I’ve been very fortunate, as I’ve been dealing with my illness to have the support of a good mental health team. On days when the pain has made it difficult for me to get out and make it to my appointments with my therapist we’ve had my sessions by phone. In the meantime, he was working to get approval for us to have my sessions on a secure video conference service. We had a test run last week but we ran into some technical issues so things didn’t go very smoothly. I was disconnected a few times and when I did connect, his voice kept being garbled. Because of the technical difficulties, we had to resort to the phone for what ended up being a very short session.
My therapist got technical support at the clinic involved to work out the kinks. I had a call around lunchtime today with the program support contact. She walked me through some troubleshooting steps and we figured out the issues. The video conference service requires a double log-in or two-factor authentication for the log in to be secure. I wasn’t aware of that, so when I kept seeing the same pop-up window open on the screen, I thought it was an error. When I closed the second window it forced the program to start over, which appeared as if I was being repeatedly kicked out. The second issue with the garbled voice was easily solved. She said that because I use a laptop my speakers don’t carry the sound of the video conference application well. She asked me to try using my phone earbuds or headphones if I had them. My earbuds worked perfectly.
With all the technical issues solved, I logged in to my therapy session later in the afternoon. I was able to see and hear my therapist clearly. We had an hour-long session without any technical glitches at all. The most important piece of the session is that my therapist was able to see me, which meant he was able to gauge my reactions to the issues we discussed. That’s important in my sessions because my therapy is based in mindfulness practices. The live video stream gave my therapist the opportunity to see me so he could help me process what I was feeling in my body more slowly as we worked through the session. The quality of this virtual video session was much better than just a phone call. We scheduled my next therapy session for a few weeks from now. It’s scheduled as if I’m going to go into his office, but if my pain is too great, we will use the video conference service instead.
I’m so appreciative of the efforts my therapist has made to accommodate me during my illness. Having mental health support has kept me afloat at times when I didn’t know if I could cope with my pain and the mystery of its origins. I continue to have the support now and my therapist is helping to find additional resources to help me cope with the disappointment that my pain is still present after surgery and possible alternative therapies to help me heal (e.g. iRest, chronic pain groups). I can’t imagine what I would do without this support and these resources, and I can’t imagine how anyone who doesn’t have access to mental health services is getting through a life with chronic pain or a chronic illness.
Jamiroquai – Virtual Insanity