21 April 2016

therapist homework

So. I have a therapist now. I feel so odd saying that. You know I'm kind of a psychology junkie, but I never thought I'd be on this end of it.

It was weird at first but then he seriously used the word sexting and I decided I like him.

I like the techniques he uses- mind over mood, cognitive therapy. The idea that thoughts and behaviors and feelings are all interconnected and can be manipulated. Wrong and right is subjective.

I made it very clear when I first walked in that I know I need to focus on me.
I am under no illusion that I can fix anyone else.

I decide how I react to situations and I decide how I feel. I can learn techniques to improve communication between myself and others. I can improve myself, I can repair my self-esteem, and I can improve my relationships.

My ultimate goal: No matter what happens, I will be okay.

I know what I need to do, and what I want to accomplish, but it's so overwhelming. I felt like an unbiased third party would really help me sort my thoughts and guide me. And it has.

After talking a while, I was given a few techniques to help cope with the anxiety.

He told me to set aside an hour a week to focus on my worries. Whenever I felt like worrying, tell myself to leave it for my "worry hour." During that hour, he suggested writing down all of my worries. Then each week I'd be able to look at my past worries and see that 1. Hardly any of them actually came true and 2. I don't care about them as much as I used to and 3. The ones that persist, I can address.

I've always found therapeutic relief from blogging, so I figured this technique would work for me.

I went out and bought a special notebook just for my worries. I picked out one that gave me joy when I looked at it. It's purple with gold polka dots.

At first I used that worry hour liberally. Like every day. And then, less frequently. And he was right. The worries did not (yet) come true, and were replaced with new worries that are theoretically just as useless at the old worries. It still doesn't prevent my worries, but what a neat tool.

My other "assignment" was to find a hobby. Something to focus on, something to provide an enjoyable distraction from the worries.

Oh, if that hasn't been the ultimate struggle of the past few years. The problem is finding something that I like that I'm ready to commit to. I like a little of a lot of things.

I joined a few meetup groups, including a book club, so I figure that's a start. Maybe I can simply do a little of a lot of things, and that will be the perfect thing.

1 comment:

Drew said...

You know how I feel about therapy. It's the v. best. I find that some sessions are duds, most are good/fine because you get to spend some dedicated time talking/thinking about how you are, but it's all worth it for the times you really hit on something. Maybe you would have figure it out on your own at some point, but that outside, third party perspective can totally help the process along. I'm THRILLED for you. Congrats!