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Monday, June 12, 2006

Therapy Update

My therapist used to be located in a tiny hole in the wall closet, well, okay, maybe slightly bigger than a closet that was located off of the side of a permanent makeup salon.  The tiny space was cozy and while cheaply decorated, it felt like the living room of a friend or neighbor rather than an office.  I often felt like I was going over to visit with a neighbor over tea, except that we had no tea and when I would ask, “So how are YOU?” my therapist would always reply, “I’m here for you,” rather than reciprocating with woes of her own.

Two meetings ago I was informed that she was moving offices.  Insert mucho anxiety.  I hate going to new places.  I hate things changing.  I hate having to adjust my schedule or change my routine.  The building she was moving to she assured me was not far away, nor is it.  It’s about one block down and across the street, but my God.  This building looks very much like it should be condemned.  It is near a pizza place where TDO and I like to sneak away without the kids for GOOD pizza (pesto pizza and/or sausage and green olives instead of cheese or pepperoni) and I have often commented how unsafe the building looks.  Aside from needing all the windows replaced and a really good coat of paint (or twelve) there are, um, wires just… everywhere.  Haphazardly tied, twisted, strung, or otherwise rigged into place.  The wires are twist tied together in some places (yes, bread ties…) and other places duct taped.  It’s just crazy.  There are gaping holes where… something used to be but was torn out, revealing the underlying brick.  Overall, it looks run down and sort of shady, like maybe a place you’d go to arrange a drug deal or buy black market goods. 

Oh.  Yay.  I get to go there for therapy.

So, a few weeks ago when I went I was upset over the content of the meeting and what I knew we’d be covering, so I wasn’t really as critical of the building as I might have been.  I did note that they have replaced some of the downstairs entrance doors which has definitely been an improvement.  The entryway is newly tiled which gives it a more professional air, certainly, but once I started climbing the stairs to the second floor, well, yeah.  That whole “tenament” feel came back.  Bad smell, gross carpet, dirty walls, ancient doors and fixtures… um. Yeah.  Reminded me of the ancient building my friend Pix used to live in a million lifetimes ago.

Hawt Therapist Lady hadn’t had time to move stuff over yet, so everything was in disarray and I was disgruntled that the coffee table that usually is placed between her and I was missing.  I need that buffer, that wall, if you will, to feel comfortable.  At least there was a window and on a couple of occasions I caught myself sort of staring out day dreaming rather than listening to her.  After that meeting I changed seating arrangement so I wouldn’t be able to look out the window during therapy.  It was sort of a self imposed seating arrangement change like a teacher would do to a student who wasn’t paying attention in class.  After all, I pay this woman to help me get back on track.  I gotta live up to my end of the bargain or she can’t do anything to help me.

So, it’s been over a month now since she’s changed offices.  Much to my relief, the coffee table buffer is back.  I still sit with my back to the window.  She used to sit in a chair across from me, but last time she sat next to me in the seat I originally used to sit in.  I thinks he likes looking out the window, even if she’s sneaky about it.  She does always pay attention, at least.  It’s a comfortable relationship where I am honest with her, brutally so, sometimes, and in which she very gently leads me to certain points, then really starts pushing my comfort level to see where I’ll go with it.  When she sees I’m past my comfort level but not really going anywhere good, she backs off and gently leads me again.  It’s a good pattern, one I can live with since it very generally matches the ebb and flow of my own self exploration.  The big difference is that she allows me the opportunity and gives me the specific permission to feel and experience everything along the way.  She doesn’t rush me.  She doesn’t tell me to get over things.  She doesn’t condemn me or expect me to “get over” anything.  She knows, given appropriate time and space, I will get over “it” (whatever it is) but not until I’ve allowed myself to not only chew things over in my head, but to feel to the fullest whatever it is (joy, disappointment, anger, sorrow, pride, frustration…) that I am feeling at the time.  That has been one of the most successful outcomes of therapy so far.  I find that when I just move through whatever it is that is taking up my brain space at the time - without guilt or worry - I get through it more fully and more easily.

I guess before I started to see HTL, there were things I would feel ashamed of feeling.  A little voice would tell me, “Well, it’s not so bad, just get over it,” or “Yeah yeah, big deal, so what if you did that, everyone does that, what’s there to be so happy/excited/proud of?”  I would try to shut down or shut out those feelings, rather than just, er, well, allowing for the natural experience.  It’s still hard sometimes. 

This past Wednesday was a prime example.  A series of very tough life experiences hit me all at once, including my mom being diagnosed with emphysema, my friend Greg passed away, and then the crowning glory was TDO forgetting Wednesdays appointment and leaving me stuck with Jenica so I couldn’t go.  I was in the middle of meltdown and melting down so much because I was tucking away so many feelings.  The only thing that really came of Wednesdays appointment was in saying, “I’m REALLY angry.  I’m REALLY sad.  I’m REALLY hurt.  I’m really lonely.”  Mostly, just being able to feel in a safe environment without having to instantly get over it or justify why I feel the way I do.  If I had been able to just let go and feel and move through my experiences with a little more grace and ease, allowing myself to be in the moment at that moment, I would have probably avoided the meltdown on Wednesday.  At least I did finally get to go in and I did get to work through some of the emotions.  This upcoming Wednesday, TDO is supposed to go with me so we can discuss some options to be able to kinda make things work more smoothly.  I shouldn’t have to automatically assume he’s going to let me down.  I should be able to anticipate which things I can count on him for and which things I can’t.  Eh, we’ll see how that goes.  A part of me is still angry and feels like he is going to forget or cop out on going on Wednesday.  We’ll see.

So.  I’m surviving changes.  Small and not so small.  I’m getting by day by day.  Things are not fixed or better.  I didn’t get to be the way I am in a few short months so I didn’t expect to just be automatically fixed in that amount of time, either.  I do feel like things are, well, different, somehow, though really nothing but my perspective has changed.  Sometimes there are glimmers of the “more” I have always expected existed, but as of yet, they are still out of reach.  I can sense them, sometimes even catch glimpses, but I can’t really reach out and hold them or understand them, yet.  Maybe I never will be able to, but at least I have hope again that they exist.  That’s definitely something.

Posted by Liberty on 06/12 at 04:05 PM
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