Tag Archives: therapy

But I Pay You to Be an Infallible Robot

Me: “I did what you suggested, but I think it made me feel worse.”
Therapist: “Ok, well. That is information.”
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Therapist: “I apologize if it made you feel worse. Sometimes my advice is wrong.”
Me: “What?”
Therapist: “I make mistakes.”
Me: “WHAT?!”
Therapist: “I am only human.”
Me: “YOU ARE?!”

Afraid

Teaching kid a new math skill…

Kid: “Can you show me one more time? I’m not ready to try.”
Me: “I showed you several times– at this point you will learn best by doing it yourself. Just give it a try!”
Kid: “But sometimes I get afraid to try.”
Me: “There is nothing to be afraid of. Trying is how you learn, and if it doesn’t go the way you want it to, that just gives you good information for how to try again. Learning and success is a process, kiddo!”
Kid: “So you mean if I get it wrong, just learn from it?”
Me: “Yes! You got it!”
Kid: “When you say it like that, it doesn’t sound so scary.”
Me: “Exactly. It really is THAT easy. Just try! I promise you, you have nothing to lose!”

(2 hours later)

Therapist: “So have you taken any steps to pursue a writing career?”
Me: “No. I’m too afraid to try.”

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Literally The One Thing

Therapist: “I’m starting to notice this about you– you tend to start things from a place of assumed failure. You approach new things, even new conversations, or small tasks, as something you’re going to screw up. And immediately starting from this assumption puts you in a space of feeling defensive, like you constantly have to prove yourself. And that’s why it’s so hard for you to get started with things. And, quite frankly, why you’re so exhausted.”

Me: <stunned silence>

Therapist: “Big ‘Aha!’ moment for you?”

Me: “It took you 7 years to notice this about me?!”

It’s literally the one thing I was born knowing about myself

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Donna Chang 

Me: “With everything going on in our country right now, I’m honestly just so horrified and saddened as a human in general– but as a Jew in particular, as I know you can relate–”

Therapist: “Oh I’m actually not Jewish.”

Me: “You’re NOT?! But your last name–”

Therapist: “I know. A common Jewish last name. People often assume I am Jewish.”

Me: “But I feel like I’ve had all these insider only-jews-would-get-this kind of exchanges with you.”

Therapist: “Hmm. I didn’t interpret them that way.”

Me: (silence)

Therapist: “What are you thinking?”

Me: “Oh, oh nothing. This obviously doesn’t change anything.”

I just have to re-think every piece of advice you’ve ever given me.

donna chang

 

The Patient/Therapist Relationship

I have been seeing my therapist every week for 7 years. She knows every single detail of my life, every single person who’s ever played a role in it, and every single innermost thought I’ve ever had.

Me: “I obviously want to have kids, and I know we should get on that soon, but I honestly can’t stomach the idea of bringing a human into a Trump-led America. Is that crazy?”

Therapist: “No, that’s not crazy. I felt the same way bringing kids into the world right after 9/11, but it’s important to–”

Me: “YOU HAVE KIDS??!?!?!”

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Productive Therapy Session

Me: “It really frustrates me when the kids I tutor just blatantly don’t do the homework and then lie about it. I mean, come on. I know you’re, like, 8, but don’t insult me. I can see your lack of progress, kid! I don’t even actually care if you did it or not– just, like, don’t LIE to me!”

Therapist: “That is frustrating. But yes, like you said– they are 8.”

Me: “I know, I know. I don’t know why it annoys me so much. But it does.”

(later in the session)

Therapist: “So last time we talked about your anxiety and the importance of meditating to help relieve it. Have you been meditating more?”

Me: “Yes, every day.”

Not once.

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When She Says It It Sounds So Rational

“Let’s focus more on what makes sense for you, in your life, right now, and less on what makes sense for Kim Kardashian. In fact, as a broader goal, maybe we don’t make the Kardashians a factor in any decisions, big or small, ever.”

— Therapist, after I explained the reason for my current “Should I be freezing my eggs?!” anxiety-spiral.

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Yes, I’m SOOOO Excited! But I’m Also Anxious as Hell

The wedding is in 5 days, and I am an anxious fire monster.

I have resisted writing in detail about my anxiety because I don’t want it to be misinterpreted by friends and family as doubts about getting married. I have zero doubts. But not being open about my anxiety is, as always, making it worse.

I should know better by now than to sit and stew.

So let me be as clear as possible and immediately halt any possible misinterpretation for those of you who still might not be totally clear on how mood disorders work– this has NOTHING to do with Eric. I have never been more confident in a decision in my life (which is saying a lot, as decision-making, for me, is the ultimate anxiety trigger, and is usually done with 100% haste and 0% confidence). I love Eric with all my heart and can’t believe I found him and get to marry him.

But anxiety doesn’t care if you’re grateful or happy. Anxiety has its own agenda, and the only way I’ve found to combat it is to do the exact opposite of combating it– to accept it and to be open about it. Because when I’m not, it eats me alive.

To be clear, I am excited– VERY excited. But the things is, when you have an anxiety disorder, excitement and panic run through the same pipeline, and, despite the fact that you are happy and really looking forward to something, that anticipation can FEEL very uncomfortable, produce an acute restlessness, make you feel like you’re crawling out of your skin, and just cause you to feel plain bad. It’s a frustrating cycle because you know you are lucky and happy, and you want to just feel those simple feelings of happiness and gratitude, but the nerves take over and don’t let you. They just leave you feeling like you sort of want to vomit, and maybe casually pull out your arm hairs one by one.

About 3 weeks ago, I began to feel like a line of drummer boys entered my body, and started a looped parade through my bloodstream, playing a steady, catchy beat– not altogether unpleasant, often actually fairly enjoyable. Sometimes I’d find myself bopping to their steady rhythm and feeling the flow, other times I was like, “Eh, I could use a little calm and quiet now. Oh, no? You’re not going anywhere? Ok I guess I’ll just drink wine straight from the bottle.”

And then, somewhere around last week, the drummer boys decided that right on top of my heart was a good place for them to all settle in, place their instruments on the floor, and then just start banging the SHIT out of them. Cymbals flying, drumsticks clanking. Even some cowbell. Because every band could use a little more cowbell.

All that being said, I know once this weekend arrives I will be thrilled and full of joy and love. Once all the people I care about most in the world are there, gathered in one space, and I get to marry this ridiculously awesome guy while surrounded by them, it will be incredible. Anticipation is always the hardest part for me. The lead-up is torture. Once the event is happening, the energy takes over and I can enjoy myself. I know I will.

So for all of you who have been so lovingly inquiring, “Are you so excited?!”, the answer is yes, absolutely. But I’m also anxious as fuck. And that’s ok. That’s who I am. And I think as long as I acknowledge that’s ok, to both you and myself, I will be able to at least mildly quell that inner voice asking, “What’s wrong with you? Why can’t you just be happy? Why can’t you just be like everyone else?”

Because I’m not everyone else. I’m me.

And you know what? I found someone who can’t even remotely personally relate to these feelings, but who does everything he can to fully understand them, support them, and, inexplicably, love me even more because of them.

Can’t get much better than that.

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