Seeking Help

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I mentioned in a recent post that I was considering going to a therapist of some sort to help me out with all my emotions.  I have been having what I think are anxiety attacks and headaches that are very painful.  If I get two headaches in a year it’s way too much, so having them almost daily worries me.  Yesterday during a routine physical I mentioned to the doctor that I was experiencing a sudden onset of headaches; that, coupled with an elevated blood pressure at 140/90 concerned her.  “Have you been experiencing stress?” she innocently asked.  I told her what happened over the last two years and she was very sympathetic (and hopeful I might add). 

 

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that my headaches and blood pressure have spiked over the holidays.  It was hard to get through this year. Before leaving, she checked again and my blood pressure dropped to a healthier 128/80.  Ever since Emi’s birth, I can’t go into a doctor’s office without getting anxious.  When I was giving birth to her the bright overhead lights and the cold sterile room got into my bones something awful; and it doesn’t let go.  This might explain my blood pressure going berserk and an elevated pulse with the doctor yesterday.  Is this a panic attack?  Is this post traumatic stress disorder? 

 

So I don’t know what to do?  Do I see a psychologist or a psychiatrist; I only understand a fundamental difference in that one can give you medication and the other can’t.  I am not against taking medication, if I have to.  Right now I feel pretty ok, but there are times where it just hurts so bad to be me.  And I think I owe it to myself to see someone to help me determine where I am in this process of grief; of coming to terms.

 

So tomorrow, I have an appointment all set up with a psychologist.  I have never been to one before.  I am nervous about tomorrow…I think I am afraid of reliving everything…

 

So here is what I am asking: I know that some of you out there have been to a therapist or have taken medication in order to cope.  I was hoping you might give me your experiences…you don’t have to comment here if you don’t wish to…you can email me here: jaded_me0223atyahoodotcom.

 

I know that this is a very private matter, but my God would I ever appreciate your personal anecdotes or advice. 

 

Thank you

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About Jessica Emilia

Mother, wife, grief survivor, dancer, yogi, feminine, baker, cook, lover, fighter, perfectly imperfect, optimistic, pessimistic, reader, writer, funny, sarcastic, compassionate, emphatic, sympatheric, HR Pro, anxious, confident, supernatural, hocus-pocus, friend, daughter and momma again...

11 responses »

  1. I’m writing this on your comments because I want other women like us to know that this is hard for me too. I’m tired of my grief and pain being private. When I lost the boys, the doctor gave me Wellbutrin when I left the hospital but I stopped taking it because I want to get pregnant again and it made it difficult for me to express myself. My speech was slow and halted. Like I couldn’t think. So I stopped taking it.

    I’m going to the therapist today with hubby. I am anxious too but you know, I think you and I, we need this. I have flashbacks. I get really angry quicklly, over stupid things. I snap at people, I get easily annoyed. I have trouble sleeping and eating. We are suffering from a grief that no one should ever have to suffer and if it’s making us a little nuts, it’s understandable. I don’t think we inherently know what do with all this pain and sadness. It was hard for me to reach out to a therapist and harder to tell Hubby I was going. In fact, I lied about it at first. But when I told him, we talked and it turned out, that he wanted to come.

    We aren’t supposed to know how to deal with babies that have died. My thought is, maybe reliving is a way of becoming alive again. I’m not alive right now and I want to be. Just a thought.

    You inspired me to take control of my grief. After I read your New Year’s post, I called and made the appointment. Moving forward, right?

    Email me if you want to talk more. mkwaltz at yahoo dot com

    Martha

  2. Hey kiddo…I think what you are doing is a great idea. You need to take care of yourself not only physically but emotionally and mentally as well. I did a little counseling going through my divorce but I haven’t done any major therapy. I have been on anti-depressants a few times, and I do believe they help but I do not believe they are meant to be long term. If they are seriously NEEDED (and not just given by a doctor who says “Oh, you’ve got the blues? Here, have a pill.”) then I say go on them for a maximum of three months…enough time to get your seratonin level up to where it needs to be, and then start weaning off.

    That’s just my opinion, I’m not a doctor…

    Regardless…do whatever you have to do to get yourself back to a place where you are okay. You are never going to be who you were before you lost your babies…but you can be this new person who survived those events and can find happiness in her new normal.

  3. There is absoulely nothing to be ashamed of in seeking therapy or mental health care. So I will comment publicly. Warning – my blog deals with parenting.

    I have had several bouts with depression. I even ended up hospitalized through one very bad episode. I have seen psychiatrists and psychologists, and the only difference to me is yes, a psychiatrist can prescribe meds. There are even psychiatrists that are only medication managers, you don’t go in to talk to them, you go in for dose adjustments and to be monitored.

    Sometimes it takes more than one try to settle on a caregiver. Don’t fret if that happens. If you meet one and just don’t “click” thats ok. You have to be supremely comfortable with your therapist, so don’t be afraid to move on if you are not getting out of it what you think you should. Shop around! Interview if you like! This person is going to be allowed into your very deepest thoughts, you want to make sure you like and respect them.

    There are different types of therapy too. The kind where you lie on “the couch” and do not look directly at your therapist. The kind where you sit in a chair and do look at the therapist. For me, the thing that worked best was actually cognitive therapy. Cognitive therapy teaches you to think differently – I had a very bad pattern of negative thinking and self esteem issues, and cognitive therapy helped me learn to identify these patterns and learn to break them. I personally did not like just lying on a couch staring at a wall blathering for an hour – the format of cognitive therapy – where i had homework, written exercises, and more interaction with my therapist – worked far better for me. I had been on and off many meds, but was finally able to wean when I did cognitive therapy.

    I think you are a very strong and smart lady for taking charge of your own health. Is it weird to say I am proud of you! Not all people are open to admitting they need some help.

    I am probably babbling on! Please feel free to e-mail me if you want to talk further, or know more about my history. Thinking of you!

  4. I think it’s great that you are talking to someone. if you don’t like this person, find another who makes you comfortable, puts you at ease. it should provide a safe space for you to share, to feel vulnerable, and let someone else help share your burden, if only for an hour at a time.

    sometimes talking to a nonjudgmental therapist can be enough. but i think good therapy should also ultimately (eventually) help provide you with coping tools too. should that include the need for some medication, your psychologist can refer to a psychiatrist.

    you have been through SO much, jaded. with two such tragic losses, I can’t imagine how you wouldn’t need some help. this is a very important step you are taking. don’t forget to breathe…

  5. Never occured to me to be embarrassed about going to a shrink. I was just too depressed to make the call. Long story short. I take cymbalta now. I’ve tried a few others and they made me ? or I didn’t care my son was gone. I feel human now, sortof, and when I melt down it’s ok. The shrink made me feel worse but in a way that needed to come out. The book “The shack” has also helped me to understand why. God bless you…Carin

  6. I’ve been to three different support groups and 2 different therapists. I think in the beginning it really helped but it was so hard to “relive” everything. At every session we had to say why we were there but it got easier and easier over time. I never took meds, but that was a personal decision for me. I didn’t want any meds during the entire thing (the birth and there after) because I wanted to feel the pain. I thought that was the least I could do for my babies that had died. I think if that were to happen again, I’d definitely be on meds because I don’t know how else I’d cope.

    When your baby/ies die, so does a part of you. A part that you’ll never get back. it’s very traumatizing and it’s no wonder why you have elevated blood pressure and anxiety attacks. Everyone copes differently, but I don’t see anything wrong with asking for help. I’m proud of you for doing so. I hope that this helps you. Just remember to take your “courage” stone with you 🙂

    Good luck with you tomorrow, and please update up with how it goes.

  7. I see a psychologist- face to face. She’s came to see me in the hospital. While there is probably someone out there who I could click better with, I have stuck with her because I don’t feel like starting from scratch. But she has given me some helpful suggestions. Other times, I don’t think she knows what she is talking about. At one point back in the spring, I felt like I was at my wits end and asked for a referral to a shrink. I met with her and she told me I was severely depressed and put me on zo.loft. I met with her a few more times, but mostly to make sure there were no ill side effects and monitor the dose. I also continued to meet with my psychologist, so it was a very expensive few months. I took the zo-loft for 8 weeks. It did give me a boost so I didn’t feel like I was at the bottom of a pit anymore. However, it made my eye twitch and I didn’t really cry- ever. It almost made me feel too even- like nothing could upset or excite me. I went off because 1) i didn’t think the shrink was accounting for my natural grief, and the fact that she kept telling me I was severely depressed pissed me off because in my mind, I was just sad that my baby died. She even wanted me to take a leave of absence from work, even though I told her sitting home wouldn’t do me any good. That convinced me she wasn’t the right person for me because I don’t think she was specifically experienced with grief 2.) I wanted to get pregnant again, and even though it’s supposed to be relatively safe during pregnancy, there are still risks and 3.) it took too much of my time going to the shrink and psychologist and I couldn’t seem to focus on anything else. I was worried that I would sink back to the bottom of the pit when I went off. I did feel a difference, in that the eveness went away, but I didn’t sink back to the bottom. It gave me the boost I was looking for. I believe we need to grieve and that it could take years to do so. I felt like the shrink just wanted to medicate it away, and that made me uncomfortable.

    I hope you find someone you like. And I am so proud of you for making that first phone call. Good luck.

  8. I echo what everyone above has said, though I have been on antidepressants for a looooonnnnnggg time and don’t foresee going off them, but that is another story entirely. It is scary, but it’s a big step in the right direction for you to go see someone. And if it’s not the right someone, find someone else!

    It’s a brave thing to do, to admit you need help and go get it (even though it may feel otherwise to you). I wish you luck.

  9. I haven’t seen anyone, although I probably should. So I don’t have any advice, just encouragement. I think it’s a brave step you’re taking and I applaud it. And I applaud your not being afraid to talk about it, too.

  10. ryc: IVF is scary. But it’s the one treatment we were never able to do because none of it was covered by insurance (not that the others were) and we couldn’t afford it. So if it’s covered by this company? I dunno … I’d havea hard time knowing I have a chance and not taking it. Ya know?

    But that’s a big if. I’ve no idea if it is or not. Just daydreaming, I guess.

  11. I’m late to the party, but I wanted to tell you that I’m also in therapy (for a little over a year now) and LOVE It. I truly do. To be in a safe place and able to talk about all the things that rattle around in my brain to someone who I can’t hurt (because she didn’t lose Thomas – she didn’t lose a son, nephew, grandchild when I lost him) has helped me more than I ever thought possible.

    I think it’s possibly the healthiest thing I’ve ever done. Truly.

    I had the same concerns that you did when I made my first appointment, but those fears were mostly unfounded. I’m so comfortable there, and usually look forward to my hour of chatting. Because I’m taking care of ME for a change. I’m not trying to protect anyone else, or spare anyone’s feelings, or dance around what I need to say. I say it, and she understands.

    There is nothing better than that.

    I have healed so much. SO much.

    I hope you find the experience to be very helpful too. And, if not, consider trying a different therapist. I’ve read that sometimes it can take a few tries to find someone that “fits”, and they understand that need and expect people to ask for referrals if they’re not feeling 100% comfortable after the first few sessions.

    Anyway, I just wanted you to know that I think what you’re doing is great. Looking after yourself and your heart and soul is so important – and it’s not something everyone is able to find the courage to do.

    (((HUGS)))

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