Chronic Pain therapist? need advice please

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by Chelz, Nov 20, 2011.

  1. Chelz

    Chelz New Member

    I finally gathered up the courage to call my health insurance and inquire about some chronic pain therapists in my area I can go to. The rep was very helpful and gave me the names of about 8 therapists, 2 women, 6 men. I haven't made any decisions or appointments yet. All the terapists are psychologists.

    Last August I took advantage of my employers "Employee Assistance Program" which allows us 10 counselor visits for free per calander year. This counselor really wasn't of any real help to me because I just don't think he understood my FM issues at all. I did ask him for referrals to therapists who deal with chronic pain, but instead, he gave me the name of two therapists for cognitive therapy instead. I think he felt I needed that more, maybe he is right, not sure.

    My problem is I feel overwhelmed with choosing a therapist. Just like doctors, there are all kinds of therapists who deal with different problems, unfortunately, chronic pain and how it interferes with my life is my most difficult challenge........................but I also deal with lonliness, low self esteem, hating my life, batteling my weight, anxiety, work problems, relationship problems and a TON of regrets. This makes choosing a therapist very difficult for me because there are so many issues going on, and I'm not sure at all, if the FM is at the center of it or not :(

    I wish I could start with my integrative doctor, but I don't feel comfortable discussing these issues with her, she is a little arrogant and I don't feel "safe" bringing this topic up to her and asking her for a referral, if that makes any sense.

    These sessions are expensive. I get 35 sessions per calendar year and the co-pay is $35.00 a session, way up from last year which was only $20.00 I believe. This is so typical of me, I will stress and stress about this and wind up never making an appointment with any of them because I get too overwhelmed with the whole process and choosing.

    One of the reasons I am so afraid is because I have tried so many things to help myself on my own, and I usually fail. I will not take antidepressants for many many reasons, so if that is brought up by any therapist, I have to decline. Exercise is almost impossible for me because of pain and fatigue, although I have tried very very hard with that, not much success. I struggle to keep a good diet because most foods are my enemy because of weight and food sensitivities, I just feel like I am such a challenge, I would wind up feeling sorry for any therapist having to deal with me :(

    Where do I start? Sorry for sounding overwhelmed (I always sound that way), but I am procrastinating as usual. Hugs, Chelz.

  2. Saoirse3

    Saoirse3 Member

    It seems overwhelming when you try and tackle your problems all together and all at once. So, just like the 12 eggs, take each thing you want to address and try and focus on what is most important to you. You can even get a notebook and break it down, such as "Okay, I want to deal with pain first". And then write down what YOU can do and what a therapist could hopefully do for that. "Lose Weight, Budget My Time, Less Stress - what can YOU do and what would you want the therapist to do? Based on how important each issue is, you can build up a list. Some therapists specialize in stress management, cognitive behavior or grief counseling. Trying to just "pick one" is like reading the phone book.

    Above all, don't set yourself up to fail. If you BELIEVE you will, you are doomed before you start. Set small goals and tell yourself "I CAN do this!" And when you do - reward yourself! Do something nice JUST for you! Try something new. For example, I own 4 parrots and always thought their feathers were so pretty. So I kept them. What to do with a bag of feathers...I learned to make jewelry. My first attempts were awful. But by and by I learned and even started making a little extra money. Next thing I did was turn my love of birds into a volunteer opportunity. I help rehab injured Alaskan birds - from bald eagles to tiny sparrows. They come in most of the time in a lot of pain. Well, I know pain! The first time I fed an eagle, I thought I would pass out from fear. But by and by, I would sit by their pens and sing softly or talk to them quietly. It has been amazing therapy - for them AND me!

    Believe in the power of yourself. Help someone else and your pain will be a lot smaller. And above all, remember you are NEVER alone. God is the best therapist I know!

  3. Beadlady

    Beadlady Member

    It is great that you have access to the employee assist program and their free counselors. I used those services years ago and it really helped me. I hope that you will try another counselor. Don't give up.

    Some things I just think about too much and then get myself all stressed out--alot of times I worry over nothing. Sometimes I feel like my brain just won't shut off.

    Try to find a hobby & or a way to volunteer. I make Christmas ornaments all year long to give away to family, friends & I always pick a couple of non-profit agencies to share my ornaments with people in the community. This is something that really helps me to focus on something else besides my pain.

  4. azmiranda

    azmiranda Member

    I would just start with one therapist and keep going until you find one you like. When my pain first got really bad I went to one and it helped me a great deal. Unfortunately she is no longer practicing in my area or I would still be going. Just pick one and go, it is the best gift you can give yourself Chelz.

  5. Chelz

    Chelz New Member

    Thank you for bumping up my post :) I really appreciate that. I have read your posts before and know you are struggeling as well. Your posts are very open, which I like, I try to be open, but really I am pretty private, unless I post on these boards because I know you all understand or can relate somehow.

    I guess what I am really trying to say here is that I have hit rock bottom and it scares the crap out of me, sorry for the language, but it's true. I have tried to engage in activities I used to love, but I don't have as many friends as I used to, also, after working full time and helping to take care of my bills and my mother's bills, I am just too exhausted and then I get depressed.

    I am also afraid that the therapist will say, "let's try this" or let's try that" when I have tried so many things to help myself, that is where the "rock bottom" feeling is coming from. Medications are disasterous for me, I don't need to gain any more weight from them and feel all the weird side effects and withdrawals, and I know a therapist will recommend them, I will flatly refuse them, not because I am stubborn (which I guess I am), but they are just horrible for me. So what would be next? Even a therapist would run out of ideas with me, LOL, had to throw that in. Once again, thank you for upping my post. Also, thank you to everyone who replied, I read them all and take it in. Hugs, Chelz.
  6. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    I know it probably doesn't help to know that many, many of us have been where you are or are dealing with the same issues now. It seems to me that you have a couple of main things going on. First is the pain. Have you been successful in finding a doc to deal with your pain? A lot of our emotional and mental issues arise from having nonstop pain. Finding a doc who can allieviate the physical pain can go a long way toward helping with other issues. Gentle physical therapy helped me to ease the pain and stay strong and flexible. These exercises/stretching could even be done in bed. Some of us have had to take meds and it can take time to find a med which helps with pain and is compatible with our own individual systems. Some of us have inflammation and there are foods which help with inflammation.

    Once we have our pain under better control, we can get help from a therapist. I chose one who deals in grief therapy because we are all grieving for our old lives before we were sick. We go through the same steps as someone grieving for a loved one who is gone. A good grief therapist can also help with other issues we have.

    Take it one thing at a time so it doesn't seem so overwhelming. I'd start with the physical pain first. Just finding a good regimen to relieve pain can take time. You could simultaneously see a pain specialist and a therapist but it's difficult to really "get into" therapy when we are in nonstop pain. Of course there is a strong mind/body connection so what improves one will improve the other. Best of luck to you.

    Love, Mikie