I’m in Therapy. Aren’t You?

My therapist had offered the possibility of doing phone sessions once in a while, which worked out very well today because I probably would have found a way to wriggle out of this one. There was a specific issue I needed to talk to her about, but the topic of my adolescent traumas had not become any easier to deal with over time and I had spent the better part of 25 years mostly avoiding talking about all that. But when we opened that can of worms last week with some postings about bullying, I found my own reaction quite extreme what with continuous tears for a few days, which is when I knew it was time to face my demons. But I was nervous about it all week. My reaction to stress in cases like that is that I get very sleepy, which is what happened around 1:30 p.m. today. With my session scheduled at 4 p.m. I figured I had plenty of time for a long nap and lied down on the couch, only to be awoken by the phone at 4:01 p.m.

I don’t know how other people do it, but when I have something big to talk about in therapy I tend to go with one of two approaches. Sometimes I start off with a bang by making a declaration about what’s going on, which tends to happen when I have positive news to share, like: “I’m going on a trip!” or “I got a promotion!”. But today I had to get warmed up before I could get to the point. I spent the first forty minutes putting all the elements of the story in place, and then when I saw we were into the last ten minutes of our time, I finally convinced myself to just bring out my big scary monsters. It would have been intolerable to drag it out until the next session. The fact that I was talking to her on the phone instead of facing her made it easier to talk about such emotionally charged material. Ten minutes can be an awful long time though. I realized this when I was done coming out with my terrible secrets, and saw that there was a whole 7 mins left. But my therapist came through for me then. “Congratulations!” she said in an upbeat, cheerful tone. That confused me a little. I was half expecting some kind of reprimand, although that would have been unlike her and completely unprofessional besides. Which goes to show just how “unacceptable” I though my confessions were. And then in my confusion I also thought maybe she was congratulating me for all the nonsense I was involved in all those years ago because maybe she thought it had led to growth in some ways. So I asked her, “How do you mean?”. “Well,” she said, “I think you’re very brave to tell your story, which is understandably very difficult for you to deal with. I know you’ve been wanting to bring it up for a long time, so bravo! You finally got it out there in the open. You did some great work today”.

So yay to me. That’s one step in the right direction. I think I’ll be holding on to that therapist for a while longer. And nope, I’m still not going to say what the specifics of that story are. Not here anyway. It just wouldn’t be appropriate. Feel free to use your imagination. Try writing down the worst kind of scenario, and then make the situation even more awful. That should give you a nice little piece of fiction to post on your blog. :-)


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