I didn’t realize it at the time, but I gained a piece of information during visits at Pain Relief of Dayton that would help me when I thought I didn’t need help.
I was seeing a psychotherapist already while receiving treatments so I thought I was mentally squared away when Dr. Buenaventura told me about a psychologist who had an office on site.
I would recall the information later after a second visit to the Cleveland Clinic. I had met with Dr. Steven Krause, a clinical psychologist, when he and neurologist Dr. Mark Stillman, were considering me for the headache clinic, now called the IMATCH program.
I was no longer seeing a psychotherapist by the time I had appointments at the Cleveland Clinic. I stopped going when I started leaving the office feeling worse each time. I felt I was rehashing old traumas and not moving forward.
I didn’t see that I needed help. I really believed I was managing my chronic illnesses. I had a great sense of humor. I was proactive in taking steps to try to treat each diagnoses. Having been through both anxiety and depression, I thought I was on the mountaintops of life. Jesus had walked with me through so many valleys already. My spirit was hopeful and my outlook so much better. Why would I need to see a psychologist?
But Dr. Krause saw something I didn’t. I had too much to manage on my own, he said. He suggested I start seeing a psychologist with a cognitive behavioral background. It was then that I remembered Dr. Milton Becknell, a clinical health psychologist, at Pain Relief of Dayton. I remember telling Dr. Krause about him.
Now it would take one more doctor to look in my face and tell me I was a drowning woman before I made the call to Dr. Becknell for an appointment. I can be stubborn.
Because Dr. Becknell was also a professor at Cedarville University, he would use his white board and explain visually for me the different mental processes we go through that can help or hurt us when responding to symptoms from chronic illness. I would schedule one or two appointments a month to learn about navigating my responses to pain to try to close the “pain gate.”
Along with adding physical exercise (walking in my case) and working on sleep hygiene, I would learn — or relearn– how to relax my body and breathe. He went through ways I was sabotaging myself with “stinkin’ thinkin'” — his quote for the many terrible things I was saying to myself — things I would never say to a friend. I was letting in these negative messages with no filter. The more I allowed in the more I opened that pain gate.
Dr. Becknell is open-ended when it comes to appointments. He had said that I could stop at any time and start again later. I eventually agreed with him that I was managing my new normal after a few years.
For more information about Dr. Becknell, go to https://www.cedarville.edu/Academic-Schools-and-Departments/Psychology/Faculty-Staff/Becknell-Milton.aspx. To make an appointment with him, call (937)684-2035.