Starting With A New Therapist

I think I mentioned briefly that I found a new therapist that seemed like they might be a good fit for me. I was supposed to have my first session with him yesterday, but he was sick and had to reschedule for next Friday.

Brief tangent: yesterday morning I decided I’d knock out a little of my adulting to-do list – the things that tend to cause anxiety to spike and my brain to empty and freeze. They’re never truly challenging things – I’d have them done by now if anxiety weren’t a factor. When I’d finished a couple of things on the list, instead of my anxiety reducing and going away, it transferred itself to my impending therapy appointment. I hadn’t been anxious about going into Indy or seeing a new therapist at all, so that was a kick in the pants. Fucking anxiety.

Anyway, back to what I was originally writing about – this therapist does his intake papers online. There were lists of symptoms, and lots of questions. For the symptoms, it wasn’t just whether or not you experience them, it was how often. What was the impact on your life? For the questions, some I could simply put N/A and move on, but many were ones that I could answer, but often with some kind of complicated answer that required at least a brief explanation.

When I was nearing the end of the intake papers, there was a question “Is there anything else you want me to know?” and I just responded “I think I’ve given you enough to read already.”

And then I went through a review of my answers before submitting the forms and I was honestly feeling stunned. High-functioning hot mess, that’s me. The answers I’d put on the intake forms were just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the weird and traumatized story of my life. How the fuck am I doing as good as I’m doing? How am I still sober and drug free?

I’ll be honest, I have some concern that the severity of my symptoms may not be believed – that people may think I’m exaggerating – because the average person would probably be deep in the throes of substance abuse or on medication at this point. (I don’t take credit for this, it’s just a quirk of my psyche that I developed the way I have.)

I also felt like it was okay to be kinder to myself when it comes to my to-do list. Yes, most everything on there could be knocked out in just one day – if I were healthy. If I were sleeping enough. If my adrenal system wasn’t fucked. If my system wasn’t perpetually flooded with cortisol. Operating in these conditions isn’t easy. I’m already putting a lot of effort into just existing and managing my moods without medication to assist me, and even with that, I’m also moving in a forward trajectory when it comes to what I need to accomplish.

And surviving and growing to where I am today was mostly done on my own. I’ve been in therapy less than a year. In the decade before that, I processed my religious beliefs, my social beliefs, learned a lot of history, some science, and reevaluated everything I’d been raised to believe – without other people knowing what was going on until it was already processed and past, without anyone signing on to be a purposeful guide – I found the lights in the darkness and I followed them.

That’s not meant to sound like a boast. Struggling to take charge of growth and healing on your own is not something people should have to go through. What I gain from looking over my life is to see that however I feel about my accomplishments -right now- I have accomplished quite a lot already.

My biological systems are constantly telling me I should flee, freeze or fight something, and instead of allowing that to be the reality of my existence, I’m continuing to push myself to live a normal, healthy life as much as is possible.

That’s a major accomplishment.

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