Friday, January 29, 2016


I've said before on this blog that I've been going to therapy. It was a way of trying to deal with the death of my friend. Well, yesterday I told my therapist that I wouldn't be back. I had begun to dread going to see the therapist. I haven't gotten over my friend's death, but I also couldn't keep dredging up such painful memories. I want to remember the good times we had and the closeness I felt with him. I do not want to continue remembering only his death and the pain I felt afterwards.

In therapy, we had also talked about my hidden pains, which was a realization that I found very helpful. The picture above reminded me of what therapy was like. When I look at this picture, the first thing I see is a nearly naked man.  He is the center of the pictures focus. The yellowish light around him focuses your eyes there. Then you notice the darkness and the city lights beyond. That's how I felt in therapy. It was mostly me talking and the therapist listening, which was what I needed at first. It was completely centered on me, but as I talked more, I didn't want to keep going over the same difficult memories time and again without knowing of a way to,deal with the pain. I needed someone else in the picture to help me deal with the issues I was dealing with. I know there is a darkness surrounding me, but that there is an abundance of light beyond the class that holds me inside.

Once I realized that I absolutely dreaded going to therapy, I knew it was time to stop. The other thing that I realized is that it was after therapy that I was experiencing panic attacks.  Honestly, I didn't realize that until this afternoon. You see, I haven't had a panic attack in nearly two weeks, and since I'd skipped therapy last week because of a headache, it had been two weeks since I'd been to therapy. I realized thought that talking about some of these issues and the dark cloud that seems to surround me that was one of the causes of my panic attacks.  Last night, I had an attack so bad that I had to take a Xanax just to be able to calm down. Panic attacks are one of the worst things to me. I feel like I have not control when I have one, and they also cause a period of intense depression. The Xanax eases that ever so slightly.

So goodbye therapy. I may seek other types of counseling, but for now, I feel better that I won't be going back. I needed there to be more than just me doing all the talking. I hate for the focus to be just me.


Michael Dodd said...

There are many forms of therapy and counseling, of course. When I first moved to the Dells, I considered starting an informal service and calling it "Just Listening." The idea would be that people could come and talk and I would listen and ask questions, but I would not offer direct advice. The answers, I tend to believe, are inside you anyway. Some counselors help you discover it through a variety of techniques. Anyway, I never did that, but I do think that sometimes all we need is someone to listen to us. To an extent blogs provide a bit of this outlet, which may be part of the attraction for some of us.

At any rate, when I have dreaded going to therapy or counseling or spiritual direction or whatever you want to call it, I found that one of two things was going on: It was time to stop going; or, it was time to start digging deeper. If it is time for you to go deeper, I am sure SomeOne will send the right person to help you with the process. As I am sure you have heard, when the student is ready, the teacher appears.

Michael Dodd said...

PS -- I love having to click the box that asserts that I am not a robot. Sometimes I need to be reminded of my humanity.

Susan said...

I cannot agree with Michael anymore than I already do. He simply has the ability to say it better. Take care, Joe. <3

Anonymous said...

I've just started reading you and am really enjoying your voice.

It's been months since you wrote this post so I am probably too late with this comment but I'll make it anyway. First, consider that this was not the therapist for you. The fact that you're not feeling better is more about your therapist than you. Not that your therapist is bad but their technique, style, your chemistry together or something isn't working. It's very common and sometimes, one therapist is good for one stage/issue and then you need to move on.

Second, it sounds to me (based on this post) that group bereavement is more of what you need now. Being with others who are coping with loss. The focus isn't on you and you can talk or listen or both. Churches are a great place to start and it doesn't have to be your parish or even your denomination.

I hope you're doing better now. After I lost my mom, my sister-in-law told me something I had never heard before and I never heard from another person. As hard as the first year is, the second is harder. During the first year people remember and tend to gather for the anniversary and each of the special days or holidays and you are allowed to talk about the person and how you're feeling. And you don't feel awkward doing so.

The second year, at least for me, was more about the missing then the loss. People started talking less and seemingly moved on. I started to feel awkward mentioning my memories or feelings of loss - not because of anything anyone said but because it seems like one of those things you think you are supposed to do even though you don't know why. I didn't like this a decided I'd rather feel awkward for talking about my mom then for not. What I found was that it became easier for me and I felt better and those I shared her with felt better too, even if they didn't know my mom. Often they would share a memory of someone they lost and were happy to have the opportunity.

Joe said...

Thank you for your comment. After taking time away from therapy, I am in the process of finding a new therapist to help me deal with my depression.