Friday, February 15, 2013

Therapy, A Diagnosis, and My Superpower

I just returned home from my third therapy session. I'm open about this because a lot of people land on my blog searching for St. Dymphna and/or anxiety disorder. Y'all know I'm open (to an extent) about this because there seems to be a stigma attached to going to therapy and dealing with mental disorders. Yes, I said the dread "m d" words. If you've know me long enough (especially in person) you know that I don't exactly give me "sick!" vibe off because everything that happens to me is internally. In fact, I've been told that you'd never guess I deal with anxiety if I didn't mention it. That's a compliment of sorts but I'm still open so you have a face to put to the disorder.

Anyway, today I was told that they seem to officially think that I have PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) which is a pretty serious anxiety disorder. However, now that I have a diagnosis (instead of the generic "generalized anxiety disorder"), I can start working on getting through the past experiences that have caused this and work on doing things out of my comfort zone (within reason) to get rid of certain fears that are elevated by the PTSD. You know that heinous teacher I had in high school that used to love to humiliate me in class or that jerkface guy who tried to force himself on me, months within each other? Both big factors in my PTSD.

If you're new to the blog and don't know the stories behind those incidents (I wrote about them but only found that one link), I had a History teacher when I was 14-15 who used to humiliate me in front of my peers... and used to fail my papers on the spot, without reading them. And the guy? Big jock who was well liked by everyone tried to force himself on me when we were alone. Nothing happened because I pushed him away (I may look small but I'm physically stronger than you might guess) and was able to get away. Nothing was done to them for what they did either. Of course. I mean, this is the school that did nothing when I told them (and presented physical evidence) when I was being sent death threats. All of this has played a role in my being afraid of certain situations and has thus caused anxiety. Now you guys know part of where that comes from. There are other things but this is what we're focused on now. I wasn't kidding when I've said I've endured some pretty harsh things but I'm still in one piece thanks to God. Now the trick is to do what I can to completely bury those situations in the past and to work on preparing myself for situations in which I feel threatened so I don't have panic attacks. Easier said than done but my therapist has confidence in me to be able to strengthen myself (mentally).

Even though I've only seen her three times and has known me for so little, she paid me the best compliment -- she said that I have a superpower and that superpower is my unfailing faith in God. The words "I wouldn't normally say this to a client but..." when she said it to me. How many therapists that aren't self described as Catholic would say that to their clients? Not even my two Catholic therapists that I had before said that. (side note: By the way totally crediting Our Blessed Mother's intercession for this because I've been praying about my anxiety in the current novena and I had my first therapy session with my current therapist on the penultimate day of the "petitions" part of the 54 day Rosary Novena. I'm sure St. Dymphna had a hand in that as well as I did a novena to her earlier last month as well.) So my superpower is my faith. What's yours? lol. jk. ;)

Our plan of attack (on the anxiety) is to use my faith in God. She (therapist) thinks I'm strong enough to try it without medication so, as Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati would say, "verso l'alto." She's going to help me prepare the tools I need to (God willing) overcome my anxiety... using my love of God and my trust in Him. Dear God, thank you so much for putting this woman into my life because she gets me and she gets where I draw my strength from. She's the second person to say that to me in less than 24 hours too. As she said (from observations and conversations), the world can come crumbling in around me but the one thing I won't lose is my faith in Him. My father's death? I clung onto the Cross. Illnesses? I accept and offer up the suffering that comes with it. Life throws me insane curve balls sometimes (exhibit A: past six months of stomach problems without a clue as to what causes them) but it only makes my faith stronger.

I have no idea what my therapist has planned to help me out but I'm pretty darn excited to find out. I feel like this is the long awaited answer to my prayers. I have a diagnosis, we're starting to figure out a plan of attack, and I'm going to apply the waterproof war paint because its on. She was the second of three people -- in less than 24 hours -- to tell me that I'm a lot stronger than I think I am (first being my adopted bro, Brandon). God, I got the message loud and clear. Thank you. I can do this. I will to do this. Let's use my stubbornness for good, shall we? lol.

So, there you have it. First step on the road to recovery. I will hopefully know my Upper GI results next Thursday and then work on getting physically stronger as well. By the way, that went well on Wednesday despite the horrible fast they had me on. I became a little sick yesterday from the barium they had me take (sometimes my system takes 24-48 hours to feel the effects of things) but that only lasted an hour or so. Today I'm still trying to get my stomach back on the 2-3 hours eating schedule my doctor has me on but it's manageable  :) I'm starting off Lent with a bang. I'm dealing with things that stress me out head on... but it's something I grateful for during this time.

Anyway, just wanted to share that. If it helps someone else with anxiety, I am willing to be open about my experiences. :)

I hope you all have a great weekend. If you have any prayer requests, send them my way. Seriously, I didn't have enough of them to offer up on Wednesday when I felt sick from the fast (borderline hypoglycemics FTW, lol). Even if they are general intentions without details, send 'em my way. :D

As always, thanks for reading and God bless. :D


Anonymous said...

The cross appears to loom large in your life but you bear it with such dignity and grace. My prayers are with you. God bless you and thank you for being Emmy x

Anonymous said...

The cross appears to loom large in your life but you bare it with such dignity and grace. My prayers are with you. God bless you and thank you for being Emmy

Emmy Cecilia said...

Thank you, David. And thank you for the Valentine's Day comment. I received it but didn't publish it because of how personal it was. Very kind of you. :D

John Janaro said...

Thanks for sharing this. Its very important for people in general, and Catholics in particular, to recognize that "mental disorders" are real, objective conditions that can cause great suffering. We all must struggle against the stigma associated with mental illness. I'll pray for you, and please pray for me, for continued healing from various afflictions. God bless you!

Jenny said...

Thanks for posting Emmy. I first found you when looking up St. Joseph of Cupertino. Please pray for me to have more faith in God and Jesus. I've been experiencing a lot of spiritual attacks lately and doubt and I need prayer. Also, please pray for my hometown, some bad things have happened recently.