Therapy Isn’t a CURE!
We all know that Will Smith hauled off and slapped Chris Rock. I’m not going to keep talking about this. What I will talk about is the fact that people keep saying “He needs anger management” and “He needs therapy”.
As a person that has been on meds and receiving therapy for 22 years now, therapy and meds don’t mean you can’t backslide. It’s hard for me to think that Will hasn’t been in some sort of therapy just by how he has carried himself for such a long time after achieving so much from a young age. Something had to keep him grounded.
There are Many Types of Therapy
Again, for me, I was seeing a psychiatrist and therapist for 22 years. I have backslid a few times. When I say I have backslid, I have gone to attack people. I have an anger issue and sometimes, when there is a perfect storm, you can backslide.
The first time I went to the psych ward 12 years ago, I had missed ONE dose of my meds and the result was bloody and put me in a psych ward for 5 days. There was a time when I had no insurance and had to space out the little bit of samples that a psychiatrist would give me to help until my insurance kicked in. Someone picked a day when I had to pee, we weren’t moving in traffic, needed gas, I was late to daycare for my daughter, and a woman (last straw) called me a bitch after she blocked me from getting to the gas station.
I admit, I got out of my car to drag her out of the car and beat her down. She didn’t have electric windows so she was trying to roll them all up because I was truly going to pull her out and stomp her. Understand me when I say, although I have come a LONG way, sometimes that perfect storm will make us backslide.
I talk about triggers all the time but it took me TIME to learn my triggers. You have to learn your triggers and try to avoid them. Sometimes you can’t avoid them. I have to go out among the people even though some people are disrespectful and I know what I am capable of.
Because of this, I have to see my therapist and take my meds to make it so that little barbs that people throw at me don’t make me flip out (see: Knowing Your Triggers) . You can’t control others but you can do your best to control your response to the little things that people do. And there are some people that take your silence as permission to keep trying you.
You might be getting therapy but those incidents still sit in your head and you might have a mental tally (see: The Story of My Mental Illness ). There was an example that I gave where every time an aunt of mine saw me, she would comment on my weight. What she didn’t KNOW was that I was gaining all that weight (and am still gaining weight) because I was on Seroquel for bipolar disorder. Either I took those meds or I would still be a loose cannon.
Sometimes Meds No Longer Work
I just talked about Seroquel. Well, I previously have spoken about how I got diabetes from being on Seroquel after about 6 years or so. I got on it after my first trip to the psych ward in addition to the Zoloft that I was already on (they put me on Lithium as well but it just wasn’t working for me) 12 years ago. I started gaining weight but worked out 5 days a week so I was able to keep the weight down. But then, after that time, my body seemed to reject the meds. I no longer was able to sleep on it and, no matter what my diet and exercise was like, I was still gaining weight and got diabetes (see: So I Have Diabetes). I currently have it again right now but I didn’t update you guys on that. But yeah…..diabetes again.
In that situation and in this present one, we had to change my medication again. In changing your medication, you have to again make sure that it works. Because I have diabetes, I was taken off a new psych med that they had put me on in July after my second trip to the psych ward and we had to figure out what to do to help me sleep AND help with the diabetes as well as make sure that my bipolar depression was still under control. It’s so much fun!
As I stated above, I have been seeing a therapist for 22 years. With therapy, you have to do the same that you do with medication. You have to adjust your appointments to your needs. At one time, I was going weekly, then biweekly. I even made it to once a month (before COVID). Once COVID entered the picture, I had to go back to biweekly as I needed more support and that after the first altercation I had with my new teenager at the time.
My therapy is more of talking about things I have done, am doing, how I could have handled it, what caused it. I have come a LONG way. I have been with my therapist and psychiatrist for 12 years. We had to change the occurrence of my psychiatry visits as well.
Many years ago, while I was on my meds, I was at my sister’s house in Woodbridge, VA. My sister and I look a LOT alike and she had just put a relaxer in my hair. She had a neighbor that liked to pick fights. My sister’s stepson had mowed the lawn and the neighbor was mad that there was grass on the sidewalk so he came out and started sweeping it up. I’m sitting on the porch literally minding my own business. I was letting my hair air dry. So the neighbor kept coming out and saying things. I said nothing. She thought I was my sister who is soft spoken. She didn’t seem to notice that MY hair was wet but my sister’s hair was dry. She just kept saying things so I was like “Okay” because she seemed to want a response. I let it go my magic number of THREE times. But then the woman said to me “Go back to the ghetto!”
The speed of which I came up off my sister’s porch would put a track start to shame. That woman ran in her house, slammed the door, and called the police. My sister ran up out like a track star as well and pulled me back. I was going into that woman’s house.
I was on meds. I was seeing a therapist. After that situation, I talked to my psychiatrist as well as my therapist and we talked about how I could have diffused the situation. I could have probably gone in the house but I like to sit in the sun and I was NOT saying anything to that woman and she just wanted to keep picking. A trigger of mine is being picked on. She got her three strikes in such a short time that I thought, at the time, she deserved to be beaten. I didn’t see anything but that woman and I was going to get her.
The police came and we were waiting for them. I didn’t get arrested or anything (I am not really afraid of the police. I have interacted with them a number of times and was kind of suicidal so this doesn’t bother me) and the police, my sister, and I just had a talk with the officer and all was well.
In the End….
Life changes and, when life changes, our stressors change. My job has a mental health specialist call me monthly and, although they were calling me after my July psych visit and focusing on my bipolar disorder, my last assessment showed that I also had anxiety as well. Next month, maybe I won’t have the anxiety but I think I will because, although we have “fixed” the issue with my daughter, now my job is going through a lot of changes, rent has gone up, and I can’t do overtime for at least two weeks due to the fact that I have a new supervisor and training for a new project.
Life changes EVERY DAY! We never know what we’re going to get hit with on a daily basis. I think COVID has taught a lot of people that nothing is set in stone and we’re all just living our lives day to day at this point.
Don’t think that just because you have gone to therapy for a few weeks, months, or years, that you are CURED from whatever is deep within you. The purpose of therapy is to help you learn the source of your issues, learn to cope with it, and continue to grow from it. It doesn’t cure you. One can backslide and it doesn’t make you a failure. It just means that you have to revisit the situation, look at other options, and make the necessary changes to decrease the chances of it happening again.
Things that seem petty to others sometimes have been sitting in us for years just ready to come out. I have said many times that the meds and therapy have helped me BUT, given a chance that someone chose to do me or my daughter harm, there is so much rage in me that I might do a lot of damage which is why I stay away from people. And, if I am in good company with people that know me and my condition, I have their support to hold me back.
All I am saying it to take things like this into consideration when it comes to things like mental health. Some of us will live with these issues the rest of our lives and fight to keep things from coming out of us on the daily.
Thanks for reading.