The couch

So, yeah, I’m seeing a therapist now.

I tried this twice before. Once in college, when my suitemates were being total bitches to me about god-knows-what. But I felt alientated and alone and loved by no one. So I went to one of the free counselors. Little good he did. “Yeah, your friends really do sound like they’re not such nice people.” Well, thanks for taking my side, but I was kind of hoping you could help me figure out how to cope with my feelings, dude.

Scratch that idea.

The second episode hit during that hot, steamy summer of 1995 in my adopted city of Chicago. I’d been there for a year and turned my life upside-down. New city. New job. Expensive studio apartment. New metabolism that bumped my weight up by at least ten pounds. New boyfriend (now husband) who I moved in with that summer but didn’t want anywhere near me because his apartment had no air conditioning and I was dying. Well, no, 700 other people were so I shouldn’t be so selfish. It was crazy hot and I was going crazy myself.

So off to a psychiatrist I went. I proceeded to talk, talk, talk, talk, talk on that fabled couch while she listened and said…nothing. Nada. Zip. Zero. Then she asked me how many sessions my insurance covered and proceeded to try to schedule all of them. Without even knowing for sure that I would need them. Talk about personable. I called the next day and cancelled the next appointment and returned to my semi-successful coping mechanism of dumping my problems on my girlfriends.

That strategy only works for so long. I weather life pretty well most times, yes. And my down days had been seeming fairly few for many years. But Scott’s unemployment, the finances, the guilt about being away from Devin so much, the fear about the future, all of it caught up with me. Along with a lifetime of insecurities that I directly attribute to my father. (Yep, you’ve gotta blame someone.) So I decided the third time must be the charm.

And it has been. I had session four with my therapist today and I’m enjoying it so far. It’s nice to have someone tell you that, yes, there is something you can do about your anxiety and insecurities. She listens, but she also talks to me, asks questions and presents coping solutions. So she’s OK. And I’m feeling OK lately too. Except for the fact that I really want to hug the throw pillow during my sessions but feel compelled not to.

4 thoughts on “The couch”

  1. Lori, I’m glad you found a therapist who possesses both empathy and competency. I think everyone could benefit from therapy. I spent about 9 months on the couch in my mid 20’s, and I could probably use some more now…You don’t realize how much you stuff down inside you just to get through the day. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I’m so happy to hear that you have found an objective ear attached to a helpful human. It’s so rare to find that combination, but a good therapist is worth so much.
    Just wanted to let you know, too, that you are not alone. I spent most of my late 20s on the couch trying to resolve my backward universe…and many days I think it’s about time to return and start talking again.
    Life sucks at times, and no one’s around passing out coping manuals. You are simply amazing for having the courage and faith in yourself to let someone else give you a hand with it all. Most people wouldn’t ever take that step.

  3. Hey there, I popped over from atomictonic btw.

    Just wanted to add that I went through some therapy a few years ago (ok 10) but it really helped me figure out why I do the things I do, and gave me not only some awareness that it was happening, but you know, some ways to stop.

    Like, I’m pretty passive agressive. I reflexively put what I want to do last. (learned that one from my momma’s lap.) Then, if I’m unhappy, I lash out in petty spitting ways.

    I should say I used to. Now that I know I do this, I quite often stop myself and say, what do I WANT? Then I say, I want to do that. It’s a great change and makes me a much happier person.

    Just a case study to say – way to go, therapy can really help in a good, concrete way.

  4. very proud of you! I think that writing on a blog is also therapeutic, so thanks for feeling like youi can trust us!

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