These were my words as I entered my psychologist’s office, I think I’ve only said them ten times max to my memory. Some issues came to light from the brute force anxiety attack I had after my session last Friday, and more mild one the week before. I realized how anxious I’ve been in sessions for at least the last four weeks, and some earlier but I cannot exactly reference. I was in performance mode, being extra me and on my toes, things that make it difficult to cozy in and speak about the sensitive things. If I ever did, it came from poor impulse control and I would fret about it for days. This is the guy, the one that’s on my side and does not judge. Except he’s different.
He is my relatively new psychologist, my previous one needed a leave of absence. I wasn’t sure where to go and didn’t want to start over with someone new, leaving me searching the internet at practices that didn’t sound right. After a couple of days, I received an email from the practice saying that they were there to help with grief, etc., that wasn’t my problem but choosing a therapist there was not appealing. They’re all perfectly nice, but I couldn’t see any of them as being a good partner. Regardless, I reached out to the office manager. I was relieved when he said I was included in the list of people the owner of the practice would be willing to take on.
The first few sessions went well. I treated them like crash courses of me, my family, & my crazy, pouring out information with no breaks. It shifted into talking about my mother mostly and how I was handling life, but nothing deep, I wasn’t ready, but I did like him. The middle sessions I did leave revved a few times, and now we have the last couple weeks of anxiety smashing.
I ruminated quite a bit since our last session a week ago. I posted to my support group and the responses went from, “Ditch ’em” to “Talk to him”, I went with the latter. So why was I having anxiety about these sessions? I narrowed it down to three things: He doesn’t have many tells and is hard to read, the personalities & styles of my psychologists were very different, I didn’t know how pathologizing he was, and he hadn’t yet been through the trenches with me.
My declarations continued to how he is fracking impossible to read. He is a pain in the butt to figure out. I realize he’s trained to be neutral, but it throws me off center and it was the one that related on him the most. When I told him this the perfect reaction came out and his response was entirely readable. He became human, automatons don’t blush down their neck. He also had something I didn’t lock onto before, his eyes are impossible to look away from, something his own therapist said to him in Uni. I may have missed many reading opportunities while in tunnel vision looking at his eyes. Regardless of the cause, we made a deal, to make me more comfortable as I learned more about him. When I am having an issue where I can’t tell what’s going on in his head, I ask and I will receive an honest answer.
I’ve had my time with medical professionals and have a lack of trust with diagnostic issues. It took years to get my diagnosis correct and be medicated appropriately. The pathologizing question was met with a mostly non-answer, that I realized on the way out, but will be answered next week. He said that he felt I was far more pathologizing of myself than he is to me, using my “crazy actions” when I first came to my jimjilbang. One was that I wrote a tiny letter to my scrubwoman at the time, in Korean, thanking her for her assistance. When received she laughed in embarrassment. When I wrote that letter I felt lost, alone, needy, and fearful, so I have a different take than him which was You did a kind action and showed caring & thoughtfulness. Hm.
He and my last psychologists are different. He’s in the cool color spectrum and she lives in the warm. With her, we sat in a darkened room with old furniture and warm colors on the wall. We spoke of all things crazy, including my family & life, not only my sanity. We conversed and she moved all around, quite easy to read, which, for me, meant easy to spill all to, because I had a clue. However, I also was her patient for years. I’m not sure what would have been if I had been sane at the start, but I do have memories of anxiety issues after some of her appointments as well. My current guy works in a larger office with picture windows and cool colors, quite the contrast. He responds more and engages in conversations that I didn’t expect previously. He offers advice within the session at any time, something I’m not used to. I suppose I’m not as transitioned as I thought.
We spoke of how my Jimjilbang is fully safe because I joined in the height of my mixed episode plus psychosis, I did & said things out of the ordinary and no one blinked an eye. I was treated with more care than I am now without noticeable judgment. They were with me during this time so I know they can handle it and I can be here without fear. The same was my last psychologist. She started with me pre-PTSD. down my swirly road into low functioning, and helped greatly with my psychosis and diagnosis. She was comforting and didn’t blink once. This is what I call being in the trenches. weathering the storm, and a few others. As a rule, I don’t let the crazy out until it’s involuntary and uncontrollable. A whole other topic, right up there, pathologizing. I wish I could have this connection with him, to have that confidence that is only earned over time, but I’m not willing to create that artificially. I won’t be downing caffeine pills or stopping my meds to kick one off and let him fu, but the thought did come to mind where I will have a big episode eventually. Hm
A point of me sharing this is that, despite the problems, if you’re stable enough for a conversation like this with your therapist, or other that should be a safe person, have it. There will be a conversation and benefits for both of you. If they don’t see that, I’d reevaluate the relationship.