Monday, July 30, 2012
Today I met with my new counselor. My insurance company referred me to her because she specializes in helping people with anxiety and ED. The feeling of meeting a new counselor is routinely overwhelming to me; I knew the last one wasn't going to work when she welcomed me into her office and sat and entered notes on the last patient for the first five minutes of the session. About a week after that, she moved offices. On the seventh session (seven weeks later) I looked around. None of her art had been hung, nor her degrees. Her papers were everywhere, and it was very chaotic to me. I know this is a reflection on me somehow (whether it is me internalizing, who can tell?), but it just felt very unsafe. I never went back.
My experience at the new therapist's office today was very different. The door to her office opened up into a lovely little waiting room. She had a couple cute little elephant statues and an antique trunk on display, and Chopin nocturnes were being piped through the sound system at the perfect volume. It was very relaxing to me. What a first impression.
On meeting my new therapist, I was relieved that she appeared physically healthy. While confronting ED, I have found that it is hard to take nutrition advice from those who are ....hefty. My goals are to understand the root of my anxiety disorder and to curb the ways in which I deal with them so that they don't manifest physically; not creating new anxieties in the process is key for me.
At some point in therapy, the new counselor asked me to stop talking and listen to my body. No one had ever told me to do that before. She asked me where I felt my tension. She said that she could actually see where my tension was as I talked because my body language changed. Never in my wildest dreams did I consider that I could figure out what was bothering my psyche by reading my own body language. It was a liberating thing to hear and realize today.
The other huge thing was when I began to talk about my sister, S. My therapist pointed out that whenever I talked about S, my face lit up, and the tension left. The therapist told me that I had been trained well to "breathe" my way through panic attacks, but that the associations with our beloved people are so deeply held in our nervous system that simply thinking of S during a panic attack would be much faster than any deep breathing. Obviously, she said there were times when I need to process that tension, but that in a pinch I could always get myself out of it by readjusting my view. Wow. I feel different already.
I can't wait for next week. Now, I'm off to learn more about conscious thought processes.