Inevitably everyone who suffers from an anxiety disorder will end up in therapy at some stage, so it will come as no surprise that I had my fair share of couch time. Except for never really being offered a couch to lay down on, I have been through it all. The endless digging into my childhood, reliving the experience that got you here while listening to beeps (EMDR), and right now I am in a therapy where I face my fears in a safe environment.
Of course, at first therapy has helped me to understand what exactly is happening to me and that I am not the only one. But now I am starting to wonder about the effectiveness of therapy. Or the therapist. Maybe it’s like falling in love, which you apparently only do three times in your entire life (bummer). What if there are only three therapists out there who can really level with me. For now, I am still searching, and going through some idiotic experiences.
One of my all-time least favourites is the Therapist that applies the, if I say nothing she will have to talk, tactic. In practice, this means that the Therapist asks a question and then doesn’t say anything after you have answered it. With me this results in letting go of an endless stream of word-vomit just hoping I’ll say the right thing to make the silence on the other end stop (always been a pleaser). Pretty easy for the Therapist who basically has to ask four questions in an hour and… time’s up! I have been with a therapist that went so far as not to even ask a first question. I would come in and she would just sit there, in silence, until I would start relating random facts about the past week. Every time I went I promised myself I wouldn’t be the first one to talk. We had some serious stare offs, but she always won.
Four weeks ago, I started a new round of Therapy. Mainly because I would like to get of these pills one day and I still hope to get some tools to deal with real life. It can’t hurt, right?
At the office of my new therapist you can take the first hurdle of facing you fears before you are even in the office. The elevator. Super small, insanely slow and not a staircase in sight. Great for all anxious slightly claustrophobic people in need of therapy. The other day I was waiting endlessly for this elevator to show up together with a huge, quite imposing, clearly completely panicked guy. On the way down, towering over me, he told me he was terrified the elevator would halt. I told him bravely everything would be fine, and fortunately it was. In the land of the blind the one-eyed woman clearly is queen. Hallelujah for the calming powers of Citalopram. The second surprising thing about this office is that they have rooms without windows. I don’t even know what to say about that one, except, housing in Amsterdam just sucks.
After taking the elevator hurdle I had to tell my new therapist, I’ll call her Y, about everything that happened these past two years. Of course, she was eerily understanding, I usually spend half of the 45 minutes I have wondering how much I am boring my Therapist du Jour. She must hear the same sob story over and over again. I understand the need to want to help, but there must be a lot of faking going on. I am absolutely sure that while I am talking she is thinking about what to cook for dinner tonight, or how she can make it clear to her husband that farts are not necessarily funny.
Anyway, after relating my life’s story she explained to me that she wants to try Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to deal with my anxiety disorder. Basically, this means that I will face my fears by inducing the symptoms of a panic attack and then dealing with it. I’m hyperventilating in anticipation.
For now, I’ll leave it at this since I seem to have a lot more to relate about therapy then I thought, and I do not want to overdo the psycho babble. More soon. I’m off to face some fears for now!