Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A Whole New Approach to Therapy

My doctor and I met last night and decided it was best to start Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) therapy right away and not wait for a spot to open up in the four-week, intensive workshop.  DBT therapy is used to treat patients who suffer from borderline personality disorder. Although my main diagnosis is bipolar II, my secondary diagnosis is personality disorder NOS (Not Otherwise Specified) with borderline and histrionic traits.

DBT therapy has been very successful, and was developed to help patients deal with their inability to cope with their emotions, interpersonal skills and anger. In most cases, borderline personality disorder is brought on by early childhood trauma. As patients grow older, many unresolved hurt feelings manifest themselves in inappropriate behavior and persistent thoughts of suicide, and those with the worst cases have made several suicide attempts or engage in self-mutilation.

Although I do have strong, pervasive thoughts of suicide, I have never attempted it, but I have reached a point in my life where my self-awareness has never been stronger, and I realize how much I am in dire need of help. I am consumed with rage. My doctor and I talk about it all the time. I am not dangerous. If I were, he would have done something about it by now, but these thoughts and feelings are overpowering. I act out on my anger in non-violent ways, such as making horrible facebook posts about people who I am pissed at, or send out such vitriolic hate mail that my recipients want nothing to do with me again. My interpersonal skills also need a hell of a lot of work.

The DBT therapy would consist of two sessions a week—a group session and a private. Then of course I would have regular sessions with my therapist to treat my bipolar disorder, and my psychiatrist would continue to regulate my meds. I could get the four week program outside system I am at, but that would mean losing my doctor and therapist, which is not something I am anxious to do. My therapist is one of the best I have had in years, and we have made a lot of breakthroughs lately.

My doctor and I discussed the idea of going after the root of all the pain and surgically removing it. That's when the discussion got interesting. He told me that would require several years of psychoanalysis at least two or three times a week.

Although it was an option, it wouldn’t give me the coping skills to deal with my emotions in the here and now. By giving me the skills to maintain control over my psyche, I would eventually come to terms with what is inside me, and perhaps then the hurting would finally go away. Remember, hurt turns to anger, anger to rage and rage turns to vengeance. Who the hell wants to live like that? I am 53 years old, and it’s time for this bullshit to stop.

Unlike so many who suffer from mental disease, I am not in denial about my condition but embrace it, and then work my ass off with my doctors to find ways to cope. I guess that’s why I am so high-functioning. I have a high-paying job with The State of New York as a software engineer, and I get glowing reviews each year. I have written three novels and managed to get one traditionally published. Asking for a girlfriend may be a little much right now, but it’s best that I focus on myself and find my center. (Sorry ladies--this lunatic is off the market until he gets his head screwed on straight. :)

Love to all!

James M. Weil

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