I finished up my Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) appointments this week. I talked a little about it in Milkshakes and Meditation…it was hit-or-miss on days that felt helpful or not, and days that felt rough or not. In the end I was told I “showed some improvements but the results weren’t what they wanted.” I essentially failed therapy 😂
I have some beef with mental health care. I acknowledge that military doctors are always short staffed, and when you throw in the extra burden on mental health focused staff during COVID, psych and therapists are severely short staffed. I’m sure I’ll sit down one day and go through a detailed recount of this journey—specifically what I’ve been doing since being sent home to the states from Japan—but a few key points.
1) For any kind of medical services, know that you can request a different doctor (or therapist). I’ll be honest, had I dealt with the hoops I had to jump through when I got back to the states to get the care I needed, I would have given up almost immediately. Top it off with being poorly matched with a therapist—there’s no way. I am so thankful for the doctors I had in Okinawa and how I was treated. No useless paperwork, no repeating my story over and over, no over reliance on semi-arbitrary numbers from a survey…I was a person, a mom, a Marine, and I was treated as such.
2) I get that we can’t accurately rate pain or quantify mental health impacts, but there’s got to be a better way than the surveys that ask questions about feelings and intentions “over the past month” and “over the past two weeks.” I usually can’t remember what I had for dinner the night before 🤷♀️ Those numbers are so skewed because they relate closer to how I feel at the moment I am completing the survey than reality. It weirded me out a bit that my therapist seemed like I was the first person to ever mention that.
I feel like I knew CPT wasn’t going to be my thing once I started researching it, but I wanted to feel it out and see if maybe it would help. I can say that there are some things it has helped with—I can’t really pinpoint anything aside from being more comfortable acknowledging the way things impact me though. But it seems like it is not the therapy to use if you have 1) taken time to think a lot about the primary PTSD event, 2) are an analytical thinker, and 3) have already identified how your life is impacted by your PTSD and acknowledge any associated irrational thoughts.
Here’s to moving on to something more sustainable 🍻
Love others. Love self. Love coffee.
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