Therapy

I said we’d get back to this and it’s unsettlingly appropriate for today.

First, let me get today off of my chest.

I set an appointment over a week ago to meet with my Psychiatrist. This is a guy I’ve been seeing for about two years. It has been hit or miss. When I do see him he seems happy and concerned/interested. He appears to at least remember who I am amongst all of his other patients. That’s a plus.

Today however was the THIRD time his office has called me to cancel my appointment because he is out sick. Do I just have insanely bad luck? That really should be a rhetorical question because yes, yes I do. That doesn’t include the TWO times I have sat in the VA waiting room for over an hour after my appointed time. A little sign on the counter says to notify staff if you are there 15 minutes past your appointment. I do, each time, and each time he doesn’t respond to them. So I wait for an hour and then leave. My due diligence.

If you’re keeping count, that’s five times this guy has not seen me. At what point do I give up? Today I needed my meds refilled for my upcoming trip. It’s down to the wire and I didn’t know what to do. Fortunately a staff nurse took care of it and they are being over nighted via brown Santa.

Let me go back to the beginning.

In 2008 I had been forced to go to an “anger management” course for a week while in country. I didn’t understand why. I didn’t have anger management issues. I went anyway, mostly because I was ordered to. It just made me angry. At that time I didn’t understand PTSD or any of its symptoms. It was never discussed and as leaders, we were never taught what to watch out for. Things are very different now, but not for me.

I got home in May of that year and immediately began seeing a young doctor at the Salt Lake VA. She had just graduated from college and couldn’t find a job anywhere else. Her words. Basically my issues were a first for both of us. She gave me a few good insights but mostly just workbooks. I called it quits with her and pretended to be better.

This was a tough time for us and I’m really not sure how we survived it.

Years passed.

Finally in about 2012 I started seeing a new therapist through a Vet Clinic. This guy knew what he was doing and we made some progress. My understanding grew and I was able to function in society while drawing very little attention to my PTSD. I would venture to say that most people thought I was fine. The things they don’t know…

And then he moved. To Washington D.C.

And then my work fired me for PTSD related symptoms that I could no longer control.

Which led to suicide attempt number 2.

I was then locked up, yes, locked up, at a behavioral health clinic for military personnel, run by civilians.

Talk about a month of hell.

Let me say this real quickly. My wife is amazing. She is my safe place and the one person who I always need. Isolating me away from her is never good therapy.

I hate people. I hate people more who I don’t know. Don’t take that wrong, it just means I really don’t want to be around people and I generally loathe other people’s problems. As I’m laying mine out there. Irony? Anyway.

Here I was, in close, monitored contact with other people I didn’t know who had major problems. Great situation for my mental health. Oh, and group therapy. My favorite (drips with sarcasm).

I very quickly learned that in order to get out of there, I was going to have to fake it. And I did. Very well. Getting out in 30 days was a record. Honestly the only thing this place taught me was how screwed up I am and that getting better was well beyond my reach. Yay.

A week after they released me, my wife and I got in a huge fight.

Queue suicide attempt number 3. Well not exactly. Just ideation. Not the first time, nor the last.

My mistake was telling an Army Captain psychologist about it. This was our first time meeting and he didn’t know me from Adam. He took me seriously and asked if he could get a second person to talk to me. Sure.

We drove cordially up to the SL VA where he tried to have me committed. I started threatening people. They brought in a cop. I threatened him. A lot. They eventually put me in cuffs, stuffed in the back of a police car and drove me over to the psych ward. There, they took everything except my underwear and gave me some hospital jammies. They then locked me in a room and forgot about me for 2.5 days. Seriously. No food. No new clothing. No phone calls. Nothing. In the middle of the third day they brought me before a room full of VA personnel and asked how I was doing. Can you imagine that? Imagine the explosion that followed. Words were exchanged. Not kind words. They let me out the next day. That’s VA intervention for you.

Since then, I’ve had 7 other therapists. Either they move on or they piss me off. I live 45 minutes from the VA clinic. I’m always on time. I’ve had two different therapists cancel appointments on me 15 minutes before our scheduled time. Want to guess where I was when they canceled? I don’t think I’m overly harsh for moving on.

My last therapist has been awesome. She and I have seen each other for almost two years now. It’s really helped having someone stable and who cares. She even let me bring my wife a few times.

Two months ago she told me that the VA was bringing on another therapist to help lighten the workload and that the new person would be taking the patients at the back of the alphabet.

I’m done. I am tired of starting over. Right when I get to where I’m getting help, it ends.

I need therapy but it can no longer be a person. It can’t be someone who I have to rely on.

Mountain biking has always been there and is great therapy but it has run its course. I might shock some friends if I told them I was burned out. The joy isn’t there anymore. Maybe because I made it a job. A job can ruin anything. Maybe I just need something new.

Maybe a motorcycle.

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2 thoughts on “Therapy”

  1. Thanks for sharing Jake. I wish you hadn’t lost the joy in mountain biking. That is my therapy.
    If it helps at all-I use an app called Talk Space. It’s a good place to dump out all that you have on your mind, with a real licensed therapist that offers feedback daily. They aren’t prescribers, however.
    Kudos for the blog. It lets others know they aren’t alone.

    Like

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