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Dr. L
Dr. L, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1165
Experience:  Psychologist, Marriage and Family Therapist
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Hi Dr. Levang: Update on Round #3. This guy looked like a

Customer Question

Hi Dr. Levang: Update on Round #3. This guy looked like a mad scientist. Why must all the shrinks look weird? He spent 90 minutes with me, didn't judge me, soft spoken, let me tell my story without interrupting. I think he understood me and he said a lot of things that I was thinking in my head. I think he took me very seriously and he said "you couldn't present a more classic PTSD case if you tried". I finally know what I have. Now how do I get rid of it? Round 4 tomorrow.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. L replied 2 years ago.

Dr. Levang :

Hi Tanya,

Dr. Levang :

I am still laughing after that mad scientist comment...

Dr. Levang :

Yippee...Round #3 seems to have been a success..well, if the Albert Einstein look is cool with you.

Customer:

Ha!


 

Customer:

I'm not kidding, thats what he looked like. :)

Dr. Levang :

Wow to 90 minutes of no judgement...good listening...and a confident diagnosis!

Customer:

Yes!


 

Dr. Levang :

You may have hit gold!

Dr. Levang :

A very satisfying visit!

Dr. Levang :

Not sure why the mad scientist look is so darn popular these days...

Customer:

I had no idea it was?


 

Customer:

But whatever. If he looks a little funky but can help me, I'll take it.


 

Dr. Levang :

I am just kidding...although I think a lot of men do not believe in cutting their eyebrows when they really should! We seem to have solved the unibrow problem and have a new one to take care of!!!

Dr. Levang :

Great attitude! It's the brains and empathy that you want...

Customer:

I've never had anyone say that PTSD was what I had. It's very hard to understand your symptoms, when you don't know what it is you're fighting.

Dr. Levang :

Did he suggest any homework? Or how did it end?

Customer:

It just ended open, because I have not commited to anyone yet.


 

Dr. Levang :

I'm impressed got 90 minutes...

Dr. Levang :

*you

Customer:

Me too.

Customer:
Dr. Levang :

Okay...that's what I thought might have happened.

Customer:

And he didn't rush me, it was nice.


 

Dr. Levang :

And...absolutely...a diagnosis does take down the anxiety and worry. When you have something that is "describable" you naturally know there is a solution!

Dr. Levang :

Great..he sounds like a gentle and compassionate person...

Dr. Levang :

Did he tell you anything about treatment options...mention any theories or anything?

Customer:

I'm getting ready to go home in 2 weeks. Home is tough. It's where all the reminders of what happened to me are. I don't want to go, but I feel obligated at this point. He told me if it was to much, that I should come back to Virginia. Don't make any apologies about not feeling right, and just leave. My last doc told me to "just get through it". It was nice to have someone say, no wait a minute, it's ok to leave.


 

Customer:

No, we didn't talk about any of that stuff, but he did say that if I come back we will work on a treatment plan right away.


 

Customer:

I don't know if he's "the one", but he's certainly in the running.


 

Dr. Levang :

I am so pleased that you had a good experience! And he is absolutely right about the trip to Virginia. You need to stay in control...and leaving the trip early is certainly an option and should remain so. Gutting it through is what you always do and it hasn't helped has it?

Dr. Levang :

And absolutely...starting a treatment plan is the next step with whomever you chose.

Customer:

At this point, life is just a white knuckle affair. Everyday is something I dread and tomorrow is just another day to worry about.


 

Dr. Levang :

I do hope that today the white knuckle was eased just a tad by this appointment. You have 1 good guy on the table right now...that is more than you had last week!

Dr. Levang :

I do understand the difficulty...don't get me wrong Tanya...

Customer:

I know you do.

Customer:
Dr. Levang :

You have made a valiant effort to find a good therapist...your work will pay off!

Dr. Levang :

You must stay hopeful.

Dr. Levang :

Is Round #4 the woman therapist?

Dr. Levang :

The one with expertise in PTSD?

Customer:

I'm not giving up. That's not who I am. But you know what I want? I want to wake up, face the world and know in my head that I'll be ok. I want to be able to let adrenaline take a back seat to justified fear. I want to get back into my life and stop being on the outside looking in. I'm probably about half way through my life at this point, and I want it back. My body is not in prison, but my head is. I just want to be myself--who Im supposed to be. :)


 

Customer:

No, that's on Friday.


 

Dr. Levang :

I hear you loud and clear Tanya! That is strong motivation! I like how clearly you can articulate this...I think that is critically important in being able to face the realities under which you have lived. Now that you can add PTSD to the description..the solution becomes even clearer.

Dr. Levang :

I applaud your strength!

Dr. Levang :

Okay...to Friday...

Dr. Levang :

And absolutely...you want to be your genuine self...that's a courageous and bold step.

Dr. Levang :

And...your determination will get you there....

Dr. Levang :

I want you to realize what you have that so many people are lacking...and that's persistence!

Customer:

Its so frustating because I can articulate exactly what's wrong with me. I know it with certainty but I can't fix it. I don't have the right tools. There is no "how to" youtube video, no google search that can give step by step instructions. I have to put my faith into someone else, and to be honest, that scares me. Because I fear that if they can't help me, I'll be screwed. I keep saying that I'm not sure how much longer I can do this. I've faced a lot of hard things in my life, but this by far, takes the cake. This is the hardest, most painful thing that I've ever gone through. I can totally see how people turn to drugs, alcohol or suicide. This is deadly seriously stuff!


 

Dr. Levang :

You are right Tanya...and unfortunately so. There is not a fix-it kit for PTSD. There are some things you can do to calm yourself, to bring down the anxiety, and to attempt to live in the moment. But the other parts do need a guide ... and that has been a very unpleasant and frustrating aspect to your health.

Dr. Levang :

I do want you to stay hopeful. You do not have an incurable disease! And yes...I can understand your mistrust and your worry that you cannot be helped. While it is easy for me to say that there is help for you...you are the one who has to believe that.

Dr. Levang :

This is serious stuff...and yes some people make choices that are costly. I want to trust that you will find that right guide and that a treatment plan will be developed that will bring the relief you need, want, and deserve.

Customer:

After 5 months with my last therapist who couldn't help me, I guess I'm just a little doubtful. What kind of treatment options await me, do you know?


 

Dr. Levang :

I hear you about the ticking clock...but I think that you are far clearer about what you want then you have ever been.

Dr. Levang :

EMDR is certainly one of the best used treatments for PTSD. That is a short term process. And...depending on the therapist's orientation...there could be any number of treatment options...

Dr. Levang :

One way to look at the last 5 months could be that this was a dress rehearsal of sorts...I don't know if that is helpful in your way of looking at things..but I do think you learned some things about yourself...you learned more about what therapy is and isn't...you stood up for yourself by leaving...so I would not say it was a total waste. You made some ground...not enough...but some...

Dr. Levang :

www.ptsd.va.gov/public/pages/treatment-ptsd.asp

Dr. Levang :

You might want to take a peak at the above website...has some basic information...

Customer:

I don't look at it like a loss. I did learn a lot. I discovered a part of myself that was assertive enough to ask for what I needed, even if in the end I didn't get it. I do feel lucky in that I am insanely stubborn, determined and the type to see things through. Plus I have an amazingly sweet and supportive husband. I'm already ahead of the game with the resources that I do have.

Customer:

I just lack the tools to get relief from the physical/emotional symptoms. I'm seriously desperate to sleep though the night without jumping out of bed like I'm on fire, all sweaty and my heart racing.


 

Customer:

What I wouldn't give....seriously.


 

Dr. Levang :

Yes...the sleep issue is a tough one. It's a very common complaint. It's that waiting for the other shoe to drop sorta thing...

Dr. Levang :

Yes...you have lots to be grateful for...and that makes an amazing difference!

Customer:

At this point, I'm not making any decisions. I still have two more people to see. :)


 

Dr. Levang :

The tools will come as you heal some of the wounds and are able to feel free and have less need to be on high alert.

Dr. Levang :

Yes...And I do hope those 2 are good candidates as well.

Dr. Levang :

It would be great if you had at least 2 people to pick from! Awesome really!

Customer:

Me too! The best case would be that I have a tough time making a decision between the three. I'm seeing a LCSW whose been in private practice for 30 years tomorrow. He had a website and it doesn't state that he treats PTSD on it, but on my insurance list it says he does. So I'm not sure about this one.


 

Dr. Levang :

Hmm..not sure what to make of that. A 30 year practitioner likely has experience as PTSD is common. But...you will have to see what he says about all of that. If he used the word trauma...he may have just presented it in a broader context.

Customer:

He doesn't list either.


 

Dr. Levang :

Okay.

Dr. Levang :

I trust you will know what to say and that your gut will tell you if this man is in the running or not!

Customer:

I have a feeling he may say that he can't treat me, but if he doesn't have the experience I'd rather that he say that. I'm in no mood to mess around. Help me, or get off my list! ;)

Dr. Levang :

Exactly! And...if he says he can't treat you...I want you to promise me that you won't take that as a statement against you...but rather about his own skills and abilities! If he does not have experience will trauma and PTSD..then he doesn't have it. Plain and simple.

Dr. Levang :

And yes...tell him just like you wrote...I want you to tell me if you have the experience...either help me or I'm moving on...

Customer:

Got it, and I won't take it personally! But if I end up with Mr. Mad Scientist, I'm going to be constantly thinking that he should get a hair cut. I'll probably envision the buzzers taking it off.


 

Dr. Levang :

LOL.

Customer:

Seriously, why must you guys look so strange? :)


 

Dr. Levang :

Well...if we were too good looking...there could be another set of problems...

Customer:

LOL!


 

Dr. Levang :

Looking strange can be disarming....

Customer:

Yeah, I guess so. But there must be an easier way.


 

Dr. Levang :

I'm thinking of Robin Williams in one of those kid movies...blubber or something...

Customer:

Oh yeah. My guy looked more like the dude from Back to the Future.


 

Dr. Levang :

Thank old Albert E. for starting a trend...even Sigmund Freud was a weird looking dude.

Dr. Levang :

LOL!!!! That's hysterical.

Dr. Levang :

I can see that in my mind's eye right now.

Dr. Levang :

I suppose...if we can't help you we can always make you laugh...

Customer:

It really was! I was totally caught off guard. I'd of laughed for sure, if I hadn't been so nervous!

Dr. Levang :

I totally know what you mean...

Customer:

Hey, at least he was nice.

Dr. Levang :

You are expecting Mr. Straight and Proper...and you walk in to find....LOL

Customer:

No, I was just expecting "normal". :)

Dr. Levang :

Yes...and that is the key...he was a good listener, sincere, didn't cut you off...patient.

Dr. Levang :

See...normal is subjective!

Customer:

Yes it is!


 

Dr. Levang :

That guy probably has a mother that loves his zany hair.

Dr. Levang :

Well...I suppose we better end this silliness for now.

Dr. Levang :

You have a good day! Tomorrow is #4 and I'll be thinking about your appointment.

Customer:

Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX ALWAYS good to chat and laugh with you. Two down, two to go. I will talk to you again soon! Have a great day!

Dr. Levang :

Yes...2 down...2 to go!

Dr. Levang :

Great odds!

Dr. Levang :

Bye for now!

Customer:

Bye!

Customer:
Dr. L, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1165
Experience: Psychologist, Marriage and Family Therapist
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