Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I remember when I first was told about it by my shrink in Massachusetts. She highly recommended it for teaching me how to change my negative thinking patterns to positive ones. She suggested group therapy for it. Dutifully I went – my first time ever in a group. I learned a great deal. Not only about CBT, but about the struggles others were having with their bipolar disease. Sitting across the table from these people who described how tormented they were and the medications upon medications they had tried, that never seemed to work, was heartbreaking. If anything, the group therapy sessions made me feel a lot better about my life. But this was when my bipolar was relatively under “control”. Years before the death of my husband.

I told my last shrink and therapist that I was too smart now for CBT. I can talk myself out of changing the negative thoughts to positive and wind up right back in the mire of despair. I probably sounded like a spoiled child. They tried other methods on me, such as EMDR, or “Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing”, where I sat and relived moments of my life that cause panic attacks or have scarred me with PTSD – walking into the bedroom and finding my husband; the lack of love given by my father; the anger that burns deep within my soul for pushing it down for so many years. But after hours of trying this approach, it too failed. All that made life bearable was talking which would “fix me” for the hour I sat on the couch. But even my therapist could not completely understand what a crazy jigsaw my mind is. And even if I can offer them (“the professionals”) a glimpse of it, I no longer believe they can help.

Now I am the person across the table who has tried medication upon medication for the past 6 months. The latest, Zoloft, is giving me hand tremors, heart palpitations and has done nothing to give me the bump it is supposed to in order to get me out of this depression. If anything, it is making my anxiety worse and my mind paranoid. It feels like when they took me, cold turkey, off the benzos and I thought I would die, as my body would not stop shaking and I could barely move. I couldn’t write for months until my hands were calm enough to put words to paper.

I know CBT works wonders for many people, and I think it’s a great option to have. But what they don’t tell you is that with our disease, it is just as easy to talk yourself out of being positive, and stay cloaked in despair. That is where I am. And I don’t know what will help. I called my shrink yesterday to tell her the Zoloft is making me insane and the associated physical symptoms I am having with it. I have to go see her again this week. Now I feel like her worst patient ever. The problem patient. Because she is not warm. Half the time I do not even know if she is listening to what I tell her.

At least they’ll get to bill my insurance again and get a co-pay.

But I don’t know what she can do to help me. Part of this may be situational, as my partner and I had yet another bad weekend. But he leaves in 3 days and as much as I was disappointed numerous times during this visit, I don’t want to let my one piece of stability walk through the security gate at the airport on Friday. But he has his own demons to deal with back home – a son, a crazy ex, readjusting to cold weather.

And so I will have to battle the demons on my own, once more. Without a shoulder to cry on, when he has the patience for that. I will sit and wonder how long it will be until I have to start calling in sick, because I don’t have the energy to face these people, day in and day out. Will I fall again into a mire of drinking, as I did just before he arrived? Will I be able to take care of myself as an adult, a normal adult, would? Or will I just hide under the covers for as many hours a day as possible?

© Sorrow & Kindness


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