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Abandoned again: psychological irresponsibility

I really had hoped I’d seen the last of “psychological irresponsibility” in my life, but it seems I attract mental healthcare professionals who like to end our professional relationships with cruel abandon. Thankfully, I have the rest of my far more reliable care team backing me up – though the shock of D’s departure was enough to increase my depression to the point where hospital was required. (Yes, I’m back in hospital. No, I don’t want to talk about it.)

Am I angry? You betcha.

This time, the news was broken in a phone call. His tone was chipper: “I told the hospital last week that I’m leaving to focus on my private practice.” I accessed his services through my hospital’s outpatient outreach program, which is designed to help people stay well and prevent admissions – yet here I find myself again; ironic much?

He didn’t even suggest we have a final wrap-up session. I asked for one, and we made a time, but I was certainly left with the impression that this was something of an imposition. Would you believe he sent me a text asking to reschedule that session because he had a lunch to attend? Mate, sometimes it’s best to give a little less information: I don’t want to know that finishing up our work together is less important to you than a social outing.

I called his supervisor the day after the news. (The psychologist in question wasn’t available, or I would have had a conversation with him.) I reminded him that, about a year ago, he’d asked me to “give [this psychologist] a go” after an administrative reshuffle meant the excellent worker who had had my case was re-assigned. I reminded him that I’d had reservations about welcoming a man into my home, that it had taken a great leap of trust on my behalf to make that OK. I also let him know – since he seemed unaware of the fact – that my mental health had been deteriorating over prior three weeks. He asked that I give the next worker assigned to my case “a go”. I put down the phone with a shiver: those words no longer inspire confidence.

Having left the supervisor in no doubt as to my displeasure, I tried to put the matter out of my mind; but, as I was driving to the post office nine days ago, I suddenly remembered the original phone call with awful clarity. I remembered how cheerful the psychologist has sounded, how he delivered the news as though he were commenting on the pleasing results of a sports match.

If you’re new to this blog, you won’t know my history with abandonment and health care professionals. I had a close professional relationship with my first psychiatrist who treated me for almost five years, then stopped with five days’ notice. The rupture of that therapy came at a time when I was vulnerable on many fronts, and eventually resulted in a complete breakdown. This psychologist knew of that history. I’d made sure of it, and included it in the PowerPoint presentation I made summarizing my medical history when we started work together.

Anyway, I was driving to the post office, and I heard his voice on the phone again in memory’s ear. My reaction was immediate and physical. I felt numb. I walked into the post office and stood at the counter with my parcels. The clerk said something to me from across the shop, but the words didn’t penetrate the fog which had wrapped itself round me, filling my ears and eyes with thick whiteness. I mailed the parcels, walked back to the car, and started the engine. I was only as I approached the corner that I realized the clerk had asked if I was all right. I’d completely ignored her! I drove around the block and walked back inside.

“I’m so sorry about before,” I said, and felt tears on my cheeks. “I think you were talking to me, but I didn’t hear what you said. I probably seemed rude.”

“That’s all right,” she replied, looking at me carefully. “Perhaps you need to go home now?”

“Yes, I think I do.”

“Should you be driving?”

“No, probably not; but I don’t have far to go.”

“OK. Take care of yourself.”

I turned and walked back to the car as though I’d received a full-body beating.

It seems as though my trauma, like my preferred name, is something this psychologist “can’t be expected to remember”. Yes, sadly, that’s a direct quote when I reminded him I prefer to be called “Catie” rather than “Catharine” … three months into treatment.

So: here I am in hospital again. Is it wholly because of the rupturing of that professional relationship? No; my mental health had been deteriorating before that. On the other hand, would I be here if he had handled things differently? No, almost certainly not. This trauma, re-opening the door to that historical hurt, is what precipitated the events which landed me here.

I understand that I don’t know all the details surrounding this incident. I acknowledge that there may be factors beyond anyone’s control which contributed to D’s sudden departure. However, what I do know is this:

  • D had been given the knowledge that an event like this would be extremely triggering to me
  • D had told the hospital a week before he told me that he would be leaving (which implies that he had been planning the move for longer)
  • the therapeutic relationship we’d had was terminated abruptly, and without closure
  • I am now in hospital.

My issue is not that D stopped treating me, nor even that he stopped treating me suddenly. My issue that that he had been given the information that this would be a destructive event in my life, and yet did nothing to mitigate the damage it may cause.

Here endeth the rant.

Have you ever been the subject of psychological irresponsibility? How did you recover?

Therapy ruptured

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20 Awesome Things To Say That Will Radically Improve Your Life

 

20

Whether you’re living with mental health issues or just muddling through life (aren’t we all?!) I loved this presentation by Jeff Hadden, and thought you might, too!

http://www.inc.com/ss/jeff-haden/20-awesome-things-say-radically-improve-your-life#0

 

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Filed under Living Well With Depression

Hello Monday!

Lake

My Monday looks nothing like this, but it’s a refreshing view, and I imagine a quick dip in these chill waters would be very refreshing! You certainly wouldn’t retain any wooliness in the head afterwards.

I had a strange night. It’s entirely my fault; I lay down and wasn’t disciplined enough with my thinking. “I’ll do a visualization!” I thought, imagining my body surrounded by love emanating from my heart, not remembering that such things tend to set my mind racing and keep sleep at bay. Eventually I got up, and got the midnight munchies – not a great urge if you’re trying to lose weight. About 1am I was ‘nightmare surfing’, having one nightmare and waking up gasping, falling asleep again for 4-5 minutes, then waking up … ugh. By 1:30, I’d discovered a new way to deal with recurrent nightmares: as you’re falling asleep and the nightmare begins, try to stay in a semi-sleep state and remind yourself over and over that it’s all just a dream. In this way I managed to return to sleep and stay asleep … only dreaming I was having nightmares! The mind is a wonderful thing. Still, I got another five hours of sleep, which is a positive.

Ah well, today’s a new day, and it’s a day I feel good and excited about. This week is going to be wonderful! I can just feel it.

Do you have anything exciting happening this week?

XX DB

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Sunshine and happiness

The sun is shining and I am feeling super-happy right now! 

Spring officially begins tomorrow in Australia, but I feel a definite spring in my step today. Why? Well, I have just submitted my grant application to AMP’s Tomorrow Fund, for a start. That makes me feel very good, especially as I was talking about my vision with another professional and he suggested I apply – external validation! Someone else thinks my dream’s amazing! Awesome! Having submitted it, I shall celebrate having completed that task, then try to forget about it 🙂 After all, there’s no sense in dwelling on something you have no further control over. 

Other reasons I feel particularly happy today? I’ve got a phone date with a really good friend set up for later this afternoon; my husband’s footy team won – against great odds – and will be playing in the finals series; and the second new episode of Doctor Who will be screened tonight. 

Woohoo! Life is good. 

When you live with depression over the long term, as I do, you learn to really live in these happy moments. You dwell in them, play with them, lap them up and spread the joy! … because you know, as surely as mixed metaphors frustrate the reader, there will come a time when this elation will pass. Equally well, you believe it will return again. 

So, sweetlings, I’m off to soak up some sunlight, skip through the house, be mindful of this bubbling feeling within and generally be joyful. 

May your Sunday be as satisfying as mine is turning out to be. 

XX DB 

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Lying Fallow

A field is ‘lying fallow’ when it’s deliberately left uncropped for a season; it’s allowed a time of rest to regenerate. It’s a time when the field is not expected to produce anything. If you like, the ‘work’ for that field at that time is to simply rest, and be, and let nature do its work.

I’ve been lying fallow for the last couple of days. The week’s been a veritable zigzag of emotions: high anxiety; despair; relief; disbelief; joy, and then an understandable state of numbness which disinclined me from doing anything productive (though I have reached Level 12 of SkyTopia 2, if you’re interested).

Everyone needs fallow days, and those of us who live with mood disorders need them at least as much, if not more. This morning, as I type, I can almost feel my brain chemistry settling back into its normal balance (or imbalance!) which is just so reassuring. If needed, I would have taken more ‘fallow’ days, but it looks like that may not be necessary.

Is this weekend going to be a time of lying fallow for you?

xx DB

Jul to Dec 2010 002

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