Lately I hate going to my therapy appointments. I dread getting in the car to go, and once I leave his office my head goes from slight ache to migraine in the course of an hour. It’s not the therapist’s fault as much as it’s a change brewing within me.
I’ve written about my therapist before. He’s taught me a lot about how the brain works, what happens when a mental disorder takes hold and how specific drugs go to work on specific defects. In that regard, he’s been a godsend. I’ve never agreed with everything he tells me to do, especially the bit about not drinking caffeine. To protest that suggestion, I usually show up for an appointment with a Venti Starbucks bold in my hand. But that’s never taken away from what he’s helped me with. In fact, his good humor under my needling has only made me like him more.
But lately I keep feeling like we’ve hit a wall, that he can’t take me any further on this journey.
I’ve been here before with other therapists. They help me move forward up to a certain point, then we start going in circles, covering the same ground over and over again — sometimes simply for the sake of using up the 60 minutes that I pay for.
To some extent you have to retread the same ground in therapy, because the patient is usually dealing with the same old issues. Retracing the old steps is how a therapist checks to see how well you’re managing and using the tools you’ve developed.
But lately, I’ve had less and less patience for covering the ground I know all too well.
It could simply be that I need a fresh face to dump on every few years, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I used to hate having to change therapists because in my mind it meant I would have to tell someone the whole back story all over again. What I’ve learned, however, is that I can tell the backstory through a fresher mindset, one that works differently now that I’ve significantly improved my ability to manage the demon.
I’m not the anxious, fear-filled introvert who first walked into a therapist’s office in 2004 when I first realized I had big issues that were making my life unbearable. Today I’m a lot more outgoing, sure of myself and at ease with who I am. But I’ll always need therapy to ensure that I’m still using all my coping tools the way I’m supposed to. Besides, life is always changing, throwing new curve balls my way. Through the normal challenges of life, I need help keeping my balance.
Maybe that’s part of my current dilemma: I’ve gotten better to the point where I’ve become too comfortable with this particular therapist. In life, we’re always searching for the comfort zone, but sometimes being in the comfort zone makes you forget what really needs to be discussed in that 60-minute block.
I could be imagining all this right now. It could be that I’m looking for excuses to stop talking about things I actually need to talk about. Taking the necessary medicine is often unpleasant.
But for now I have that feeling in my gut, telling me that something isn’t working like it used to when I first step into that office.
Time for a change? We’ll see.