Therapy Tuesday

Today’s Happy Note: I felt like I was back to my old running self again this morning!  Hooray!  I did six miles — 2 warm up/2 tempo/2 cool down and felt great!  Not just faster, but freer.  I love the flying feeling that comes with running, and because I have been so slow and out of shape, I haven’t had that in a while.  But it’s back and I’m happy. 🙂

Also walked three miles.  On my marathon training plan, adapted from the Runner’s World Intermediate Plan, today was supposed to be 2 miles GP (goal pace)/2 miles tempo/2 miles GP.  In what alternate universe does this make sense?  Who can do that for six miles in the second week of training?  Does anyone even do that ever? Any runners out there have ideas about this? I am totally confused, and for now I am just sticking to 2-3 miles of tempo running.

Therapy Tuesday

Today wasn’t a breakthrough day or anything, but not a bad day either.  It just was.  And I am okay with that.  I was content and comforted just being with L.  I honestly crave our little hour together every week — not to obsess over her or worship her, but because it is my special time with someone who listens.  That’s why it is so devastating for me when sessions go badly; it’s my special time every week.  We both know how much energy and emotional effort I put into the work of therapy.

Often, sitting there, I wonder what she thinks of me.  I want to know if she thinks I am compassionate, lovely, bright, annoying.  I can think any thing about her and then tell her, but I don’t get to hear what she thinks of me very often, at least not directly.  One of the golden rules of being a therapist is “only reveal things about yourself (or your thoughts) to the extent that they will help the patient.”  I get that, but I am curious.  And I know that, as we have finally begun to understand the dynamics of our relationship (and each other), this isn’t going to work for us perfectly.  I think it is clear to L how important it is for me to hear about her and to hear what she thinks and what she’s been through sometimes.  It is unsaid, but we both clearly know that we need each other, even if for her it is only in a very small way (and in a much bigger way for me).  You know how you can kind of feel it in your heart and your limbs when someone likes you and is becoming attached to you?  Well, I feel like that with L.  Maybe that is what all good therapists do, but I don’t think so.  Maybe I am ascribing more importance to myself than need be.  But I think she is getting attached.  God knows I have been attached for quite some time now.

I feel a deep need for her approval of my whole person.  The funny thing is, I already know she does approve of (and deeply care about) me, based on how we interact and what she says.

I have moved completely past the point of thinking about our relationship in even remotely clinical terms.  I think that I am moving into a space where we have a much deeper relationship.  A little bit hard to explain I suppose.  But it is no longer doctor and patient — in fact, from the beginning I felt it wasn’t.  It is still a professional relationship.  But when I heard her refer to herself as “L” (her first name) the other day, I knew definitively that we are not just clinical anymore.  This is my real life unfolding with her.  Which is wonderful, but also means that I feel every aspect of our relationship quite intensely.  I want her to believe in me.  I want her to bond specially with me.  I know she has many patients, but I don’t know how many of them need the closeness with her as much as I do right now.  I don’t have a significant other now (or ever have) who I have really shared my life with.  I have many close friendships but this is just different.  I have an emotional intimacy with her that I have not shared with anyone else in many, many years (since before college started).  When I think about it, there are a lot of totally reasonable explanations for why I snapped shut a bit in the last few years.  That is for another post.

All I know is that I truly love and need L right now. And probably will for a long ime.  It’s been almost a year now (already?) and I would be perfectly happy to spend another ten years with her, learning about myself, my way of fitting into the world, my dreams, my history.  How things connect.

Today’s topics: sex and money.  Not the most blog appropriate, obviously.  It was a good conversation though.  I felt a lot of relief.  What I came away with was a new understanding of how I relate to people in my life and how I can shape and guide those relationships (consciously) so that they are more healing and more positive for all involved.

Sorry if this was vague.  It is getting harder and harder for me to write about therapy, as my relationship with L solidifies.  I am moving into a place where I almost feel more loyalty to her than to the blog posts about therapy. That obviously changes everything.  We’ll see how I feel in the next few weeks.  I may continue writing about things, I may not.  I may just do it in my personal journal — I think it is important for me to sort out my thoughts about it, and I will do so in whatever way proves most healing for my heart.

Advertisements

Therapy Tuesday

Today’s Happy Note: I have discovered that I can safely eat dark chocolate.  My life is so much better now. 🙂

Some thoughts:

  1. I have purchased an LSAT study guide.  I am officially going to apply to law school in the fall.  This is very scary. If I am in law school — no, if I am even applying to law school — I must be an adult.  A real live adult.  Weird.
  2. I miss running.  I’m going to have to do some yoga or else I will go crazy.
  3. Books are good.  Books are my friend.  Books never let me down.  Sometimes people let me down.
  4. My parents are the best parents in the world.  Trust me.  My mama calls me Bunny Rabbit and my papa calls em Cupcake.
  5. Summer and I are not friends.  As I was explaining to a real friend the other day, summer just makes me wilt.  I honestly get exhausted, tired, cranky, overheated…I hate it after about five minutes.  I hate walking the ten minute walk to work and arriving with my face covered in sweat.  I should not have to be mopping my brow at 9 in the morning.  This is why my family lives in Canada and Michigan (although summers there are rather hot as well).  I am moving to Norway.  And becoming a reindeer herder.  When I grow up.
  6. I need to bake.  ASAP.
  7. I am graduating from college in less than a year.  I still feel like a baby.  I’m pretty sure most of my relatives think I’m about five.
  8. I have eaten non-bread foods today!  Not much, just a bit here and there: frozen berries, frozen coconut bar, a bit of oatmeal, a few peanuts.  Just to break up the monotony a bit and get some energy into my system.  I am craving veggies, meat, and healthy fats like nobody’s business.
  9. The first meal I make after this wretched infection is gone might have to be Averie’s rice paper wraps with tofu, avocado, zucchini, and peanut sauce.
  10. Yes I am planning ahead for what I will eat when I’m all better.  Also on the list: Mediterranean pasta salad, spaghetti with meatballs, hummus and cheese sandwiches, quesadillas, fish, shrimp salad.  Greens with EVOO. Real food.  And lots and lots of protein.

Therapy Tuesday (lots of thoughts today — bear with me friends!)

This was my first session — and pretty much my first significant interaction with another person — since my illness/hospital visit.  I started by telling L all about that.  She was very responsive and sweet and acknowledged my thoughts and fears.  I wanted to talk more about the experience but I couldn’t really get beyond “I was scared.”   I did talk about how loving and helpful and supportive my mom and dad were.  That was really important to me these past few days.  I didn’t realize this at the time, but I didn’t want today to turn into a look at my relationship with my parents.  What I wanted — and needed — was a very gentle session in which L just sort of metaphorically held my hand.  All weekend, that’s what I wanted: for someone to hold my hand.  That was what I needed today and, unfortunately, I didn’t consciously realize that.  L was by no means mean, but today was absolutely a tough session.  Once I broke down I never really resurfaced.

One thing I did enjoy about today was that L focused on our relationship sometimes — the “here and now” or “in-between” of psychotherapy.  It was refreshing and a bit fun to think about how she was making me feel in the moment or how we were perceiving one another.  Mostly, I felt a lot of confusion-frustration towards L.  Which I told her about.  I felt like this because it seemed like we just kept miscommunicating.  I often feel like she is criticizing people I tell her about (for example, my family members).  But when I told her this, she made it clear that she is just trying to figure out the situation — not to judge anybody, especially people she doesn’t know,

Specifically, we talked today a lot about how people in my family deal with emotions.  This was interesting, if not frustrating.  My mother is emotional and compassionate to a degree that affects her personal and professional life.  My father has always been much more objective and rational, but he has always kept his emotions locked inside; he isn’t really managing his feelings either.  We talked about my impressions of these examples and how they affect me.  For some reason it made me really angry when she brought this up.  After a while I figured out why: I don’t care.  Or at least in the moment I don’t care.  I told L this and told her that it upsets me to not care.  But for some reason in her presence I just get frustrated when we talk about serious things and I respond by not caring. When I told her about my not caring issue she said (albeit gently) something along the lines of, “well, we have to figure out why.”  This further frustrated me: when she says this kind of thing, it makes me feel like I’m doing something wrong.  Like I’m no good at therapy.  Like I’m not getting better.  I have really struggled a lot with feeling like I’m not “improved” lately.  I know I mentioned a few weeks ago that maybe it isn’t about consciously improving, maybe it’s just about relating to L, sharing my experiences, telling my stories and seeing how things fit together.  I honestly don’t know.

We spent a lot more time talking about how I feel “stuck” and “not ready.”  I’m not sure where this phrase came from, but it caught on pretty quickly: I feel like I’m not ready.  For new friendships, meeting men, getting out more, being member of the “real world.”  I guess I feel more ready than I did nine months ago.  But when I get upset during therapy, in the moment, I panic. I panic so hard and I only just realized this.  My  biggest issue with feeling unready — besides the panic — is that I feel like being stuck makes me destined to live in misery until we fix things, which might not happen for years.  Trust me, I’ve had my fair share of misery already.

Mostly, I just want this feeling of stasis to go away.  First of all, I know it’s not true.  Secondly, it’s really damaging and hurtful to me.  I pointed this out to L and she reminded me that she isn’t hurting me: this is a story I’m telling myself. Speaking of stories I tell myself:

I also spent time today talking about how much I miss the very intimate, powerful friendship I had with my writer-friends.  It was a set of very rare relationships and circumstances that I feel like will never happen again.  Why do I feel this way?  Because good things don’t happen to me.  I don’t have friendships like that.  People don’t love me that way.  At least, this is what I tell myself.  I have loved my three years of college tremendously and I have many dear friends, but haven’t experienced that same wonderful relationship.  Yet.  L politely pointed out that I do not have a crystal ball.  I will have friendships like this again in the future.  This is another story I tell myself.  It is simply not true.

Why am I so negative?  How can I try so hard to believe in myself but still feel like such a failure?

At the end of today L asked me how I was feeling and I just told her “frustrated.”  Terribly, terribly frustrated.  I am not sure why, but she asked me where — physically — I was feeling this.  It was totally in my hands.  They were tense, anxious, zipping around.  I was trying desperately to show her my frustration in the way I moved my hands.  I meant to ask her why she asked me this but I didn’t.  I think the way we physically feel things is important, but at that point, this didn’t feel the most relevant.

So today was strange.  Very strange indeed.  There were good moments and bad moments.  A lot of frustration.  Not a failure of a session by any means; but confusing.  L simultaneously tells me that I am different now, that I deal with things differently, I cope better.  But also that we need to “fix things” or “improve.”  She doesn’t explicitly say this but that is the sense I get and the sense means everything.  So there is a sort of double message, which I hate.   I hate hate hate feeling like this.

There are, however, good things I took away today as well: it is nice to have someone who unconditionally loves you.  Of course my family members do, but things are different with L.  Looking at our relationship has been enlightening and enjoyable.  It is imperfect, but I also deeply adore her.  It is natural for people to become attached to their therapists (sometimes people fall in love with them; it’s called transference).  I try to be wary of this and to see L as a normal person.  Ultimately, I think she simply cares deeply about me and wants to help me help myself in any way I can.  In the end, I know this and have faith in this, so even frustrating sessions like today don’t destroy me.

Sorry for the monster post!  Sometimes I just have so much in my head  and if I don’t get it out it becomes tremendously stressful!