How do you find a good therapist? How do you find a counselor within network, close to home or work, and someone who understands the instability of living in a home where hidden disabilities rule?
I have seen at least five therapists over the past few years … sadly, none of them for more than a handful of visits. My newest therapist, local and covered by my insurance, has repeated the same theme over our last four visits: “You need to find something for yourself. Go to a movie, have dinner with friends, find a new hobby.” I find it hard to believe that after listening to me discuss my trials and challenges, the instability of our life and the intense pressure I feel due to my husband’s limitations, the best advice she has for me is to go to a movie. She also has mentioned that she feels I should have my cleaning lady come more regularly, and that I should get a massage weekly … clearly, we’re not viewing things through the same financial lens either.
I feel that I am somewhat skilled in explaining what it looks like to live with someone with a hidden disability. I have been open about my husband’s seizures, brain damage, and memory loss. While I do seek to protect our family in a public forum such as this one, I have sought to share everything with a few good friends and with the therapists I’ve seen. I explain the anxiety I feel at the end of each day when I don’t know what things will be like when I come home from work. I try to explain the weight of responsibility I feel daily as I work with my husband to provide context for him so that he feels less helpless.
I need a therapist who can help me find coping skills for the powerful grief that underpins all that I do. I need a therapist who can provide me with strategies to overcome my sinful frustration when I have to repeat yet another conversation or help Ben with yet another simple task. I need a therapist who can help me learn how to handle the guilt I feel when everyone in my house wants to go out and do something (I am the only one who can drive) and all I want to do is stay in. I need a therapist who understands the instability of living with hidden disabilities and the profound toll this can take on the caregiver.
By God’s grace, my husband has actually found a good therapist. He feels that his meetings with her are beneficial and are helping him learn coping skills and strategies to accept the limits God has placed on him. She is not a Christian, but she respects his faith and encourages him in it. After praying about it, I do not feel it would be wise for me to see the same therapist he does.
How about you? Do you have a good therapist? How long did it take you to find her? Do you think I should try to see the therapist Ben has seen, or to look for someone else?
Or, perhaps, do you think I should just join a book club, spend more time knitting, and go to the movies? – If so, please call me and we can go together to see the latest chick-flick!