Have Mental Health Questions? Ask a Psychiatrist Online
So sorry to keep you waiting so long.
I am a female therapist with over 20 years of experience working in the field. I hope you are still available to chat. I will be notified when you are back on line and will join the chat asap.
Hi Jean: I'm online, are you available to chat? Thanks
Hello, I am available
So glad we could connect!
Me too, thank you. May I ask a few questions to see if we "click"?
1). I am absolutely averse to NA and/or rehab programs and I don't want this to be a point of contention. Rather, I'd like to concentrate on what I've done/am planning to do and solutions.
Are you okay with this approach?
Just so you know. This site is not intended for therapy, but I can provide information, support... I'm not for or against any particular program of treatment.
That's good -- support and info are my aims.
Are you able to spend an hour online with me now? If so, what is your fee?
About an hour would be okay. You would pay whatever you agreed to ahead of time. I would be paid 14.50 for my time, and you can offer a tip/bonus if you are pleased.
Great! I'll start by outlining what my situation is. Basically, over the last 6 years I have experienced trauma in nearly every category one can have loss. I started coping abt 5 years ago with mis-use of RX drugs (that were/are prescribed to me).
Four weeks ago I landed in the ER with two tonic-clonic (grand mal) seizures. These may have been drug-provoked or I may have previously-undiagnosed epilepsy. My youngest sibling was epileptic and died of/during a seizure 5 years ago.
Yesterday I realized that I was abusing the RXs I have and this is incredibly stupid given the seizure. I am terrified b/c of my sibling's death AND the fact that my aunt died during a seizure two days after mine.
What a health scare for you, certainly makes one evaluate life as it is. I'm also sorry for the loss of your sibling and your aunt. This is frightening, would be for anyone.
Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX already in deep struggle when this happened and it just seems like a cosmic joke.
So, I'm a college English prof, 45 years-old (Ph.D.) and have dealt with anxiety/obsessive issues all of my life. I used to enact good coping strategies, but I've lost those.
So yesterday I enacted some things and put some plans in place that I'd like to discuss with you.
Yes, please do
I disclosed the extent of my RX abuse to my partner and gave her my Adderall and Ambien to hold and dole out to me as prescribed. I had her throw away some Vicodin I had; I am in withdrawal from Ativan and Prozac. My partner has been sober for 22 years (AA/NA route) and is very comfortable playing this role while I begin addressing the addictions.
I "fired" a prescribing psychiatrist I've been seeing (and manipulating for RXs) over the last two years and have a message in to a very effective CBT therapist I saw for two years for an immediate appointment.
Good to have such a good support. Of course you want to be especially careful withdrawing with your recent health scare.
Yes, I'm considering calling the new primary care doc and neurologist I saw two weeks ago (I also fired a primary care doc I really disliked). Prob is that I don't live with my partner and if I get my hands on what would probably be prescibed (benzos), I'll rip through them.
You sound like you are in an excellent place to begin taking a look at this, really motivated. Sometimes we have to get hit over the head pretty hard before we realize there is a real problem- such as your health scare. Yes, bring the good doctors on board, very important- have to be honest and open with dr. in order to help you.
Eeek, that is so scary to me but I'll do it. I feel deep shame and have never disclosed addiction issues to a doc.
It's nothing to be ashamed of- with how readily available the rx are it's a common problem. Dr. are seeing lots of this- you are not alone.
I'm really, really good at beating myself to death. Okay, I've started a list -- call primary care doc tomorrow.
Next, I'm under incredible pressure at my job (I teach a lot of classes) and the seizures really threw me off track with grading and prep. Today I've made a stack of "absolute must grade for return tomorrow" papers and am pausing in between each to exercise, eat, and/or do deep breathing exercises b/c I'm having terrible anxiety attacks. I'm also really sleep-deprived b/c I have a bad Adderall-Ambien cycle going and I feel like crap. Suggestions for getting through these gotta do tasks today?
Of course this is scary- your addiction piece is really freaking out right now. The pills have helped you through some really difficult things- helped, but then have become part of the problem- double edged sword. You need to go easy on yourself- that will do you much more good. You are struggling, it does not make you a bad person!! A crisis has become an opportunity for you- with the health scare. It is amazing how important life is to us when faced with something like this. You will get through this- do need to find some way to relax- right huh?
I know these things intellectually, but I'm emotionally raw and deeply frightened (and in withdrawal -- wahoo!)
Do realize this is going to be very difficult to function- to do all those things that demand your time. No chance to take a short leave from work? If not, yes setting a schedule to take care of self. The withdrawal has a mind of it's own, hang on.
I teach tomorrow, then am off for six days -- a blessing, but it will still be a rough go.
Having support, people who can be with you during this difficult time is really vital in this.
My partner is fantastic and I am reaching out/will reach out to professionals who need to be involved. I've also contracted with a legal assistant to work with Bank of America on a short sell of my house that has been dragging on for months with me trying to work with them on my own.
You sound like you are doing what you need to do- care for self, get things into order, reduce the stress as best you can.
I used to be really compulsive about getting things done, so until I can regain that mojo I'm brainstorming what I can pay others to do for me. I am naturally incredibly self-sufficient (or was) and socially isolated, so it's a challenge to yell out "help!"
The good upcoming news is that my partner is selling her apartment in NYC and we're in the midst of buying a home together where I currently live (NJ), so living alone is now a short-term problem.
As scary as this is- it will pay off in the end- the hard work. You are already taking some big steps in this- remember progress not perfection- not always a specific curriculum to follow on this one. A bit extreme huh- all or nothing- gusto.
I'm a perfectionist, so I need to work on these concepts -- I am all or nothing. "Curriculum" is a brilliant way to describe the way I negotiate everything in my life.
This getting things done, will get you where you need to go. Exciting taking the next step in your relationship- congrats! You do have lots going on- lots of great things.
They are good things, but I can't feel them yet. Okay, some specific questions I'd like some coping strategies for.
1). Along with my aunt, there have been a rash of recent deaths in my circle. I'm trying to provide what loving support I can to friends experiencing terrible losses, but I don't have a lot to give. Can you recommend some "low output" ways to be supportive without taking away from what I need to do for myself?
Progress not perfection, trust the process sort of stuff- can help us slow down a bit, take that needed breath before you get on the mack truck. Identify those things you can have an impact on is a good thing, recognizing some of the withdrawal and discomfort is out of your hands- can manage, but not control. In response to your question about others: What about a nice genuine statement to the idea- I am thinking of you, care about you, will be there as much as I can, but letting them know you are having a crisis of your own.
I can do the genuine statements and reiterate that I'm still coping with seizure outfall. I can't tell these folks about the addiction issues, but I have shared with safe friends my medical crisis.
This is a perfect example of the importance of making you a priority- allow yourself the time and attention it will take to recover.
The health issue alone is a good enough reason that you can not be all for everyone right now.
Okay, I need to remember this. I'll work to apply the same to my students, who are very needy at this time of the semester.
Next question: can you recommend strategies/good straightforward book(s) that may help me conceptualize moving on/what closure might mean? My obsessive thinking = I churn every negative thing I've ever experienced in my life ceaselessly.
Good to have those safe friends- will help get you through this. Yes, students can be needy, but setting those clear boundaries is important. You will be nothing for self or others, unless you make this a priority.
I can take a look at my book resources, find one that may speak to me that will "speak to you" :) I can get that to you when we are done with chat.
Thank you. I'm not religious, but I do seek what the higher purposes of my life might be.
Lastly, can you comment on my longer-range plans? 1) Slowly get "financially sober" through baby steps and paying professionals to do what financial things are defeating me. 2) Reach out to safe friends and make social commitments that get me out of the house. 3) Find a professional who can help me with deep phobia of dental work that will need to be addressed soon.
I understand- there must be something bigger right- this thing called life, life school!! We are at the age where we are midway in life- a time to reflect, contemplate it all. It's natural to go inward, evaluate life as it is, and consider where we want to go. Hey another 50 years right!! When faced with such a health scare- life really does matter doesn't it. We have a strong will to live, even when it hurts so much. There are exciting things ahead for you! What I take from what you just wrote- these important statements jump out- bay steps, reach out to safe friends, getting out, and professional support. That is an excellent plan.
Thank you so much. This big scare may turn out to be a blessing in disguise, but I keep getting hit with death/other stresses like a tidal wave that won't stop and I may be confronting my own mortality and that of my parents and friends in ways that I haven't had to before.
One day at a time is an okay motto to consider too- because of your tendency to do it all and do it right, and do it now.
I do believe this crisis is a golden opportunity- yes it's being "in it" now that's tough, you will get through it with the plan you have in mind.
Or I'll just die next (LOL). You have been incredibly helpful, I would like to pay you $75 for today; would you be available for another live chat appointment late next week?
It's sort of a spiritual awakening- we are most enlightened when we have been in the dark. It would be a pleasure to chat live again. Thank you for your generosity, glad I could help.
You have been just what I needed today -- straightforward help with plans without a lot of rumination on past and present problems. Are you available next Saturday for a live chat appointment? I'm on East Coast time and an early evening in my time zone would be ideal.
You can request me for the chat, start your question/post with "Jean N/20 plus counts", and I will be notified of your post. I check my question frequently so will be sure to watch for you. I may be out of town on Saturday, without my computer I'm afraid. What about Thursday or Sunday evening?
Sunday would work; I'll do a chat contact. Are you able to send me book recommendation(s) via my email address?
Even after you accept this question and pay, you and I can both post on this question with additional info. I can give book title through this post.
Excellent, I'll watch for suggestions. Thank you for your compassion and wisdom, I can't tell you how needed it was.
How to I finish and pay?
Great, my pleasure! Will get you those titles soon. You accept/rate my answer and you can ad any additional payment through a tip/bonus.