Yesterday was difficult and I was vulnerable and something happened that should not have happened involving this blog.
This is a global comment to those in the therapy field who read my blog (I'm aware of four now. Each one that I'm aware of has contacted me either in the comments field, through email, or in person by telephone, chatting, or face-to-face): I am incredibly honest about what I feel. This means the picture presented is one-sided and not representative at all of the reality about my interaction with Therapist. He is often my scapegoat and the recipient of all bad feelings--on my blog.
In person, we have a good relationship, although yesterday I was mad at him. I don't tell everything that happens in therapy sessions--I only talk about the things I'm thinking about when I post. I don't discuss the frequency or length of my sessions. I will say, however, that Therapist lives a long way from me and has been available to me through telephone and chatting whenever I have needed him. I often email with questions, which he answers within a couple of hours, or lets me know if there will be a delay. Yesterday he set up an appointment to talk by phone about some of the things that were upsetting me.
I appreciate the things said in the comment by JennVan. I also received an email from another therapist reader. But I realized when I read their words how very little I actually say beyond discussing my feelings of the moment and whining. I also realized that I purposely say very little about what is actually happening in my therapy sessions because I don't always know what I think of them, and I'm not prepared to hear the thoughts of others until I've figured that out. Often, when I do, I have no more desire to talk about it.
I hope those who read who are finding value as I sort through my life here will continue to read and to comment--but please recognize that this is a tiny part of the whole picture, and from my perspective, only. I'm certain if Therapist could put in his two-cents here, there would be a different picture altogether.
Having provided that lengthy explanation, here is what happened:
I'm tired. I'm tired of stress and working and bad things that seem to keep happening. In the midst of that, I'm tired of PTSD and panic attacks and feeling helpless and immobile. Yesterday those things felt overwhelming and aggravating. When I read the comment and email I've mentioned above, I immediately grasped the ideas expressed in them as my next "task". I decided I needed to do those things with or without Therapist.
Then he decided to check in with me.
Am I okay? he wonders. No. I'm not. Do I want to talk about it? he asks. Maybe. We make an appointment to talk in a couple of hours. He finishes early and we end up talking much sooner.
And I become very upset with him. No. We can't work on any of the things I suggest. Therapist has never said no to me before. He has never told me I can't.
Therapist: Sam, we've talked about this. Before we can do any work of the type you suggest, you have to learn to manage the stress in your life. Right now you're in such a state that anything we do will have to be repeated later, and it could actually be harmful to you.
me: I don't understand.
Therapist: I think you do.
me: Help me understand again.
Therapist: Okay. You have Panic Disorder coupled with PTSD. You're not sleeping. You're not eating. You're overexercising. You're under more stress than most people can handle who don't have the other things I just mentioned. Until some of that calms down, we can't do any concrete work.
Therapist: Because things have a way of getting twisted and becoming something they're not when you feel what you're feeling now. On top of that, we could actually undo some of the work you've completed, should your emotional stress level escalate more.
me: So--what do I do?
Therapist: The things we've discussed. Meditation. Deliberately slowing down. Taking time to be in the moment. Yoga. Creative writing. Mindfulness. Using all your senses to help you relax.
me: I'm good at Yoga.
Therapist: The physical part, I'm sure you excel at. How are you at the breathing? The meditation?
me: I suck.
Therapist: That's where the focus should be.
me: Other options?
Therapist: If the time comes that you wish to try medication, I'll refer you to a medical doctor. But you've said you don't want that, and I'll respect your wishes. But unless you're able to get this under control, we really can't do anymore at this point.
me: I think taking a pill would be even more stressful for me.
Therapist: Yes, you've said that before. Again, I'm letting you decide. But Sam, you have to start sleeping--eating--taking breaks from the stuff that's driving you.
me: Okay. But just so you know--all this stuff you're saying is making me more stressed. I think I'm going to throw up.
Therapist: What do you want to hear?
me: The truth--always. So thank you. But could you please tell me, just for now, that we'll work on the other stuff someday? Even if that's not true, I want to hear it.
Therapist: Well, of course, it IS true. We will definitely continue what we've started when you're able to complete the work successfully. Yes, Sam, we'll be working on it very soon, I think.
Naturally, at that point I was gone. I heard him tell me he would refer me to another professional--took it out of context and decided he didn't want to work with me anymore--and he disliked me--and he was tired of me--and I was just fine with that.
I was mad at him the rest of the day and most of the night. I pouted dreadfully.
Thankfully, I have Darrin--who let me spout off and listened with wide-eyes, but never once argued or contradicted me.
Thankfully, I have a friend or two who will chat with me, or talk on the phone, who are able to point out my idiocy and still let me know they love me.
Thankfully, I was at the end of a PTSD day.
This morning I woke up sane. And enormously embarrassed. And I spent 90 minutes thinking. Today has been low-key and peaceful, and I'm still mortified. At some point I'm going to have to contact Therapist and ask him what was really said in our phone call, because right now I only remember that he was mean and nasty (and I know he wasn't) and he hurt my feelings (which is absolutely stupid) and he doesn't want to work with me anymore (which was never said--but I still heard it).
And I have no idea how I let all this happen, but it did.
So for those of you who actually made it to the end of this post, I have a surprise.
Follow these directions exactly:
Combine three cups of chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl (You can use any combination of semisweet, bittersweet, or milk chocolate, but be sure it's high quality. I like Guittard semi-sweet the best. My mom prefers to use one cup of milk chocolate to two cups of semi-sweet). Pour in one can sweetened condensed milk (I use the fat-free, which is kind of silly, but I do it anyway) and microwave for one minute on high. Stir and return for 30 - 40 more seconds, until chocolate is completely melted. Stir in a lot of vanilla and a whole bunch of walnut halves. Stir until chocolate is glossy and smooth. Spread on waxed paper and allow to harden and cool. Eat with abandon, preferably after real food is in your stomach. Have a glass of water standing by. Share any leftover pieces with people you love. Or just eat them all.