Monday, July 30, 2012

Therapist #2

So, after deciding therapist #1 was clearly not for me, I sought out a new one.  This woman supposedly specializes in women's issues and pregnancy loss but is also an actual psychologist and social worker, if I remember correctly.  Let's say I had high hopes for her.  My old OB had told me she'd heard some "iffy" things about this therapist, so at first I was skeptical, but after therapist #1 fell through I was ready to give it a go anyway.  I spoke with a couple of local people who had great things to say, so I felt good about my prospects.

At first, she was awesome.  She didn't just say, "You're so normal!  Everything is so normal!!!"  She was actually pissed off right along with me.  I was deep in the anger phase.  So deep in anger that it sometimes scared me.  And this woman would be all like, Yeah!  What happened to you is bullsh*t! (basically).  And that's what I needed at the time.  Someone to just sit and not tell me it's all okay, but that it wasn't okay, that it was a horrible injustice, that I had a right to vent and rage and just hate the world if that's how I felt. 

But how far do you get toward any semblance of "healing" when your therapist is all Yeah the world just sucks!  I mean it was refreshing in a way, but after awhile, I don't think either of us knew where we were going with our sessions or our dialogue.

She never actually had a "plan" for our sessions or topics she wanted to get at.  It was always So how are you doing?  And she'd let me bitch for a solid hour.  Great, but you know, I could talk to a wall for an hour and it'd be a lot cheaper.  I kind of thought that as an actual psychologist she would have some tools up her sleeve or some kind of methods to her madness, but it really didn't seem that way.  I should add here that I am a licensed school counselor, so I am familiar with a lot of methods used in counseling, and I just didn't see this woman doing a whole lot of "work".

At one point, when I opened up to her about my lack of faith and feeling God betrayed me, she actually did something that made my jaw about hit the floor.  She started going on and on about Judaism and how I should really check it out, how it doesn't contain x, y, z hypocrisies that the Christian faith does.

Can we say UNPROFESSIONAL?!  You do NOT try to convert your clients' religious orientation!  Basic ethics, lady!

She also pushed drugs on me, two different perscriptions.  One was an antidepressant, and the other was some sort of heavy painkiller.  When I asked her how I would know when I needed to take the painkiller, she said Oh just you know, when you feel like you want to just relax.  I said, "Well, I don't really like taking anything unless I really need it."  She said, Lindsay, you poor thing, you have been through SO MUCH.  You just deserve a break, you really do.  Taking this pill will be like taking a really good strong drink.  Just like, "ahhhhh" and relaxation.  Which is what you deserve.

Is it just me, or does she seem like a pill head to you?

Is it just me, or does it seem horribly reckless for her to have been prescribing me more than one medication that would have numbing effects?  Doesn't it seem counter-productive, in a way?

I almost stopped seeing her after that session.  But then I went back for one more.  At which point, she told me (with regard to losing my son), You know what?  It really could be worse.  You could have been pregnant with triplets and then had one of them born disabled.  And then have to watch the two healthy children interact while their disabled triplet misses out on so much in life.

Second of all....No.

Just no, no no.

That isn't worse, not at all.

There are a lot of reasons why that is not worse.

That woman she speaks of did not have to bury her child.

I almost laughed in my therapist #2's face that day, truly, and I wish I would have.  I wish I would have laughed hysterically and told her that therapists are trusted professionals that are paid to say the right things in a world where most people say everything wrong or avoid us entirely.

Three strikes, three red flags, and she was out.

Shame on her.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Therapist #1

The first one we saw wasn’t entirely horrible. She was able to bring me down from thinking a few irrational things concerning our loss. But that really wasn’t her focus. She was a grief counselor, and she specialized in pregnancy issues and loss. I know many women who love her, and I mean no disrespect, but she mostly just told me, “Everything you’re thinking and feeling is just SO normal.” She thought I maybe needed to come back once or twice tops. It made me feel worse, because I just kept thinking, THIS is normal? Feeling THIS HORRIBLE is normal?! Forever?!

I was only a few weeks out, so I was very much still in shock. I couldn't believe she so readily assessed my condition to be such that I didn't need more than a handful of sessions. Hell, over a year and a half out, I still feel I am trying to process everything. All of it. The miscarriage, the twin pregnancy, the scares, the bedrest, and then the stillbirth and live birth right at the finish line. How the hell, three weeks after the "conclusion" of such life-altering events, could anyone tell how I was really doing?! Even today, half the time, I don't know how I'm doing.

I will admit that it was a relief to visit someone who wanted me to talk about things, as so many people either avoided me entirely or just tried to distract me or tell me "you have to move forward somehow" when, again, I still was waiting to wake up from the nightmare that had become my life.

What I didn't like about this grief counselor was that she did not try to refute or dispute much of what I said but simply reassured me of my normalcy. I wanted to say, Look, lady, this may all be normal, but I'm damn tired of it! At one point I told her I felt like for the rest of my life, at every social gathering or party I would ever attend, everyone would just look at me with pity. That the party would suddenly become less fun because I was there, that everyone would feel sorry for me, that people would like me less because I'm a constant reminder of how horrible things can happen to good people.

Her response? That very well might be true, and people might think that. But you can't let that bother you.

Not really sure what her angle was there, but really, she should have refuted some of that. She should have reassured me that this was not my entire identity, that I would need to find people who saw me for more than my losses, that this really isn't a life sentence of misery. I'll admit that there are days where it feels that way. But just because it feels that way doesn't make it true. I've got a long life ahead of me. I'm only thirty years old. Any counselor who allows me to believe I will forever be the fun police, forever be a reminder of dead babies to anyone I ever meet, forever be only worth pitying? Really needs to re-evaluate her methods, at best.