Therapy debrief

For those of you who are first-time visitors to my blog, you should probably just exit this page and find another blog to read. But if you insist on reading or feel obligated because you know me, consider reading this post first. At any rate---on Wednesday I had my first therapy appointment....here's my debriefing of the whole experience:

  • Arrived 15 minutes early as requested to fill out loads of paperwork. It seems excessive that I have to write my social security number at the top of all 10 pages of paperwork. I make a mental note to watch more closely for identity theft. Also, there is a question that asks, "Why do you wish to be seen?" They provided two lines for my response. TWO LINES. How am I supposed to A) boil my answer down to TWO LINES?!? and 2) Come up with something succinct and non-crazy in the 30 seconds I have allotted to that particular question?!? I consider asking for a blank sheet of paper to staple to this sheet, but the receptionist is not at her desk...I assume she's chain-smoking in the bathroom. 
  • Paperwork is completed and turned in. While waiting, I stare awkwardly at the people in the waiting room. For a minute I think about asking the guy next to me, What's your deal, huh? Do you have anxiety, too? Do you sometimes cry yourself to puking? But before I lean over to him, I think about what my husband would do (WWND--What Would Nate Do?)...and he definitely would NOT ask that. So, I refrain. 
  • I'm too distracted and shifty to read. I sit and listen to the music playing in the waiting room instead. It's horrible piano music that would only be played in funeral homes and occasionally is interrupted with Pandora ads. I assume the station must be called, "Music to Die To." 
  • The clock ticks to 1:00, the time of my scheduled appointment. My stomach flips. I tell myself that it's probably the Runza talking, but I start scanning the nearest exit routes, just in case. 
  • At 1:04, a kindly, older woman calls my name. I pray she doesn't say my last name because literally everyone I've ever ran into in this town knows someone from my husband's family....and I don't want word to get out that Nate married some nut-job....she doesn't say my last name. I consider hugging her for that, but when I run it through my WWND filter, I decide it would probably start us off on the wrong foot. 
  • Once we are both seated in the room, she begins reviewing my paperwork. First, she asks, "So when you change things, you just decide to change them all at once, huh?" I assume she's talking about my note mentioning expanding our family by two kids through foster-adopt, changing jobs, and moving to a new town all within 12 months. I respond with a firm, "Yup," careful to not release too much information. She stares at me for roughly 10 seconds, blinks once, stares again for about 20 seconds, blinks again, and then goes back to the paperwork. Next question: "What are your symptoms?" My mind races. I explain that I don't sleep well because I can't shut my brain off, I mention my ever-present racing thoughts, that sometimes I'm reduced to hyperventilating, and that I've been known to puke from anxiety. It all tumbles out quickly, and then I feel sick (it's probably not the Runza this time). I can feel tears burning my eyes, begging to be released, but I bite the inside of my lip hard to redirect the pain. I'm able to prevent any eye-leakage, and I almost shout, VICTORY! (Later when I told my husband about this, he told me he was pretty sure I should've cried. I told him I was pretty sure he was wrong, that I can't cry on the first time because then she'll win. He just shook his head. I'm still counting this as a win.) "What do you hope to gain from our sessions?" she inquired. I wanted to say that I hoped to be cured of my crazy, to learn how to be a better dancer, and maybe a sandwich. But....I gave a canned, boring response about wanting to sleep at night and be able to deal with life. 
  • The questions went on like that for awhile. I just shifted awkwardly on the couch and tried to read all the book titles on her shelf to distract me. It was about 1:45, and I had to pick up my kids at 2:00. As I looked at my watch, she asked if I had any pregnancies and/or miscarriages. "That's a little personal, don't you think?" I replied....just kidding. I didn't say that. I just replied with a terse, no. She asked the same question again. What is with this lady? I think. The irrational part of me considers this some sort of emotional game, so I gave her the same answer like it's a competition to see who will break down first. I probably should have told her about our infertility, but I didn't want to reveal too much information on the first round....also, it was 1:47, so there was no time to delve into an issue of that magnitude.
And then it was over. Once in the car, I let my body relax for the first time all day....and then I jumped right back into mom-mode: I picked up my kids from school, shuttled them to various appointments, listened to the run-down of their days, helped them with chores, cooked dinner, and talked to my husband about his day. When you're a mom, there's not a lot of time to process things. The jury is still out about this therapy business...honestly, I kind of felt gypped in this first session since I didn't get to lie down on the couch and she didn't really give me any advice even though I shared some intimate tid-bits with her (a person who I don't even know). I do worry that I wasn't transparent enough with her, but when you think about this whole therapy set-up, it is sort of weird that you are expected to spill the most private parts of your life with a near stranger in the first hour appointment. What the hell is up with that? I'm not good at verbally articulating myself, either. I've decided that next time I'll bring my Speak and Spell along to help out.
For those of you born after 1992, here is a Speak & Spell. 

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