Therapy

Well, hi there. Remember me? I haven’t been here in a while, and I don’t know if I’ll make a habit of being back. But I didn’t feel like doing a Twitter thread on this, so here we are.

For various reasons that I am not going to go into here, my family is going to therapy (individual and group). One of my family members grouses about this saying, “Nothing is going to change.”

And it’s true. Nothing is going to change, not materially. But one doesn’t go to therapy to change or fix things, necessarily. I’ve been thinking a lot about my own experiences with therapy, and I wanted to talk about them.

I have been in and out of therapy since I was about 15. At that time, I was compelled by my parents to attend therapy sessions because my father had come across one of my journals, and had read it thinking it was something from school. What he found worried him enough to confront me, and I ended up in front of a psychologist.

I only went for about six weeks. What I was told during those sessions was, “You’re not the only one who feels like this.” Which, since I was a teenager, was deeply offensive of course, but also (I admitted grudgingly) reassuring. I came out of therapy knowing how to better communicate with my friends when I felt they were creating drama or using me to dump out their problems.

When I was in my later 20s, I had a bad breakup, and I started having nightmares. Graphic, rather terrifying nightmare about being chased and eaten by monsters. Now, I had always been anxious — I can trace the start of my catastrophic thinking to when I was about 12. But this was a new level of anxiety, even for me.

I spent about two years in therapy. I came out of that experience finally realizing that not only was I worthy of love, but I deserved to be loved, just as I was, flaws and all. If it were for this round in therapy, I never would have gotten married.

I went to therapy after Gabriel died. I have gone on and off a few times since. It’s a space that is wholly for me to talk, say whatever, free of judgement, to cry if I needed to — after Gabriel died, I spent more than one therapy session just crying for 45 minutes. I didn’t have to talk and I didn’t have to comfort anyone. Pure grief.

I didn’t go to get fixed. I didn’t go to change my life (although in some ways, my life did change as a result of therapy). I went to explore and process, to learn about myself without interruption, to listen to someone help me talk through my feelings and thoughts, to get feedback and reassurance that I was okay and not losing my mind. (Anxiety is a bitch, my friends.)

My last therapist was kind of a bust. It made me feel better to talk, but at the end of our last session she said, “It’s always entertaining!” to see me. And I am not pleased about that. I started Prozac in December, as well, which has helped mitigate my anxiety by a whole lot.

Talk therapy isn’t a “fix”; neither is medication by itself. I always advocate seeking and finding support, whether within your circle or with a professional.

We’re not in this alone. It’s good to remember that.

What’s your experience with therapy?

Crying Over You

At 11 p.m. Tuesday night, I burst into tears.

They were declaring the race for Senator Barak Obama, and I was so many emotions, I cried.

I was happy. I felt that the good guys had won. Which isn’t to reduce politics to “good guys” and “bad guys”, and especially isn’t to cast Senator John McCain as a bad guy. His concession speech was perhaps the classiest thing I had ever heard from a politician. It’s just… my guy, the guy I was rooting for this time, this time won.

I was relieved. Two years of campaigning were over. And especially the ugliness that had defined this run since the summer. OVER.

I was hopeful. I have been very impressed with Obama. I AM hopeful. Things are not going to change overnight, and not every change will be made. On that note, could Obama be a little less serious for a little bit? Dude (and I use that term with the highest respect): You Won. I know that being too celebratory would look like gloating, and you don’t want to gloat — you shouldn’t gloat. But loosen the tie. Swing your wife or one of your kids through the air.

Okay, well, he is going to buy a puppy.

This post isn’t really about politics, or the sea change Obama can (I hope will) bring to Washington DC.

It’s about those tears.

Lately, I would estimate since about May, I have been a mess. The slightest thing will make me start to cry. Alternatively, I lose my temper. Or, maybe, I just get really anxious and turn into a stuttering wreck trying to answer a simple question.

It’s not pretty, people.

I think — I think — I used to be a little more even keeled. I was never that much of a crier. Or too much of a yeller. On the other hand, I have always been anxious, to the point of therapy. But anxiety tends to freeze me up rather than make me overly emotional.

But not lately. I’m snappish, I get furious very quickly (I can also cool myself down fairly quickly, for the record), I’m irritable.

And dear Lord, the tears.

The other night, Monkey asked me to sing “Puff the Magic Dragon”. DearDR had printed out the lyrics just for the occasion. Innocently enough, I began.

“Puff the Magic Dragon” is NOT A HAPPY SONG. Okay? It’s a song about the loss of innocence. And somewhere around “Dragons live forever, but not so little boys” I started leaking. And I couldn’t even start the next verse.

Monkey found it a little upsetting. To say the least.

Even a passing thought of Gabriel can make me teary. And he has been on my mind a lot lately. At Halloween, I was thinking that he would probably have been Indiana Jones this year, or maybe a cowboy.

Pass me a Kleenex. *sniff* *blow* Okay.

So, yeah, I wasn’t really surprised to be crying Tuesday night. Or even a little bit Wednesday listening to the news.

I don’t know if it’s hormones. It seems to be worst around ovulation and close to my period. But that’s when it’s WORST. It’s still pretty bad the rest of the time. I feel super-sensitive ALL THE TIME lately.

Sorry about all the caps.

I don’t know if this will ebb. Or when it will ebb. I don’t know if I should get back to therapy. (Yes, the irony is not lost on me.) I shy away from medication, because, you know, it’s just emotions. I’m coping, I’m not incapacitated by my emotionality.

It’s just the feeling that it’s not in control. That’s the worst part right now.

That and crying during “Puff the Magic Dragon”! For goodness sake.