oh, how we laughed

I was early for my appointment on Thursday, a combination of determination to tell J how I felt and the usual being over prepared for something. As I sat in the waiting room I looked at the posters on the wall. Among the usual posters for the domestic violence group and the fibromyalgia group were a series of new posters proclaiming “there’s no healthwithout mental health – how’s yours?” (just peachy, which is why I’m in the psychology department…) I love these ‘stating the obvious’ type of poster. One said, “there are many things you can do to improve your mental health, try: meeting new people.” Other suggestions were “relaxing and making time for yourself” and “developing new hobbies and interests”. While I appreciate why they make these things and put them up, I can’t help thinking that they’re just making blanket and rather vague statements suggesting things that the patient is probably *way* beyond.
J is a very approachable guy, which is why I have been so torn about this. I get the feeling that we are on the same wavelength, and that I can talk to him and be honest and open. That, as any therapist will tell you, is incredibly important. I talked to him about how I felt, even that I’d had difficulty writing down all the anxious stuff – and he sat and listened, then said that it was all understandable and made sense (thank god he doesn’t think I’m a flake) and that I could “see how it goes” before deciding. It wouldn’t be failure, it would be being honest with myself.
We also talked about the tape – which was sitting on the table mocking me. As soon as I saw it, I’d said something like “oh shitting buggery” before advising J that I was liable to swear a lot. J told me that I was in control, that I could withdraw my consent at any time, or he would stop the tape whenever I asked him. At this stage, I was more worried about how I would feel if I didn’t give it a go than anything else, so I consented and he pressed the button.
We talked about stuff, about my panic and how I react to stressful situations. As usual, there’s a lot that I promptly forgot once I’d left the room. Towards the end of my appointment, when J had switched the tape off and we were talking about me coming back again he said something like “…and there’ll be no more of that”.
“No more of what?” I asked, puzzled. “The tape” J said. “You’ve got the hard part over with.”
Somehow, in the midst of my anxiety last time, I’d decided that he would be taping more than one meeting. He only needed to do one…

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One thought on “oh, how we laughed

  1. staticgirl says:

    Interesting. I wonder if he is also helping patients to face their fears about recording their difficulties. I can talk about mine for hours to complete strangers but have extreme difficulties writing them down. Talking is more ephemeral than writing.
    I agree with you on the posters front! If you could meet new people without problems people probably wouldn’t have mental health worries like depression anyway. It’s like when you have insomnia – all the advice out there is so totally obvious! The sort of advice on that poster would only be suitable for people with mild anxiety or high blood pressure who don’t take any time out to chill out.
    I hope your relationship with this Dr J chap continues to sound promising and that you find the sessions very useful. I don’t think people who get themselves into that room with the therapist realise how brave they are. There’s so many people out there avoiding dealing with their difficulties. I can remember being absolutely terrified the first time I did it.
    Anyway lots of love and hugs from me and the rest of the 4rthurians.

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