First let me say that I hate therapy. I had to get that out of the way.
We start the session same as always, How are you? Fine. How are you? Good. Good. What are we talking about? I looked around the room, like I usually do. I asked J if he ever thought about having some toys in the office. He said, “For you?” I said, “Not just for me. Don’t your other clients want toys?” He said there were some blocks in the other room for when the therapists see children. I didn’t think blocks would be what I needed, unless I could sit on the floor with them. I said, “Do you have a slinky? Or some play-dough?” He got up and went into the other room and came back with a squishy ball that was black and white like a soccer ball. I took it. I got to squish it the whole time.
I told J that I didn’t know what was wrong with me lately, that I think I have a brain tumor. He said he thought he had a brain tumor a couple of days ago because he was mixing words up. But then he decided he was just tired. He asked me why I thought I had a brain tumor. So I gave him some examples of what’s been going on.
First I told him that I hated having his book that he lent to me. I was afraid something would happen to it. It was too hard for me to come right out and say, “I was afraid I would purposely ruin it.” And since he is not a mind reader he didn’t get that. He said, “So, something could spill on it, or it could get ripped. What’s the big deal? That sounds like anxiety to me.”
Then I gave him the example of having the urge to steal things at the Container Store. We talked about the details of that a while. And I gave him the example of shopping in the grocery store with the portable scanner and how I accidentally put something in my bag without scanning it, and then I became somewhat obsessive about checking every item 2 or 3 times to be sure I scanned it, and now I don’t use the portable scanner anymore.
He told me that everyone has thoughts like this. I just hang on to them. He tried to find out what I thought would happen if I actually did put something in my pocket at the Container Store and tried to walk out with it, that the management would stop me and ask me to pay for it. I wouldn’t get arrested, the worst that would happen would be I wouldn’t allowed to shop there anymore. And he asked me what would be the benefit of stealing things and hiding them in my house. I couldn’t figure out the benefit of that, but he came up with a couple of lame benefits. I still don’t see the benefit of hiding things one would steal, I mean if I was going to steal things, which I’m still not certain that I’m not doing, I would want to use them. Isn’t that the purpose of stealing them?
And about his book – he said if I did ruin his book he would weigh that against the fact that I am a good client, my check is always the first one he gets when he sends out the bills, I’m never late, I never miss an appointment unless someone has died, my checks never bounce, etc. So what if I ruin his book?
I was getting the impression that he just wasn’t getting this. So I came right out and asked, “Why would I want to destroy your book?” He said, “Accidents happen.” I said, “It wouldn’t be an accident, I wanted to ruin your book.” He said that maybe it is because I have issues with him. I told him that I don’t have any issues with him. He said that perhaps in my subconscious I do. He knows that therapy is difficult for me. Perhaps I was angry because he loaned me the book and now I had homework, and it’s not a very interesting book and maybe I am mad. Maybe I think that therapy is supposed to be a collaborative effort and here he is giving me something to do on my own and maybe that is making me mad. Now, I have not felt any of those things. Maybe I do in my subconscious, I don’t know.
Then he brought up the matter that I disclosed to him at the last minute last week, this was also about bad thoughts that I had. But this was 15 to 20 years ago. He said he bets that if he asked 100 people, 85 of them would say they had those thoughts at one moment or another, and the other 15 probably had them but wouldn’t admit it. That’s very nice, but I didn’t have those thoughts at one moment or another, I had them all the time. For years.
I have to interject here. J talks a lot. A LOT. It’s because I don’t say much, because it is very difficult for me to talk in therapy. Which is ridiculous because that is the idea of therapy. I used to email him, but I don’t feel very comfortable with that anymore since the email debacle in August. So today we talked about toys for 5 minutes, I talked for about 10 minutes about the examples, and then he talked for the remaining 30 minutes. I know it is not his job to make me talk, but I wish he had some techniques to get me to talk more. But that isn’t his job, it’s my responsibility to say what I have to say.
Sometimes I find that he is talking and talking and he gets to something that I want to respond to, but it takes me a few minutes to formulate my response and by then he has moved onto something else.
An example of this is when J made the comment about 85 people having bad thoughts from time to time. I wanted to say, “I didn’t have them from time to time, I had them ALL the time.” I heard the words in my head and they were on their way to my mouth, but there is some sort of time delay and the words didn’t come out right away and then J had moved on to his next thought. Sigh.
Then J said that as I know he works with many substance abusers. Sometimes when they are in recovery they have dreams about using, and then they are worried that having a dream is just as bad as actually using. And he assures them that a dream is just a dream as long as it doesn’t lead to action. At this point I wanted to ask him if it is normal to have dreams and nightmares when I’m awake, because that is what happens to me. This happened last night, I had a waking nightmare that involved a car crash, and blood all over a highway and snow, and it was a highway that I had driven on yesterday and there was snow. But the words didn’t quite make it out again.
So J summarized the whole thing by saying that everyone has these thoughts, but everyone else just moves on from them and I hold on to them and use them to prove to myself that I am a bad person. Well, so I guess that’s it. He said he would like to continue this conversation and talk more about drives and impulses. As I was leaving he said that no one can control their thoughts.
The feeling I get from this, today anyway because my feelings change during the week as I process things, is that I am the same as everyone else. Everyone else has bad thoughts, and I just happen to be a person who makes a big deal out of them. I shouldn’t be wasting my time dwelling on these thoughts. It’s just anxiety, or my unconscious. And I’m wondering if he brought up the substance abusers as if to say to me, “hey, there are people out there with real problems, why are you wasting my time with imaginary thoughts?” I know he would never mean to do that to me, but if my subconscious could be angry with him for giving me a book to read, then couldn’t his subconscious be angry with me for wasting his time with trivial problems? If all of our subconsciouses are directing our behavior how do we know what is true and what isn’t?
I am left feeling stupid. I’ve been wasting my time being terrified of these bad thoughts for most of my life. J seems to be saying, “Everyone has them, why can’t I just be like all of the other people out there and forget about them?”
All of the things he said that were intended to make me feel better did not make me feel better. I’m trying to think of what he could have said or done that would have made me feel better. I don’t know if he is minimizing my problems (due to me not completely explaining them or because he truly feels they aren’t serious) or if I make too much out of things. I know I am over sensitive, and when violent thoughts blast through my mind they freak me out. I can’t help it, and maybe I just need to get over it. I am very confused right now. And my head is buzzing from the wellbutrin, and I don’t know what to think, and I’m completely emotional because I feel like I can’t get the help I need because I can’t even talk in therapy.
I called the pdoc at 4:31PM, but they close at 4:30, so I missed them. I’ll call again in the morning, I think I need some klonopin or something. I don’t want to have any more panic attacks, I don’t want to have thoughts about highways and car accidents and blood and garbage disposals and stealing and destroying people’s property. I don’t care if everyone else in the world has these thoughts, I don’t want to have them anymore. I have a stash of klonopin, but I don’t want to dip into it. I’ll get in touch with pdoc tomorrow and hopefully he’ll call me in a new rx.