Finding the outpatient mental health clinic at the VA takes a bit of sleuthing. And it’s good for your aerobics. You walk down a long corridor on the first floor to an adjacent building where you take an elevator to the second floor. That is where the psychiatrists are located. However, if by some chance you would like to see a psychotherapist you must fly away to the eighth floor.
For a couple of years, I saw a rather bland fellow who listened politely and then told me to keep taking whatever meds he had prescribed. His mood changes were very subtle, as when I arrived late for our session. And sometimes he would have observers from the Medical College of Wisconsin sit in on our sessions. For all that he brought to the sessions, he could have been sitting there naked and said the same things.
There were various changes in me as I developed as a peer support specialist. I have talked to people and witnessed individuals in manic states of mind and when I compare that to myself I never believed I had experienced one of them. there were embarrassing bouts of spending, poor decision making and things I learned to regret but nothing along the lines of what people describe as mania. I have understand that I had a series of depressions when i was younger. And I also had some struggles with a little elevated behavior. I have no idea of how many of these things I have had. Who counts?
What I have appreciated is that during the time I have received help, the problems are less interense and many things don’t happen at all. Does this mean the colorless psychatry worked or I developed new coping skills? These were the things I was wondering when I met my new psychiatrist.