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yellowlovesgray

My partial hospitalization therapy group leader forbade me to talk about my chronic pain and it's emotional toll on me.

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I'm relatively high-functioning but treatment-resistant major depressive disorder started to really disrupt my life about 7 years ago, and i've been in a lot of therapy and sought the help of psychiatrists, psychologists and LMSW's and I had a crisis episode recently.

I checked into a partial hospitalization program (FTR I've been inpatient 2 times and this was my second outpatient), and I've generally had a good experience with therapy but this is the first time that my crisis in large part dealt with chronic pain and side effects of the medication keeping me sane enough to even seek treatment contributing to the pain. The program seemed like a great fit because i'd been experience some isolation since shifting my career from a  9-5 to a work from home freelance structure, and the accountability of being somewhere 5 days a week for this program and daily access to an AMAZING doctor were a big plus.

Now, I've got a lot of documentation and examples of such, but the general gist of my problem is that the LMSW who lead the group didn't believe that pain and emotions could be connected, and on several occasions she made this clear in ways that were embarassing, humilating and dehumanizing in front of the entire VERY large group. She accussed me often of hiding my "feelings" and focusing too much on the pain and the meds. Her mantra is "no magic pill will make you happy" but I'm dealing with something pretty terrifying because not only did my health conditions eventually conflict with my psych meds, but I had NO history of seizures prior to starting drugs in the atypical antipsychotic class. I've since seized twice in 2 different workplaces and once at home. I also once experienced Parkinsonim as a side effect, akathisia and weight gain and fluid retention that eventually led to horrific sciatica, and was unable to walk more than maybe 10 yards at a time without being in excrutiating pain.

My crisis IS that in large part, and it's a terrible place to be to feel stuck between a rock and hard place in feeling that you might have to choose between your mental health and, like, being able to WALK. I felt hopeless, helpless, out of control, sad, terrified all at once - I cried while saying this several times. It was also creepy to not recognize myself anymore in a mirror because I managed to gain 25 lbs. in about 3 weeks, and my stomach swelled so large I had to start wearing maternity pants. It was creepy and terrifying to wait to see my specialist and try and cope with this on my own.

After the first VERY immature and unprofessional way she interrupted me one one occasion, she apologized after the session, and her assistant the next day pulled me aside to make sure the leader apologized and asked if I was ok. I said it was fine - this program might not be the right fit for me because other people are probably in more immediate crisis than I am, like victims of rape or incest and such and they probably need the time to talk in group more than I do.

Assistant urged me that was NOT the case - that ALL human pain was equal, and encouraged me to stay.

I did, and the leader did it again. She said I was too focused on the pain and the meds and not talking about my feelings enough. FTR I've never in years of therapy be accused of such. I'm an open book and I think everyone has a really sad chapter or five, but RIGHT NOW I needed help dealing with THIS.

I had a private discussion with the leader and her assistant to clarify because again, after the second embarassing and immature tone with me I questioned if this was the right group for me. I'd been very careful to talk about how I feel about the emotions SURROUNDING the pain and med side effects, and I specifically used words off her "word wheel" (a photocopy of a list of words of which we were encouraged to pick from to communicate what we're feeling). In itself I felt the use of the word wheel kind of limiting to what was actually happening within the depths of my soul, and a lot of this was said in tears, but she didn't hear the feelings - all she heard was "meds" and "pain."

In the private discussion she said there was nothing she could do about my pain, so don't talk about it. Instead she wanted me to talk about other topics, like something I dealt with years ago in a crisis group about a broken engagement, why I'm not closer to my family, trauma I'm obviously trying to hide, etc.

I said that having to wear maternity pants while my weight JUMPED and I no longer recognize myself in the mirror and can't walk IS traumatic for me. I had sciatica and my antipsychotic was exacerbating it, and the idea that I'd eventually maybe have to go off the only med of like 100 I've tried that's kept me stable enough to even seek therapy is terrifying and I need help with it.

She kinda said Sorry, doesn't count. I can't help that. Talk about something else.

Again, I said it was probably not the right fit for me, but there's a lot to be said for the need for structure and I was in a place where I NEEDED to see a doctor every day. The good outweighed the bad at the moment, I had an appointment with my specialist to see what was wrong with my body, so we agreed I could stick it out and she said she wanted me there, just wanted me to talk abut other things. I guess things that I'm not in crisis in at the moment but are, like, sad? I dunno. I don't know what she wanted to hear outside platitudes like "Live each day like it's your last!!" etc.

She seemed incapable of understanding that I can't "Dance like nobody's watching!" or whatever if I can't get out of bed or walk for more than one and a half minutes at a time. but whatever.

So I saw the specialist and it turned out I have auto-immune hepatitis and he wanted me off the atypical antipsychotic ASAP, but was ok with an SSRI. It had to do with inflammation of some organs, his concern about my liver, and the water retention because the giant fast weight gain was probably due to a large amount of fluid in or surrounding my internal organs.

My belly was HUGE - I had to buy and begin wearing maternity pants because everything else hurt, and for a while walked with a cane (I'm only 33 and before starting a few particular drugs never really had physical health problems). In addition I'd never had a history of seizures pre-crazy meds and Iv'e seized now twice at two different workplaces and twice at home. I've had akathisia, Parkinsonism and some other terrifying junk and I need help dealing with these feelings, but in the leader's mind this is way too much focus on meds, and not feelings. 

Again, I was very clear to talk about my feelings SURROUNDING that. I specifically picked words off her stupid word wheel and purpoesely prefaced statements with "I feel..." but she just didn't hear it. 

When I got the diagnosis about auto-immune hepatitis, which killed my grandmother very young, at group I talked about it through tears and she interruped and said "OK, but what do you need from US?"

Valid, I suppose, but I'm the only person in this group who's kinda treated that way. When someone else is crying because they're scared, they don't get shut up. I finally just sorta gave up.

Eventually between easing off my antipsychotic and a dieuretic, the fluid in my belly began to drain and I could walk again. After two days of that I felt like it was the first day of my life again - I wanted to shout it from rooftops. 

Thursday I felt SO GOOD - SO much like the "old me" again, but she asked what my goal for the day was and I was just so distracted by the idea of catchign up on life again I said I wasn't sure and that I needed help.

She said, "What I want for you is for you to NOT talk about pain or medication. At ALL. Just do not mention them altogether."

An OCD patient who's a participant and anti-med in general and very vocal about it said "And can we call you on it too?" and leader agreed.

I had it at that. I'm not a n00b to therapy. I asked the doc about his opinion and he suggested phrasing it in such a way that's almost verbatim to the way I did. I wanted to stay in the program to have access to him and structure, but I just felt really uncomfortable and honeslty kind of humiliated being essentially told that my crisis is JUST as valid as everyone else's, but yet dealt with in a very contradictory and honestly kinda in a way that was bully-like and immature and for that profession - pretty uninformed and unprofessional. She also violated some privacy law issue with me, and I'd just had enough and he was plenty fine with discharging me because he agreed I should be able to talk about the emotional effects of pain and such, and when I got back to group the leader looked ticked and said "Dr. says you're being discharged." I said, "Yeah I think we talked about tomorrow or Monday." She said, "Well, he said TODAY."

The next part of this program is completely outpatient with NO daily access to a doctor, and i"m having fears about it because of this med transition, but the doctor is awesome and he said even if I'm in that program which is at a different hospital, I can ALWAYS call him for help. I'm also on his waitlist to be a regular patient when I leave this system completely.

So I guess my issue is, I'm really upset about how my experience went down, and I'm pretty seasoned in this realm. If it were my first trip to a program like that and had never sought professional help before, her method would probably sour me on therapy altogether. She also violated what I stated I wanted in my privacy paperwork.

Is there something constructive I can do with this? I'm taking a work sabattical and I just wonder if there's anyting I can do with my skills set to, I dunno, educate? Inform? I don't know what. I realize she's a LMSW but to not be able to connect physical pain and depression and feelings when I've spelled them out with tears and the appripriate language is just so strange to me. 

I've posted about the same concern at NAMI, of which I'm a member, but I don't know where to start. I'm looking for volunteer opportunies - I'm a creative professional with media and advertising background, and I design, illustrate, ghostwrite for blogs, design blogs, do front end web design and development and I also mentor/lecture at schools about what I do. How can I best applies these things are for whom? I'm really really upset and I'd hate for a first-timer there to feel alone or like they're doing something wrong and just ditch therapy in itself altogether. I'm hard to embarrass but she was really, REALLY insensitive and used me as an example of how "No magic pill is going to make you happy" when telling us  how important therapy was.

I found myself miserable physically and cranky and anxious one day because due to the hospital's confusion I was missing a refill over the long Thanksgiving break and the leader was off and her assistant ran the group, and when she said "There's no magic pill that makes you happy" I retorted with "And there's no talk therapy that can prevent me from having a fucking seizure today when I drive home."

It's rare I ever react that way - even in conflict I'm very calm and professional but this program just beat me down.

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I just wanted to say I read what you wrote and I'm sorry you are going through this all.  It really sucks that you cant talk about how the pain affects you emotionally. 

 

Can you find another PHP that will allow you to freely talk?  I don't see how this one is helping you.

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God Mellisa72 - thank you SO SO SOO much for taking the time to read this - I feel so alone. :( I didn't feel emotionally *quite* ready to leave the other day, but I found it so unfair to be LITERALLY forbidden the last day from even mentioning either one. 

The doctor that monitored my meds there is the most sane, logical pshychiatrist I've ever worked with. He's so....normal compared to the other's I've worked with. I truly felt like he was my partner in problem-solving. When we talked about sedation in the morning and stopping akathisia in its tracks, for instance, I told him some ideas about how to take my meds and he helped. It WAS something kind of complex - we had to play with the time of day I took it in order to prevent the morning sedation so I could drive, and I took the medication exactly at the same time as the antipsychotic to prevent the akathisia and the horrible "munchies" that feel just torturous to wait out each night. Ususally my psychiatrists either act like they've never heard of these side effects, or they say "give it two months, it'll go away," or they'll just prescribe like 4 different medications in addition to cancel out each other's side effects.

It was also REALLY good for me to get up, get dressed, leave the house and have a lunch break to socialize in. Working from home got really isolating really fast, even if I went to coffee shops or so forth to hang out in to do my work. I just up and stopped doing that altogether.

I think Monday I'll start calling around about other programs with this structure, and i'll go ahead and attend the Monday evening session of the final outpatient step in the program like I already signed up to. I'm consierding seeing if I can call the leader early and talk to her a little about what I need.

It's so upsetting and was so embarrassing. :( It really bothers me that a system of this caliber has this happening in it. I literally said "this is what I need help with" "I need help with coping with this" "this is worrying me" at least 20 times in group and she heard none of it. And she said over and over I focus too much on the medicine.

Something specifically that worried me the day I quit (and had the day before, too) was how I was going to deal with the med transition, because just looking ahead I feel like as I wean off the antipsychotic I'm going to have some "low" days before the SSRI starts to work. Like, I know it's going to possibly get worse before it gets back to being better. But I couldn't talk about that comfortably with her.

The day I left what was REALLY stressing me out is that for the auto-immune hepatitis, the treatment is usually Prednisone, and I just have massive anxiety about the munchies and gaining more weight that Prednisone did to me in high school. That, in conjunction with the possibility of another "low" period, to me equals another potential for crisis. I think that's a pretty BIG deal. I take Adderall for chrnoic fatigue syndrome and I asked the psychiatrist if that might offset some of the munchies and he said he'd hope so, but when we have more information let's create a plan for that too. Completely logical and made me feel slightly better.

I just can't believe my fears about all of these things aren't considered valid to talk about in a mental health setting. :( So much for the "safe bubble" the leader kept calling it. I don't think I've possibly ever faced so many false accusations and been so consistently verbally bullied in any situation in my LIFE after junior high school. :(

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i'm so sorry you're going through this

her violation of your privacy paperwork is so unacceptable

that group sounds poorly run

 

i hope you find something better soon 

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The therapist sounds really unprofessional. I think it's really reasonable to want to talk about pain and long term illness in therapy and that therapy can help deal with those things. Chronic pain and illness are risk factors for depression anyway, so they are certainly connected. I find pain makes depression much worse too.

 

Like mel, I hope something better comes along soon.

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Firstly, I would like to say, you are going through some trying physical issues and you have every right to have feelings about them. To have a "counselor" essentially tell you your physical symptoms are invalid to your emotional/mental health is not only wrong, it is downright unprofessional.

 

I had some major pain issues-herniated cervical discs with nerve root pain & lumbar disc pain as well, not to mention migraines...so I know a thing or two about chronic health problems. I have the kindest pain management doc who asked if I would like to talk to a therapist who works specifically with people who deal with chronic and dibilitating health issues and I accepted. He wasn't saying It was all in my head or anything like that. He was trying to offer support where he, himself could not. The therapist was lovely and I actually started to see her in a different therapeutic setting.

 

There are therapist who deal specifically with pain management issues and it is very helpful to have support from your counselor. I would find a different one if at all possible.

 

On a side note. I too, gained about 35-49lbs due to steroid injections and not being able to move. I looked like the Grimace from McDonalds. Pool therapy, after I graduated from PT really helped and the ppl were so kind and fun. I have since lot most of that weight and am grateful of the support I received from my doctor, physical therapist, and therapist.

 

I hope you are feeling better soon!

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... this is the first time that my crisis in large part dealt with chronic pain and side effects of the medication keeping me sane enough to even seek treatment contributing to the pain.

We get that, I'm not sure if your therapy leader has got it, or is in denial of it.  I have a thought or two.

 

After the first VERY immature and unprofessional way she interrupted me one one occasion, she apologized after the session, and her assistant the next day pulled me aside to make sure the leader apologized

Assistant urged me ...that ALL human pain was equal, and encouraged me to stay.

I did, and the leader did it again. She said I was too focused on the pain and the meds and not talking about my feelings enough. FTR I've never in years of therapy be accused of such. I'm an open book and I think everyone has a really sad chapter or five, but RIGHT NOW I needed help dealing with THIS.

I had a private discussion with the leader and her assistant to clarify...

In the private discussion she said there was nothing she could do about my pain, so don't talk about it.

...She kinda said Sorry, doesn't count. I can't help that. Talk about something else...

Eventually between easing off my antipsychotic and a dieuretic, the fluid in my belly began to drain and I could walk again. After two days of that I felt like it was the first day of my life again - I wanted to shout it from rooftops. 

Thursday I felt SO GOOD - SO much like the "old me" again, but she asked what my goal for the day was and I was just so distracted by the idea of catchign up on life again I said I wasn't sure and that I needed help.

She said, "What I want for you is for you to NOT talk about pain or medication. At ALL. Just do not mention them altogether."

The next part of this program is completely outpatient with NO daily access to a doctor, and i"m having fears about it because of this med transition, but the doctor is awesome and he said even if I'm in that program which is at a different hospital, I can ALWAYS call him for help. I'm also on his waitlist to be a regular patient when I leave this system completely.

So I guess my issue is, I'm really upset about how my experience went down, and I'm pretty seasoned in this realm. If it were my first trip to a program like that and had never sought professional help before, her method would probably sour me on therapy altogether. She also violated what I stated I wanted in my privacy paperwork.

Is there something constructive I can do with this? I'm taking a work sabattical and I just wonder if there's anyting I can do with my skills set to, I dunno, educate? Inform? I don't know what. I realize she's a LMSW but to not be able to connect physical pain and depression and feelings when I've spelled them out with tears and the appripriate language is just so strange to me. 

I'm looking for volunteer opportunies - I'm a creative professional with media and advertising background, and I design, illustrate, ghostwrite for blogs, design blogs, do front end web design and development and I also mentor/lecture at schools about what I do. How can I best applies these things are for whom?

I found myself miserable physically and cranky and anxious one day because due to the hospital's confusion I was missing a refill over the long Thanksgiving break and the leader was off and her assistant ran the group, and when she said "There's no magic pill that makes you happy" I retorted with "And there's no talk therapy that can prevent me from having a fucking seizure today when I drive home."

It's rare I ever react that way - even in conflict I'm very calm and professional but this program just beat me down. [excepts form original]

To me it sounds as though she's been caught by a line from an old piece of computer humour:

"Don't test for an error condition you can't handle."

(or from "A Few Good Men" but she doesn't want the truth because she can't handle it.)

 

Apart from the fact you were there for support rather than added burden, (or to suffer being trimmed down to fit a nice pre-formed pigeon-hole.) It's actually far more here problem that yours.

She doesn't like being out of her depth(?) and is taking an unprofessional line about that.

There's nothing dreadfully wrong (and quite a bit right) in a professional realising that what they know, or can offer, doesn't meet the demands of the circumstances at hand.

 

The professional route is then summarised either by "I don't know, but I'll find out," or "I don't know, but I know somebody who does."

Either bringing in the appropriate knowledge and skills or contacting an appropriate expert with a view to referring and deferring to someone better-suited.

 

If these sessions were to continue, me, I might be able to comply with the "other issues only" condition, as long as I made it very clear  to everyone that in doing so I was working on real issues,*but ones that were secondary to my main current problem, which has to be tackled elsewhere.*

That might have proven unacceptable, but it would have been as far as I could see me (and yes, I'm not you) going in terms of compromise.

 

On volunteering etc. I'd suggest starting small, and conditionally.

Look for agreeing a mutual "let's try and see if it works out" understanding.  Feeling committed to a job, even a voluntary one, can be an extra pressure that's not needed. 

If it's a match and mutually beneficial, then a role may well expand.

( I was taking that route towards paid employment in a new career until my physical health intervened.)

 

Just my thoughts, Chris

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she said "There's no magic pill that makes you happy" I retorted with "And there's no talk therapy that can prevent me from having a fucking seizure today when I drive home."

Good for you. I get that they want people to talk about their feelings specifically, but discounting your pain and suffering is just awful. Physical pain affects people just as much as emotional pain. I remember the nerve pain I had with a herniated disc and it's all I could think about, every day, in my sleep and awake. I hope you can get in to see the doc soon, and I'm glad that he will still see you in an emergency.

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Wow! What a terrible experience for you. She seemed to totally lack empathy, which in my opinion is an essential quality for a therapist. Also, that whole "wheel" thing sounds kind of demeaning. I mean, she's not teaching second grade. I've experienced similar things as an inpatient. When you're suffering mentally and physically it's like being kicked in the gut. I hope you find a qualified therapist. In the meantime, there are some wonderful, caring, people on this site who will be glad to offer support.

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I'm sorry that you have to experience this. I've never been to a PHP so my help will be limited. But I empathize with you. Honestly, when a therapist pulls out something like a "word wheel" I feel like the therapy is going to be superficial. I get that you need help and no word wheel is going to facilitate it. On top of that, the violation of privacy is unacceptable, and I would never tolerate bullying from a so-called professional.

 

My advice would be to find a therapist elsewhere, perhaps someone who specializes in pain issues. They do exist, and perhaps you could call a pain clinic to get a referral.

 

Again, I'm so sorry that you are going through this.

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I found myself miserable physically and cranky and anxious one day because due to the hospital's confusion I was missing a refill over the long Thanksgiving break and the leader was off and her assistant ran the group, and when she said "There's no magic pill that makes you happy" I retorted with "And there's no talk therapy that can prevent me from having a fucking seizure today when I drive home."

 

I agree, this is a great comeback.  Good for you :)  I'm glad you were able to say this to the "therapist."  You deserved to have the last word.

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You guys, I am in literally in tears right now and so grateful that you took the time to read this and to comment and help me. THank you thank you thank you. This group therapy has been one of the few places where I feel that I've not only been judged, but RIDICULED about my illness and what has me on the brink.

We had inclement weather on Thursday and so group was sent home early and I was grateful that because I was being discharged from the program I didn't have to give my "graduation speech" about my takeaways from the group and what I've learned and what my "miracle" was. 

I'm glad I'm not going back to HER but this med transition off the atypical antipsychotic and onto the SSRI is REALLY REALLY HARD. I'm in Texas and we get snow SO rarely it makes me SO happy to go outside and walk in, take pictures of, etc. I woke up yesterday and thought "Aw fuck.me." because I could feel the apathy of depression, and I tried eventually getting out of bed and faking it but I just couldn't feel the emotions I feel when I'm mentally stable. I had plenty of ways to get through the day but I can see the signs of depression around my house starting - the dishes are piling up, I have unfinished projects laying around...I can see the signs. I woke up this morning and just wanted to cry out of fucking frustration and exhaustion because it's snowing again because I'm so beat by this battle.

Yesterday was better than today, yesterday I felt like I had been taking good baby steps to getting better and was feeling good for a while, but this change is a kick in the balls. I know something like Prozac needs time to kick in, but I'm just so tired of feeling so out of control. :(

I feel like I need a 5-day with daily doc visits, it kills me that the therapy of this part feels so damaging. I've had private talks with her and in private and in group she has those BS mantras about equality, and every DAY she draws another wheel with 5 parts of our life in which we need to nurture ourselves, and one is physical. OCD woman is her star student it seems, and saying "YOGA! KICKBOXING!" as physical nurtiing goals is met with "YEAH!" but my suggesting "Physical therapy" was met with "I've told you - we're not focusing on pain right now." :(

Thursday I just felt so bullied and shaken and angry and all of OCD woman's talks that day about how she's anti-medication and everyone just really need to examine their thoughts and retrain themselves in order to TRULY get better just made it worse.

At the end of the day me, OCD woman, another girl who's very nice, and the group leader were alone in the room after group while we were waiting for our discharge paperwork. I was sitting in a really uncomfortable chair waiting for my discharge papers when the leader started rubbing her shoulder and talking at length about this pain she was having, and she was all "and my friend's a massage therapist! i really need to get this treated, it's killing me this week. it's especially hard when i have to write stuff on the board for our activities, etc. I HATE it" and of course the other people were sympathetic.

what.the.fuck.

I was irritated by how she could accept that this pain interferes with her job at the one week level, but whatever - I kept quiet because it just is what it is and was leaving anyway.

Leader left and while we were alone, OCD woman was flipping out about how to stay busy ALL DAY for an ENTIRE DAY if it snowed the next day. She was like "How am I going to fill a WHOLE DAY in the house?? I guess there's always popping Klonopin with red wine! Oh hahaha har har har!"

Glamorizing or even mentioning recreational use of your meds is forbidden by group - it's one of our 5 rules - but again, she wasn't talking directly to me I knew she was sorta making what she thought was an original and hilarious joke, so whatevz. I wasn't who she was talking to it's not my conversation anyway.

A few seconds later I got up and said to myself in sheer surprised reaction "FUCK" because I got up from the chair and my tailbone hadn't been in the set of my chronic pain, I'd just been in a REALLY uncomfortable chair and I rubbed my lower back.

The nice girl turned around because she heard and said "Oh hey what? What happened? Are you ok?"

I said "Oh yeah - that chair is just awful lol, I got up felt like a needle stabbed my tailbone. Got in a skating accident when I was 17, and just once in every great while if I stress it, you know?" yadda yadda no big deal. Her husband has Fibromayalgia (I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) and she was like "OHHHH I feel you - my husband actually has something with his tailbone too on top of the Fibromayalgia and Lyrica is helping..." and you know? Like, it was just small talk outside of therapy.

OCD woman interrupted us and gave me a big waggy finger of shame and said "UH UH UH!!! Don't talk about that! It's part of your therapy! It's BAD FOR YOU."

At that moment and having someone else's pain validated, hearing this woman joke about taking her meds recreationally with alcohol and then having the nerve to try and fake counsel me like *I* was still in group but SHE wasn't, you know - I felt exhausted, irritated and  just downright SICK of the judgement and stigma of patients who need medication that I suddenly had enough Fuck It in my system to say "At this very moment, I'd like to offer anyone passing judgement upon *MY* personal crisis a pretty resounding FUCK OFF.
And that just felt VERY validating to say. In fact it's best choice I've made for myself since I've fucking been here."

But hey - validation and choice are what it's all about in this group anyway, so I'd argue that statement was kosher.

She turned bright red and said "Are you talking about <insert group leader name>"

I said, "I'm talking about ANYONE making light of my crisis."

She gathered her things and left in a huff stomping off and muttering to herself.

She's actually a kickboxing instructor so I'm pretty lucky she didn't punch me because I fight like a girl, but even if I'd gotten an ass beating I'm just sick to death of the judgement of people who need meds and I'm hella angry about how my crisis was judged and treated. 

So my emotions off the wheel today are "sad" and "angry." I feel depressed an anxious, like I just got home from a trip where everything felt fabulous and now i"m back into this world of feeling numb, in pain, helpless, and apathetic about so many things I was pumped about a few days ago.

I'm angry that on top off all this - the group leader violated some privacy issues on 3 different occassions, and having been in the line of work that I am I'm really, really fortunate to have access to a lawyer who'll just take a look at stuff for me because we trade out services, and his expertise is not HIPPA/health law or anything but I showed him everything I signed and I was like "OK I guess in theory in a place like this maybe this waives doctor/patient confidentiality and maybe shares it with my therapist - I don't see where it says that but I can see why that would be necessary for treatment - but where did I waive the right to have that kept private vs. her blindsiding me publcally in group about it? Because NOBODY else is treated that way."

He said unless there's paperwork I'm missing, he can't see where I did.

(*btw I TRULY apologize if I've already posted this part here, I've been telling this story a lot)

I also asked specifically about paperwork in there that involves releasing your information to specific people, like family members, etc. I specifically made it clear I wanted NO ON to be included (not to hide anything, it's just that I hate the game of telephone where what you say in group gets twisted into something you didn't mean when someone else delivers the message. I keep my boyfriend, best friend and my family completely updated.)

One afternoon during rec she came into the room to ask me some questions about my paperwork really informally - like, she was just kinda stooped down squatting next to my chair and said "Who is the person that you would like for me to include in your treatment? I just need their name and number."

I said "Oh I think I already did that paperwork with <assistant>. I chose not to release medical information to anyone, but I did list an emergency contact and that information is current and correct."

She said, "Well i like to include everyone's support system in their treatment, usually people have someone specific they like for me to call."

Again I said "Yeeeeaaah see i'm uneasy about that - a stranger calling my mom about me while I'm in the hospital - even if she knows what's going on - will give her an anxiety attack and she'll bust out her rosary and just spend the next 24 hours praying and crying for me. Then I have to take care of HER emotionally. Seriously trust me, I have a RAD support system and I'm an open book - they ALL know and are updated DAILY about what's going on with me."

Which is true, it's not, like, my first rodeo. I've learned how my mom gets through crisis and we finally have a good balance regarding all of this that took a LONG time to get to and our relationship is finally working the best it ever has. I want to keep that. Also, I live with my boyfriend and next door to my BFF, and THIS is my calm safe oasis retreat - I don't need drama brought into it. And I don't even feel like I should have had to explain that - I made clear in the paperwork what I want and don't want.

AGAIN, she said, "Well I will NOT share with him what you say in group - I'm just going to talk to him about our process and your progress,etc."

And AGAIN I said, "Again, for reasons that are really specific - I'm not trying to hide something I just have already have a system of informing loved one in place that works. My family has, uh, special needs."

Finally she said she would really recommend against that.

I said I had an emergency contact and in an emergency you are more than welcome to call him to come to wherever I am if I can't.

She said "OK who's your emergency contact? I don't have the paperwork with me and just wanna make sure I don't lose it in my office."

*sigh*

Against my better judgement she called my boyfriend that day.

There was NO emergency. I got home and he works nights so he'd just woken up and said "Hey I think your therapist called - some chick named <insert name>. She left me a voicemail if you wanna hear it, I just got up and haven't called her back yet.

It ticked the shit out of me that she did that and I asked him purposely to not return her call because I really needed to have a sit down with her about my concerns about the group.

I did the next day, which did no good. Same deal - no more pain and no more side effect coping talk, no physical talk at all, and no talking about the feelings that those situations gave you.

I said that considering that IS my crisis, that IS what keeps me out of bed and from doing her favorite activity for mental health - "kitchen dancing" (dancing with your hubby while you cook dinner) - I need to know what specifically you want for me to talk about.

She said "More about your broken engagement, more about your family, more about emotional trauma related to events and NOT to your pain or meds or side effects. Talk more about your relationships and the negative feelings about those..." and shit in that vein.

It was so unproductive, and when I left Thursday I still felt ok and visited with friends, got out, went outwith my boyfriend, was still enjoying life, but then Friday just killed me. :(

I hate that this has soured my experience with a program like this because I went to another one years after a traumatic emotional event, and I did sorta think even for that the group therapy was overkill, but my leader and the group were SO amazing and comforting. I've generally had good experiences with therapy.

Now I'm freaked about going to another group and having the same shit happen. :(

What's even worse to me is that if this can happen to ME - and the past 7 years or so, research about my illness, therapy, doctors, talking to people, etc. - I'm someone for whom learning about this all has become a hobby of sorts, if someone who sorta knows the drill can have this happen, I can't imagine what this would feel like if it were you're FIRST experience with this and were treated this way. It'd make me swear off help altogether.

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Maybe you could write a long, detailed letter to this "therapist's" (the one with the "wheel" who discounted everything you wanted to talk about) boss to let him/her know how you were treated by her and how it affected you.  Who knows, maybe there have been other complaints about her also.

 

I don't think every PHP is like your first experience.  I agree it was a really bad one.  Maybe you could try it for a 2nd time somewhere else, and see how it goes; it might help you a lot more and you will probably be able to talk about things the first PHP people wouldn't let you talk about.

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The LCSW brings to mind a LCSW I had when I was in partial hospitalization years ago. I was dealing badly with a really painful family situation that had come up a few months earlier, and every time I brought it up to her she would respond, "yes, but what can you really do about that?" and shut me down, which was extremely unhelpful. It's like she had a magic 8-ball of pat therapy answers and she couldn't come up with anything new to deal with my situation. But your therapist sounds much worse, and combined with the privacy stuff....yuck. I agree that, since you seem inclined to do something, and if you have the mental and physical energy, writing a letter or lodging a complain could be a good thing. Because, as you said, if a fairly assertive and educated mental health consumer is going to get run down by this therapist, what kind of damage might she do to somebody else who can't defend herself as well? But the priority has to be your health.

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Crap - I'll go back and read everyone's comments - thank you SO MUCH again for listening. This is my second partial-hospitalziation and the first one was amazing, but during the first one I had a "normal" crisis to talk through and everyone was sympathetic, besides that feeling like, the least bad thing that had happened to me in forever because as terrible as it was, I find the horrible pit of despair onset by no trigger or reasoning infinitely scarier and worse. Not to mention the feeling you get after a seizure, or side effects like Parkinsonism or akathisia. ALL of that for me is INFINITELY more tramautizing. :( :( :(

 

Anyway what brought me back here is I'm so angry and hurt and frustrated right now. I just got a call from the speciaist taking care of my liver and GI issues, and I DO want those resovled soon because it's affecting my physical pain (fluid/waste buildup, causing sciatica - SO PAINFUL) but now I'm having a liver bipopsy and possible a colonoscopy in the next week or two. I'm getting mixed reviews about how painful the biopsy is and how much recovery time there is, but I've had a colonoscopy and I know I can get through that ok.

But this doc, when I mentioned the pain, sent me to a pain management specialist. Of course on our discussion he said one of the first things I'm going to want to do is seek out a therapist to help deal with the emotional and psychological effects of crhonic pain.

OF COURSE.

Now I'm back in the inifinite loop of nobody being able to help me. I know this is helpable somehow but this therapist really broke my spirit of this. I've always felt hope and like there was treatment out there, I just had to FIND it and have been very dilligent, proactive and PATIENT through this, but her and her fave student ganging up on me just make me feel like giving up. This happened several days ago and I just feel like never going back for "help."

I feel unstable since my med switch but I can NOT go back to that five-day program, no matter how much I liked the psychiatrist, the structure...everything else. And I just don't feel like I have it in me to go somewhere else and again be told my crisis didn't matter.

I didn't ask her to make the pain go AWAY, I said I needed help coping with how it's affecting my life. Of course it's affecting my life when I go to Target with my boyfriend then want to do more shopping but I've had to stop for breaks every 25 steps because the pain is so bad. And of course I want to lose the extra weight on me that isn't water but the act of just MOVING hurts. This feels like it's just hopeless forever. I saw her help people who felt hopeless about plenty of other topics, but her GOAL for me was to not mention these two topics, ever. I feel so lost. It's not even 6pm and I jsut want to sleep the evening way and start over tomorrow. :( I'm in such an unstable place.

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And you know actually, she seemed curious to point of nosy about the engagment, which is what put me in PHP the first time around, and even then I thought it was overkill (sorry if I already made this point) because I didn't feel the worst I've ever felt in my life. I took 6 weeks off work and actually went back to work early half-days because I just felt better and it was time. I'm SO HAPPY I did that program though because since then I've been able to enter relationships with the LEAST baggage I've ever had in my damn 33 year old life. My first relationship after was really really happy and healthy, he just wasn't The One or whatever. My current relationship I feel is also very healthy and happy. I mean, he goes to my GI appointments to regularly talking about SHITTING HABITS. And he's still here lol. We are VERY open and honest and happy. I never ever compared either one to the fiance - ever. And I don't compare them to each other and don't have all the weird stupid hangups I did before the crisis happened. It was a VERY positive experience for me.

But, you know, those things will ALWAYS leave a scar, but that doesn't mean you look at the scar every freakin' day. It's there, it was terrible, I think about it once in a while but it just doesn't keep me up at night.

I felt like giving her every dirty detail would be less about me healing and more about satiating her curiosity to hear it.

To make matters WORSE - the key and INTEGRAL parts of the story are Ambien and doing crazy shit in my sleep, along with crazy problems sleeping that no sleep doctor in town seemed able to help me with. I spent thousands of dollars on it.

Meds and sleep are two things she never wants to hear about from me again, so even the story she's DYING to hear involves 2 things I'm not even allowed to talk about. But THIS is how long med side effects/physical shit has been ruining my life, and to this degree.

I'm not sure if this is where I mentioned it (cross posting a few diff places) but we had one one-hour process group that was essentially one person talking through her trauma - which is FINE and she certainly needed it, I will NEVER argue that. The next day NOBODY in that entire room wanted to talk or share. It was just dead silent. So, I asked a question about the "physical" part of ANOTHER WHEEL she draws about ways to nurture ourselves, and one was sleep. I got into my sleep issues and studies and how I've studied sleep hygiene, but my body just doesn't feel like it responds the way it should. Like, I sleep better with a dim room vs. a dark one, and I dunno, I guess I was looking for ANY help outside the medical perspective and commonplace sleep hygeine, and in the very least - how to COPE with the FEELING of anxiety I got about the following morning knowing I might be driving groggy or sedated. It truly is TERRIFYING to me.

Other people chimed in about sleep too and she covered her ears like "I'm not listening" and said very loudly "OK DOES ANYONE HAVE A STORY NOT ABOUT SLEEP??"

My reactions was, "WOW. Nevermind then."

And she came to apologize to me and her assistant came by to make SURE the therapist apologized. I just shrugged and said "Eh, she and I are just different people. Her communication skills and body language kind of conflict with what she's saying to me, personally, and I know she has a big caseload..." yadda yadda and I said I just wasn't the right fit for the group because my crisis was less valid than say, rape or survivors of incest and child abuse. I can totally see that.

She assured me "NO, ALL HUMAN PAIN IS EQUAL," which I'm sure is on a script somewhere and what you're supposed to say.

I suppose all crisis is equal. Some is just more equal than others. Meh.

Back then it didn't bug me as much but literally being told to NOT talk about MY trauma is something I don'nt think any therapist in their right mind would do. I just can't imagine anyone covering their ears and interrupting and saying "OMG DOES SOMEONE HAVE A STORY LESS RAPEY??? OR NOT ABOUT MOLESTATION?? WE Just NEED to keep going here, guys."

Even more bizarre would be someone right out of inpatient for a suicide attempt being told "My goal for you and your treatment is to never ever talk about the molestation again. I need for you to completely stop that and talk about your feelings. Feelings unrelated to that." Then someone else promising and following through with watching you to make sure to "call you on it."

I so seriously don't even get right now what to make of this, except that I'm angry and frustrated.

I can hop on a phone or write a letter like nobody's business in this state but I'm trying to keep calm and not do anything out of revenge. I have a crap done of REALLY awesome media contacts I thought about pitching a series to - maybe a first person account in a series of investigative pieces about the state of mental health care, and maybe a piece or two about what the Affordable Care Act REALLY means for people it affects. I dunno, just thinking out loud. 

Then there's the route instead of filing formal complaints, and I have no idea how that even affects this therapist. On one hand, I don't want her to get in trouble because she does a lot of good for a lot of other people, on the other hand, I think ANY crisis therapy feels amazing when it's your first time and you just left outpatient. On my third hand, I'm aware of how much CYA occurs in this industry - my training and background (strange, the job I just quit was in advertising but for health and wellness programs for Fortune 500s and insurance companies, and something we did regularly was breaking down HIPPA law so I have that drilled into me) just made me aware of how closely LMSW cover for each other. Hell, she even did it with ME having her assistant in the room while she told a pretty made up story to explain one of her HIPPA violations that way there would be a witness to this on her side defending her against me, the crazy lady with mental illness. 

Totally makes me sick but it's hard to fake a way around the phone message. Even then, argh. What is it? Slap on the wrist at best? Then feeling a comraderie and joking about "Heeey! It's your first complaint! It happens to everyone, come on, let's go out for drinks" or some bullshit not taken seriously in her workplace.

UGH sorry - just venting. Can you tell I'm pissed? It takes a LOT honestly to make me this angry. It's happened maybe once or twice in my adult life. And I don't regret the measures I took against the person who did the wrongdoing - for me my only regret is having not been well enough to pursue action against malpractice because what this man was doing was DANGEROUS.

So I dunno, maybe in the end I'll at least just file the complaint. Just filing the complaint the last time did in the very least put him on the list of "in network but not recommnded" doctors after the complaint, the reason was "bad reviews." It was a very small victory but I felt at ease knowing he'd be less likely to be considered by someone for their child or loved ones or for someone new at the game.

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no but if she was bullying you and treating you different from others, not to mention breaking confidentiality then you do need to complain.

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You have every right to be angry. I think anyone under your circumstances would be pissed. Unfortunately, I would probably just eat it because I'm terrible with conflict. But now I'm going to be totally hypocritical and say that you need to take some action such as filing a complaint. At the very least, you will feel better that you did something.

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