This is the start of a step-by-step description of how I am finding a new neuropsychologist. My current one is retiring and moving away, so I need to find someone new who can help me – preferably in ways that my current neuropsych (who I have been working with since 2008-2009) has not been able to.
We all have our strengths and our weaknesses, and The Good Doctor is the same as anyone else. In the ways they have helped me, they’ve done a stellar job. In other ways, they have not helped me at all, and in fact, I feel as though I’ve lost ground, in part due to their influence and unwillingness to address issues I’ve raised.
When I first came to them, I was very unclear about many, many things. I was also struggling terribly with communication and being able to hold a two-way conversation. I had a lot of old ideas that I’d picked up from others, which were really holding me back. Heaven knows, I had plenty of chances to be on the business end of society’s proverbial cattle prod, and it didn’t help my self-esteem. I also was burdened by a tremendous overload of stress hormones and bad habits I’d picked up from years of using stress to keep my brain feeling awake.
There have been specific physiological/logistical reasons for my “behavior choices” which I never fully realized till I started working with The Good Doctor. And in many ways, my progress has really been fueled by my own willingness to question their judgment (later, after I left, as my brain doesn’t seem to work fast enough to piece arguments together while I’m in their office). It sometimes takes me days to realize that I think they’re really full of crap, but then I figure out why I think that, and a real & valid solution comes to mind, to replace their cockamamie suggestions.
I won’t get into all my gripes here – suffice it to say, I now know a heckuvalot more about how to choose a neuropsych, than I did back in 2008, when I was searching high and low for help.
And I’m in a much better frame of mind — and I have the proper skills — to go looking for someone who can help me “hack” my brain, understand the places where it comes up short, figure out strategies for addressing those issues — and also figure out where I’m strongest, and how I can really pump up the goodness that comes out of that.
Here are the steps I’m following, to find myself a new neuropsych:
- Record the issues I’m currently having and how they impact my life. Wherever possible, have real data behind my rationale for seeking help. (Click to read more)
- Be clear about what I want to achieve from working with someone. Make up a short-list of my issues — a condensed version which will communicate to the neuropsych the nature and extent of my issues.
- Scout around for neuropsychs, looking online and also touching base with my local Brain Injury Association chapter. If they have websites or blogs, read those to get a feel for what kind of people they are. See if there are any testimonials or recommendations from patients which will tell me more about them.
- Put together a list of questions I have for potential candidates, finding out about their background, their successes (and failures), and their philosophy on recovery.
- Figure out what kind of schedule will work for me, based on my commitments and energy level.
- Set up appointments to talk to my short-list of candidates, and see who I like. Find out the answers to the questions from Step #4 above. Make notes on my impressions — before, during, and after.
- Discuss my notes with my spouse (or someone else whose judgment I trust), to see what they think.
- Sleep on it. Pick one. Go see them.
- Be clear about what my expectations are, what kind of timeframe I’m looking at to work with them (will it be related to a length of time, or a specific issue I’m having issues with?), and what their expectations are, as well.
- Commence the continuation of my rehab.
This seems like a decent list.
And with this in mind, I need to get out my TBI symptoms tracking worksheet (Download the Daily Experiences Journal (Wide) – Word Document here), and start using it again, so I can have a better idea of where I am, relative to where I’d like to be, both now and in the future. I may even modify the sheet that I have to focus on the issues that are most pressing for me (rather than being a laundry list of all 84 ways TBI makes my life miserable.
Back in 2008, I was tracking my symptoms on a daily basis — and I collected a lot of data. But it was too much. Now I know that I need to stick with the main things and identify actual patterns in my symptoms, so I don’t overwhelm my docs with all that information. They’re on information overload, as it is.
I don’t want to be cruel 😉 To them, or to myself.
So, off I go to print my daily tracker — and update it to have only the issues that are bothering me right now, in ways that I’d like to fix.
After that, I’ll take my long walk down the road, to see what I can see, get the blood pumping, and then for my nap.