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I'm Listening

Posted 04-21-2010 at 08:35 AM by Hifiman

Late last year I wrote about seeing a therapist. It was at a particularly low point in my life and I felt like I had the weight of the world on my shoulders. I was desperate to make things better, but it took a couple of attempts to make things happen. The first time I made the effort to see someone I called a place to get approval. I got that approval a few days later, but that's as far as I got. I never took things further. It wasn't until much later that I made another attempt. I had no idea if would go through with it until I walked in her office. I'm glad I did. It was nothing like I thought it would be, but I do have one complaint. There's no long couch for me to lie on. I thought all therapist had something for patients to lie down on.

Getting to the office wasn't so bad in the first place. It's in an office complex. There are buildings on either side of a walkway and there's a stream running down the middle with lots of nice plants on the banks. It's shaded and very serene. I love looking at it as I walk by. The stream is fed by a fountain near the parking lot. I can't explain it, but I have a thing about fountains. I like this one, but I always obsess about it because it leans ever so slightly to one side. Every time I walk past it I wonder if the people who installed it didn't take care to make it level or if it shifted on its own over time. Then again the lean is so slight that I wonder if it's truly leaning or if I'm just imagining it. Each time I pass it I try to figure it out. Can you begin to see why I needed these visits to the therapist?

The front office to this behavioral group is pretty much what you'd see in any small doctor's office except the magazine choices are bit better. There's not a People or O magazine in sight. It's a very good sign that they know Oprah can push people like me over the edge. There's also no receptionist in sight. They are behind a frosted glass window and if you want to talk to one you have to knock. I did that once when I first had to stop in there and drop off some paperwork. The woman who opened the window looked at me like I had broken some sort of rule or the therapy code of conduct or something.

On my first visit I didn't want to make the mistake of knocking on the window again. It was weird walking in there. There was another person sitting there waiting to be seen. It's one of those situations where you walk in and you don't make eye contact with anyone. That's great. It's like using the urinal in a bathroom. Eyes forward and keep your thoughts to yourself. Unfortunately I can't help but try to look at other people in there. I try really hard to catch a glimpse of someone and then I wonder why they're in therapy. The whole time I'm worried the other people are seeing me trying to covertly check them out and they're thinking to themselves that I might have waited too long to start therapy.

Eventually someone opened the door to call that person back. The person opening the door then reached over to a bank of light switches on the wall and turned one off. That was the first time I noticed those switches and then I saw the names of the doctors above each switch. Oh, I have to turn the switch on to let the doctor know I'm there. I get it. I really wish that other person waiting had let me know. As I was waiting I noticed someone else come in and take a seat. That person must've been new too because he didn't flick the switch. I could have been helpful and told him, but I really liked that no eye contact vibe that was going on in this place. I figured he'd figure it out soon enough. I have no idea if he ever did because it was my turn to be called back.

I like my therapist and her room of therapy. Aroomatherapy? It's very homey and comfy. My therapist has a bit of a hippy vibe. Usually that would make me run out the door, but it really is slight. It's more in the vein of Alanis Morissette. I can deal with that.

The whole therapy session has been very enlightening. I've talked about things I don't talk about with anyone, though I have written about most of them here on PT. It's that talking thing that I really needed. The solitude of being alone with my thoughts all day was really pushing me over the edge. I'm an over thinker by nature and I'm always trying to anticipate every scenario. Mostly I fixate on the potentially bad scenarios that I imagine. The greatest thing about therapy has been hearing someone say that my thoughts and feelings aren't out there. That many people feel the same way and go through the same things. For someone like me that's a huge relief that cannot be overstated. It makes me feel normal. Well, normalish anyway.

Now I want to bring up the subject of ending this therapy with my therapist. I want to hear what she thinks about it. I know I still have plenty of issues to work through, but they all seem so completely insignificant to me. I haven't had the feelings of doom and gloom for months now. I don't anticipate being that person again any time soon. I'll do what she says, but I've got to let her know that if she wants people to stick around she needs a bigger couch, a nice pillow, and maybe a comfy blanket for her patients.
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