counselling

I am still doing my best to avoid people.

The phone is off. The loft door is closed.

I haven’t gone much farther than my couch in days.

On Wednesday I had an appointment with my counsellor. I am seeing a counsellor because my anxiety is unmanageable at the moment and I recognize that I need to talk to someone outside of my family and friends. I am feeling ridiculous and silly and a bunch of other negative things. Unfortunately, the thought of talking, being out and about and running into people raises my anxiety level so getting out the door to visit her office is a chore in itself.

What happened to the strong capable woman I was?

I walked into the counsellor’s office and the first thing I thought was – please just let the receptionist take my money and hand me my receipt and let me sit down quietly.

Please do not talk to me.

I do not feel like making nice today.

My heart is pounding. My hand is a little numb.

I felt guilty for those thoughts. She is a nice old lady. Friendly, outgoing, cheery with a “receptionist” personality. I instantly feel like a bitch because I do not want to respond to her inane comments about the weather, Vancouver or how lovely the quotes posted around the reception are. These feelings automatically start my heart pumping and my anxiety goes up – the exact opposite effect I am trying to achieve by seeing a counsellor. It is a strange, foreign feeling to have regular interactions cause such an uproar in my system.

The counsellor floats in to tell me she is ready. Everything about her is soothing. Her hair, her skin, the way she speaks, dresses, moves. She is olive. Her skin is olive, her clothing is olive coloured… her walls in her office are an earthy colour. Everything about her seems organic.

It is lovely in her inner office. Pillows, water fountain, mood lighting. She sits back in her chair, pillow in her lap and her feet on a stool. Every movement she makes is fluid. One movement seamlessly runs into another. I wonder if she practices this. Does she know this is calming?

I sink into the couch and she asks me what I am thinking.

“I dont want to talk. I’m sorry.”

That is all I can think of to say.

She asks me to try and tell her something simple about the last week. Events, non-events. Anything I want.

I find myself relaying the events of the last few days since my last visit. It is not as if I have nothing to say. It felt as though I was talking about someone else. None of these things happened to me. None of these feelings are going through my heart. I am talking about someone else. I am not emotional like I was last time. Ther are no tears. I am just telling a story.

Except my heart is pounding in my ears. I can no longer pretend I am not talking of me. I feel guilty for most of what I am telling her. I have no good reason to be this down, this anxious, this sad. The guilt is a problem. There isn’t much these days that doesn’t make me feel guilty or inadequate on some level. I am feeling silly, weak. Ridiculous.

She notices me twisting my feet and wringing my hands.

She suggests a relaxation, breathing exercise.

This makes my heart pound.

My reaction is visible to her.

She says “What do you think?”

I tell her the thought of relaxing on cue makes me anxious. I smile weakly and feel embarassed to be telling her something (else) so ridiculous.

She asks me to close my eyes.

To concentrate on breathing through my nose.

She says Kelly – try and clear your thoughts (!)

Instantly I panic as fourteen new thoughts pop into my head. None of which are entirely positive.

She instructs me to take deeper breaths. From my stomach. To my stomach. Something about my stomach.

She tells me to keep trying to clear my mind, my worries, my thoughts, to think about nothing but my breathing.

This is not possible.

The more I try not to think, the less this seems possible.

I think of the voices of the women giggling in the hallway. I wish they would go away. Then I feel bad for thinking that. I seem to be increasingly irritated by other people and noise. The world is so damned loud.

There are doorknobs turning, office noises, people talking… I heard none of these things when I came into the office. They were barely audible then. But now that I am to be thinking of nothing – every sound feels like it is directly beside my ear. Like someone turned up my hearing aid a notch or two. None of these sounds feel like they are coming from their real origin, outside the door, down the hall, or outside.

She tells me to think of somewhere nice.

Somewhere that made me happy.

My mind instantly flies to the Cecil with Chico.

I think this counselling thing is going to be a slow process if being at the strippers with Chico is the ‘happy’ thought I go to on command …

Maybe I’m crazier than I thought.

Or human?

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7 Comments

  1. Trée said,

    August 17, 2007 at 4:25 pm

    You sound very human to me. In fact, you sound very intelligent and sensitive and perceptive and caring. You sound like someone very aware of their surroundings, like someone that makes the world a better place to live. Thanks for sharing so much and giving us a chance to listen. I believe we can listen a soul to health and to love. And so, I open my eyes and my ears and I listen without judgment or agenda but just to listen to the soul of another who is walking the same path. Let’s walk together and when you need to be held, I’ll hold you and when I need to be held, I know you will be there.

    Peace to you Kelly.

  2. Kathryn said,

    August 17, 2007 at 4:27 pm

    um, I quit going to one therapist becasue she was trying to make me draw things and I suck at drawing so of course naturally I felt I sucked at therapy

    now who’s crazy, hmm??

    hang in there girl!!

  3. Copper said,

    August 18, 2007 at 8:40 am

    wow.

    Such a visual entry… my anxiety level almost blew.

    As far a therapists,
    It will get easier as you go. The idea of bearing emotional weight on a complete stranger is absurd, I know. listen, If it doesn’t work out you always have us…. uh,…….

    Complete strangers…

    ej

  4. Autumn Storm said,

    August 18, 2007 at 2:30 pm

    It’s the most unimaginative comment to make, though that makes it no less true, long or short matters not, one step at the time is what will get you, all of us, to where we want to go. Hugs to you.

  5. jlb said,

    August 19, 2007 at 9:28 pm

    i wish i had some magic words to help you through this passage in your life. i don’t (if i did i could use them on myself…).
    i can’t wish you to work quickly through what you have to because it will take as long as it needs to…i can’t even wish that the emotional work you are doing becomes easier, because it will be as hard as it needs to be…
    i can say though that it will not always be as it is right now…(that, at least is the thought that i hold onto when i don’t know how i can take my next breath – figuratively speaking)… and if it can help at all, know that a complete stranger in this blogland is thinking about you, your journey, and about the power of your words.
    jlb.
    p.s. yes to being added to your blogroll, and hey, your happy thoughts are what they are…

  6. Sweet Cheeks said,

    August 20, 2007 at 8:36 am

    I love counseling! I think it is a great idea!!! 🙂

  7. Leiselb said,

    August 24, 2007 at 2:13 pm

    Love. It.

    Well done girl.


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