

One "therapy" thing that did help me for a while was a series of rituals (no body-doesn't-lie or arm-lifting anything) that helped me to focus myself when things were overwhelming. Being a lower class person, we experience the high end of those lifelong stressor factor chart thingies... one tdoc once mentioned it was "a fucking miracle" I was even alive with all the stressors few (upper class people) experience in a lifetime, all compacted into a few "average" months of my life. I think he was trying to be supportive but I freaked out for a while about that. Anyway, I had one-on-one sessions with him and a group of guys of similar wiring (who frankly were more batshit than me, which made me feel like a fucking superhero... or I was just up-cycling then I dunno). We did mythopoetic together and when things were hell for me, it helped.

I still like that but since then I've built in other disciplines into my life that have filled-in for traditional therapy. I think because I was in trad therapy from the time I was in 5th grade until a year or two ago (I guess I still am if you count the two therapists for my kids/family stuff), I can get pretty pissy with tdocs or any formal therapy regime. And from all that therapy outside insurance (because I have learned an MFT ain't the same cracker as a PhD, mostly) I'm pretty much bankrupt at the moment financially and therapy-wise.

Spinning off the last formal tdoc relationship, and following the evidence based protocols that seem to work well for me, I have built in "activities" that serve various therapeutic functions; like practicing Aikido on a weekly basis and being a year-round soccer Ref, both of which serve ritual functions and physical functions that the data shows keeps me more or less level and my cycling in check (along with the meds, of course-nothing is a solo venture). There are moments however when doing those can be challenging, even impossible. The group aspects help me drag my ass out of bed and show up (and I have guys in both Aikido and my Ref Assoc who know I'm BPII and they're my go-to guys to come make sure I'm not doing the death spiral and shit). Another friend takes me to sweat lodges which lets me get all womby and emotionally extravagant for those moments when things are overwhelming me. It sounds goofy but the data confirms the benefit so I keep doing it.

I'll regret all this disclosure in the morning. (last time I did this much disclosing on CB I got beaten up for it).

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We are caught out!

I think it is very funny-ha-ha that we all always tell people to go to a therapist, but very few of us actually do!

;)

Yeah, that is kind of funny now that you mention it.

The reason I don't go is that I have gone before and after several months the therapist didn't feel that therapy was going to "do it" for me and referred me to a pdoc instead. She followed up with me after I began meds and decided she didn't need to see me anymore and I was doing fine.

I went to see another pdoc some years later when my meds pooped out and he felt that my problems were mostly biological (family hx and all) and changed my meds. I did fine after that.

As long as my meds are working I function quite well. When I start malfunctioning I go for a tweak. When I stopped all meds when I was pregnant I was a basketcase and very suicidal. My GP put me back on meds and I was all better.

I have come to the realization over the last 25 years that I need meds and probably will for the rest of my life. I am perfectly ok with that :)

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I have been to several therapists of all kinds and types, and I am afraid none of them ever really did me any good or achieved anything. They all treated me for " long term suppressed stress" - WTF?

I am editing to tell you all that hypno therapy for me was fabulous. THAT really helped me a heck of a lot, but unfortunately that lady has now retired and moved out of my city. This woman was sincere, she knew what she was doing, and it was of the ONLY therapy that achieved anything for me.

But I have been to Christian therapists and marriage councillors and family therapists and to madness therapists...

The men invariably wore black suits, white shirts and had you sat in green leather covered couches by soft, coloured glass lamps while they sat behind big desks, or the guys at the university, in very utilitarian offices.

The family councillors/therapists had smelly carpets and toys that you had to climb over, and they spoke in a coochie-coo voice - yuk, sucko!

The marriage councillors and the mad therapists had bob hairstyles, wore Laura Ashley dresses, and had colour coded offices with indoor gardens with fountains, all done in the latest fashion statements according to the Garden and Home magazine. One place was done in tangerine, orange, and egg yolk yellow. Now is THAT relaxing?

And I had to sit on a single bed pushed up against a wall. Do you know how uncomfortable THAT is?

No, I do not go to therapy.

To me, chatting on the board is far more productive - I need to talk to people who are bipolar. I just do not see the point in speaking to someone who has not experienced bipolar first hand. Only we know what we go through?

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4) December '08- depression still in remission after a yeaaar. Want to start therapy when well and get some tools under my belt for dealing with future depression since I know this is gonna be one of those life-long things that I need to stay on top of. She was a nut. You stand in the middle of the room with both arms straight out parallel to the floor, she says a statement about you like "your favorite food is chocolate" and then pushes your arm down. your arm supposedly won't go down if it's true, but will if it's untrue. she does this with lots of self-statements "I am a confidant person" "I am content with my relationship" etc. and when she finds an untrue one with the arm-technique ("THE BODY DOESN'T LIE!") you sit and repeat it to yourself for as long as it takes until you believe it.

okay i had to respond to this meg - i had one of those, too, and i wondered for years if this is what "therapy" was like for most "normal" crazy people. it isn't! for anyone reading and considering therapy, please don't let these nutjobs scare you off.

the first pdoc/tdoc i saw after seriously losing my marbles thought this kind of therapy would be good for me. i just got off prozac because it wasn't working anymore, and had started effexor for the first time hoping that would help (if i only knew then...). i was so depressed i couldn't remember what day it was anymore. i didn't care, all i wanted to do was either (a)die or (b)quit thinking about dying if i wasn't allowed to get it over with.

i had just started "hearing voices" (i'm multiple) and i was terrified i had lost my mind forever. all i ever did was cry and cry and sleep and panic and lose time to other lysergia who self injured and hid in closets.

he made me sit in the center of the room and close my eyes while he positioned my arms in a similar fashion as yours. um, that wasn't going to work - i was just starting to get trauma flashbacks, and there wasn't any way in hell i could ever close my eyes while alone with a stranger. let alone let him touch me. nope nuh-uh no way. he got angry and told me i was resisting therapy. so then he told me to sit still while he took my hands and showed me where i needed to touch my body in order to ground myself - with my eyes closed. did i mention the flashbacks already? how about the trust issues? how about the sheer panic?

that was "resisting therapy" too when i insisted that i could not close my eyes. he rolled his eyes at me when i tried and burst into tears and couldn't stop crying for about twenty whole minutes (couldn't get a word out - me, imagine!). in the end he stuck to one technique where he told me where to tap my face to make flashbacks go away. no talking about it, just tap it all away, that was supposed to work if i was doing it right.

um, what??? if i tap my face, i'll stop remembering things i blocked out? if i remember what order in which to poke myself with my finger, i won't have panic attacks anymore? pushing on my eyebrow is going to make me stop wanting to kill myself? stop waking up in closets? stop being terrified of my child?

with my eyes closed in front of a strange white-haired old man - even though one of my "perps" was exactly that? and saying so wasn't a good enough explanation for my hesitation (alright, downright refusal)?

i actually tried three whole sessions with this man. until the day he was 45 min. late for an appointment, locked his office door, and walked right past me in the waiting room like he had no idea who i was. i had to tell him my name and demand my appointment (he was rx'ing my meds!). he sighed loudly, opened his office back up, and spent ten minutes with me (rather than sixty). after five minutes i started crying uncontrollably again anyway, just because of the stress of having to confront him just to get my appointment (i was just a 'lil sensitive, mkay?). so it didn't matter anyway.

i never went back after that. he's still working at that same hospital, and that was ten years ago. nobody else who worked there ever believed he did that. for a long time i quit shrinks out of fear that i'd be forced to do something terrible and ignored like i don't exist. gee that wasn't reminiscent of the very things that drove me insane in the first place...

oh look, i wrote a book again! i still hate him so bad i could rant for days.

so yeah beware the literally touchy-feely therapy.

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I've had considerable therapy in the past, but am not in therapy now. I wish I was, however, but the evil insurance company lumps therapy under behavioral health, and that requires me to pay an 1800$ deductible, which I can't afford. So, until something changes with the insurance company, I'll have to muddle through on my own. Sucks.

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4) December '08- depression still in remission after a yeaaar. Want to start therapy when well and get some tools under my belt for dealing with future depression since I know this is gonna be one of those life-long things that I need to stay on top of. She was a nut. You stand in the middle of the room with both arms straight out parallel to the floor, she says a statement about you like "your favorite food is chocolate" and then pushes your arm down. your arm supposedly won't go down if it's true, but will if it's untrue. she does this with lots of self-statements "I am a confidant person" "I am content with my relationship" etc. and when she finds an untrue one with the arm-technique ("THE BODY DOESN'T LIE!") you sit and repeat it to yourself for as long as it takes until you believe it.

I bet after a couple of hours of having your arm pushed on like that, EVERYTHING is going to appear "untrue"! Now, if she also offered chiropractic or massage services, so patients could "recover" after their arms threaten to fall off after all that pushing, then she could REALLY start pulling in some serious dough. (Of course she'd have to tout it as something like "delving into the physical manifestations of the deeply-stored emotions that came up during our session" or something like that). BTW for the record I have no problems with chiro or massage--I'm just being a smart ass/dumb ass (take your pick!)

Somebody should turn the tables on that therapist and have her say "my method is bullshit" and see if her arm goes down. But make sure to have some beef-o like Arnold Schwarzenegger do the pushing. I mean, hey, "truth" won't succumb even to the force of grotesquely enormous muscles, right? (OK, so maybe a career in psychometric design is not for me, unless there are any opportunities in "designing spoof experiments that only the experimenter thinks are funny"...)

Sorry to hijack this thread. I guess my point is that I agree with you, Meg, that this therapist sounds like a total nut job!

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We are caught out!

I think it is very funny-ha-ha that we all always tell people to go to a therapist, but very few of us actually do!

;)

I actually have _3_ therapists right now. I'm not even kidding! They've actually told me that I should pick one of them, you know, basically I guess, that I should cut back! I find that kind of hilarious. I told each of them that once a month just doesn't cut it for me and if I can't get more sessions with any one of them, then I am going to have to see someone else too. Wait, that sounds kind of like what some people try to say about sex! I'm such a backwards case of everything that at this point sometimes I think it would be more therapeutic for me to stop going to therapy since I do it so much. I'm about as narcissistic as one can be without actually having NPD (which I don't), so I like nothing more (almost) than sitting and talking about my grand psychological insights for hours. It's like--in "Office Space" one of the characters asks this guy what he'd do with a million dollars, and he says something like "two chicks at the same time"--if I had a million dollars I'd just go to therapy 8 hours a day!

OK. I actually am serious about my therapy, despite how it sounds here.

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I guess this thread has brought up a question for me. Why would people with bipolar require therapy any more than any average person with another (physical) serious illness? sorry if this is repetitive, I'm a newbie...

--lluvia

Bipolar causes all sorts of social/environmental problems that physical problems don't. I know every time I go manic/depressed I break or at least stress all of my friendships. A lot of the recommended bipolar therapies (like FFT) focus on dealing with the environments and after-effects, if you will, instead of just the disorder.

Basically, if you can't manage the disorder, manage the symptoms.

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I guess this thread has brought up a question for me. Why would people with bipolar require therapy any more than any average person with another (physical) serious illness? sorry if this is repetitive, I'm a newbie...

--lluvia

Bipolar causes all sorts of social/environmental problems that physical problems don't. I know every time I go manic/depressed I break or at least stress all of my friendships. A lot of the recommended bipolar therapies (like FFT) focus on dealing with the environments and after-effects, if you will, instead of just the disorder.

Basically, if you can't manage the disorder, manage the symptoms.

I had a friend with cancer who talked about losing friends and the strains on his family. He never went to therapy and it was never even suggested as far as I know. It was just understood that there were unavoidable consequences to having a diagnosis like cancer. I don't see how bipolar should be any different. sorry if I'm being thick-skulled today ;)

--lluvia

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I just decided to take the therapy plunge again - for the 9th time in five years. Jeez, for a city of three million, how did I end up with so many ill-fitting therapists? I had the holy roller, who wanted to pray with me during my sessions, the "I want to talk about your horrid childhood for a year" (I was more depressed after the session that before!), I had the bipolar wanna-be, who told me all the ways she was like a bipolar person, I had the writer, who all he spoke was "Uh-huh"... and so on.

My pdoc is always after me to see a therapist. And I do. I talk manically during the first session, and have nothing to say afterwards. But I told the pdoc this time to give me the name of a doc who wouldn't pull any punches and would actually work with me on my anxiety. So I see her tomorrow. We'll see how it goes. (Deep breath)

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I guess this thread has brought up a question for me. Why would people with bipolar require therapy any more than any average person with another (physical) serious illness? sorry if this is repetitive, I'm a newbie...

--lluvia

Bipolar causes all sorts of social/environmental problems that physical problems don't. I know every time I go manic/depressed I break or at least stress all of my friendships. A lot of the recommended bipolar therapies (like FFT) focus on dealing with the environments and after-effects, if you will, instead of just the disorder.

Basically, if you can't manage the disorder, manage the symptoms.

I had a friend with cancer who talked about losing friends and the strains on his family. He never went to therapy and it was never even suggested as far as I know. It was just understood that there were unavoidable consequences to having a diagnosis like cancer. I don't see how bipolar should be any different. sorry if I'm being thick-skulled today ;)

--lluvia

They didn't recommend that he start therapy? That seems strange. My mother is crazy already, but the doctors didn't know that and when she was diagnosed with breast cancer stage 3 1/2, they put her on an AD and put her in therapy (granted only to deal with the cancer, it was a group therapy) right away because of how horrible what she was dealing with was. She had amazing doctors too so... idk... I guess I assumed it was like that for all cancer patients. She was actually a nice person for awhile when she was on the ADs, (lexapro) it must have had SOME kind of balancing effect on her.

Someone else will have to explain WHY people with bipolar go to therapy, I'm not good at explanations, I just wanted to address that one thing. One of the reasons I feel I should see someone and I know others have expressed this as well, is the guilt after episodes. It's very painful to know you hurt people like that, etc.

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