Sunday, December 13, 2009


I exercised a lot, about 8 months ago, because I really liked it.
I was in really good shape.
Then I got so busy and just had no time for exercise.
Now, I have time.
But I don't feeeeeeel like doing it today.
I'm bored, therefore I should go to the gym.
I have time to exercise, therefore I should go to the gym.
These statements are all incorrect.
I should go to the gym because I FEEL LIKE IT. Otherwise, it's not coming from the right place.
I'm not sedentary. I walk around, I go ice skating, I do yoga, I climb on things. If I don't wanna go to the gym today, that's okay.

And that is all.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Top Five Things I Want, That My Mom Won't Let Me Have

The title speaks for itself. Here we go.

1. Cuisinart Soft Serve Ice Cream Maker

2. A trampoline. Small, medium, large, whatever.

3. A ball pit.

4. Lots of kittens.

5. A hot tub/jacuzzi.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Shoes and Therapy...

So the other night, I was bored and googled my psychiatrist, and clicked on a rating site where I could read people's reviews of her. Everyone gave her a five-star review (and I would have done the same), except for one person, who never even met her but just had to put his/her two cents in.

This was the review:

A***** I******, MD has impeccable credentials and graduated from the top schools, but when seeing any physician experience should be key. If I am seeing a physician and paying top dollar I want at least 15 years of licensed practice. Her date of license in NYS only started on 07/20/05, which is a bit over four years. I will take my chances with someone with excellent schools and a great hospital fellowship with some twenty years in the area of specialty.

I honestly and truly do not believe that years of experience plays a role in the ability of a mental health professional to help a client. Cliche as it may sound, it's more about the experience in the years. Every clinician, whether psychiatrist, psychiatrist, social worker, or nutritionist goes through a thorough education. Further, licensure isn't granted upon graduation! It takes built-up experience and supervision for one to become licensed or certified in a specific field.

I am 23 years old and have seen 14 psychiatrists in my lifetime, when including inpatient, outpatient, and private practice psychiatrists. My current psychiatrist, Dr I, is by far the best psychiatrist I have ever worked with. She is not THE most inexperienced, as I saw two of her med school classmates when I was at an outpatient treatment center, about two years before I started working with her (and I would have gone back to either of those psychiatrists if I had the opportunity). However, the remaining eleven psychiatrists have all been more experienced, and many had great credentials, graduating from New York University, Columbia, Cornell...among the best. While I'll get to the best fit concept in a minute, I just want to reiterate that not only is Dr I the best fit, but she is also the smartest (at least from what I can tell!), most compassionate, and most human psychiatrist I have ever worked with.

My therapist has only been licensed a few years as well. In fact, I just checked the Office of Professions (as the reviewer did for my psychiatrist) and she was licensed in January, 2008. I started seeing her in June, 2008. I do not believe that I have suffered in any way from her lack of experience. Again, she happens to be a great fit for me, but it's more than just a good fit, again. It's about being a good therapist to begin with.

So where am I going about the shoes and the best fit concept?

Okay. Well, let me tell you a little bit about myself. My feet are a size 7, maybe 7.5. Wide. Sometimes I wear a 6.5 and my sneakers are a size 8. Sometimes I can even buy shoes in the kids department, size 4.5-5. I wear a different size in every brand. I can't wear ballet flats comfortably. Converse sneakers make my ankles hurt. I have trouble walking in heels, unless they're boots, then I can do it with no problem. I'm definitely not designed for pointy-toe shoes. I love to wear my Uggs, even though I refused to buy a pair when they first came out, because I believed they were ugly. I have a whole closet full of shoes that I don't wear because I bought them because they were comfortable in the store, but when I tried wearing them at home they just didn't work for me. I also have shoes that are pretty comfortable that looked good in the store that just don't look as good at home.

This is similar to my experience with therapists and psychiatrists. I have seen two dozen or more mental health professionals in some capacity throughout my life. Old and young. Experienced and inexperienced. Male and female. Pretty and ugly. Mostly Caucasian but there were some other ethnicities in there as well. Recently, a friend recommended a psychiatrist to me who she had been seeing for quite some time, and thought she was great. I could not click with her. I was uncomfortable and intimidated, and dreaded our visits.

This is not a unique occurrence when looking for the right mental health professional. You might receive recommendations from other people that don't really work for you. Kind of like ballet flats. Everyone told me how comfortable ballet flats were. I finally bought a pair one day, and they cut up my feet so badly. I tried pair after pair, and I came out with cuts and blisters every time. Plus they didn't even stay on my feet very well.

Everyone has their own opinion on what shoes are comfortable, and what looks best on them. Same with mental healthcare providers. Some people need someone old and motherly, or a wise professor-like man. Others need someone close to our age, or just as long as they're young enough to NOT be our mother. I now know my needs for a therapist/psychiatrist, just like I know my needs for shoes and boots. I need someone young and relatable, compassionate, empathic, someone who will let me speak and won't interrupt me or talk over me unless it's necessary (and just disagreeing with me does not equal necessity). Someone who sees me as an individual, and not a diagnosis. It took a while. I sought "specialists" found that they either lumped me together with everyone else, or were shocked that I was different than their previous patients with my diagnosis. I thought maybe finding a therapist with a PsyD would be a good answer because it's a new degree therefore the therapist would be new to the field. I tried insurance, I gave up on insurance. I tried psychologytoday. I asked friends for referrals. I googled.

I found my therapist by calling a different therapist - one who I decided based on her picture on that I might be okay working with her. She wasn't taking on any new clients and referred me to my therapist, A. And I don't know how well I would or would not have clicked with this first therapist, but I am so glad that things turned out the way they did.

I found my psychiatrist by googling psychiatrists in the area and looking through various sites when Google Ad showed up with a link to Dr I's CitySearch review page. Sounds silly but after reading her profile (and further Googling her and finding some things she had written) I almost felt an instant connection to her and called her right away. I've only been seeing her for a little while, but I couldn't be happier with her.

So, the moral of my story is -- years of experience is not what makes someone a good therapist or psychiatrist. It's their training, their life experiences (more important in this field than in any other my opinion anyway!), their motivations, their character, their driving forces, their natural inclination to help. Experience in the field is always important, you know, to make sure that you actually know what you're doing. But by the time the person is licensed, it's not so much about how long they've been doing it as opposed to what they can do and how they do it. And the fit of the client to the therapist is probably most important. A great clinician can do very little with a client with whom they just don't click. I've been the unclickable client. I've been the clinician in that situation as well. I know it happens. Really, it's more than anything that can be found on the Office of Professions website. You can get an idea (for example, I work better with clinicians closer to my age than my parents', so I know that someone who was licensed in 1970 would not be one who I would call to schedule an intake with), yeah, but don't limit yourself to those "experienced" professionals, because that experience is all subjective. What if someone has been a licensed psychologist for only 1 year, but was a LCSW for 18 years before?! You might not know that off the bat.

Just reminding everyone else to take a second look.

One day, it'll be my profile that you'll be finding and wondering if my credentials are good enough to help you, and I hope that by that point, you've learned to understand that it's more than the credentials. It's what's inside.

I just wanted to put that out there, in case maybe someone is looking for a psychiatrist or therapist and doesn't know how to approach it.