Addiction, Alcohol Use Disorder, Anxiety, Bipolar 2, Counseling, Depression, Disability, EMDR, Hypomania, Mental Health, Mental Illness

Working Through the Hard Stuff with a Counselor… And Trying to Win Disability

Conceptual representation of the bipolar disorder

Yesterday was a big day.

I was in town all day.

First, I met with a psychologist that works for Social Security for her to determine that I have the illnesses that I say I have.  I was there for about an hour.  She was great.  I felt safe with her (unlike the last time I had to do this).  She told me that she has no idea how the process works, she just does her job and sends the report to them.  Social Security is the one who makes the final decision.  So that was helpful.

We talked about my abuse.  We talked about the extreme bullying that took place (physical and emotional/mental).  We talked about the counseling that I went through as a kid.  We talked about my Pawpaw’s death (he died in front of me, falling on me as he fell to the ground).  We talked about my brother’s gruesome suicide.  I went into the details of this.  This is always easy for me to talk about, but impossible for me to have emotions about it.  It’s so weird.

bipolar2

We talked about my bipolar 2 symptoms (she seemed to agree with this).  We talked mostly about my extreme/severe anxiety and how that is something I deal with every single day and it turns to panic attacks when I work.  We talked about my hospitalizations.

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We talked about my alcoholism and how much of the reason I drank was to quiet the anxiety that I deal with on a daily/hourly/minute by minute basis.  We talked about my obsessiveness within my anxiety and how I obsess to handle it.  To feel control over it.  I was super anxious when I was there and I think she could tell.  At the end she asked me some simple questions, then she gave me 4 words to remember at the end of the questions and I couldn’t remember all of them (I remembered 2).  She told me that when someone is anxious they have a hard time remembering things.  It doesn’t mean I have a bad memory… it just shows my anxiety.

I love that she didn’t tell me at the end that I don’t have bipolar, just depression.  The last time this happened the doctor told me immediately after our conversation that I didn’t have bipolar.  She seemed to agree that I do.  And she definitely told me that I have extreme anxiety.  She thinks the anxiety is caused by the trauma I experienced.

We’ll see what happens.  They told me it should be about 30 days until they have made a decision, so now I just wait.  I’ve been at this for a few years now, so I can handle 30 days!

I’m thankful for possibility to receive disability, and I am now okay with whatever decision they make.  I have to be okay with it.  I really can’t do anything else beyond this.  I have done it on my own, through a company that deals with disability, and now with a lawyer.  I am spent.  No more options.  I’m okay with that!  It’s time to move on with my life either way!

After I met with her, I went to Chick Fil A and ate (for the first time in a long time).  It was so nice to have something other than what I’ve been eating every day for a long time!  Then I went to Walmart and bought things for Levi’s birthday (wrapping paper, icing for the cookie cake, sugar, flour, etc).  That made me happy!

At 1:30, I met with my new counselor.

She is absolutely everything I need in a counselor.  She’s warm and inviting, she really cares about me, reminds me about God’s grace, and she has been a counselor for 30 years.  She definitely knows what she’s doing.  She also said that my anxiety is from the trauma that I experienced.  We talked a lot about each trauma, and she wants to work on the bullying first.  She thinks that’s why I have so much social anxiety.  It should help the obsessive/compulsive part of my anxiety as well.

We will be doing EMDR therapy to work through the bullying that I went through.

emdr-1-header

She will use these “tappers” to do it.

emdr-tappers

They vibrate one at a time and works on one side of the brain at a time.  The point is going to try to get me to have emotions about the trauma that I went through so that I can really process it.  We’ll see how it goes!

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2 thoughts on “Working Through the Hard Stuff with a Counselor… And Trying to Win Disability”

  1. Hi Courtney! As a school counselor (5th and 6th grade) I am interested in hearing more about the bullying you experienced as a child so that I am more aware. How did you handle it? Who could you talk to? What would have helped you? The more I know, the better counselor that I can be for my students 🙂 I am inspired by your perseverance, keep it up!

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    1. I didn’t handle it too well. I fought hard for people to like me to no avail. I went to counseling often at school and I remember her working with me on my “self esteem” but it was hard to work through it when kids were telling me the opposite. I honestly don’t think I told anyone about the physical abuse that I received from my classmates because I was ashamed thinking I deserved it. I’m not sure what could have been done differently. I remember being punched in 8th grade and not telling anyone because I knew that I would be made fun of for “tattling.” What’s funny is that I’m Facebook friends with most of the people who bullied me. I am a forgiving person, I guess. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or bad thing.

      I taught for years and never knew how to handle bullying myself. It’s tough.

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