How Did I Get Here?

So how did I happen to arrive in a therapist’s office with stained IKEA furniture? (Does anyone else judge the furniture/decor of their therapist’s office? No? Just me, then.)

Can anyone get through their thirties without therapy? I’ve had bouts of depression and pretty regular anxiety for a long time. My best friend died unexpectedly 4-1/2 years ago and while I know I will probably never get over it, I also know that I never handled it. I’ve spent most of that time pretending she isn’t dead, doing anything I can to avoid thinking about the enormous hole her death left in my life. I probably should have went to therapy then, but I knew I couldn’t handle talking about it. Still can’t really.

But now, I’m newly married, I quit birth control, and my hormones and emotions are all over the place. There are still days where I can barely get out of bed. Weeks where I just go through the motions and barely make it through. Times where my anxiety is so bad, I can’t breathe or think or do anything.

I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, or even what I want to be next week. I know that many other people feel like me, but it sure doesn’t seem like it most days. I hate that I compare myself to others but how can you not when it seems like everyone is on a path that seems straightforward and I’m wandering around with a broken compass.

I get in fights with my husband because I often can’t communicate how I’m feeling. And I constantly wonder if I’m cut out to be a wife, or a friend, or a daughter, or a sister.

I’m still not sure if therapy is the right thing – but I do know that I need someone to help me figure out everything that’s happening in my brain. I probably need to get past judging their furniture and choice of artwork though.

First Therapy Session

As mentioned in my first post, I went to a therapist for the first time in a long time with the intention of finding someone I could meet with regularly. After answering the initial, “Why are you at therapy” question, I feel like something went wrong.

Maybe it was me, maybe I listed too many issues, maybe I should have emphasized which issues I felt were more important.

Or, more likely, the problem was her.

The therapist picked out one thing and focused on it most of the session, and it was just the wrong thing. She also works as an infertility counselor so when I said I was trying to have a baby and having some anxiety around that – she decided that it was my number one problem. She also decided that I have a Type A personality and that I have gotten everything I ever wanted in life just by deciding that I wanted it.

This is not me at all. First, while I do find trying to make a baby a frustrating waiting game, it’s not my biggest problem. And second, while I’ve never really cared what my personality type is enough to look into it, I’m definitely not Type A – and having her decide that about me within 15 minutes of meeting me was irritating. I even tried to correct her, and that didn’t work.

Then she spent most of our session talking about how I have no control over when I get pregnant, that it’s all up to The Egg.

The Egg is in control.

The Egg gets to decide when it gets pregnant.

The Egg does whatever it wants, whenever it wants.

…is this therapy? If this is what therapy is, no thanks. I’ll go back to my adult coloring books.

I know I have no control over the process except to do all the things I’ve already been doing, i.e. period tracking, peeing on ovulation sticks several days a month, having sex during my fertile window. And actually I’m not super worried about this process. I just got married in June and have only been trying a few months and know it can take time.

I’d rather focus on my anxiety and why I have anxiety around this. Why I compare myself to others constantly. Or maybe the depression I’ve been having for months and how I can work on that before getting pregnant. Maybe my fears about post-partum depression. Just how to figure out everything that’s going on in my life and how I can work on managing my emotions.

We did spend a few minutes talking about some of my other issues, and she decided that we should meet weekly and talk about Trauma Therapy related to my best friend passing  away and work on how I think about myself.

I decided to meet with her one more time – but to also put my feelers out for another therapist.

 

“Why did you come to therapy?”

Last week, I went to a first appointment with a therapist. I’ve went to therapy a couple times in life, for a few sessions each time. Once when I was writing suicidal poetry in middle school and once after grad school when I had a job that covered two sessions for free. Just enough to make me feel super messed up and ugly cry in front of a stranger, but not enough to help.

But now, I’m 31, I have a real grown up job, and due to strange medical circumstances, have ended up hitting my deductible really early. So in an effort to maybe finally get my life together, I decided therapy was the ticket.

Choosing a therapist is hard – you basically just look at their website, make sure they seem okay, and go meet this stranger and decide if you make a connection. So I chose someone in-network, who had a decent website and, there I am. Walking up 3 flights of stairs to an office in a skinny tall brick building to share my life with a stranger. And then it all starts with this question: why did you come to therapy?

I had already formulated a list in my head in preparation. I’m almost 32, I’m a newlywed, I’m trying to have a baby (like really trying), I’m trying to lose weight, I have major anxiety, my best friend died 4 years ago and I never tried to cope, I’m trying to make and keep friends. I’m trying, and struggling, and living, and it feels like a mess all the time. It’s hilarious, and it’s sad, and it’s annoying, and we’re all just trying to make it work.