You Call it Bipolar-I Call it MSD
The Next Level
Even people with mood spectrum disorder know how to shift gears and move forward. With the decision made to switch therapists, Annie went to work researching, checking this website out, and then switching to that one, until she had come up with a very short list of local possibilities. She was seeking a therapist who specialized in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Interpersonal Social Rhythm Therapy (ISRT). I sent out an email to brother Noel to see if he had any skinny about our short list.
Indeed he did, and what he said corresponded to what we had been thinking. The one we were most interested in was Dr. Mark Cerri, a psychologist working out of Ukiah, who had a website that Annie was impressed with. She said she thought that we could work with this guy, because one feature of his practice is that he had been working with veterans, so that made me feel as though there were a good chance for a fit.
Amazingly enough, it turned out that my brother not only knew him, but had worked with him earlier, and was very enthusiastic about what he thought might produce a good fit. I asked Annie if Noel liked him so much, why didn’t he recommend him in the first place. Annie responded that originally we asked him about a psychiatrist, because we were interested in both a clinical diagnosis and someone who could prescribe medication for me, should that have proved necessary.
Dr. Cerri is not a psychiatrist, he is a psychologist, even though he does have a PhD. At this juncture in time, I believe that if I felt that medication were necessary, I could go to my own doctor, and ask her to prescribe it for me. I have already explained to her what is going on, and she knows I am seeing a therapist. What Annie and I would like Dr. Cerri to help me do, is proceed with the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and help me get a handle on dealing with the kinds of issues which cause the most turmoil in our lives.
We had yet to discuss with Dr. Garratt, some of the specific issues which arose last winter, when Annie was struggling to figure out what was going on. It was the reason we originally told Dr. Garratt, that Annie was doing each of the sessions with me, so that she could provide better insight in to what was happening last winter, when I was having the most challenging of times.
And I did not feel that I adequately emphasized that Dr. Garratt is a very capable and very competent therapist. I would never find fault with him, when it came to his therapy or his approach. The simple fact of the matter was that he specialized in a therapeutic approach that did not meet my needs. I cannot emphasize this enough, because I would feel terrible if someone went away from my blog, feeling as though Dr. G. did not fulfill some sort of necessary step, and I left as a result. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The time to move forward is right now, so that the momentum I have built up recently, will remain in place. A year ago, things were just heating up; now, things are falling into place. My sister, among others, has told me repeatedly that I must be an advocate for myself. I feel as though Annie and I are in better shape now because I have assessed myself and have formed a plan.
When we first appeared on Dr. Garratt’s doorstep, I was in complete denial. When I think of how much growth I have made since then, I will not say that Dr. Garratt is not also responsible for my progress. it’s just that I want to take it to the next level. Now, with Annie’s guidance, I have located and communicated with someone who seems able to get me there.
The next level. I feel as though I am playing some sort of video game, with levels and pitfalls, and changes in course. The only problem is I cannot take the game back if I do not like the way the whole thing seems to be working out for me, so I have to keep plugging along. Never having indulged in video games before, I am not at my best. But I am a fast learner, and I have a great coach, so bring on next level. Where the hell is my ladder?