Title, more or less. I have an issue being overwhelmed by choice when I Google things, and I've asked questions here before and it's familiar, so it's easier. I have pretty severe mental health issues but my parents and doctors probably don't know the extent because I'm afraid that telling them will take things out of my control (I'm 19, but I still live with my parents). I already receive a lot of care, but I don't think it's enough. What I really want is a website or the like where I could ask questions directly to a mental health professional, without it being known to the people I live with, or any of the doctors that are treating me.
On the off chance that anyone here knows: My main issue is that there's been a lot of suggestions to do a "med-wash" I believe it's called, which would require me to go into the hospital for an unknown amount of time. On top of the stress of that, there's apparently no way for me to go in and be able to bring my electronics with - my laptop, my phone, my Switch, etc. I depend a lot on my online friendships for support and writing on my laptop is something deeply necessary to me, so it's not possible for me to do so. I'm willing to try stressful things and unlikely solutions; the main barrier to most of those, however, is a great deal of trauma regarding past behavioral therapies when I was younger, which makes even the idea of having to do similar things triggering. I figure that if we could boost my emotional state (most likely through medicine), I could try to do more stressful things and probably learn to cope with that trigger in order to find some actually good behavioral therapy that'll have a long lasting impact. Honestly, it's at the point where I've considered "recreational" drugs or the like to deal with my abysmal emotional state; my situation just means I'd be hard pressed to acquire any.
Hi! I know I'm not an official Scarleteen person, so feel free to ignore this.
I'm sorry you're going through this, and I'm in a similar boat with mental health issues. I'm not sure if this is quite what you're looking for, but I've found the SAMHSA to be helpful and knowledgeable.
In addition to the suggestion Raffles offered (and thank you, Raffles, for chiming in!), can I ask what your financial situation is currently like? Having an ability to pay for services yourself increases the chances of you being able to use them without your parent's knowing, whereas if you're having to rely on health insurance, that could potentially put it on their radar. There are free options out there, such as talk-lines, and we can certainly look to see if there's one we could refer you to that meets your needs, but the kind of help you're looking for--adjustments to medication, integration of changes on medication with behavioral methods--is most likely going to come through a paid service.
Too, if you're at the point where you're considering self-medicating with other substances, that's a sign it might be time to test the waters in asking for this kind of help from the team you already work with. There are some questions you could ask of them that might tell you what would trigger that loss of control you (understandably) want to avoid, and we can brainstorm a few of those if it would be helpful for you.
My financial situation is such that I'm entirely reliant on my parents financially; I don't have a job or anything like that. However, I don't mind being treated with my parents' knowledge; they're aware of all the treatment I'm currently receiving and would probably know anyway due to various reasons. It's that I've tried talking to them about this kind of stuff before and it never seems to work. They'd interrogate me about my mental health, they'd want to try to apply for *shudders* ABA again, or they'd just forget - they're both approaching 60 and their memory is. Not the best.
Talk services would be okay I think; it's more about things that are formatted in ways that remind me of my previous experiences. I still struggle with therapy even though my current therapist is awesome because one of my original therapists was absolutely horrible to me. Group therapy is also a pretty hard no for the time being; I'm pretty scared of peer-to-peer interaction with people I'm forced to be with. And I think there's something about my psyche that would make it detrimental for me not to be the only person being treated in the situation... something about needing people to prioritize me. (Which I think has to do with the gender dynamics that were so often at play when I was going through special education; there were pretty much 5 AMAB students for every 1 AFAB student, and I was one of the latter. And maybe also the intense distress I get when I feel like I'm being ignored.)
I don't know if I can make myself ask my "team" (as you put it) about this stuff anymore because of how many times it's gone badly. Not just in the immediate past, but also historically, things that happened in my childhood that traumatized me. Also I really don't like my psychiatrist but my parents love him. I think I'm still in the process of starting to work with a proper psychologist, but I'm often out of the loop on these things because my parents handle a lot of it (which I don't object to because having to handle it myself would be very overwhelming) and as I said, their memory is pretty bad, so they forget to do things I ask them to do or forget to tell me things they meant to tell me. So honestly I don't know how things are going on that end. I like the psychologist in question, though, so I hope that things are going okay.
I think a big barrier for me is that having to confront the issues I need to work on is so emotionally overwhelming. And once I get upset, I'm essentially incapable of self-regulating - I'm essentially incapable of self-regulating, emotionally or otherwise, in pretty much any situation, honestly. Thanks trauma. So I have to rely on my friends to help me calm down, but obviously my friends aren't always able to do that for me on demand - so I think, "Oh no, I'll get myself upset talking about this with my therapist, and then there's a likely chance that I'll spend the rest of the day miserable because my friends are at work and can't talk to me." And thus, not talk to my therapist about it. (I can distract myself from my emotions decently, but that just exhausts me and I end up being really touchy and oversensitive until I can properly come down.) So the reason I'm focusing on medication is, just talking about my problems has that whole additional problem attached to it, pretty much by definition. If I could get medication to regulate my mood or, like, promote growth in the neurons that need to form for me to self regulate (because oh boy I have no doubt they are underdeveloped as hell), I could actually deal with my many many behavioral problems, so I could actually move forward.
Medication is definitely a tool that can make a big difference for many people, but if you don't like your psychiatrist it can be hard to bring this up. Is changing psychiatrists an option you've brought up to your parents? Maybe a new person would be more helpful. The problem of needing someone (friends, in your case) to help you regulate your emotions is one I can understand very much, and what helped me was to work with my therapist at the time to learn tools to self-regulate. The first session was difficult, of course. But as you learn how to self regulate, you'll be able to see your therapist as needed and it not ruin your day. There are many tools, some super basic and simple, that can help with emotional self-regulation. Is that something you've tried or are willing to try?
Ironically, most ways people suggest of trying to learn how to self-regulate are among the things that trigger me to even think about. Possibly one of the worst, because so often teachers in special ed would tell me to self-regulate instead of addressing the legitimate concerns I was trying to express - trying to slow down my breathing can make me panic even worse because they'd always tell me to "take deep breaths". So yeah, in theory I'm willing to try those things - in practice, being suggested the things that have already been suggested a thousand times, forced on me in the past, and used as reasons to invalidate my feelings and ignore my attempts to self-advocate, is upsetting, and that covers a wide variety of the most common self-regulation methods, especially ones aimed at children.
And, I have not exactly made it a secret that I dislike my psychiatrist, but I haven't actually explicitly said "I want a new one" because I feel like my parents will make a big deal out of it. And he's very polite and always asks me how I'm doing, and even if I don't like how he treats me, I would feel bad telling him I don't like him. I don't really like him, but he's just... one of those people that you feel like you can't say anything mean to, I guess. Though that also could just be more trauma fear because he's been my psychiatrist for as long as I've had one, and thus has also said some bad stuff to me, and given me traumatizing treatments, as well as just being associated with all that trauma in my head.
Quick addition because I'm currently on mobile and can't find a way to edit my previous reply: I should specify that when I say "in practice, being suggested the things that have already been suggested a thousand times, forced on me in the past, and used as reasons to invalidate my feelings and ignore my attempts to self-advocate, is upsetting, and that covers a wide variety of the most common self-regulation methods, especially ones aimed at children" (dear God sometimes I write really long sentences), I mean that trying to find a self-regulation technique that doesn't trigger me is likely going to be a stressful, time-consuming process - but obviously, a very nessecary one. Being able to self-regulate is a very important skill after all, which I feel the lack of rather acutely. But the process becomes overwhelming when people suggest the same exact things they've already suggested to me before. Like I have the brain of a goldfish and will somehow have forgotten that that strategy in fact Does Not Work for me. ...As you can see, I have a lot of bad experiences with being infantilized and the like. Theoretically I know that in most cases these days the mental health professionals are suggesting these things to me again because they've forgotten that I've said "no" to them in the past (though there have definitely been people who suggest the same thing over and over because they think I'm just being defiant when I say I won't try it again), it doesn't change how it feels to me. Also, while I understand that they deal with dozens of other patients, it still doesn't feel good to be forgotten.
So basically, yes, I am willing to try new methods of self regulating, it's just that the process of finding one is also a hurdle to overcome. Because nothing is easy.
That all makes sense, and I want to commend you on being so self-aware. You know yourself very well and you know your boundaries and how to express them, and that's amazing. Just wanted to acknowledge that! Anyway, I do think finding a new psychiatrist would be good. Your parents' reaction/feelings about that are less important right now than you finding proper care that makes you feel comfortable and doesn't trigger you. The drawback is that it's a new person, so they might suggest some of the same things you know don't work for you, but you could try to make a list of the ones you do remember and bring it in. If you're more comfortable with a woman, or a queer person, or anything like that, you can also specifically search for that or request it. You're right that nothing is easy, but with the right team, things can be less hard. Do you wanna talk through how to ask your parents to switch to a new psychiatrist?
I think first I need to figure out what's going on with the new psychologist and stuff. Also I didn't respond for a few days because I thought that I subscribed to this topic, but apparently I wasn't; I should be subscribed now. And I think walking through the process could be helpful, but one of my disabilities is autism and I think that if I practice a single script for the process and it ends up deviating, that could be very overwhelming, so I'm not sure how that would work.
Also... this is probably off topic, but I need to talk to someone about it. I have a lot of trauma and bad experiences that have resulted in me being very emotionally underdeveloped and find just, being in communities really difficult. I'm hypersensitive to pretty much everything, and any problem that most people would quickly solve usually turns into a Whole Thing with me. I've been banned from several discord servers due to my inability to... I guess, contribute to a safe space. And it's really painful. It almost seems to feed into itself, where the more I'm blamed for my trauma reactions, the more I feel like I need to be defensive and thus have more trauma reactions. It's hard, and there's this like, loop of logic in my brain... Trying to recognize that I can't expect everyone, or even anyone who isn't already a close friend, to accommodate for me makes think "well then I'm worthless and fucked up and won't ever be able to be part of a community" and it sends me into a downspiral, but living in denial of that is obviously a bad thing. It's so hard and overwhelming and awful, and I just want to talk about fandom stuff with other people who are into the same things as me, but every single time I try to branch out, it ends up the same way. I want to feel that I deserve to be accommodated for, but only my very close friends are willing to do so - and I can't practice social stuff with just them. It makes me feel hopeless, because I just want to be part of a community, but I can't. It's probably a big part of my awful mental health that I'm just so lonely all the time.
Since working with scripts to navigate social situations is tricky for you, do you think it would work to write out your request and give it to your parents so you have time to fully compose your thoughts?
I hear you on that loop of struggling to be in community spaces but unable to practice the skills needed to keep being a part of them. Have you worked with your current mental healthcare provider on making sessions a place you could practice some of those skills or social dynamics that might be tripping you up? Too, have you found any advice or resources by and for autistic folks who have dealt with similar things?
I swear I subscribed but I'm still not getting emails...
I think that would probably work well, yes. I'll give it a shot, discuss it with one of my friends who's been helpful with coming up with good ways to ask for things and stuff like that.
I haven't found any advice or resources, no. And I have expressed this to my therapist, but it seems like her suggestions tend to lean back towards stuff like group therapy that would be triggering for me. One thing I've really wanted to try is finally properly getting into D&D, because that's a form of social interaction that's structured in a way I think would be really positive for me. The main barrier for me for that is that most days I don't leave the house, and I would feel bad if I had to stay home due to whatever reason meaning I don't have the spoons to go out, since D&D isn't really something you can easily do with a missing member. I think the conflict of "I don't have the spoons" vs. "I don't want to disappoint the others" would be even more stressful. However, I am open to online D&D sessions - I've been trying to facilitate it, but pretty much everyone I know who's able to DM has too many other campaigns going on right now. And joining a group for D&D without anyone I know would be way too stressful, I think.
Hmmm, I'm not sure why you are not getting emails- I've made a note of it, someone will get back to you!
I understand that conflict between not having the energy to do things and not wanting to disappoint other people, and I think the online D&D session idea is great! Do you think there are other hobby groups that you could join as well?
I've heard that organizations for autistic people sometimes set up events where people can socialize- I wonder if looking into that could help you. I think many autistic people are familiar with feeling anxious or overwhelmed in social situations, so they'll be more likely to understand if you need space to destress and you don't always have the spoons for things. You might also have better luck finding those resources that Sam mentioned earlier.
I have checked my spam folder; nothing. Interestingly, I'm subscribed to another thread on this site, and while I did actually get a bubble by the notification button on this site for that thread, I haven't gotten any for this thread - and I've gotten emails for neither. Which could just be that I accidentally turned off notification emails or something. When I subscribe to this thread, it says I'm subscribed, but when I come back to this thread after a bit, if I click on the wrench icon again, it says "Subscribe topic" not "Unsubscribe topic", and I can click it again and I seem to be subscribed until I come back again.
I can't really think of any other hobby groups I'd be interested in joining, besides other tabletop RPGs like Pathfinder, I guess. I'm also interested in video games, but most of the experiences I've had of trying to find peers who also like video games haven't gone well, and... same for my artistic stuff, too. I remember selling some of my artwork when I was in like, 7th grade, to a gallery for autistic youth artists, and they were just SO insistent about me attending events and stuff that I was just like "Forget it, I don't feel like my boundaries are being respected".
I guess the one community that I've consistently had good experiences with is the actuallyautistic community, but that's a mainly online thing and I don't use social media like Twitter or Tumblr anymore for my mental health.
How strange on the subscriptions! I'll ping our tech person to see if they have any ideas.
If you know you enjoy TTPRG spaces, are there any in your area that you haven't checked out that look interesting? I know in some places, even LGBT centers or libraries will host RPG game nights for folks.
With the actually autistic community, is there anyway to find out if there are groups or meet-ups within that community that are accessible to you, either online or in person?