Ask a Psychiatrist and Get Answers to Mental Health Questions ASAP
I started medication on the advice of my psychologist, Dr. Russell Grieger (REBT specialist), when I finally felt comfortable enough after 6 months of weekly 45 minute appointments to tell him why I was in his office to begin with (actually, I had a meltdown in his office and apparently "went into the wallpaper" my safety mechanism). When threatened, I go into the wallpaper and I can talk to whomever I am with but I have no idea of what I have said or what has happened. That was 9 years ago. I have had problems with therapy because the very things I must work on elicit extreme fear and so I avoid it at all costs. I do not sleep without enough medication to essentially knock me out. I do not drive because of the lack of sleep and I have fallen asleep once while driving to work and had a car accident where fortunately no one else was involved and I was not hurt. I do work full-time in a high power position (my perfectionism) and my husband drives me to work. I cannot say no to someone and am always overloaded. I love being overloaded because it takes away any time to think therefore I can justify to myself why I am not facing my therapy homework. I weighed 180 lbs when I started therapy and now I weigh 300 lbs with a lapband. My psychiatrist sees me either every week or every other week to monitor me. My psychologist sees me 2x a week. He has started seeing me for a double session when he can because by the time my 45 minute appt with him is up I am starting to "leave". I was sent for a sleep study and the neurologist said there was nothing they could do for me since I had a psych issue. My eating is sporadic and I am definately an emotional eater.
Can you help?
I was almost hospitalized afte my psychiatrist saw me following a therapy appt and I was still "gone". My husband who does not work and takes care of me by driving me around volunteered to keep an eye on me and to call her immediately if there was a problem. I almost agreed to hospitalization because I did not feel safe and that was my doctors reasoning for admitting me...to put me in a atmosphere of safety. I do trust my therapist; but, I am very skittish when any noise comes to my attention. I have 24-hr access to him; but, I feel like I have no right to call him when I am terrified by flashbacks. Dr. Grieger told me I am the longest patient he has ever had but he has not given up on me. This is the beginning of my 10th year of therapy. I am 53 and married for 35 years. I married as soon as I turned 18 to escape and fortunately, the only person I ever officially dated turned out to be perfect for me. IF I do not take my medication, I will not sleep. I do not even get tired. The later it gets, the more awake I feel.
So, you believe that if I have a way of pursuing physical activity with someone that will help push me, I can lose weight? I was on 600 mg of Seroquel for several years and went off of the seroquel almost 2 years ago to eliminate the constant slurring of my speech. At that point I requested a lapband and my surgeon hesitated due to my ptsd but he went ahead with it because I promised I would try to comply.
I gained 130 lbs and I am seriously overweight and feel worthless and unable to help myself.
You have a very complicated mixture of problems and issues, to be sure. I realize that you have a trusting relationship with your current psychologist. Frankly, 10 years is a very long time to be in psychotherapy with one therapist, and still have the extreme problems you have. it is almost universally the case that after a few years with one therapist, a patient sort of 'hits the wall' in terms of further progress. Only you can assess whether you feel, over the past 1-2 years or so, you've made some significant, additional progress, compared to the prior 8 years or so, in therapy. I am not suggesting you change therapists, but I would be irresponsible of me to not raise the issue with you, given your current problems and your long duration in therapy with one person.
The other thing that concerns me is that you actually have quite remarkable insight into your own behaviors, insight into how you escape/avoid stress situations, the fact that you eat to regulate your emotions......I could go on and on regarding the high quality of your insight. Yet, you seem quite 'stuck' and with regard to your body weight, are in fact getting worse. When I see such a pattern---high insight, bright, intelligent person, but no behavior change, I again think, "well something is wrong with this picture; something needs to change if this woman is to change". Sometimes the change is a somewhat more aggressive--but--supportive approach to helping push you to confront the memories and reality of the physical or sexual abuse I presume you experienced earlier in your life; to take a really systematic, and serious look at how eating helps you regulate your emotions, and what might be done to help you cope differently. Perhaps have an eating management coach work with you in your home to help you better control your eating. Perhaps, as a therapist, one would want to hunt down a women's support or therapy group for abuse victims, to supplement individual therapy. Again, I'm not sure what should change in your therapy, but my suspicion is that something really must change in order for you to start progressing again; it might be that your therapist has 'used up' his repertoire of helping skills with you and perhaps doesn't quite know what to do for you going forward. This is what often happens after years of therapy and then, relative stagnation in therapy. I'm a clinical psychologist and professor and I realize when the students I mentor have had 'quite enough of me' and need to receive mentoring from someone else---I've shared with them what I know, my perspective on my areas of expertise, etc. They need a new, different perspective in order to move on.
I will pause here and get your reaction............
I continue to be somewhat amazed at your insight and ability to 'connect the dots' in your life, regarding the cause and effects (i.e., of your abuse history on your current life).
I'm also surprised to hear that your uncle called and apologized. You probably fell into a sort of semi-dissociative mode during that phone call--your coping strategy for having to deal with him. This would certainly explain why you wouldn't likely remember much of what was said across 2 hours. I think you will know you are really getting better when you can accept such a call and can stay in the moment with it---perhaps actually keep notes on what he says to you. His B.S. about the kiddy porn is really quite "classic" is it not? I'm sorry, but I had to chuckle when I read that excuse.
You know, a PTSD camp might help you. It could be stressful and difficult, but it certainly won't kill you nor likely make you worse. It might be quite liberating as well. Also, you are clearly in very good control of what you want to divulge or keep to yourself, so you can control the situation if you wish. As I noted, something radically different needs to happen to move you out of the therapeutic stagnation you are in. The camp idea could be part of the remedy to this.
I hope this information has been helpful to you. I would be curious to see how this turns out for you, because you certainly have faced a terrifically bad history with your family, and had a rather pathetic, unsupportive and ineffective woman as a mother. So please accept my well wishes and let me know if I have overlooked any aspect of your original question. Please hit the green Accept button if you would, at the bottom of the screen. Thanks.
Thank you for your help and advice. Are there any ptsd camps you would recommend? Especially on the east coast as I am in Virginia.
I will let you know what happens to me in the future.