Thursday, May 31, 2012

Therapy: 1st Appointment with New Psychiatrist

I had my first appointment with a new psychiatrist today. I had been seeing a male psychiatrist for antidepressants and sleeping aids through my school's counseling center, but I decided to change to someone else because the sessions became very triggering.

It wasn't that I didn't like my male psychiatrist; for the most part, I thought he was great. However, there was an incident, in which he pushed me to detail a nightmare I had experienced, and I ended up feeling horribly violated and exposed. Though I know those feelings belong in my past, dealing with them in the present is sometimes just as overwhelming and convincing, even in harmless contexts that do not warrant such an extreme reaction. I know it was his job to gather information regarding my experience, but I think at this point in my treatment, it is imperative that I feel in control at all times.

I talked it over with my therapist [the "talking" therapist :)] and decided there was no harm in switching doctors (i.e., instead of fighting through the triggering feelings), especially if it meant attending appointments and taking my medications regularly. Overall, I think the change was a good idea, though today was the initial evaluation so I had to go through a lot of information in a short period of time, leading me to feel rather depleted of energy.

In a week, we will meet again and finish going through the intake information. In the meantime, I was told to research a medication called Topamax. From the little research I have done, it does not appear that many, if any, controlled studies have been performed that suggest it is effective for PTSD treatment. Not to mention, it appears that a growing amount of evidence is being presented that links this medication to birth defects, and though my husband and I currently are not trying to get pregnant, I am hesitant to begin this medication when having children is something we hope to experience in the not-too-far-off future. If you have tried this medication and feel comfortable commenting about it, I would love to hear your feedback.

She also asked if I had tried Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), which I haven't. I must admit, I am a little skeptical of this treatment as well because it doesn't make sense to me logically, and I haven't read any research that convinced me otherwise; however, I don't want to judge a non-traditional approach to treatment too harshly because hey, if people find it helpful, it is helpful! If you have tried this form of treatment and feel comfortable commenting about it, I would love to hear your feedback on this as well.

I am still amazed by how difficult it remains for me to address this stuff verbally. During this meeting, as soon as I mentioned "PTSD," the flood gate for my tears was removed and out they poured. I really liked the approach this doctor took though - she switched into "yes/no" questions and when dissociation and derealization symptoms began to impede my ability to "hold onto" questions long enough to answer them, she would change the subject and return to the difficult topics after my mind had calmed down a bit.

At the end of the appointment, the psychiatrist went over additional forms I needed to fill out, one of which was a release form for my inpatient psychiatric treatment. Thinking about that file following me to my current town was triggering, but I was glad that the psychiatrist recognized my discomfort and suggested holding off on the transfer of that particular file. For now, she only will have my current "talk" therapy information transferred over. My inpatient treatment information from ten years ago will stay put and remain a time capsule - at least for the time being.


  1. Glad you changed doctors. My t. would never push me. It would all be in God's timing when I was ready. Glad your first initial meeting with your new psych. is over with and you got the preliminaries out of the way. Blessings my dear.

    1. Thanks so much, JBR. We have a second portion to the initial eval to get through, but I think we're through the most difficult part! As always, thank you for your support and kind words! xx

  2. It is important that we are comfortable and that we 100% trust that our therapist etc, will recognize our boundaries and not violate them. I tell you that because I have noticed something in myself and that is that I recognize where my boundary is and I almost subconsciously back away from that line to give myself some wiggle room, a little comforting space, a buffer zone, or whatever cliche we choose to use. The problem is that I get so use to that comfort zone that a part of me shifts that boundary in so that my comfort zone becomes even more comfortable. This in turn hinders my ability to heal because it keeps me perpetually safe in my comfort zone and a good distance from my boundary. My personal experience has shown that I can't heal if I don't try to push my boundary further outside of the comfort zone. Sometimes I think people other than ourselves can sort of look at our boundaries with unsheltered eyes that allow them to see that we are ready to push that boundary. My question to you is, and you can answer this if you like or just ponder in within yourself. Were you really not ready to push yourself to the point the psych pushed you, or had you become too use to the comfort zone?

    As far as drugs and so forth I am always hesitant to take any of them because they all have some sort of side effect that in my opinion counteract the benefits. Birth defects are a big one. Only you can make the decision about if you should take meds, but I avoid them as much as I can.

    Tammy tried EMDR on me and the whole thing confused me and had the feel of hypnotism, which in my opinion is fake. It might work for you, I know several people who say EMDR helped them, but I walked away with a headache that lasted for 2 days. I don't think it did anything good for me, but I would theorize that it is a distraction technique designed to keep our conscious mind occupied while it unrestrains our subconscious and allows it to properly process our trauma. I think the same thing could be accomplished through deep self thought or even meditation. Of course that is just my opinion based off of little experience.

    I hope that your new psych becomes mutually comfortable, and that you will benefit from it. You are doing good, and you will continue to do good. (((hug)))

  3. i have done emdr, and would be happy to discuss it via PM :) i think you're doing great work taking care of yourself.