Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Hi all! Well, today is a “doctor” day for me. I have two back to back appointments; the first is with my psychologist and the second is with my IC doctor (actually it’s a nurse appointment). These make for very long days but since all my doctors are a good hour away, one thing I always try to do is get multiple appointments for the same day so I don’t have to go all the way down there more than once in any given week.
So, one of the things I wanted to share today is about my appointment to see my psychologist. You’ll all probably think I am “crazy” but I really look forward to my appointments with my psychologist! I have been seeing her now for about 6 years and I don’t know what I would do without her help! I’m lucky, my IC doctor referred me to her and she is right across the hall from him and I often schedule appointments with both of them on the same day. She works only with patients who have chronic pain, illness/disease so it’s a perfect fit. That can be the biggest challenge with finding a therapist; finding one you feel comfortable with and that you “click” with. But she is fantastic and has had a real, significant and life altering impact on me!
Like many people, when my IC doctor suggested it, the invisible thought bubble over my head was saying “Really? Me? I should see a therapist?” We all probably have a tendency to feel that way or have a similar reaction if we’re told we should consider therapy. But I recognized how sad I was, how much I was struggling with the life changes, pain and challenges I was trying so hard to cope with since being diagnosed and I sucked it up, walked across the hall and made my first appointment! I am so grateful that I did. That was a life changing moment for which I am truly thankful. I have found a safe place to talk about all the things in my life with a professional who, frankly, HAS to listen to me! To be able to get frustrations and struggles out and find ways of coping have helped me so much. It’s amazing how therapy can impact one’s ability to handle the pain and stresses and changes we go through. She has taught me ways to cope when I am feeling down and I work to put these into practice every day. Key word – “work”! It takes work and it’s a process. For me, it’s an ongoing process and we adjust my appointment schedule based on how I’m doing. But if you, like I did, find yourself feeling hopeless, sad, crying all the time, feeling like IC has ruined your life, then I encourage you to do what I did and take that first step and find a good therapist. I don’t take any meds, so I see a psychologist for talk therapy only. In the beginning we met once every week, then it was every two weeks, then once a month. Right now, I’m going every 2 weeks because I’m struggling with frustration over repeated UTI’s. Which brings us full circle to why I am happy to be going to therapy today; I have to see the nurse and get a urine culture done because I know I have an infection again and need to talk through my feelings. But here’s the thing, if I hadn’t been going to therapy all these years, I wouldn’t be coping with this most recent set back as well as I am. So even though I feel the need to see my therapist and talk about these frustrations, I have not fallen to pieces since this latest infection reared its ugly head. That is a direct result of the work I’ve put into therapy.
So, some food for thought if you are struggling like most of us do. Find out what your insurance coverage is for mental health care, ask for a referral from either your IC doctor, primary care, or call your local hospital. You can schedule appointments with more than one and see which one you feel most comfortable with and go from there. I encourage everyone to think about seeing a therapist and if they can help you as much as mine has helped me!
POSITIVE AFFIRMATION (Repeat silently to yourself, or put it on a post it note in places where you will see it throughout the day): “I am well; I am peaceful; I am happy.”