'Twas the night before my first therapy appointment...

I had big plans of writing a funny, rhyming poem to model "'Twas the Night Before Christmas," but on my commute this morning I couldn't think of any words that rhymed with counseling or therapy, so I just gave up.

Anyway...I took a huge step two weeks ago and reached out to schedule an appointment with a therapist....for myself. My insurance sucks (THANKS FOR NOTHING, OBAMA!), but my employer has a decent program that provides six free sessions with a therapist to help employees handle any sort of stress. So....six free sessions, here I come because let me tell you, I have stress on top of stress. I am up to my ears in stress...it's evident in my filthy language and anxiety attacks and severe lack of motivation to do anything other than binge watch re-runs of Everybody Loves Raymond.

But if I'm being honest....I'm terrified of my first appointment tomorrow. I don't have a great track record of saying totally normal things when meeting people for the first time...especially when my husband isn't present to act as a buffer. When we first moved to Omaha, I tried joining a running group in Gretna. When I arrived in the parking lot fifteen minutes early to meet who I thought would be my new friends, I felt nauseous and shaky. I didn't think to bring my runner's mace....What if these people are serial killers? This is a terrible day to forget my mace. My dad would be so pissed....  I thought to myself.

One by one, spandex-clad people emerged from their cars and formed a small circle...I knew those were the runners since only runners feel compelled to wear spandex everywhere they go. I reluctantly pulled my nervous body from my vehicle and tip-toed over to the group. "Um--are you guys the running club?" I asked. The four spandex-clad folks looked my way, and cheerily affirmed that, yes, they were in fact the running club. They seemed to not notice my anxious, thirteen year-old girl demeanor. Soon we began our run; I loosened a bit as the the group naturally paired off by paces. My new running friends asked the typical small talk questions: What's your name? Where are you from? What do you do for a living? Do you have kids? I answered all of them politely and with clear, succinct answers providing them with no extra information out of fear that I'd say something stupid. Soon I found myself running with a man in his 40s who turned out to be college buddies with a former colleague of mine. Eventually he grew tired of asking questions. We ran in silence for about half a mile, and the awkwardness about killed me. I searched my brain for questions to ask him, but all I could think of was, "What did you have for lunch yesterday?" Before I could realize how stupid the question was, I asked it. I seriously asked a stranger what he had for lunch the day before....WHO THE HELL ASKS THAT QUESTION??? Needless to say, I was not included on the email list for future group runs despite my asking to be included in these emails.

I have so many stories like that one because I have apparently lost my social skills as I've aged (my husband just broke it to me that I never had social skills...what a jerk.). So I'm scared for tomorrow--mostly because this is a new person who I'll be meeting with on my own for my own weird issues. I mean, what should I say to start? I only have six sessions, so I have to get down to business right away with Collette...we ain't got time for small talk about what we had for lunch the day prior. But here's the thing: I could barely utter out a reason for wanting counseling when I called to schedule my appointment.

"What do you need to be seen for?" the receptionist inquired.

"Um..well, I don't know. I mean, I have two kids we adopted from foster care and all I want to do is cry and watch Everybody Loves Raymond," I replied (not really in that full context, but it's what I wanted to say).

I worry that Collette won't understand my quirks. That she'll either A) declare me too damn weird to help or B) dismiss me as a spineless, dramatic baby who is creating problems in her own mind. I worry that I'll start to cry the minute my butt hits the seat and the door shuts trapping Collette to drown in my tears. I worry that I'll start talking at a pace too rapid to comprehend, sharing funny stories in an attempt to make her laugh because this is what I do when I'm nervous---try to draw more attention to myself.

I wish I could be one of those normal, super strong people who lets tomorrow worry about tomorrow, who prays and then feels all better. I am not those people. I am a bag of nerves squished into a tiny body. If I have any hopes of sleeping tonight I will have to take a sleep-aid with at least one beer (CALM DOWN. This will happen after my kids go to bed, of course...). Nevertheless, I am proud of myself for working past my own pride to try and get some help in dealing with all my crazy. If you're of the praying persuasions, pray for Collette--she's in for a world of weird tomorrow afternoon.


Janny Wanny said...

Ah, Danielle, you are far too hard on yourself. Few of us are the kind of persons who can immediately become "friends/friendly" with strangers. That is one of the reasons I rarely go to parties where there are large numbers of unknown people. I just am not that socially relaxed.
Having suffered from anxiety and depression myself over my life time and spent a fortune on counseling in those years, I can say this about your sessions (which you have probably already started: There isn't much you can say or do as far as your therapist is concerned that hasn't been said or done before. I cried an ocean of tears there. Therapists are there to help, not judge.
Good luck. You are very brave to post this for the world.

Jenstastny said...

Danielle, you and I might share an anxious soul. I've lived all of this! We should get together and talk soon.