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Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5402
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Hi Kate! Long time! Just wanted to touch base with you. So

Customer Question

Hi Kate! Long time! Just wanted to touch base with you. So much has happened since we last chatted. I think when we were last in touch, I had rejoined my old law partner. That was a good thing, and it felt like being back “home.” Then, at the beginning of April, out of nowhere, he anounce he was retiring in 90 days. I was shocked & not very happy. I never thought he’d retire at all – let alone with such short notice. I didn’t understand it, and still don’t. He insisted he was not sick, but that he was having trouble hearing. But I know him, and he would not tell me if he was really sick. He likely wouldn’t even tell his wife until he had to. So I went through a really stressful time of figuring out what I wanted to do. I had to let a few employees go, moved to a smaller (but much nicer) office, closer to our new house. I was blessed with a great attorney kind of popping in out of the blue – she has practiced for a lot longer than me. I have worked against her a lot, and her temperament is perfect for me. But now, my old partner can’t let go. I own the whole firm (he virtually gave it to me), and he is my employee, but he can’t let go. It’s been his whole life. I feel horrible pushing him out, but I acted on what he told me, and now things are a mess with him still there. It has been difficult. It wouldn’t be hard if I didn’t love him and respect him and appreciate everything he has done for me. Lately I have become convinced that he has Parkinson’s. He had developed tremors in his hands before, and it had become much worse when I was out in my own firm. Now it’s really bad, and sometimes his whole body shakes. He doesn’t have the muscle jerks, but he us displaying a bit of dementia as well. Makes it even harder to push him out. But it will all work out. Just more change I didn’t want/need.

Things are still rough in therapy and stuff. There has been progress – I mean, much has changed – I can’t say it feels better – worse in some ways, for sure. But it is different, so it’s got to be progress, right? That’s what I tell myself, but I am really very discouraged. On Thursday, it will be 21 years since it happened. I was 21 years old when it happened – ½ my life now. I’ve been dealing with it in therapy for more than 2 years now. I’ve been having more and more flashbacks – mostly visual and emotional – but went through periods of other sensory flashbacks – like smelling urine for days at a time everywhere I went, and having the taste of blood and urine in my mouth all the time. The worst have been the pain ones. I don’t know that they’re really flashbacks. They tend to happen after flashbacks or nightmares. I have been experiencing the same kind of pain I experienced then. It is really hard to deal with. It’s, of course, not as painful as when it really happened, but I am having difficulty with this part. I can’t get a handle on it.

I basically go to see Linda twice a week now and lay on the couch and cry or we talk then I have a flashback or both. Fun stuff. I still see Dr. M once a month. She changed out my Zoloft for Lexapro because she felt like I was showing more compulsive behaviors in addition to what she and Linda thought were my obsessive thoughts. I had been cutting, as I think I told you, just because I felt like I knew it would give me some relief. I was very deliberate about it, and only had 3 rather small spots on the top of my leg. I wouldn’t do it unless a spot had healed, & I would do it exactly on the same spot. But this summer, I got a bit out of control one night & wanted it to hurt (not sure why) & cut myself pretty badly. I didn’t tell Dr. M right away, but I eventually did, & after asking me some questions about what I felt before, during & after, she decided to change my antidepressant. We also just changed my ADD med to Vyvance, because the Adderall just seemed to stop working. I also started getting really obvious tics – I have had what I call my “nervous tics” when I get nervous or stressed - since I was pretty young. I just thought they were something everyone probably had. It used to bug the crap out of my parents – I had this thing for about a year where I did a little cough/throat clear – drove them insane. I also frequently make sounds (like “…sk … sk …sk”) in the back of my throat. Never thought it was anything. As an adult, when I am stressed, I will sometimes bug my eyes out or do weird things w/ my face. As I said, I never really thought about it – thought it was normal. But it got out of control. I was bugging my eyes out all the time. It’s not like it just happened – I was doing it – I just felt like I had to do it. I started constantly chewing the sides of my tongue and making noises in my throat. It got so bad that one of our judges asked me what the heck was wrong with my eyes, and I was having trouble finishing sentenced because I had to chew on my tongue or form the sounds in my throat. Dr. M sent me to my neurologist after she
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 8 months ago.
Hello Shay! It is wonderful to hear from you. You are never far from my thoughts. :)

I am sorry to hear about what happened with your partner. I know you were feeling so excited to be back with him and working from your old firm. It can feel just like going home when you work somewhere you feel comfortable and valued. It is hard to imagine what made him quit like he did but your theory about his health sounds very plausible. You always hope that is not the case and it is understandable that he doesn't want to share if it is so, but you really don't want to see someone have to lose what they love doing.

It is also understandable that you feel guilty about drawing boundaries with him regarding him coming back to work when he feels the need to. But he did change the situation when he said he was leaving so expecting you to accommodate him is expecting a bit much. Gently setting those boundaries and allowing him to see that his presence is difficult is the only option you have. You are not doing anything wrong.

Therapy can be a struggle and I understand what you are saying about feeling that you are making some progress but not as much as you would like to make. You really suffered through a terrible traumatic event that was life threatening, so it may take a while to unravel all the symptoms from what you went through. Given your situation, it would not be unusual at all to be in therapy for a number of years and off and on after that until you feel you can leave it behind. But each step you make is closer to you feeling better.

The flashbacks are a bit of a concern. You are in good hands so I'm sure that Dr. M and Linda are on top of things. It sounds to me like the closer you get to the root of the issues, the more your mind and body allow in the actual responses from the attack. In order to cope with what happened to you, you initially would have had to block a good portion if not all of the physical and emotional responses. Flashbacks would be a way for your mind and body to allow those responses back in in increments so it is not overwhelming. Just a thought and something you can pass by Linda to see if that makes sense in your situation.

I do recall you and I talking about the self harm. And I know it concerned you. Self harm is often a way to let out pain, so if you experience a marked increase in the urge to self harm, it is most likely connected to how strong your feelings are from the past. It could be something you talked about in therapy or another source. Making the connection between the urge to cut and what you are experiencing emotionally through journaling or other means can often help you control those urges.

I'm glad to hear that Dr M is working on medications that will help you control the tics. It is hard to live with because others around you don't understand.

Your post cut off at the end so I didn't get to see what else you were telling me.

Kate
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
The rest wasn't important. I forgot to tell you that I have been doing acupuncture for 7 months. It helps the stress and the migraines. Problem was that it relaxed me too much. I thought at first I was falling asleep and having nightmares, but dr. Eagles said it would happen really quick. So I figured out I was just going into flashbacks all the time. Don't know why. My theory is that I was so relaxed that my defenses were all down (??). It was hard to take. I was mortified at first - when she wpuld wake me up and i would be ao upset. But she is very nice and gentle and wasnt teally phased by it, and for whatever reason, she can get me out of them gently and well. Linda and Dr. M all thought it was a good thing - that it is what my mind needed to do and they were almost like "scheduled" flashbacks, in a safe environment and for a limited time. But I felt like I was taking the time and money to just go in and have flashbacks twice a week. Reba (dr. Eagles) finally decided it was not good - and that at the very least, I would stop acupuncture if that's what happened every time (& she was right). So she just has me be the last appointment of the day or makes sure the other DOM could take care of everyone else, and she just stays in with me. I have hardly had flashbacks there when she is in the room. But it's also not as relaxing. She is trying some "alternative" stuff now - done kin of energy work. I don't know what she is doing and am completely skeptical, but it makes my feelings intense. Last evening I had a really bad flashback, then after I was out of it, was really upset. But then I calmed way down and fell dead asleep - peacefully. She said I only slept for about 20 minutes, but that I didn't have so much as a frown on my face at all. So that's good! But I didn't quite have the same experience last night when I went to bed, but it's something!

But I'm really really tired and really discouraged. Like to the point I sometimes can't see that there is any chance of it ever ending and I just don't want to do this any more and I don't want to be here. I feel like I only have bad choices from which to choose. Either I keep doing this an hurting all the time, hoping it will pay off, or I stop and get stuck here. I wouldn't do anything because that is selfish, but I wouldn't mind at all if something were to happen to me.

I've quit pretty much everything I can. But I still am tired and disheartened. I guess I just need an attitude adjustment. :)
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 8 months ago.
I think you hit it right on the nose. It sounds like the acupuncture sessions are letting your defenses down and causing your reaction. It could also be that someone is touching you and that triggers your flashbacks. Although there is nothing sexual about the sessions, just having someone that close and touching you might trigger some of your past.

I know it is so discouraging to think that you will never get better. And you are making a huge effort to do so. You work so hard and are open to trying many therapies in order to feel better. After a while, that would get to you, especially if you feel nothing is working. But as I mentioned, what you survived was very intense. And it might take a while to unravel and sort it through. That does not mean, however, that you shouldn't take a break when you feel you need to. Don't do it if you feel you are at a pivotal point or in crisis, but if Linda and Dr. M feel it is ok, take some time away from therapy. Sometimes that can help just as much as continually trying. You have a chance to sit back and reflect. Just as daydreaming or taking a nap helps you sort through a problem, time for yourself from therapy can also help.

Kate
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5402
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Yeah, well, I'm pretty positive neither Linda not Dr. M would think it is a good idea to take a break. I think they are both a bit concerned. I have been gong to see Linda twice a week, and even then, she sometimes calls to check in between sessions. She made me promise I am safe and will call her first if I am not. That seems a bit extreme to me - I mean, if I were going to do something to myself, I certainly wouldn't talk about it or reach out for help. But I do not think she would think now would be the time to take a break, and I am pretty sure that dr. M would agree. And I have to see dr m each month to refill my add meds.

The really good thing I meant to tell you in my first message - I have really made progress in the guilt area. I would say that is at least 50% better!

Thank you Kate!!
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 8 months ago.
You are so welcome, Shay. I am so glad to hear you are feeling less guilty about what you went through. That was such a heavy burden on you when we talked before.

It does seem that Linda is worried about you. It could be that she realizes that you would not reach out if you did want to hurt yourself and that concerns her, so she stays in touch. It would be worth talking to her about it if you feel the contact is too much. And maybe letting her know (such as through a signed promise) that if you ever feel like hurting yourself to the point of suicide that you will reach out to someone. That may change her mind.

Take care of yourself, Shay. I will be praying for you.

Kate
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
It doesn't bother me that Linda checks in between sessions. It is nice that she cares, & sometimes I call her, too. But I really don't want her to worry unnecessarily. I am not suicidal at all. I'm just saying that if I really wante to hurt myself, I would just do it. I wouldn't tell anyone - that would be asking for someone to stop me, which would be a good indication that I didn't really want to hurt myself, no?

Thanks again. I will keep in touch. I hope thing are going well for you.
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 8 months ago.
You're welcome :) Doing well here, thanks!

I understand what you are saying. And I am glad that you do not feel suicidal. It sounds like Linda is just worried and if you are ok with that, then all is good.

Please do stay in touch. It is always good to hear from you!

Kate

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