I went to see Ron for my first (paid) therapy session on Saturday. It was a bitterly cold day, so that was my only outing that day. He had actually cancelled my original appointment the day before, and changed it to the following day. Which was fine. I did wonder if he’d had some kind of personal emergency, but didn’t want to ask, and he didn’t volunteer any information.
This time there was a young man in ahead of me, who quickly brushed past me in the waiting room. I went in and sat down. It is a tiny office, so the facing armchairs are very close together. It seems OK to me, if a little unusual.
This time, I’d say the session was more tense than last time. I wanted to give Ron more of an idea of some of my symptoms, and he also asked about my past experience with therapy. So I plunged in with this information. Ever since though, I’ve been feeling like a freak. Why did I try so many therapists? What is wrong with me that I cannot get better, and that I fight with some of them?
He did say something about the therapists though, while not saying they did a bad job, he did ask if I ever tried to raise my concerns with them, especially the last two. And I said I did try, but that for one, things improved a bit for a short while, but then went right back to how they were. Anyway, it occurred to me afterward that hey, maybe the many therapists situation is not entirely my fault. I did try to raise things with some of them, but they either got defensive or they kind of ignored it. Shouldn’t the therapist also have some responsibility? Maybe they also could have been engaging with me, instead of ignoring things. So when I thought about this, I felt a bit better about the ‘many therapists and still not better’ situation.
Though he still likely thinks I’m a freak. Sigh.
Then he also asked again about being suicidal, or did I hurt myself. I told him I don’t do anything like that. I also don’t starve myself, don’t drink, or do drugs. I just have this PTSD problem. Yep, he thinks I’m crazy.
We also, of course, touched on my family. Ouch, painful. One thing Ron said about my sister stuck with me afterwards. I mentioned I never see her, and that she seems to look down on me for not being an academic. He said that if I take that belief on, that there is something wrong with me, then the relationship would be toxic for me. Which is what I often do. When dealing with my family, I tend to feel deficient and at fault. At the same time as being angry with them.
But then if I could see my sister and not take her lack of interest in me personally, if I could see it as part of her own anxieties, then the relationship would not be toxic for me. It is one of the sorrows of my life that I essentially no longer have a sister, though she lives in the same city as I do. So I was thinking I might try asking her to go for coffee at some point, just as a tiny test.
Overall, Ron seemed a little less at ease than the first time I met him. I was wondering if there was a crisis in his personal life, hence the cancelling of appointments the day before. Or if he really wonders if I will be a good client, or how crazy I might actually be.
The upshot was I went home feeling pretty good, and plunged into some chores. After an hour or so I started to feel all emotional, and lay down for a while to try and deal with some of the feelings the session had thrown up. That was fine, I had nothing urgent to do and maybe this was good for me. I just had a low key day and then went to sleep.
At 3 am, I woke up full of a sharp sharp acute anxiety. It was more like fear than a milder anxiety. It was actually located in the side of my gut – that’s how I visualized it very clearly. A ring of fire, accompanied by all kinds of fear.
I’ve basically had this strong anxiety ever since, though every day it’s getting a bit weaker. It’s like a pain in my gut, though emotional, not literal. I can no longer fall asleep without some kind of pill, though I just take an over the counter one, nothing major.
Well – not what i like to pay therapy money for. Go for session, emerge with acute anxiety that lasts a week. See therapist again in two weeks to perhaps discuss. Great.
The thing is, I’ve felt these feelings before. They have dogged me through life. However, I’ve become quite good, or just lucky, about avoiding them by avoiding triggers. And here I’m paying someone and they happen to me.
The overwhelming fear does get triggered by certain men, and sometimes it is a man I have feelings for. But in this case, I can honestly say, I have no such feelings for Ron. No fantasies, no reveries. But I do strongly wish for him to like me. And I fear that he does not. Something about Ron appeals to me – I feel like I’d like to talk to him, and to hear what he has to say. And I know my fears about not being liked stem from me, more than the people that trigger them.
So I’m not ditching him as a therapist yet. If I could work through the anxiety, maybe I could become free of it in my life. Isn’t that what a therapist is for? However, I’ll have to see. I forgot in my session to mention my very anxious feelings when he didn’t get back to me for four days. I do tend to forget things like this.
So next time we meet, I have to bring this up. That won’t be for almost two weeks, and hopefully the fear will have faded by then. But I mustn’t ‘forget’. This is what I want to work on. What happens to me in these situations that triggers so much fear in me. Meantime, I get to feel afraid. But I can work with it. I can try and relax around it, and that helps. Though for the moment, the feeling keeps coming back.
At least I know what I want to talk about.
Art: Fairy of Despair, Shanti Marie