I'm no stranger to therapy. This is my fourth time in therapy, but this is the first time I've been when I haven't been in absolute crisis. I'm doing it for my own mental health--preventive care if you will. I'm not even sure yet if I'll go every week (can you say "$$$$$"?), but I do think it's worth the cash. I see it as an investment in myself, something I'm resistant to do but something I'm trying to do more of now.
Living in an urban area, there are literally a bajillion (that's right, a bajillion) therapists around. So, I looked for pastoral counselors (they have clinical and spiritual training), and found a woman (really prefer a woman) who is a Methodist pastor (yay--Methodist like me) and whose office is right by my old workplace. Convenience was a big deciding factor for me. When I lived in CT, I had to take I-95 at rush hour to get to my therapist's office, which resulted in me feeling really on edge and unfocused when I got there. So this time, I was pleased to be able to jump on the Metro without having to worry about traffic except for the tourists who are once again invading. (Grrr--it's stand to the RIGHT people!)
I really over-thought the whole thing beforehand. I was worried that we wouldn't connect, that I wouldn't feel like I could be honest, that I would have my people-pleasing tendencies return and feel like I had to be completely, uber self-aware. Luckily, none of those things ended up being true. I really, really liked her. She was warm, interactive, and safe. And pregnant. VERY pregnant. That means she'll be out of counseling for at least 8 weeks starting in June. Something to worry about in another few weeks.
I was surprised that when she asked me why I had come in that I immediately started crying. For me, this was a good surprise. I never felt like I could cry with my old therapist. I'm not exactly sure why. We had more of an intellectual way of talking about my feelings. Today I felt much more connected to the physicality of my emotions. What I immediately felt was acceptance--she affirmed that this was a hard thing, that learning my relationship was not what I thought it was really sucks, that I had given so much to the relationship and was losing so much now. Thank God. Acceptance. Isn't that what we all want?
Nothing I said was any kind of revelation. I knew everything that I told her already. But I walked away feeling less burdened than when I walked in. That's really what I needed today. I look forward to working with her, to doing my own work outside of session (love that she gave me "homework" to do!), and to learning more about myself.
There's also a Macy's right next store. Thinking next time I'll add some retail therapy to the mix!