Monday, December 04, 2006

Therapy: session 2

“Now you try.” He urged. “Breathe in through your nose.” He paused and waited while I pulled air in, avoiding eye contact with him. “And out through your mouth.” He said, breathing out in an “ahhh.”

I don’t make noise when I breathe. It's a general rule I have unless I’m stuffy or otherwise sick. So I skipped the “ahhh” but felt my tension ease with the breathing exercise. Dr. Counselor nodded approvingly.

“Now,” he said, “put your water down and put your palms on your knees.” With an inquiring and long-suffering look, I placed my water bottle on his desk and rested my hands on my legs. “We’re going to feel all the negative.” He began and I nodded. I had just confessed that I – at some point and without my permission – had become pessimistic. I expect the worst. I’m becoming this sucking hole of darkness and it’s not at all what I want. I used to be bright and happy, and sometimes I find the energy to sparkle a tiny bit, but I’m mostly very gray. Gentle, but gray.

“We’ll raise our hands slowly.” He put actions to words and I followed his example. “All the fear and doubt, all the worry and anxiety. Every thought that you’re not good enough or pretty enough. That there’s not someone out there for you. That you’re not a good enough friend or that people don’t like or approve of you. We’re pushing that away. Giving it to God because He wants to take it from you.”

I blinked back tears, nodding at him as he kept his voice soft and soothing, hands lifted at chest level as we sat across the desk from each other.

“Now,” he continued after pausing a moment, “we’re going to turn our hands over. Think of a flower blooming in those time lapse photos. A pink flower if you’d like, or blue – you like blue, right?”

My tears vanished behind a giggle I choked back. I didn’t bring my dream journal and even if I had, it isn’t blue. I hadn’t been to the gym as he advised and told him I dreaded coming because I hadn’t completed my assignments. He nodded and thought for a moment. Made some decision about me and changed his approach. I like the current one better.

We’d covered my resistance to revising this grant. I’d planned to write a cute little post about how he used an abortion analogy for it. I hate it when grants are babies, and taking it to the abortion vs. offer it nutrients and see the gynecologist more often doesn’t help that aversion at all. I coached myself not to laugh at him when he went through those few moments, drawing out his analogy, offering me options, listening as I spoke.

I was back to that feeling – appreciating his effort, drawn by his sincerity but feeling as if he’d crossed the line into ridiculous and being unable to follow. He must have noticed and spoke to regain my attention.

“We pushed away the negative. It’s gone – doesn’t belong to you anymore. So we’re changing – our hands are facing up.” I looked down to make sure mine were. Met his eyes when I saw I was doing OK.

“Now we’re open to receive what God wants for us. All the peace. Joy. Hope. The knowledge that life works out. People find love – in friendships, romantically, for children – be they delivered by you or adopted or if they have other parents. You’re receiving that love. Laughter.” He continued, but I don’t remember what else I was receiving.

I started to cry. Tried to hold it together, then told myself it was OK to be moved by God. To feel the relief of moving the negative away and being open to the positive moving in. So I let tears fall, reaching for a tissue with my left hand while remaining open – palm stretched outward and face up – with my right.

I wanted a method for being more positive. He offered one. I can visualize myself pushing the darkness up a hill - it's heavy and difficult, but then God takes it away. I'm stronger for having shoved it away and more capable of appreciating the goodness. It's a bit...much, I know, but it worked for me today.

I bounced toward the stairs when leaving. Instead of praying nobody would see me as I exited the building (as I had last time), I smiled at a cute boy on my way out of Dr. Counselor’s office. He smiled back, so I assume my tears had been adequately wiped away.

I return next Monday.

“I’ll see you again.” He said, writing my name in his tiny appointment book. Then we stood at he squeezed my hand. “I really think I can help you.”

“I think you already have.” I said, squeezing back. I appreciated his effort – his gentle guidance, his insistence upon offering options rather than assignments so I don’t feel guilty for not completing something. We talked about dating and the grant. My attitude and church. “Thank you.” I said softly. “Really.”

He put his arm around me squeezed after asking permission. I leaned into him for a second and touched my head to his shoulder.

My therapist likes me, I thought cheerfully as I headed back to the office. He realized it’s important to me that he does. I feel comfortable there – even with the analogies that aren’t great and the notes that contain my fondness for the color blue. I do think he can help right now, and I’m not dreading going back. I drank more water this afternoon and did aerobics for 45 minutes. I got work done and actually started revising my grant.

I feel good.

For today, that’s more than enough. And for tomorrow? I suspect I'll be taking deep breaths and focusing on pushing away the negative and pulling in the positive. So if you see me with my hands stretched in front of me, I'm doing an exercise from therapy.

3 comments:

MapleMama said...

Good for you! I'm so proud of you for going back and finding some relief. You are strong, and brave, and beautiful!

And if the darkness ever seems too heavy to push up that hill to God - just envision all of us here, helping you up that hill.

JustMe said...

yay yay , so happy for you!!

The Contessa said...

This is such a wonderful development. I echo MapleMama's vision of assistance. We will virtually help you push!

I am sending you lots of love and light and now you know how to receive it!!! This is so wonderful!

I'm glad you feel better!

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