Therapy

I’m really feeling a little mixed right now.  I don’t mean a mixed manic-depressive episode, I mean that my feelings are a little uncertain.  I went to therapy today.  I remember having a lot to write about therapy last week, but I’ve since forgotten and because I didn’t get it down into words while it was fresh, I’ve forgotten.  Other than this: my therapist has read a few of my personal posts.  I sent her to A Canvas of the Minds because I think there is good stuff there that people are sharing, but she somehow got connected to this blog.  I’m not sure how I feel about that.  She hasn’t mentioned anything this week, but I haven’t written anything much that’s personal lately.  (I’ve got all these posts rattling around in my head, the ideas slowly slipping away before they pass through my fingertips to the keyboard.)  I didn’t bring it up because I didn’t even think about it.  I’ll have to think some more about it before I bring it up next week.

My therapist is wicked sharp – she picks up on things both in what you say and how you act.  She is a master at reading body language. She points out when I’ve crossed my arms or a look on my face or if I start tapping a foot.  Things that even I don’t notice. One day she commented on how I was dressed in brighter colors and my nails weren’t painted in this black (actually, a really deep plum) color and how it was indicative of my mood.  Well, the next week I wore black just to mess with her and she got that.  I don’t like having ‘tells’.  We all have them, but I don’t like having them.  Usually my clothes aren’t much of a tell these days because it mostly depends on what’s clean and what fits.  (Most of my clothes are too small now 😦 )

Back to therapy… sometimes it’s uncomfortable, but I guess it’s supposed to be uncomfortable. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable to have these things pointed out to you.  We talked about therapy being uncomfortable.  If it wasn’t, I wouldn’t get anywhere.  (So if PT stands for Physical Torture, does MT stand for Mental Torture?)  We are trying to work on mindfulness.  She’s been photocopying stuff from books for me.  The latest one is from Mind Over Mood.  I HATE self-help books.  I feel like I am being talked down to and that everything in there is so cheesy.  But I told her to present things to me as research results instead of just whatever – therapy talk, I guess.  So does this book qualify as research based because it’s got copyrights stamped all over the pictures and worksheets?

NOT MINE – See copyright

No, it’s still a self-help book.  I can buy it on Amazon for $16.47.  Maybe I should give her the benefit of the doubt – perhaps she is photocopying the clinician’s guide version of it.  Oh wait, I just checked that out on Amazon and it looks to be identical.

The basic theory makes sense: everything impacts everything else.  I’ll go so far as to agree that thought affects moods, behaviors, and physical reactions, but I have a hard time with the vice versa.  When I am feeling down, not even a walk is going to rattle me out of the blues.  It just doesn’t work for me.  Just like the magic ‘fake it ’til you make it’ doesn’t work for me either.  If that were the case, then I’d have self-esteem by now.  But apparently (based on my therapy session), I am being too pessimistic and that’s why it’s not working for me.  Just because I’m in a semi-stable mood, does that mean that all the psych tricks are going to work?  And if they work so well, why doesn’t everyone do them?

So maybe I am simply a pessimist and doomed to be miserable.  I don’t see how this is going to help me deal with difficult people or lift my recurring depression.  DH recommended a couple of chapters in one of his old psych books.  Maybe that’s more my speed.  I’ll try it.  That’s all I’m going to commit to.

 
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7 thoughts on “Therapy

  1. I always hate those cheesy sayings that we’re told because they don’t work for me either. I always think maybe for normal people but I’m not normal. There is no fake it ’til you make it. Another one that always gets me is when they tell you to use your coping skills.

    • My therapist is telling me I need to learn some coping skills, which is why I have to work from this stupid book. As for the rest of the world… if I had coping skills I wouldn’t be in this mess, would I?

  2. I hate having “tells” also. I like to think that I’ve learned to hide my emotions well enough so that they don’t manifest physically…though those “sharp” people often see straight through it.

    Great post. Thanks

    • I know I’m not good at schooling my emotions. It’s something I need to learn how to do if I am going to succeed. But hair, makeup, clothes and nails are four things that are not giveaways with me. Sometimes it gets irritating that she keeps picking up on my emotions and then she asks me what I am thinking or feeling at that particular moment. I guess it’s a good thing for a therapist, but I also feel like she can be really forward sometimes.

      Thanks. 🙂

  3. Like you, I am a bit ambivalent about the benefits of CBT in terms of self-help and working with therapists. For starters, If we were able to change our feelings by changing our thoughts with the assistance of self-help books, there would be no need to take medication – an essential platform for the effective treatment of BPD. Additionally, working with CBT therapists in the past has sometimes left me with a feeling that they blame me for having a condition that can be very difficult to get a good handle on, let alone control over. Only recently, my clinical psychologist couldn’t understand why I was still afraid of not doing well at university, even though my results showed otherwise. “Being bipolar,” she opined, “does not change who you are.” For me, this was the exact argument about why university is still difficult for me post-diagnosis … I am still having to cope with the same issues regarding my lack of self-confidence, and having a new name for the condition that has been partially responsible for inducing it has not changed my feelings one iota – even though she seems to think it should have.

    Arghhh … sorry for the rant, it’s just a topic that I get rather passionate about. I just wanted to let you know that you are not on your own in the way you’re feeling right now.

    • I’ve have some luck with CBT in the past, but I think my therapist is getting kind of pushy. She’s young, she’s an intern (because I’m on reduced rates since I can’t pay for therapy), and I think she is overly ambitious. She thinks that these coping skills are going to help me deal with difficult people? Seriously? There are good books written in that field and it’s got nothing to do with CBT, more like CYA. When someone is a jerk, it’s natural to be angry. Trying to squelch that leads to depression.

      I don’t want to get down on my therapist, she is doing the best she can. And I do owe it to her to try her way, but she should never, ever have read the book out loud to me when I had a paper copy of it in my hand. It was demeaning and condescending. Besides, if I can change my moods by reading a $16.47 book, why am I in therapy?

      Counter rant over. 😉

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