Some weeks ago I decided I needed to give therapy another chance. Yes it is costly, but when I found myself missing work on account of my ‘issues’, it did seem it would be a lot cheaper to pay for help, if it helps of course, than to miss more days’ pay. A day’s pay pays for a month of therapy in my case.
This time I found someone on the internet. She is part of a group of therapists that together have a website, each with their individual pages. She has done a program at an Institute for Human Relations, and special training, which turns out to be a course, but oh well, in trauma and dissociation. I emailed three of these therapists, two got back to me, and one, A, had an evening spot available.
She is an older woman, I’d say in her seventies, with white hair and billowy clothes. Her office is small but cozy, with a rug, couch, armchair, and various art supplies, a dollhouse, and stuffed animals. She tells me she used to be a massage therapist.
I’ve been to see her three times so far. I’m feeling rather strung out and emotional after getting through a long work day and commute. So far we’ve talked a bit about work, about my family, and about my symptoms of dissociating with exercise.
She is taking a soothing approach, is the best I can describe it. I’m in the position where I want to talk, but get overwhelmed by my feelings when I try. So we’ve been keeping it light.
Last time, I tried drawing with crayons while we talked a bit. I kind of enjoyed the process. I love colour, though cannot draw an object to save my life. Still, I think I have a free and easy fast flowing style, as I put various colours next to each other. It helps me to follow my feelings, try and identify them, without being overwhelmed by them.
I don’t think, again same as the last T I tried, that she has much understanding of social anxiety. She listens when I describe things at work, but doesn’t have much to say beyond I should keep trying.
Still, if I can get a handle on feelings so they don’t overwhelm me, that will be a big step for me. And it is quite soothing to be listened to with empathy and a desire to understand. I have come back from a session twice now feeling quite good and functional. Which is a change from therapy which tears me apart at the seams.
A friend of mine has also started therapy and was describing it to me. She feels it is helping her quite a bit. This therapy is called ‘self psychology’, where the therapist is eliciting the client’s story and I think somehow trying to rework that story. Anyway, this friend is having these really intense discussions in her therapy, which she goes to twice a week.
I was wishing I too was having these really enlightening conversations every week, probing the details of my past. This never happens in my therapy, and I don’t think it’s about to. For me, it’s all about feelings. What are they and how not to let them take over, while still feeling them. I think that’s what it’s about anyway.
Since I started therapy, I have not missed any work, so it’s paying for itself in that way at least. And things have gotten somewhat better for me at work in the past week. Though part of that may be due to this one older guy that I don’t get along with being on vacation.
It has become clear that the key at work for me is that I must get along with my ‘nemesis’ P. And helping me with this endeavour is the fact that P craves socializing and talk, and I sit right next to her. For P., life is about talking it seems. And oddly enough, my insistence on saying hello and goodbye seems to be taken as a friendly gesture. And if I can think of something to start chatting about, P will automatically respond (against her will??). I think she talks when anxious the same way I fall silent when anxious actually.
All my efforts with my other co-worker, the very silent Mr. L., have borne very little fruit. He is so withdrawn, and only talks to P as he feels comfortable only with her. I can put in weeks of effort at making little comments, and still, he thaws only very slightly.
And, another good thing, one of the women in IT has ‘taken me on’ as it were. I was in a kind of ‘no man’s land’ with no-one giving me work. The other two co-workers would always be approached, as they are liked or trusted more. But now she’s given me something to do, which was very easy, but she was very enthusiastic about what I did, and now has pulled me into some meetings about a related matter. So I now have some work, and more people are perhaps getting to know me.
So on Friday, between having these little chats with P, and having some work and enthusiasm directed my way by the IT woman, my life became rather better than it has been these last few weeks. Whether this pleasant state will continue once ‘grouchy old guy’, who is P’s first choice of chatting partner, returns, remains to be seen.