Therapy Monday!

Today’s Mini Goal: Smile more and walk with my head up!  Although I sometimes forget this, I really do believe in me, and I want to show the world this new self-confidence that I have!

So today is everybody’s favorite day — Therapy Monday!  I have a lot of things to say today; it’s all at the bottom of the post.

The rest of the day mainly consisted of class, studying, and yoga.  I had a coupon for a free class at Om Yoga near Union Square, so I headed down there this evening. The class was intermediate, but it wasn’t hard.  It was just perfect, with a few balances and inversions, but also lots of easier poses and a nice focus on balancing ourselves, physically and emotionally.  The teacher read some really interesting passages, one of which was a quotation from the Buddha and basically said that enlightened people don’t believe everything they think.  My therapist actually tells me this all the time, and it’s something I have been working on.  Example: I may think I’m fat and worthless, but I shouldn’t believe this because it’s simply not true on so many levels.  What’s something you think that you need to not believe? Have you learned any useful little tidbits like this from yoga?

It was a beautiful studio, and so far I would recommend it.  I’ll probably go back at some point.

In food news, I’ve been breakfast-obsessed lately.  If I could get all my nutrients and energy from breakfast foods alone, I would eat them all the time.  But alas, that would mean no meat or veggies, both of which I need in my life.  And it would probably also mean way too many carbs for my poor little semi-insulin-resistant system. But, I will fulfill my breakfast needs by telling you about all the amazing combinations I have been consuming lately:

1. Stovetop oats cooked in extra water (gives them more volume) with a banana, crushed walnuts, and piles of cinnamon.  All topped off with a maple syrup drizzle!  It’s making me salivate just thinking about it…

2. Chobani raspberry yogurt (so nummy!) mixed with Kashi GoLean Crisp (it’s berry flavored and highly addictive), kiwis, and plain pb.

3. Tomorrow’s combination (which will be the only thing getting me out of bed to run seven miles beforehand): oats cooked in extra water and cinnamon with banana, chocolate protein powder and pb.  Heaven.

Do you have a favorite meal, or do you like to mix things up?

Before talking about therapy, I’ll show you today’s post-therapy froyo creation (I’ve come to terms with the need for frozen yogurt every single Monday).

Original tart and pomegranate twist with mango and chocolate chips.  So perfect after an hour of emotional purging.

Other important parts of my day:

A package from my mom including chocolate and a new cooking utensil!  You know me all too well, mommy dearest.  Thanks!

CHIA SEEDS!  I have been looking for these babies for two months now, since before they became a fad in blogland, I swear.  Now they are mine.  All mine.  I’m not sharing.  Side note: I got them at Whole Foods.  Stef and I are starting a Whole foods Shoppers Anonymous support group.  Feel free to join.

Therapy Monday:

I’m going to need a list this week…

1. Realization (slash my therapist told me this): We’re all wired differently.  No one comes to college – or arrives anywhere in life – with the same set of memories, interactions, and emotional experiences.  I have not had the same life as anyone else in this world, and this makes my responses and reactions different than anyone else’s might be given a similar situation.  So, how did I (we) arrive at this conclusion, you ask?

Today, I finally felt ready to talk about exactly what happened last February.  Outside of my immediate family, no one in my life really knows the sequence of events, and outside of me, no one knows what was going on in my head.  In fact, at the time, I didn’t even know.  I won’t bore you with the details of one of the most traumatic months of my life (February of 2009); the summary is basically that I ended up withdrawing from school and moving back home because I felt too depressed to function as a student.  So, back to today.  Everyone loves a happy anniversary story, so I just had to tell my therapist about everything.  Kidding.  It’s not a happy story, but I did need to tell her.  One of the main unresolved questions/issues I have at this point in my life is “why did this happen to me?”  Why don’t (most) other college students enter into an endless sea of depression and have to take time off of school?  What made me “fail”, or why was I so “bad”?  This is where the whole everybody-is-wired-differently thing comes in.  My life experiences in many ways set me up for the Great Catastrophe of February 2009.  In fact, I need not even view it as a Catastrophe.  Yes, I was sad, but there also existed a strong part of me that wanted to do everything possible to save me.  Somewhere, deep down, I had a strong part and an instinct to self-preserve.  I did not self-destruct; I did not fall into a land of addiction or starvation or suicide, and in this, I most certainly did not fail.  I saved me.

2. At this point in my life, taking care of myself is uber important.  Last week I asked you guys how it could be possible for therapists to stay sane, and I actually asked mine a version of this question today.  She said that there are several components: yes, she does get sad sometimes, but she also enjoys helping people, and in the end, she takes care of herself, which allows her to function as a psychologist.  She said that she even has a therapist herself!  Somehow, this made me feel less alone; surely I can’t be totally crazy if my therapist has a therapist.  But the main thing I took away here was the taking-care-of-yourself point.  I asked her how she does this.  She said that she has friends she turns to, hobbies, colleagues, etc.  It was comforting to hear that she doesn’t have a superhuman ability to fix other people’s problems and never absorb their sadness.  I have to do what I have to do to take care of me.  If this means talking to boys at a dance, fine.  If this means staying in my room all weekend and reading mystery novels while sipping hot cocoa, that’s also fine.

3. I can’t remember the first time in my life when I “saw someone”; but I’m guessing I was probably as young as nine or ten.  From that point onward, my mom would take me to a psychologist or a psychiatrist every year or two.  These visits were never especially successful, and I usually felt coerced and refused to open up.  When I was at home (from February-September 2009), I saw a therapist.  She was useful and sweet, but something wasn’t quite right.  I never really got to the point where I told her everything, nor did I want to reach that point with her; it just didn’t feel natural.  By my estimate, I have seen, including a handful of high school and college psychologists, at least ten different people thus far in my life.  Until my current therapist, none were ever quite right.  One aspect of our relationship is easily quantifiable: I am never talking at her and she is never lecturing to me.  We have this dialogue going on, and I both love that and need it.  Most people I have seen expect you to sit there and tell them everything while they make the occasional comment.  This woman is not afraid to tell me stories about herself, interrupt me, or answer my questions.  This means that I never feel like I’m being interrogated, which has allowed me to open up to her quite thoroughly.  I never head into our sessions thinking “what am I going to say this time”, because I know that I can talk about whatever I want, even it seems simplistic or mundane.  She also makes me feel like I’m her only patient; she never forgets details and gives me her full attention.  I like to think of our weekly sessions not so much as me being analyzed by a psychologist, but as me having a thoughtful conversation with someone who happens to be very good at understanding my brain.  I also never feel judged by her, but rather like I am loved (for lack of a better word) unconditionally.  My point here is not that I have found the best therapist in the world (although that is a distinct possibility), but that you have to find someone who works for you.  I like having someone who listens, but also talks.  Everyone is different, and it can take a long time to find the right person at the right time.  It took me ten years, but I am so unbelievably happy that I have found someone who understands me.  Coming back to school this year would have been much harder without her.


11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. EE
    Feb 15, 2010 @ 23:02:13

    If you could hear me, you’d hear the sound of a standing ovation (well, me and my doggy). You saved yourself, indeed! I think what really happened was the Great Character Formation of 2009. Think about everything you’re building off of that. Pretty incredible.

    Mom-care-packages . . . is there anything better when you are in school?


  2. Stef @ moretolifethanlettuce
    Feb 16, 2010 @ 00:47:23

    we;re all definitely wired differently. good realization in therapy! that yoga place soudns cool, always nice when you have free passes somewhere :). aw so sweet of your mama to get you that stuff. mmmm that froyo looks heavenly, and i’m totally breakfast obsessed too!


  3. Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga)
    Feb 16, 2010 @ 01:42:36

    I am sooo happy for you that you found the right therapist!
    To your question bout yoga and what have i learned…the real question is, what havent I learned?
    I have learned patience, self acceptance, perseverance, dedication, overcoming obstacles. Not just on the mat, the mental/emotional bennies off that mat are worth their weight in gold 🙂


  4. Sarah
    Feb 16, 2010 @ 02:12:24

    When I first read your goal I thought it said ‘smell’ more haha no but smile more is definitely a better goal!

    No but seriously thanks for being so honest and open about last year. I can really relate to alot of what you say…with my ED I constantly berated myself for ‘not being able to cope like everyone else’ and suchlike…but at the end of the day it’s a waste of time comparing yourself to others, given that you are you, and your priority is to look after yourself and your own health. I’m so glad you had the insight to realise that you were struggling and seek the help and support you needed.

    I’m glad you have a therapist who you really connect with, as this is so important.

    Sarah x


  5. themilkfreeway
    Feb 16, 2010 @ 05:35:39

    I’m really glad your therapist is so helpful – there are some weirdos out there 😉 I reckon I’ve seen about 20 rubbish mental health professionals to 3 or 4 good ones. Great realisations too! You absolutely did save yourself, and that’s wonderful. So many people end up using self destructive behaviours to cope with depression and you somehow managed to avoid that, you did the right thing for you before things got totally out of hand. That takes a LOT of strength and insight. Coincedentally it was one year ago that I had my own catastrophic February, and started pulling myself out of it slowly. It’s a great feeling to know you can take care of yourself, right? 🙂


  6. Lauren @ BIOCHEMISTA
    Feb 16, 2010 @ 10:19:54

    Congrats on finding a good therapist!!!! 🙂


  7. Kate
    Feb 16, 2010 @ 13:15:41

    therapy is so helpful. i am glad that you found a good fit.

    and you’ve left me craving some foyo!


  8. Jessica Zara
    Feb 16, 2010 @ 16:59:32

    Breakfast number three sounds exactly like my favourite brekkie at the moment, and I think about it all the time when I’m running too 🙂 In fact, I totally agree with you that breakfast foods are the most amazingly tasty creations on the planet.

    Finding the right therapist can be such a long and exhausting process that many people (um, including myself) give up somewhere along the line. From the realisations that you have made, it truly does sound like your sessions are both productive and excellent for you in terms of psychological healing. I’m so happy that you’ve finally found a person who understands what you’re going through.



  9. julie
    Feb 16, 2010 @ 18:49:30

    Breakfast is seriously one of the top 2 reasons I get out of bed in the morning…the other being to pee..haha

    Have fun with those chia seeds!! Can’t wait to see what you come up with 🙂


  10. Jamie Walker
    Feb 16, 2010 @ 19:40:01

    I use the EXACT same chia seeds and I use them in EVERYTHING!! Muffins, smoothies, salads, you name it, I’ve probably sprinkled some on. 🙂


  11. Trackback: Yoga Challenge and Long Run (Eats) « Run. Write. Therapy. Life.

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