Therapy, yes, this is about the business with therapy.
Therapy is that awkward time of the week / day / month where you sit in front of someone (a complete stranger at times) talking about your problems. The weird thing for me, is that I don’t feel like I have any, yet here I am.
I have been seeing a therapist once a week for about a month now. It started because everybody (almost literally) kept telling me that I was not dealing with my Father’s death, and it was getting to the point where I was blatantly saying “okay, you’re so smart, tell me how!”, and I was getting violently angry. I still don’t know if I was angry that someone (read: almost everyone) had the audacity to tell me what I was and wasn’t doing, or at the fact that I felt they may have been right and I
was am completely clueless as to HOW to deal with the passing of a human being who happened to be rather instrumental in your existence (literally). I would like a check-list. A nice, neat way to tick off all the things that are required, mainly because I was am completely stumped as to how to do this. You see, I was back at work 3 days after he died (probably would have gone back the next day to keep myself busy, but I wasn’t allowed out the house, and we had to make cremation arrangements), I rarely cry (not just about my dad, in general), my position in my job is safe, secure and I’m doing very well, my relationship is exceedingly happy, and I’m okay. What more does “dealing with” entail?
This is where my therapist comes in. I went to a therapist in Stellenbosch originally, and while I’m sure she’s excellent, she wasn’t for me. She was quiet, she didn’t interact, or laugh at my nervous jokes, and she made me feel like I had to fill the silences. She wasn’t for me. Then I found a therapist in Durbanville who specialises in trauma and grief, and made an appointment. It was an immediate click. I adore him. He’s funny, he finds me funny (yes, I know it’s a pity laugh but when you’re baring your soul, you’ll take anything), and he doesn’t mind when I feel really stupid and tell him to shush. I’ve been seeing him for a few weeks now, and we’ve identified a lot of things. What I like about him is that we haven’t spoken about my dad more than twice and for a few moments. There is no “and how does that make you feel?” nonsense, he controls the many segues my brain takes when they aren’t relevant, and he gives me weekly goals to achieve.
Goals to achieve in order to deal with the death of a loved one? No, I’ve still not been given the magical check list, apparently that’s not why we go to therapy. I’m still holding out on that one. It turns out that I am a complete control-freak (and not in the cute, pop-culture way), with mild OCD who has absolutely no ability to experience proper emotions, possibly due to experiences when I was younger that left me so emotionally exhausted that I chose to shut down entirely and compartmentalise. I’ve never considered myself compulsive, but when I started listing things that I do (such as my obsession with the tv/radio volume being set to a multiple of 5, the dermatillomania, the obsession with right-angles, etc), I can now clearly see that I do in fact suffer from OCD. Not necessarily the kind that disrupts my life the way some people experience it, but enough to be cause for concern, as it is also probably the reason I am not grieving.
I am given weekly homework, and last week it was to watch TV with the volume on anything but a multiple of 5, which was an epic fail. It lasted about 15 minutes, and I cracked. It’s strange to think such a small thing could be so significant, especially when I am such a logical, and rational person, and I KNOW it’s silly, but by Joe did this experiment give me anxiety? I am also given weekly homework in the form of monitoring my (a) anxiety, (b) my energy levels and how that relates to the amount of human contact and interaction I’ve had, and (c) how often I want to hide under the duvet for days. The life of an introvert, I tell you.
I really could rattle on for pages and pages about my therapy sessions, and tell you how rational I am, how I believe therapy is a crock, talk about past diagnoses of disorders I apparently have but can tell you with absolute certainty I don’t, but that wouldn’t achieve anything. I have nightmares about my father, where I wake up sobbing or screaming, and that is enough to tell even someone who has no idea how depression (which I have), anxiety (which I have), or trauma works that something is wrong. I could tell you how this goes against my grain, and my logical nature, and while that is true, I can also tell you I come home from therapy tired, but somewhat exhilarated.
I do feel it’s helping, and I really am looking forward to a day when the TV can be on 23 and I don’t want to climb the walls
Hugs, & sloppy daxie kisses