Monday, May 23, 2011

The other 161 hours

After more than 7 years of nearly continuous therapy, I still wonder how it is supposed to work, how it's supposed to be helpful. How is sitting down with someone once a week for one hour supposed to make a difference in the other 161 hours between those visits? What is it that I'm missing or misunderstanding about therapy? Am I doing something wrong?

I never know what to say, what to talk about. My therapist always starts by asking how I'm doing, to which I reply "fine". I'm always fine. She then typically makes a statement or asks a question related to our last visit (today it was about how she hadn't expected me to show up), to which I make some sort of reply and then comes a long silence. Out of an hour, I'd say we only average about 25 minutes of actual talking
, maybe 30 on a good day. The rest is just awkward silence.

Today was especially quiet because I feel like I've been locked out of my own brain, which is why I haven't posted anything in the last two weeks. I try to think and literally, nothing happens. Not a single thought appears. I've started several posts the past few weeks, only to end up staring at the screen for an hour or two before I just give up and delete the one or two sentences I've managed to write. It's taken me two hours to write these three short paragraphs.

While it does tend to be frustrating when I'm trying to think and nothing happens, the rest of the time I enjoy the silence in my head. I'm craving the quiet so much that I find myself getting angry when it's interrupted by things like the phone ringing or even my daughter trying to talk to me. I haven't voiced or vented that anger, but I know my daughter senses something isn't right. She has been spending more time at her boyfriend's house than she typically does.

My therapist told me to just keep pushing myself, even though I want nothing more than to disconnect from everyone and everything. She told me to keep trying to write even if the words aren't there. Get out of the house even though I want to hide myself away. I told her I already do try to push myself, but it hasn't made a difference. I spend the 161 hours between visits just barely existing.


Blogger Walkingborder (Karen) said...

To me, therapy's main purpose, these days anyway since I'm not in crisis mode, is for a sounding board for decisions. She is mostly unbiased (ok my best interest in heart but not as invested as friends and family) and able to give sound advice. Any major decisions I'm make, I run by her. Granted, she doesn't have the final say, it is my life not hers after all, but she can (tactfully) tell me if I'm being stupid or not. And if I'm honestly torn, she can help with the pro/con process.

Right now, while I'm pregnant and off ALL meds, she is also helping my meds doctor keep an eye to make sure I'm stable enough to not need intervention. AKA if I get REALLY bad and the benefit outweighs the risk, I might have to be put on SOMETHING despite the baby. (Because me killing myself will be more harmful to the baby than a low dose of Zoloft.)

But really, therapy is different things to different people. There is no singular right or wrong answer. To MANY it's working through traumas of the past. Or dealing with crisis in the present. And I'm sure the list goes on. It is what you choose to make of it.

7:10 PM, May 23, 2011  
Blogger Walkingborder (Karen) said...

Also, the last paragraph shows that while you may not be saying much in your hour with her, what you are saying is important. So hey, that counts for something. The whole quality verses quantity thing applies here.

7:12 PM, May 23, 2011  
Blogger sansanity said...

I used to do a cheat, I would write something while it was on my mind during the week and then take it in and give it to the T as a starting point. Usually I'd just print out a sanitized version of a blog post (or medley).

I also used for a short period of time a bit of software called optimism (I hate the name). It is mood tracking software. We'd just review the week's results.

For awhile Therapy caused me so much anxiety, the only way I would commit to going was if we did mundane things like reviewing the mood chart.

A friend's T plays cards with her while they meet just to help her refocus her anxiety.

7:31 AM, May 25, 2011  
Blogger FishRobber said...

I really hate when therapists do that, staring at you as if you were a curiosity. That's why I broke up with my first T.

2:27 PM, May 30, 2011  
Blogger Normalwasnotmygoal said...

I like living in my head too, it can be very soothing. But now I'm trying to find some balance so I don't stay in my head too long.

4:13 AM, June 14, 2011  

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