Thursday, July 31, 2014

Therapy today

So it's hard to believe that it was exactly a week ago today that I posted on Facebook the link to this blog.  I continue to be excited about being out there to the world and not being ashamed to say I have depression and anxiety.  I have had many kind messages and comments, several good conversations in real life, and some have confided in me that they, too, have similar struggles.  It has taken me about 25 years to get to this point, and I'm grateful to be out in the open.

However, when I walked into therapy today thinking I was going to be so excited to tell my therapist that I had taken this step it didn't quite work out that way.  As I often do, I walked in and kind of just froze up.  This happens often... I wasn't excited, I felt tense and nervous and so we talked about that for a bit.  Even after over a year with her, I still get nervous about opening up.  I actually have found that I'm more nervous and likely to freeze up when I have something positive to share.

So eventually we got around to talking about this whole being out in the open thing.  She asked me how I felt about it, I said excited but still wasn't really feeling it at that moment.  It's pretty amazing how quickly I forget the details of what happened in therapy... So it will get a bit blurry from here for a bit.  I know I spent some time talking about all that has happened as a result from putting that post out there, mostly the things I mentioned above about people's responses.

Let me take a step back for a second and share some background.  I am one of those people who feels like I need to resolve everything.  If I have an issue with someone I don't feel comfortable around that person until we've talked it through.  At least in most of my relationships that's true.  I see people who are able to let things go and function fine around people they have unresolved conflict with.  I have never understood that.   I've always wanted to do that, but it just hasn't seemed to be something I could have any control over.  Things that had happened several years ago could still be triggered at a moments notice.

So back to therapy.  I was telling my therapist that I walked into one of those situations one day this week where I am often triggered and nothing really happened.  There was someone there who I feel I have these unresolved issues with.  I mean, I actually felt fine being in this environment and enjoyed myself for the short time I was there.  She wondered what had changed.  I couldn't really say.  I had talked with a separate friend about it this week so maybe that was it?  But I've talked about this issue with people before and nothing had changed.  So my therapist wondered about the possible connection between "coming out" this week and my not being triggered.  It's possible I suppose.

Whatever it is, there was clearly a shift there.  For the first time I had a real feeling sense that I may be able to resolve issues within myself without needing the other person's participation.  It's still very new to me, but it feels like this is a big deal.  How nice it would be to not take things so personally all the time, to have another tool in my belt for dealing with people who I struggle with.  This felt like a big breakthrough to me.  At that point I talked about how for several months I have felt like I'm just coasting along through therapy and not much is happening.  But I think the reality is that sometimes changes are taking root that I don't really see coming.  Lulls are normal, and I guess I never know when what I've been working on is going to result in some kind of breakthrough. 

I had another breakthrough towards the end of the session.  I was feeling very open now and was expressing myself much more easily.  I told her about how hard it is for me to tell her good things about myself.  I think that was why the anxiety at the beginning.  I have trouble thinking of myself in a positive light.  This week I had done this amazing thing of coming out to the world about my depression, a huge step, and I still am not giving myself credit and letting myself feel all the good that is coming out of this.  So she told me that this week she wants me to work on acknowledging how great I am, and how what I'm doing is really helping me and others as well.  I'll be working on it...

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