Online Therapy, Acupuncture, & Dogs

… because why not dogs?

I’m seeing my acupuncturist for the second time today. I still have a bruise on my right hand from my first appointment. However, this is common… according to the internet. Thanks, internet, for making me feel better about tiny, painful needles in my skin.

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I also have an appointment with a new therapist. Before I discuss that, I should get into a bit of history about my art therapist. I loved my art therapist. And I was a bad patient. I poofed. I poofed because she made some comments the last few times I saw her with which I wholeheartedly didn’t agree… and it became something of a pattern. I found myself talking about the same issues over and over, instead of doing the work that was in my treatment plan. I didn’t feel that was productive. The last time I went was right before entering a period of emotional crisis. At that point I decided that, for me, I had gotten everything I was going to get from working with her at that time.

I know it’s incredibly wrong to just stop seeing a therapist and not give them closure, however, it is a service for which I was paying, and I have no insurance, and that deal could only last so long. Basically, it became an untenable situation for me in many ways.

Mind you, I haven’t abandoned self-improvement or therapy all together. I have been doing my reading, and creating art, and expressing myself. I have been trying to implement the plans and strategies that came out of art therapy. I use my Girl Cave as a retreat. I’m sleeping much better.

There is turmoil in my personal life which I have agreed not to discuss openly. That doesn’t mean I won’t talk about the suicidal thoughts, or the self harm I have inflicted upon myself, or the frequency with which I have used crisis and suicide hotline resources over the past few months. It is my belief that it is important not to hide these things away, but rather to throw open the curtains and let the damned sun burn the truth of them into us. I am hurting emotionally and physically.

I am not resistant to therapy in the least. I am resistant to unproductive therapy. I am resistant to judgmental therapy.

This is a good point to get into why I have chosen to seek online resources instead of traditional, in-office therapy. There are several websites that provide access to emotional support online. I have utilized the active listeners at 7cupsoftea on a few occasions. I found the group chat to be more useful than the active listeners themselves. It turns out that active listening is not a skill that everyone has naturally. Active listeners are simply people who have completed a web-based training and are volunteering their time.

Then there are the therapy sites that provide access to professional therapists. I have not used these resources before. The two sites that I looked into when I was performing late-night searches, as you do, are TalkSpace and Breakthrough. TalkSpace has been discussed in the media and on numerous talk shows. I found this to be a turn off. There was also some language in their EULA that turned me off. I can’t pinpoint what it is that made me choose Breakthrough, but that’s what I did.

I have an appointment with a Breakthrough therapist at 2 PM EST today. Actually, she’s a clinical social worker who has worked with families and individuals who have suffered trauma. She had the cheapest out-of-pocket rate while not being a Christian nutter.

I can’t see an overly religious therapist because my relationship style and sexual orientation don’t really mesh well with them. I’d rather be able to get those things out of the way and move on to the real work.

What do I consider “real work”?

That’s a tough question, with even tougher answers. I have past traumas, trust issues, PTSD, and some massive codependency to conquer. Doing these things will help me communicate more effectively, love myself more, and manage my health (mental and physical) more compassionately. See? I have goals. I’m clear cut. But I am so easily distracted by the swirling chaos of diagnoses and external stressors that I never get to the meat of the situation.

I’m at the point where I don’t want to gently wade into these traumatic issues. I’m good at self care. I’m good at knowing when I need to stop certain conversations. (Emphasis on “certain”.) I’m ready to deal with the awfulness in which I am mired.

On to the fun things! DOGS! Well, just one dog. I know this popped up on my Instagram feed (follow me on Instagram for dog, makeup, more dog, and occasionally pictures of knickknacks or medical crap. @niansahc ) but I think that a shout out is worth while.

Here’s my baby, Oliver, and my favourite quote about devoted little dogs for your viewing pleasure:

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It is Okay to Say “No” to Treatment Options

I haven’t been feeling well. My 7-10 on the pain scale head days have been frequent and I’ve been in bed pretty much daily. This week I have a super fun cold just to keep things interesting.

I was able to finish out my school term some how. Every functional moment I had was spent working on my research paper over the last month. We have been having some familial difficulties that have been contributing to my stress levels so my meltdown count for for 2014 is really high in comparison to this time in 2013.

My emotions are out of control. My head is out of control. I had to reschedule my last Botox because my head was so bad that driving was unsafe and the idea of having needles in my skin distressed me so much that I cried.

A newish friend is being pushy about acupuncture. She doesn’t really understand what I’m going through and has only seen me dressed, made up, and highly medicated so that I could try to get a little social interaction for once. The isolation is driving me mad. But acupuncture doesn’t seem like the fix, I’ll be honest folks. It just doesn’t. And the idea of sitting still in a bright room with other people who also have needles in their skin really icks me the fuck out. It’s one of those pay what you can places, but they say on their website to expect at least 12 sessions. I have an extremely delicate condition and just taking a bath to get ready to go out makes my head jump up two notches on the pain scale. No… just no.

I politely explained that the needles wouldn’t feel okay to me and when that didn’t work, I made weather excuses. If she continues to be pushy I will just have to put my foot down. I hate needles so very much. The anxiety is so difficult. Botox is a horrifying experience for me and has conditioned me to expect a week of agony and a few weeks of vomiting after the procedure.

I’m sure that acupuncture is wonderful and I know that I should try it but I don’t know that I mentally can try it. And it should be okay for me to make that decision for myself without people pressuring me and trying to make me feel guilty. I frequently encounter people who use statements like, “I promise you’ll feel better if you just do this,” or “if you want to get better you have to start doing this.” Statements like these seem well-meaning, but to me they imply that the person saying them think there is a flip-side… that I don’t want to get better if I don’t take their advice.

I am an expert in my condition and my body and my medication. I am not a doctor or a pharmacist, but I know how my body feels, how my pain feels, things that make it worse, things that make it better, what I have tried and have not tried, and how medications affect me as a whole. I don’t see the neuro-chemical effects past the weird emotional outbursts and constant crying. I don’t know how the Topamax dose I’m on is killing my Kidneys. I just know that I have to drink a lot of water and that things are better for me when they are calm and stress-free.

I know myself and my body and when something hurts and when something is wrong and what I can and can not deal with. And I have the right as a human being to say that I am uncomfortable with acupuncture and although I think it could be a viable treatment method, I am scared of it and the cost and frequency, and I’m not ready to go down that path.

However, I don’t like confrontation… so I’m going to write about all of this in my anonymous sicky blog and not really say it directly to the people I should say it to. I’m so passive aggressive I’m not even going to talk to those people. I’m just hoping that through the magical osmosis of the internet they will somehow get the message. MATURITY!