Getting to Know Another Therapist

I definitely had hesitations about meeting with another therapist after failing so spectacularly with my first choice. It’s hard to to trust anyone, let alone a complete stranger. But I ventured on to the next therapist and took the leap. Of course, making that leap on a Thursday on my lunch break? Probably not a wise choice.

This time I tried to be more clear when I was of course asked, why are you at therapy? What’s with this question, anyway? Everyone should be at therapy. Maybe someone should ask me, why haven’t you been to therapy for the last ten years, you idiot?

So I tried to explain my great big crazy mess – which definitely ended in tears. For someone who has a hard time trusting strangers, something about a therapist’s office sure gets me in that vulnerable place.

I’ve started realizing that the only way I can make it through a conversation about my best friend’s death is to be as generic as possible. “Oh, my friend that passed away.” But anything in detail, using her name, talking about her and how wonderful she was and I’m ugly crying so fast.

I made it through our first session relatively unscathed. It went pretty well. I felt at ease with her and planned to go back – at lunch again, because apparently that’s when her availability is.

Going back to work after a therapy appointment was rough though. It’s really hard to be that vulnerable and then have to get back into a different brain space. Also, had to fix my makeup a little bit. My 31st year is definitely not going as expected, but at least I’m working on it.

Will You be my Therapist?

When you scrap your therapist and know you still need therapy, you’ve got to keep moving. I couldn’t let that setback let me sink further. So I went back to researching therapists. A friend told me about the different licenses/degrees people could have and told me to look for specific things when choosing a new person.

I happened to be on Facebook one day (let’s be real, I live on that app) and saw a friend that worked for a therapy group. So I started looking into them, everything sounded good, so I sent an email about how to make an appointment.

I picked a few people off the website based on their profiles, or I should say, I picked a few female therapists. For some reason, I have no desire to ever see a male doctor for anything. I’m sure male therapists are great. But I just don’t feel comfortable.

So then I had to wait for an email back from the new place, and then I was asked to make a phone call.

I hate talking on the phone.

It was hard – I just tried to portray why I was leaving one therapist and looking for another. I’m trying to get over the minor PTSD about discussing The Egg for two weeks in a row. She seemed normal. She made it seem like I wasn’t crazy for thinking I needed a new therapist. So I decided to make it happen and make an appointment.

Now I’m just dreading the next time I have to answer the question “Why are you at therapy?” Because I obviously answered it wrong last time. And everything is still a mess.  And hey, can I ever get through that question without crying?

Second Therapy Session

After a strange first session with the therapist and her focus on The Egg, I decided I should meet with her second time, give it another chance.

Kind of like when I was dating, and I thought I should go on a second date with the guy who wanted to show me pictures of his kidney stone.

Turns out neither of them deserved a second chance.

This time, she started the appointment late, spent the first several minutes discussing caffeine and how much she needed it, got a cup of coffee, then decided to look through my paperwork. When we finally got the conversation going, she decided to check her phone several times while I talked.

Gee, that sure made me feel like what I was saying was important.

Then she started talking about The Egg again, for way too long. She even asked me what my plan was for the week to not get too much anxiety about pregnancy. I said that I was planning on trying not to take a pregnancy test. That I would just wait and see.

She said, “Nope. That won’t work.”

Again I questioned, is this therapy? Because if this is therapy, I could have called a judgmental relative instead and saved my time. I thought the point would be to come up with strategies to ease my anxiety. I guess not.

The therapist literally said that the only thing I could do that week, was build an altar to The Egg and make offerings to it. She even googled a picture of a buddhist altar to use as a reference point. She was mostly joking, but she spent a lot of time talking about it.

She also complained twice about the cost of her infertility treatments.

Are we both here for the right reasons?

We finally got to stop talking about my eggs and fertility – just to focus on my husband and how he felt about trying for a baby. I was talking about our sex life and how I want to try not to make it a chore, and her great advice?

Show more cleavage around the house and wear sexy yoga pants. Seriously.

I’m not sure if it was the altar business, the checking her cell phone, or the cleavage advice that put me over the edge – but in any case, I decided I’m not going back to use her therapy services.

And that decision is really hard. It’s hard to open yourself up to a stranger in person. It’s hard to even decide for yourself that you need therapy. Everything already felt like a giant mess, and now here’s one more thing to figure out. Where do you go from there? Which therapist do you try next? Do you hold back at the next appointment for fear that this therapist isn’t “the one” either? I already have anxiety about my anxiety. Now I have anxiety about finding someone to talk about my anxiety with! Did I go into the appointment in the wrong mindset? What do I tell the next therapist when she inevitably asks, “Why are you at therapy?”

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.