You Call it Bipolar-I Call it MSD
As the Dust Settles
Whew. Crisis averted. We are up here in Eureka, after having escaped the mental clutches of the therapeutic arena. As Lynda Grace observed, one issue she faced was, “having to leave a session feeling more emotional or upset than when I arrived.” That was certainly the case with Wednesday’s session. It left me spiraling downward, and it left Annie going off to market without me, and feeling drained. We don’t need this grief.
I will pause one moment to emphatically state that this is not about Dr. Garratt being a good guy, and certainly not about him being a bad guy. It is about seeking a therapeutic program, designed to meet my specific needs, and those of my coach. The two methods of therapy that are tailor-made for me are Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (which was so successful for me and Dr. Jill), and Interpersonal Social Rhythm Therapy (IRTS) which I have already been utilizing since the first day I printed off the blank mood chart and started recording data, based on my daily manifestations of mood spectrum disorder.
Annie and I have constantly referred to these two therapeutic approaches, and Dr. G. has not so much as asked to see the chart, which I bring with me every visit. What’s up with that? Annie had already ingested all of the parameters of psychoeducation, which despite its ominous title, merely means learning about mood spectrum disorder, and all of its ramifications. Researchers in Spain had long demonstrated that a group-therapeutic approach, in which a series of twenty-one specifically designed lessons were presented over twenty-one weeks, was an effective and efficient method of beginning a long-term therapeutic program, which varies from one individual to the next.
Now, Annie has guided me, independently, through this process, I have been charting the data, and it is time to embrace the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Unfortunately, the psychiatrist I have been seeing places a tremendous amount of emphasis on psychoanalysis, and this is simply not a fit. In response to the well-intentioned question, “Why don’t you just ask him to switch, and adapt the therapeutic approach that you wish,” I say, “I want to seek out a therapist, whose specialty is in the areas I desire, and not as an afterthought.”
I must also add, that this is a decision that I do not take lightly, switching doctors in mid-stream, but that I must take into consideration my coach’s input. Annie has been feeling it in her gut for several sessions now, while she watched the intellectual sparring going on between me, and Dr. Garratt. She has been feeling as though the emphasis on psychoanalysis does not belong in the picture just yet. Or even do a certain amount, to cover some basic foundation elements, but enough is enough.
The final component involving making this magnitude of a decision, came from Annie’s therapist, who has been instrumental from the beginning, guiding Annie through the components of psychoeducation, and providing for her, some basic tools for dealing with my escalating illness. When Annie described the events of Wednesday’s session, her therapist was very supportive of our decision to look for a different therapist.
She said to Annie, when the situation had been outlined, “It’s as simple as this: If you do not feel it is a fit, then it is not a fit.”
I don’t think it gets any more basic than that. If I go to a shoe store, and select a pair and try them on, I might take a few minutes to accurately test them out. I might stroll around the store, I might examine the effect in a full-length mirror, but ultimately, if they are too tight around the toes, then it is not a good fit. Go back to the drawing board, or the yellow pages, whichever applies, and try to find a therapist who is a better fit. After all, who likes to go around with ill-fitting shoes, when there are plenty of proper-fitting shoes available? Not me and not Annie either.
And you know what? I don’t even think Dr. Garratt would fault our decision. What exists is a setup for failure, and I do not see failure in the cards. I may not like the hand I’m dealt, but that doesn’t mean I am throwing it in. I have a good partner, and there are plenty of dealers, so let’s visit the next casino on the list. Who knows? Maybe we’ll hit the jackpot.