Know Your Options

I have been thinking a lot about my mental health support system within the city I currently live. I went from seeing a psychiatrist every 6 weeks to a psychiatrist who just gave me a year supply of medication because she literally doesn’t want to see me or check in on me. If you want to feel like your mental health has no value and that you’ve been dismissed by healthcare professionals this psychiatrist definitely did the trick.

Luckily, I do have a strong foundation based on my previous health care providers and their general care and concern for me. I know my mental health has value – I’ve worked hard to develop stability and I’m not going to dismiss myself just because some whack-job doctor does. And my friends in case you have terrible doctors, let me remind you YOUR MENTAL HEALTH MATTERS TOO! If possible change doctors, with my psychiatrist that wasn’t an option… counsellors are another story.

In this terrible situation I can say that I do have one reason to be grateful to my assigned psychiatrist. Shockingly, she did take the time to adjust my sleeping medication which also affected my anxiety (that’s one thing in her favour). The follow up after this medication was prescribed was essentially non-existent, but it worked so hey, I’ll take it. I am sleeping which I wasn’t doing last November, so props for that.

So, what of my counselling? Well I saw a few different counsellors all of which were paid sessions. Previously, I received my counselling through a hospital outpatient service and it was free of charge. My therapy had been quite intense at the start of my diagnosis. Once a week for 2 years, than once every 2 weeks for a year and than once a month for a year and then I moved and everything I knew and routinely acquired went out the window.

After my move I made a point to see counsellors, but I never found a good fit (there are some really weird people out there, oh my!) However, the last one I tried was a good fit. The fit was actually great BUT the price tag for the sessions were not. I am fortunate because I have coverage with my employment BUT unfortunately it was used up in prior months this year. The flaw with my coverage is that my its not that much and all my sessions are $$$.

One of my sisters suggested online therapy. I personally have not tried this as of yet, but the idea has continually crossed my mind. It seems to be generally less expensive than traditional therapy BUT my question and concern is, is it as effective. I like the in-person sessions where you can see expressions, pick up on body language and intonations.

Funny enough I was contacted by a group who had performed an analysis dedicated to online therapy (ConsumersAdvocate.org). I read through their guide and found it fairly interesting. The intent of their guide is not to sell you on any specific company or app, but rather let you know what is out there with their pros and cons. Conveniently enough, they did use examples of different providers that they tested and tried. This allowed them to collect data and provide the pros and cons to this type of therapy. I am in no way suggesting you do online therapy or saying that this type of therapy is the way to go BUT if it is something you didn’t know about or something that you have been considering, this little guide gets pretty indepth with what can be expected.

Linked listed belowthat’s right, keep on reading.

For the most part I found the content and examples of the therapy providers catered to the United States, but I am sure there are providers for different countries, I believe there was a focus group testing a swedish program (you will just have to do your research for your country and region). Again, I am not saying or recommending any specific company but I am recommending becoming educated with the options especially if it is not feasible to pay a traditional counsellor $120+/hour like I was forking out… gross.

Some help is better than no help. For me counselling is a necessity. It doesn’t have to happen weekly (for now), but I know I am happier and more stable and grounded when it does happen consistently. It alleviates stress and pent up emotions, which we all know when experienced at intense levels for long periods of time can be detrimental to your health and ability to function healthily and happily.

Will I do online therapy? I don’t know. At this point, my husband and I have decided to move back to the province I was living in before we got married. (Literally so excited!) Closer to family and the health care system is a million times better. Had we decided to keep living in the city I live in presently I am not sure I would be shutting the idea of online therapy down completely BUT for now I’ll attempt to resume therapy with in-person care.

To add a disclaimer the online sessions DO NOT and CANNOT prescribe medication. They are solely therapy not psychiatry. You will still need work with a psychiatrist to manage your medications. Hopefully, you will have more options than my small mental health care pool in my current city and your psychiatrist actually does/will care about you. Ughhh, how some people are in this profession blows my mind. Bedside manner here = fail. The city hospital unit for mental health has a 1 star rating with people expressing they felt worse after visiting, which I can testify to. Sometimes you just need to grit your teeth and go regardless. This was the psychiatrist I could see here and not having my medication was not an option. Did I almost have a panic attack everytime I actually did see her? Sure – but did it kill me? Bad joke haha, but seriously it was a necessary evil in my life to keep my medication going.

Another disclaimer: this post is not sponsored, I was contacted with their content and read it thru to see if it was legitimate and aligned with the tools of self care and mental health that I advocate for on my blog. And I can say I appreciated their approach to this topic. As a courtesy for sharing their link I was extended a shout out (very kind of them) on their social media. I will not be making a commission for you clicking on their link, however you will be provided with a detailed analysis to educate yourselves on online-therapy if that is something you are interested in learning about. When you click the link you will note that they do have affiliate links on their page and should you choose to register with one of their partners they will earn a commission (this is how they fund their studies, which seems reasonable to me). As mentioned above, I am not dictating who or what you should try. I am merely providing a platform to learn more about a new approach to therapy. It might be the right fit for you- it might not. It certainly doesn’t hurt to read and see what it’s all about.

Education is a powerful tool, the more you know about your diagnosis, the more you know about yourself, the more you know of options and ways to help yourself – the happier and healthier you will be. It’s a simple enough equation, yet I’ll remind you it does require some work at the end of the day.

Now what you’ve all been waiting for the link. It is as follows: https://www.consumersadvocate.org/online-therapy

Also if you want to know more about the organization, this is their abouts page link: https://www.consumersadvocate.org/about

Side note, it’s a long read, so give yourself a generous amount of time to go thru it.

I want you to be aware that there are options for help with your mental health and one shoe doesn’t fit everyone and that’s okay. The key is to not get discouraged and to keep trying to find the right fit – you are worth the effort.

– Steph