I tried two others before this, and it’s been an adventure, to say the least. Trying to find a therapist who is in-network for my insurance, is taking new clients, and has amenable hours is ridiculous enough. The first person I saw was a Licensed Social Work Counselor who was only a few years older than me. She was nice, but I had to leave work early to go see her, and I felt like all she focused on was my mom. Grief is indeed an issue for me, but the bigger issue is my inability to deal with uncertainty and ask for help/share my emotions with folks. So, away she went. The second person had really weird, inconsistent times available and her husband works at my same agency. I felt like I had to maintain a certain sense of togetherness, and I never could open up to her honestly. Not good. When I was lamenting this to a friend, she recommended her guy, who miraculously takes my insurance and will take new clients if they are direct referrals. (Yay friends! See, this is what happens when I ask for help – I get it, and progress is made. If only my brain could actually permanently grasp that.)
In therapy escapades, I finally saw a therapist I think I like.
I was very hesitant to see a male therapist, because apparently I’m sort of sexist. I thought I’d be too uncomfortable to share. The first session was sort of stiff, at least on my end it was. The second, though, was far better. Some of the things he said actually stuck with me, which is the goal, and motivated me enough to think and reflect on my own. Finally! So, hopefully he’ll be a keeper. He’s also close to my house and has evening, regular hours, which is great. I hated having to leave work early and worry about driving to random VA or downtown-DC places.
In our second session, we were talking about my week, and things that made me feel strongly. We ended up talking about my dad, his insensitivity, and his general absence from my life, which melded into general feelings of lack of support/aloneness. I got emotional, but sort of held it in how I normally do. A bit later, he was talking about how if that was only 25% of what I was feeling, then the people around me are making decisions and thinking as if that 25% is all I’m feeling, which isn’t true, and is why I need to be better at expressing myself. Moreover, I shouldn’t feel shitty about crying. He was like “we’re talking about your dead mother, distanced dad, and lack of support – doesn’t that seem pretty heavy? do you think crying because of those topics isn’t a normal reaction?” Which may seem obvious, but to me, was illustrative. If I’d been talking about those topics with someone else and they weren’t crying or displaying emotion, I would think it isn’t a big deal or think they’re broken…so why isn’t it OK for me to display them? I’ve got a long way to go before I’m OK with and comfortable with that type of emotion, but I have faith this guy can get me there.
Interesting sidenote…I’ve definitely used pain/S&m to force myself to express emotions so that I could better control my emotions in other situations. While that worked in the past, and may work in some situations in the future, it fell to shit when my mom died. When I need help but I have issues asking for it, and I’m shit at expressing emotion so people don’t see me crying (which may trigger them offering support before I ask for it), I end up sad and lonely and no pain or kink can fix that.