I wasn’t sure if I was actually going to go through with it but as I walked through the Therapist’s office door, I thought to myself “whatever. let’s just do this.” And then I wasn’t sure if I was even in the right place. There was no receptionist, just a foyer with some chairs and magazines that led into more rooms. I wondered around a bit wondering if I was in the right place.
She finally came through the door and introduced herself to me. She brought me back to one rooms attached the main foyer and sat me down on an oversized lounge chair. I couldn’t get myself to lean back in it though and was pretty much on the edge of my seat the entire session (just the initial free consultation).
First thing she asked me was if I was able to find the place okay and then jumped right to “so what’s going on?”
I don’t even know what I said for the first few minutes but I do know that it all added up to something about having hidden my erratic mood levels including depression for over a year and how it ruined my relationship and crippled me as normal human being.
I told her that it seems no connection I ever have is good enough or strong enough for me. So much of my sadness is feeling like I just can’t connect. I said I didn’t understand why I keep longing for more than there is. What am I seeking?
She nodded and asked me about my relationships and my past history. She asked about school and work and my childhood. When I started to relay it all to her she seemed a bit confused at first at the amount of history. I think she had assumed I was younger so she finally asked me my age. Once I told her, it seemed to make better sense to her.
I talked a lot about how I fell out of love with my profession. I talked about my struggles with parents about life views and their influence over me. I talked about how angry I had been and how much blame I put on the people I love.
I basically stated I had reached a point where not even the things that should make me deliriously happy did. I didn’t see a point to anything. Simply put, nothing has meaning for me anymore. I have reached the pinnacle of existential absurdity.
I told her I had thought it was only a matter of me fixing my life at first but now know that the problem is deep within and up until a few weeks ago, I was totally in denial that I was depressed.
I see this state as weak. Crying is weakness. Not having control over your emotions is weak. I used to be so good at faking happiness. I used to have the mental capacity to compartmentalize my feelings. That’s all gone. I don’t even like to go out too much anymore because I often just tear up at the most inappropriate times. I try to pass it off as allergies but I think they know.
My biggest problem is that there will be moments where I am up and think I’m fine and okay again. I floated on that for awhile but then the lows would hit me without warning and I’d find myself downing. I never thought of it as an illness because I just assumed they were random fleeting moments. The thought of having a real mental illness was something I didn’t want to accept.
But there’s only so long you can float in and out without noticing you’re destroying the world around you, the people you love the most. I was alienating my family and friends and all my chances at happiness. I just can’t stand being around normal people when I’m like this so I shoved that world far away from me. I still find myself unable to be real with them. I turn myself “on” just so they don’t have to feel helpless about me. The rest I’ve just pushed away probably destroying some of the best of relationships in the process.
“I’m broken. I realize that,” I told her when she asked me if I was aware I was depressed. I thought it was an odd question for her to ask but maybe she was wondering if a part of me was still in denial. Because of my extreme highs and lows, lack of need for sleep, wild productivity spurts, and abnormally high sex drive, I’m pretty convinced I might have bipolar disorder.
I admitted to her that I didn’t really understand therapy. How is a stranger supposed to help me? There is no way she’ll ever truly know me the way I know myself and others know me.
She said that it was because she was a stranger and removed from my life that she’d help me analyze my life better. She also said that it would make it easier because I’d be able to tell her things that I might not want to tell my family or friends. That last bit I was skeptical about since I’m so guarded with my layers. I’m not sure how much I’ll be comfortable revealing. Who knows, I might surprise myself.
The funny part was when I had to mention to her about my online world. I told her it was pretty important for me to have someone who wasn’t going to be quick to judge people who spend a great deal of their socialization on the Internet. I said quickly that I know I’m not addicted to the Internet (count one).
She asked me where I spent most of my time online. I said it used to be gaming but now it’s mostly just in social networks. She definitely raised her eyebrows when I said “gaming”. She asked me if I played “wow”.. she actually said WOW not World of Wacraft (impressive)! I was like, “yeah. but not as much as I used to but I was never addicted” (count two).
Then she mentioned that there is a 12 step support group for WoW players in the Austin area and explained how there were studies that show people who are addicted to WoW experience the same symptoms as those who are addicted to heroine. I nodded but quickly said, “yeah, I read the same thing but I’m not addicted to WoW.” (yup three times I said I wasn’t addicted) I’m not sure she bought it but perhaps later she’ll discover that I am addicted but probably not what to she thinks... I’m addicted to connection. I know this is a problem and I don’t know where it stems from, my compulsive need to be connected or feel connected. I still can’t figure out what I’m hoping to find.
Anyhow, after denying my addiction to video games for a bumbling five minutes, she spoke to me about how she works a lot with dream analysis. She believes a lot in the psychological study of Carl Jung and the theories of individuation. I’m not sure what to think of it to be honest. I think I’m mostly curious about the study of the subconscious mind having obviously failed at comprehending the conscious one.
So now I have to keep a journal of my dreams which luckily for her are crazy and vivid. She was actually surprised to hear that I remember my dreams a lot. I wonder what she does for people who never remember what they dream. SOL?
I’m going to have to keep a journal by my bed though because the dreams fade super fast after the first moments of waking. The last couple of nights have been pretty colorful and having to try to remember them make me wonder a lot what they could mean. I used to think they were just residual images compiled from too much visual stimulus in my life...ie. movies, magazines, the meta. It’ll be interesting to see if they mean more than that. I’m a bit skeptical of course.
She also told me to start taking some Flax Seed Oil or Fish Oil (Omega-3) to see if that helps. Apparently Omega-3 has has some success in treating depression and bipolar disorder. I did some quick research on the subject and found some interesting studies on how the deficiency of Omega-3 results in the body using Omega-6 instead which produces cell membranes that aren’t able to cope with neurotransmitter traffic.
Omega-3 is a fatty acid you need but your body can’t make so you have to consume it. It is a component you naturally get from seafood so they said depression in places like New Zealand where only 40lbs of seafood is consumed per year is like sixty percent higher than Japan where there is over 150lbs of seafood eaten annually. Crazy huh?
So I went and got some Flax Seed Oil that day from the People’s Pharmacy (apparently their drugs contain less mercury). I opted not to get the Fish Oil because people say the after taste can get nasty. She says if it is effective, I should start to feel a little different after just three days or so.
At the end of the initial session, she asked me if I’d like some time to keep fishing (npi) for other therapists. She said it’s all about finding someone you feel comfortable with and believing they can really help you. It’s important to fit. She says for her, she feels like she has the capabilities to help me but it would only work if I felt she was a good fit for me too.
I told her I didn’t really want to fish around. The truth was that at this point I’m willing to try anything so I scheduled our first real session for later this week. I’m going to give it two sessions and see if I think it’s helping any. She’s already told me that I have a long ways to go (she says she senses a lot of complexity) so I think that translates into quite a few sessions. I’m not sure how people afford this stuff but I guess if it works then it’s worth it? Oh well, at least now I can begin all my sentences with “My therapist says..”