So I’m sure you are all anxiously awaiting my recap of my session with Parrot T. Not! If anyone is interested here you go.
Her office is in her home. I got there a few minutes early and she had told me to park behind her in the driveway, due to the snow in the street, however there was another car in the driveway. I was a little early, so I drove around the neighborhood. I got back at 11:58am (my appointment was at noon) and the car was still in the driveway, so I parked in the street. The snow was fairly well cleared away anyway. I went to her door and she said to push the buzzer, which I did, and then the door buzzed and I went in. There was a little waiting room with a couch, chairs, tv, books, radio, etc. I heard a very loud noise, like a cartoon on a tv, or even children talking really loudly. I thought maybe her children were home from school or something.
Then she comes into the waiting room with the parrot. The parrot was screaming, “Good bye, goodbye, goodbye, goodbye…” She said, “Hi, I’m D. This is Guinevere. I’ll be with you in a minute, make yourself at home.” She left, with Guinevere. I sat and looked around. There was a little fountain, and an electronic yahtzee game, and a little tray of sand with a little rake and some rocks in it. There was also a parrot stand with a colorful strand of beads hanging on it. The furniture was mostly plain, it was comfy though.
Then another woman came into the waiting room, I guess the previous patient. It was a little past noon by now. (Hmm, not very strict with boundaries? Could be an issue for me.) She said Hi and and I said Hi, and she left. Then D came back out to get me, showed me where the restroom is, and led me into her office. She told me which chair to sit in. Her office is small, and she has a desk that was messy. Her computer still has Windows XP. There was another parrot stand with more colorful beads on it. She said she had to call my insurance company and she could do that while I filled out paperwork, but when I told her what the insurance company told me when I called she said it doesn’t sound like she will need to call after all since I had all of the information. She was looking for papers on her desk, and it was messy and she couldn’t find them. She shuffled around for a while, then got the papers and put them on a clipboard and gave them to me to fill out. She sat and watched me while I did that.
Then I got to ask her my questions, which she answered happily and easily. She doesn’t do email, but doesn’t mind me bringing in things to read, collages, slideshows, etc. She said she is quite happy to have other methods of communication like that. She is 62 years old, and she said, “I bet you didn’t think so,” and she was right, she looked younger. As for her look, well, it’s nothing like J. She is a bit overweight, and her clothes are the baggy, flowy kind of look that older heavier women sometimes get into. She had on a pretty necklace. I didn’t like her shoes, they were somewhat orthopedic looking. The clothes were like those loose things from Chico’s. She has huge boobs, but not in a good way. She could have used a consultation in a lingerie shop, better undergarments would be an asset for her.
After I asked her my questions I handed her my list of issues. I left off a few of the biggies off though – cutting, suicidal ideation – and she read it. She asked me for a brief history of myself, which I gave her. Purely facts, places, people, etc. She focused on my anxiety, I guess because it was towards the top of the list, and asked me how it affects me. I kept getting teary eyed, which is unusual for me because when I’m with J I never feel any emotion. I talked about my anxiety history a bit, and then said I don’t think that is my biggest issue. She asked me what I thought my biggest is, and, again getting teary, I told her that I don’t like myself, I have low self esteem, I don’t think I’m good at anything, not a good wife, mother, friend, etc.
Then she said that the way I just described myself is not how she sees me at all. She said I come across as very “put together”, and “confident”. I said I don’t think I am that way at all. And she again repeated that is what she sees, except she noticed that my hands were a bit shaky. Hmmm.
We talked a little about my son and how I feel that I made so many mistakes and that is why he is where he is. She said it can’t be all my fault, I have a husband and my son has some influence on himself. Well, I said that is what I think. We talked about faulty beliefs, and my previous experience with therapy for anxiety, and my son’s anxiety and his experience with therapy. I told her about my new job and how I think my new boss will find out I’m a fraud, and how I’m worried that people will always find out the true me and not like me. We talked about a lot actually.
I had intrusive thoughts on the list and she asked me to tell her a little about that, but I said I didn’t really want to and she said that was fine.
She asked me what I do when I’m anxious and I told her about breathing, and relaxation and thought stopping and mindfulness. She told me about someone she works with on her own personal growth and the things she has learned from him. She asked if I’d heard of grounding exercises and I said I had. She wanted to know if I would do one and I asked her what it entailed. She explained it to me, and we tried it. I had to close my eyes, although she said I could keep them open if I wanted to. She did it with me and I peeked at one point and she had her eyes closed. It was all about feet, and feeling them, and them being on the floor and then roots coming out of them into the earth. I tried to concentrate, but my mind kept wandering. It was somewhat relaxing though. I kept tearing up and had to wipe tears away at one point. When we were done I actually used one of her tissues. I would never use J’s tissues.
She told me about when she was doing her dissertation and she had to get up and speak in front of a lot of professors and she was very nervous. She went into the rest room first and did grounding exercises, and she wrote on her note cards “G” to remind herself to ground herself while she was speaking. She said these grounding exercises have made her more self confident. I guess if you are relaxed enough to speak in public it does wonders for your self confidence?
Then it got to be time to go, and I asked her how she works her payment. She says I would pay her every week (J always bills me at the end of the month which is nice – no money stuff going on during session) so I wrote her a check. She asked me about next week and I told her that I had to see J, we haven’t had a goodbye session. Then I said, “Actually I have some decisions to make.” She wanted to know when I would get back to her and I asked her if I could call her Thursday morning. She seemed hesitant, but said it would be ok. I said if anyone wants the time slot next Tuesday not to hold it for me if that was going to be a problem. Then she suddenly changed gears and said I should meet with J before I made a decision about whether or not to see her anymore. I said that wouldn’t be until next week, and she said that would be fine. She said she is hoping that I decide to work with her because she enjoys starting with new people and getting to know someone new, or something like that.
I told her that I have problems with the phone, but I would call her and let her know either way. Then I left and the parrot was in another room saying really loudly, “Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye, goodbye….”
It was so weird.
She is very nice, kind of bland, nothing about her is my style at all, but that really isn’t a problem. She said she works exclusively with adults, mostly individual therapy but some couples, and she doesn’t work with severely mentally ill people anymore, although she used to when she was younger. She doesn’t have any children, I didn’t ask if she is married.
I just kept thinking that she isn’t J. Which is true, she isn’t him. But I actually felt emotion in her office, and I didn’t feel the need to look and dress perfectly for her like I do with J, since he always looks and dresses perfectly. I had no idea what she would look like or how she would be dressed or how old she was before I went, but I just didn’t feel the anxiety. That was kind of nice.
But as I drove around afterwards I was thinking how great it is that I got this new job so that I can afford to continue seeing J. I just don’t know. How does one make a choice between two things that are so totally different?
And I have more to say about my new boss, but I’ll leave that for tomorrow. I’m starting to feel so much pressure, he thinks I’m perfect or something. Argh….