Thursday, April 23, 2009

How I Became Mostly Sane, Or At Least Faked It Real Good

It's official, today I was deemed mostly sane. By mutual agreement, I ended therapy with my therapist today. I had been seeing her three times a month for over a year. Why? Well, when you have this happen, and then, within a year, this and this.. it helps to have someone to talk to.

I am pretty well-adjusted, but even mostly sane people need someone to talk to about life now and again. I really believe in therapy. My therapist was my sounding board; I could tell her things I cannot say out loud, about autism, about my children. It felt safe. But though I enjoyed those times, I haven't felt any urgency to attend for a while, now. I am doing well.

Originally, after the fire, JBean started seeing her, because we didn't know if the behavior we were seeing was trauma from the fire or if she had autism. She never really clicked with the therapist, who was a wonderful woman. JBean just never opened up to her...part of her personality is closed to those she doesn't know. There are times that I don't know my daughter well, either, though as her mother you would think it would be easier. I understood the lack of progress. So once they reached an impasse, the therapist recommended perhaps pursuing evaluation for JBean, which we had planned to do, and had told the therapist about. And I took over the spot and continued therapy.

It helped me get a handle on the feelings with diagnosis, and gave me permission to feel how absolutely much it sometimes sucks to have children with autism. I was able to explore how overwhelmed I felt, and the grief that threatened to paralyze me as I walked the road of autism diagnosis once again. I didn't have to worry about hurting anyone's feelings, and I was able to work out my emotions with fear and trembling, and know the world wouldn't come to an end. Because that was always an option before...

I have always been strong, and I know that. I have survived circumstances that would have crippled others. That's not bragging, that's fact. You know if it doesn't kill you, it just makes you stronger. But I have always had a secret fear that I would someday fall apart and end up in a rubber room somewhere. I am not really sure where it came from, but I know I have felt it since I was a teenager. The dread of the other shoe falling has always been something that could stop my heart. There are times I feel like a beautiful crystal goblet, precious and transparent, but one high C can shatter my butt all over the floor.

About ten years ago, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder based upon past history (and the fact that I was watching Oprah and saw myself in the stories, went to my doctor who took one look at my out-of-control anxiety at that point and referred me to a psychiatrist.) I started medication, and it didn't take much at all to regulate me. Seriously, almost nothing. Over the years, I found I don't need medication at all, with cognitive behavior therapy, diet, exercise and better ways to control anxiety. In fact, my therapist has serious doubts that I was ever bipolar, and I am starting to doubt it, too. Maybe it was another case of seeing hoofprints and looking for zebras again. Maybe there really are horses that leave prints in my house. It's certainly better than the elephant under the coffee table that used to live in my house as a child.

I come from a very dysfunctional family, and yeah, I know, we all do. But, I made a conscious choice to change the patterns in my own family. And I have. In my home, we communicate. We let others know when we are happy, sad, pissed off. We talk through it, not just stuff it under a mattress. We apologize and take ownership when we screw up. We voice what we need. We have healthy relationships, but it isn't without effort. I don't suffer fools gladly, especially those who refuse to acknowledge problems. Life is too short not to just look it bold in the face and just fix it. This is why I live far away from my family. I love them, and want to keep it that way.

And this is why I no longer need to see a therapist. I'm ok. I can handle life without worrying I am going to fall apart. I trust myself now, perhaps I always did, I just needed to know it. So, life can get in the way, but I am ready. Nothing a Starbucks mocha or a blueberry vodka & tonic can't fix. Want to join me?

T, who wishes I could bottle the confidence I feel and sell it, I would be rich

How about you? How do you take care of yourself?

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8 sent chocolate:

Rabacal said...

I'll join you! (for the liquid refreshment) :)

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fidget said...

i was dx'd as bipolar until I removed gluten from my diet. Was then told I never was bipolar, it was a biproduct of gluten issues. I can believe it. My 5 yr old is INSANE when on gluten

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TooManyHats said...

Good for you! Hmmm...what are you going to spend all that therapy money on now?

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Maddy said...

'We talk through it, not just stuff it under a mattress. We apologize and take ownership when we screw up' now that's just pivotal. Good for you. I can see that has been one hell of a year.
Best wishes

Recent blog post: When first we practice to deceive

erin said...

Today's a blogging about therapy type day I guess, I just mentioned it in my blog today.
Congrats on becoming sane, I hope to never be medicated, but I'm not quite sane. So I'm stuck somewhere in the middle...But I'm young yet.

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Loralee said...


This post is a sign to me, I am sure.

However, I think it is a GREAT thing that you have graduated from therapy. To me, it shouldn't be a forever thing. You utilize it as long as you need and no longer. Totally glad you are at that point!

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Sapphire said...

But can't you keep going even though you're sane (mostly)? I went to therapy for a few sessions when I was in undergrad. It was GREAT!! Someone who HAD to keep my secrets and I could be totally and completely honest. And what if it was just the therapy that helped you get sane (mostly)? Then if you stop, you might, need to start again.
Naw, j/k (mostly). But I'm happy for you, if you're happy!

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Tony Letts said...

Tina, you are amazing. An Amazon, strong, brave, someone others can rely on and at other times a little girl who needs to talk things through. That makes you a complete person. We're all a little insane - hopefully!

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