Therapy. Again.

Thur’py kitteh


I’m about to start therapy.

I have complicated and mixed feelings about it: I believe it’s a good thing, but I’m also not convinced it will help. I recognize that I’m struggling with some issues that I’m not able to resolve on my own, but also I struggle to see how a therapist will be able to help. I hate having to admit that I’m seeking help. I hate having to admit I’m so skeptical about it. I want to pretend it’s not happening and I want to be transparent about the struggles I’m having because I’m sure others must struggle with the same complicated feelings and if my experience can help someone else to feel less alone then it seems important to share.

It took me a year to get here. It was just about this time last year that I considered seeing a therapist seriously for the first time. I wasn’t feeling particularly unstable at the time, but I’d made a few discoveries about myself and it seemed like a good time to do a little mental housekeeping. Then I learned how much it was going to cost me both in money and in time and the idea of investing that much in the way of resources into “just tidying up the mental landscape” seemed like vanity. The bottom line was that I wasn’t ready to go yet. It didn’t feel needful. Now it does. The price hasn’t changed. The time commitment hasn’t changed. The only thing that has changed is my mental state.

A part of me is kicking myself for not going sooner: maybe if I’d stayed the course a year ago I wouldn’t be where I am now. Or maybe I’d be in exactly the same place by a different path. Who knows. It’s moot now: I didn’t go then. I’m going now.

I hope.

I’ve gotten the insurance company’s blessing. I’ve made the appointment. I’ve filled out the intake paperwork. I’m committed to it, but I’m still pretty nervous about it.

What if I don’t like the therapist?

I mean, it’s doctor roulette all over again, only this time it’s going to involve me trusting them with my most vulnerable secrets, fears, weaknesses, and failures instead of just, I dunno, taking of my clothes and having them swab my genitals for infectious disease or precancerous cells. Somehow an OB/GYN appointment feels less intrusive and vulnerable than therapy to me.

It’s not even that I’m seeking help for anything particularly shameful: I periodically experience depression and anxiety. Right now it’s depression. I think both depression and anxiety are natural: like emotional allergies- they flare up now and then. Some people don’t experience it at all. Some people find it life threatening. For me it comes and goes in varying intensities. According to the self test on the insurance website I’m currently in a state of “moderately severe” depression- functional, but moody AF.

I know what’s causing it. Or, rather, I know what is triggering it- a series of minor incidents with an acquaintance over the past year somehow managed to land exactly wrong on one of my emotional faultlines and now deep feelings of anger/rejection/exclusion/helplessness/inadequacy are bubbling up to the surface through the cracks.

“It’s not that big of a deal,” I keep telling myself. “Just move ON already.”

I would love to do just that. The feelings are wildly disproportionate compared to the incident, which makes me think that I’m actually responding to some other life event from my past that is similarly unresolved. I would like these feelings to go away now, please. And after six? eight? nine? months of trying to handle these feelings on my own I’m finally ready to admit that I haven’t made much progress and need help.

But this is getting into some deep water. This is getting into some issues that go all the way down to my guts and that I don’t have a lot of insight into. So I’m going to have to trust whoever is going to help me through this. So I think it’s reasonable to be worried about whether or not I like the therapist I’ve been assigned. “Like” is a bit misleading, perhaps: I don’t need to be best friends with them: I just need to feel safe enough to give them the benefit of the doubt- that they’ll hear me, that they’ll respect me, that they’re knowledgeable about the experiences I describe, that they’re not going to try to guide me according to some agenda that isn’t aligned with my goals.

I’m overthinking this, I’m sure, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable to have these concerns- especially as someone new to the process. The first appointment is on Monday- we’ll see how it goes.

~ by Gwydhar Gebien on April 26, 2019.

12 Responses to “Therapy. Again.”

  1. And, here WE are, again, aren’t we. Like Avengers: Endgame. Heh. 😛 Not to make light of your…our situation.

    Wouldn’t it be nice if therapy was like going to Confession as a Catholic and having a choice between sitting behind a screen or kneeling before a listener? Then again…if I had to have therapy sessions with some divider between me and the therapist…well, I guess that wouldn’t be a huge difference other than a minor social comfort. Yet, I might still have some lingering doubt about how much both of us are contributing to the session if we are not forced to share a room and talk. When you want to have a personal discussion with anyone…do you…can you do it by Skype or some other web chat service on separate devices in separate rooms?…is the result the same?

    Group therapy probably is better than individual, if we haven’t already discussed that, just because, as you said, your experience may be reflected in others and help others look in a mirror. Yet, it’s a bit of a hurdle to not have the privacy of one-on-one and get to trusting a number of strangers.

    Also, if I haven’t already talked about it, one of my big concerns is spending the money and having only so much time to work on what’s troubling you before your time is up and you have to fill the space until the next session…as if it wasn’t hard enough to admit needing help…then getting help…but having to get it in installments like waiting for that next episode of a show you like to air when you don’t have the luxury of “binge-watching.” And, breathe….

    Don’t let maybes pile up on you, that just makes it harder to stand up and get where you need to go. Maybe waiting has been a good thing…maybe waiting has kept you from joining a lousy group and finding a better one…maybe not going closed a door you wouldn’t like and brought you to another that’s better…maybe you stressed over waiting for nothing, failing only to see that everything falls into place when it should. Try a few positive maybes. 🙂 Yea, easy for me to say. 🙂

    And that, too! Yea, you have to open up all your cans of worms in a way that won’t upset the boat you’re getting into, just to hope this professional will be of some help and not just make you feel like you’re talking to an uncaring wall or website that offers suggestions for key words you use.

    All I can think of…is if you get in and you don’t like the therapist… Well, also, remind yourself–if it’s possible–to screen what you share before you share it. Don’t come in hot and dump the books on the table like I tend to do. You…and I…we need to not be one extreme or the other. Don’t bottle up too tight and don’t spill all your eggs at once. We need some way to test the water with this stranger…or a group of strangers…before we say too much and feel we’ve gotten too little in return. Make small gambles and see what kind of response you get. If you like the response, try another test and a bigger test until you feel safe to put your whole body in the hot water.

    Just a thought.

    If you think nude body swab or probe is less intrusive, then you have a strong grip on your emotions…or your emotions are a very heavy weight on you, and no one else is helping you lighten the load… But, I get it, because a physical exam is sort of like only studying the surface of a piece of fruit. You’re not breaking the thing open to check the insides. If that physical exam required cutting you open and poking at your rib cage, you might think twice. It’s levels of boundaries. And, apparently, these feelings troubling you go beyond the perimeter of a physical probe.

    Not to throw a cosmic wrench on the fire…but maybe it’s a past life that’s troubling both of us. I really don’t want to explore that road in such a limited office arrangement, as we have here with just blog comments. But, it’s possible we are suffering from some unresolved past-life decision in this life…like an emotional or karmic echo. And, it’s just a long road to figuring out why…and what special purpose we’ve been given this life to achieve.

    You are the second person today to rattle my heartstrings, and I really wish I could give you a hearty hug.

    I’d say let me know how it goes…but I have a feeling you’ll blog about it, anyway. [You can email me if you want to talk, too. My office door is usually open. :D]

    • It certainly FEELS like some kind of past life karmic echo that is bringing up a lot of these feelings! Sometimes I wonder if it was something that happened to me that was so upsetting that I’ve completely blocked it out- in which case why can’t I use this same power when I need to, say, stop thinking about the song Moves Like Jagger while trying to sleep?

      Anyway thanks for the other advice I tried one group setting and did find it helpful in a broad sense but wasn’t quite helping me get to the root of my problems. Maybe I’ll give it another try once I get some clarity.

      • You HAVE blocked it out because it’s not in your “frontal” zone of thought. It’s not likely something you can just dredge up from the past. Or, even if it was reachable…say from childhood, even…can you really dig that deep into your mind’s history without unleashing a deluge of emotional upheaval? And, as we talk about a therapist somehow handling this…though, it usually comes down to the therapist being like a brochure of tools and services you might try while you still go home to work on your emotions…at least, from my experience which might be a bit dated…who will help go through those “60 thousand files” (as I read another post by you) of unlabeled emotional history and process just the one that is “defective?” Our minds may be like computers. But, we computer makers cannot even fully go through our files so systematically without triggering some kind of “crash.” Then again, I am sure there are people who can do just that and seem superhuman…and they’d blow our minds right back into depression.

        Ha! Yea. Songs stuck in our heads. I think that happens when we go into a hypnotic state of dwelling or reflection; we become “sticky” and collect useless, repeating information…sort of like pop-up ads that reappear when you stop doing something or try to move onto something else, online (without a pop-up blocker, that is). When our minds are not functioning in a productive way, we drift and collect sonic debris. And, sometimes, even old debris can resurface, as if we are human radio antennae picking up some random transmission.

        Maybe the group was a small relief but didn’t feel secure enough for you to open up as deeply as you needed…or, you just didn’t give it enough time for that. Your emotional roots are clearly deep like mine.


        Again, if you need another ear. I’m around. And, it probably would benefit us both to talk.

      • Hmm that 60000 files analogy is good… The material might all still be there I might just have gotten rid of the directory… I’ll have to ruminate on that some more.
        Thanks for the hugs- glad you hear from you again- it’s been long enough I was starting to wonder how you were doing.

      • Yea, I thought that was a good one. 😀

        You didn’t get rid of the directory. It just got lost in dated systematics. Like how my computers have always struggled to access older files when you don’t use them regularly. Files I use more often come up rather easily. But, as we age, and files become bigger and more abundant, it’s harder to access ones we may forget where we put. Especially when we get to be in our 70s and older. We were built with Windows 19somethingsomething…not 2017 or XPlus. And, who’s taking car of our updates?

        Your directory still probably works, but like a rusty bike pedal, it’s going to take some greasing to get it working. And, coffee isn’t likely going to get you there…unless you want to burn out your processor.

        Yes, and if I wasn’t trapped in my own emotional turmoil and doing far less than you…I’d be more available. What seems like so long ago, I was a chatroom freak and talking with so many strangers around the globe. I was a one-man therapy hotline but also a patient not finding the right therapist/friend.

        To be quite honest, I have not been doing well and don’t know where to turn. I’ve pretty much been consuming myself in writing books like some mad J D Salinger and occasionally looking at videos of some kind. I know something is seriously wrong because I have lost my ability to listen to someone speak without my mind drifting off in various directions. I used to be a much better listener. Now, I am pretty much relying on psychic powers and….well, analogies like the one I just gave you…to feel as if I am achieving anything through talk.

        More hugs.

      • Remember what we said about things we say (or write) becoming reality? Well, I found the ol’ cartoon episode that really sent that message home. It’s a bit creepy…but about 12 minutes in, you get to the explanation of the superstition.

        Look up Extreme Ghostbusters cartoon episode “the deadliners.”

      • Lol I wasn’t able to see the whole episode but I read the synopsis. We’d be doomed if my characters came to the real world

      • Now, I’m even more scared. I don’t write my scariest thoughts into print. I guess…I know better? 😛 My sixth grade teacher held onto a story I wrote in the rare second-person perspective. It was based upon dreams I had been having. It was about fear. She said she had never heard such an accurate account. My scariest and latest work probably pales compared to some of the stuff I jotted down, like a journal, in my youth. I can still remember some of my childhood nightmares.

      • And, why can’t you see the episode? I’m watching it now.

      • And, the synopsis I see tells very little. The concept of the “Vathek” (or however that is spelled…and wherever it may be found in some actual myth/legend book, IF it exists), spirits who compel artists and authors to put their terrifying wills into print and artwork, supposedly like the Asian “yokai” that can cause you to do things you wouldn’t normally choose to do. In the case of this episode, ghosts are turning the real world into a horror movie because one or more is compelling an author to write them into existence.

  2. It’s great that you’re finally getting the help you need. I hope you connect with the therapist, if not you have to the option/right to switch. Wish you the best with your journey x

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