Sunday, October 17, 2021

Adventures in Pain Management: Counseling / Therapy

Ever since my accident in January, I've been in chronic pain. As you might expect, this has had an impact on my mood (and what type of company I am).

In my younger days, I did not have much success with counseling (although there is one related point to be dealt with in a future post). The psychologists and psychiatrists I met with just didn't seem very smart, and they definitely weren't insightful or probing.

But a few months ago, I figured that I didn't really have much to lose. I didn't want to talk about my pain with Anne every day, and I was well past my maximum out-of-pocket insurance expenses for the year. So I went to Cigna's website and looked for a therapist who specialized in chronic pain.

However, my experience was really no better this time. The first session was OK as I laid out what had been going on. But after that, he talked much more than I did, but not about anything useful. (Below is what I wrote to him, although it is probably not useful for you to read.)

My next post on this topic, however, will be more optimistic.

C'mon Siggy, Be Better!

I’m sad to write this, but our sessions aren’t working for me. 

You mentioned at the end of our third session that you had talked way more than me, and it hasn’t gotten any better. 

In this last session, I told you a short story about my accident, and then mentioned that I was in the anger phase of the stages of grief. You used the session to talk about the sex life of a patient and the plight of a rape victim, neither of which applies to my situation. You also talked extensively about your son and various of his projects. Also, you had forgotten that my firing was five months after my accident.

Of course, I don’t have anything against small talk and digressions. But those have become the vast majority of recent sessions.

Also, I’m not sure how the homework assignment – figuring out what it would mean to me if my hands were chopped off – is supposed to help me deal with chronic pain in my hands. Given that I face the choice of having my ulnar nerve cut, I’ve already thought about losing access to some function. Am I supposed to be glad that I only have pain, and at least my hands weren’t chopped off? I’m at a loss.

I do appreciate that in the first session I was able to tell you things on my mind. As I mentioned, I don't want to keep saying them to Anne. But I don’t feel that hearing you repeat, for example, what Freud would say about leg paralysis is worth either of our time. 

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