Yesterday my counselor asked me to “consider” making a list of the things I obsess about until I see her again. No pressure, she said, but just think about it. I started scribbling some stuff down, which turned in to two pages in my notebook, and I sat there on the couch, looking at this laundry list of completely nutso, crazy shit that I can’t stop myself from thinking about.
I know I’m not the craziest person she’s seen – by far – and I know that’s a healthy attitude to have about therapy. But it doesn’t make me feel good to either vocalize or see in print those things that make you sound really insecure and neurotic.
A small sampling for your amusement: sometimes I might be driving behind a truck with a not-very-secure ladder (or some other tool/piece of furniture/whatever) wobbling around in the back and I have scary images of that ladder flying and out of the truck and into the windshield of my car. Sometimes I think that if we ever decide to have kids, pregnancy and childbirth would be the most horrific, terrifying experience of my life. I can’t help but think the pain would be too much to bear, no matter what anyone says about it. And, of course, there’s the general fear that I would royally screw up a kid. Last but not least, the concerns I have that my stupid obsessions are so pointless in the grander scheme of things. There’s so much else going on the world while I sit around for an hour and whine about what bothers me that it makes me feel guilty. But I’m not going to get much done in life if I sit at home and obsess about the dirt around the doorknob.
One nice thing that came about during my session yesterday: my therapist told me that, after our few hours of involved history and discussion, she feels that there is a real foundation for my anxiety — it’s not all in my head and I’m not nuts. I think, sometimes, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the details and forget the big picture that makes up the person you are. I have done that, somewhat through my habit of making jokes of serious things that have happened in my past, and she assured me that my social phobia and other anxieties make perfect sense. And, of course, it’s great that I’m trying to do something about it. I’m not a kid anymore, none of this is just going to go away on its own, and I recognize that things have to change.
I realize none of these things are rational, or have much basis in reality. I guess that’s why I’m in counseling and the study. If the drugs can level out my mood enough, I can work on this stuff. I think the next step is going to be some sort of systematic desensitization; I’ll ask Charlie to drive me somewhere on a day when it’s raining. Then, maybe on the highway. Then I’ll have to force myself into a car with someone I don’t know very well. Ugh. Just the thought of all that creates muscle tension and anxiety.
What a blast.