It feels like I have unfortunate luck with therapy. The first therapist I ever felt like I connected with was when I went to school for a semester in Moorhead Minnesota. She was younger than a lot of my therapists had been at that point, and I felt like she could understand the issues I had a lot better. Unfortunately, she was only there as part of her own program to become licensed, and would not be sticking around after that semester (If she had, I might have reconsidered my decision to leave some)
When I started seeking counseling in Eau Claire, I ended up seeing this one guy, and despite my apprehensions of a male therapist, he showed me so much kindness and empathy that I couldn’t help developing a liking of the guy. The problem, however, was that he had MS to a serious degree, and often he would need to cancel appointments due to being in too much pain. I could and probably should have requested to see someone else, but it was hard for me to make that choice. Both because seeking therapy itself is a lot more work than people realize, but also because it felt way too awkward.
Then when I moved back home I got a referral to see someone locally. The woman I ended up with was nice, but I wouldn’t say that therapy with her was very effective. It was good for getting things off my chest and examining how hard I was on myself, but the solutions she offered often felt a bit too far out of my comfort zones. I don’t know. Maybe we could’ve gotten somewhere, but unfortunately due to COVID we had to stop. It wasn’t until many months later they reopened, but at that point I really wasn’t feeling it anymore.
Most recently, as I think I’ve discussed here, I’ve started therapy again. Initially it was partly to get an assessment to apply to a state program (a program I didn’t qualify for according to the “algorithm”) but I actually ended up continuing because it felt like I made some progress. The guy I was seeing, despite still being apprehensive about male therapists, seemed to have ideas more congruent with my own and what I knew about psychology (Keep in mind I studied psychology) I thought, if nothing else, it could maybe be a good thing to keep seeing him.
Today I was informed, rather offhandedly, that he was going to be leaving to form his own private practice. He seemed to think he had mentioned it before, and he mentioned he had told his employer a month in advance. Yet I only learned about it today. Apparently he’s going to be gone after next week, which means I have one more appointment with him.
This leaves me in a bit of a delicate situation. Essentially, there’s a total of four different options. Option 1 is I continue to see him at his new practice. Option 2 is I see someone else at the place he’s leaving. Option 3 is I seek out a different place. Option 4 is I stop therapy for the time being (either to be permanent or picked up later)
Option 1 wouldn’t be terrible, but I’m not sure if insurance would go for it. Much as I like the guy, I’m not really comfortable with the idea of paying for therapy. My finances aren’t really equipped for it either. At least not on a weekly basis like I’m doing now, and if I can’t do weekly, it doesn’t feel like it would have the same effect.
Option 2 and 3 is the crapshoot. Do I manage to get someone I like or do I end up in a situation like the one I did before COVID? Where I don’t dislike the therapist, but nothing ever seems to change? Do I feel comfortable with the idea of potentially spending a lot of sessions shopping around? Is that really a productive use of my time.
Option 4 might seem bad at first glance, and there are of course some negatives. Chief among them is I’d have to make sure what I’ve gained out of these past sessions doesn’t go to waste. I’d have to go it all alone rather than having someone to show me where I’m maybe not looking at an accurate picture of reality. That can be a lot for someone to burden themselves with while they’re on the road to better mental health.
That all being said, I am in a better state than I have been in the past. While I’m not going to pretend to be completely mentally healthy (something I don’t think anyone can claim), I can say that I do have a more accurate framework to work from than I have in the past. I feel like change can potentially happen now, whereas in the past it couldn’t. The only difference is now is whether I go it on my own or whether I feel the need still to have someone there with me.
Something that I’m 50/50 on right now. I probably wont make a decision until we have our final session next week. I’ll keep people updated when I know more.
That’s not all I wanted to talk about in this post. I’ve actually been wanting to make a post for a while about some things, but it’s been difficult for me to sit down and do so. Now that I’ve got something tangentially related, however, it seems like a good chance for me to talk about the current me.
If you’ve never been to therapy, or studied much psychology like I have, you probably don’t really understand a lot about what it is. Even if you support the idea of it (which I’d hope most reading my blog would) you might not fully get what happens or how it works. Let me demystify it a bit to give some context for stuff.
People who need mental therapy, in most cases, know something is wrong, but do not have the ability to get an accurate picture of it. Since they can’t get an accurate picture of what’s wrong, they fail to find solutions to those problems, and as a result tend to create even more problems. Up until the point where it gets so overwhelming that eventually something has to give. Often resulting in downward negative spirals.
A therapist isn’t really there to do anything other than to help you look at yourself more objectively. They can’t solve your problems. They can offer you ideas, just like any other person, and sometimes those ideas are good because they’re based on what they know of you. However, it’s nothing more than an idea. Their real benefit is for confirming things you know about yourself and for pointing out unproductive/unhealthy thinking that’s muddying your own capabilities to take action.
To put this in the context of me, one of my big problems is that I tended to deal in absolutes. Saying or thinking things like “always” or “never” whenever something triggers my anxiety. Like if I fail at doing something, I might think “This always happens” which doesn’t help for setting me up to try something again. It just creates this persona of defeatism.
I’ve been attempting to correct that lately by being more cognizant of the language I use. Simply from doing that, I’ve noticed a lot of spots where changing what I say has changed how I feel about a lot of things. I now feel like I’m getting a far more accurate scale of who I am than I’ve had thanks to being a little more open minded about things when it has to do with myself.
I am a highly sensitive person. This means I often feel emotions in higher capacity than others. Sometimes it has brought me at odds with other people, particularly when I didn’t know how to deal with my emotions and when I saw others not acting the same way. Often times it dictated how I dealt with situations, and brought me a lot of problems (particularly when I got in fights with others who I might also consider to be highly sensitive)
At the root of emotions is anxiety. An evolutionary adaptation meant to perceive and protect us from potential threats. An adaptation that largely fails in today’s modern world due to the threats being much different and largely unforseeable, and we now find a lot of people struggling to differentiate the real threats from things this old system perceives as threats.
It’s hard to control anxiety. You can’t control what will make you feel anxious. The only thing you control is how you process it. Do you let the anxiety kick up negative emotions for a fight or flight response, do you ignore it and face the potential danger? If it was always a conscious thing, it might be easier, but unfortunately sometimes you just have to default to how you’ve always handled it.
For me, I’ve never been able to deal with anxiety properly. At first it was because I wasn’t sure where it was coming from because I didn’t understand it was something biological I didn’t control. Then after some point, the only way I knew how to deal with it was to either avoid a situation entirely or explode (again dealing with absolutes)
I remember back when I was dating a girl online named Candace. The relationship, despite lasting only a week or so, destroyed me. Lots of emotions ran hot and while I wont feel bad for being so upset, I always felt bad about the way I handled it. Because I knew somewhere there was a better way I could have handled it if I didn’t let my anxiety go crazy, and now with hindsight I can agree that there was so much I could have done.
Some of my arguments with good friends (and some no longer friends) also relate to this. The emotions I felt were valid, but the anxiety of the time being handled poorly, made the expression of these emotions cause a lot of conflict. Conflict that either broke the relationships or put them so far off how I wanted them to ultimately be.
I guess, what I’m ultimately trying to say here is that I do understand my anxiety now. Not only do I understand it, but I can actually recognize it. I also know that I tend to feel emotions at a higher capacity and that sometimes I need to be a bit more mindful about the expression of those emotions. I’m more aware of how I shouldn’t let anxiety take control of those.
So what’s next?
For a while now, I’ve been sort of stuck. Thinking too much about the future and the past. Thinking too much about what I can do or can’t. Thinking too much. One of my biggest problems.
It’s a common saying that those who don’t learn history are doomed to repeat it, but like most sayings it’s not applicable to everything. Trying to think out every action I’ve done or think ahead about every action I’m going to do is pointless because nothing ever works out the same or in a specific way. You have to give up on this idea that thinking is going to give you an edge in future problems. You can only use it to work about present problems.
And sometimes you’re going to make the same mistakes over and over. Another common thing is parents saying they don’t want their kids to make the same mistakes they did, only for the kid to make the same mistakes. It’s not that they necessarily couldn’t have been avoided or that the parent failed, sometimes we just have to make mistakes and fail to see what’s truly important.
I’ve been making some decisions lately to change the situation I am in. I mentioned to a few people that I started selling a lot of stuff to pay off credit cards. This is partly true, but I’ve also been thinking I don’t need the amount of stuff I have. I’ve been thinking about how I have so much stuff I’ll never do, and I’ve decided that I need to stop putting things I’ll never get around to on my “to-do” lists.
As I get my card paid off, I’m trying hard to keep to a budget. It’s not tight, by any means, but I am trying to make sure I don’t fall into old habits. Despite wanting collectors edition of FF7 Rebirth, I’ve been trying really hard not to buy it (despite FOMO) I’ve also been keeping myself from buying other FF7 memorabilia (crap like a 60.00 steelbook for integrade) which keep popping in my head as I think about the game releasing at the end of the month (I’ve got the standard edition ordered with partial Gamestop credit)
I intend to finally start saving in earnest from here on out. Before I talked about saving, but I think one of the reasons I never did was that I didn’t have much of an idea what I was saving for. This time is different as I have two major expenses that I’m considering
The first is that I’m going to be needing a different car at some point. While mine still contains considerably low mileage and mostly still runs good, after driving it for a few years, I can’t help but feel I could use something a bit more tailored to me. Something with a bit more tech (like a backup camera) and something better for driving in the snowy conditions here. Not to mention something where I can reliably use the cigarette lighter for power or the battery could hold a charge. Would be nice
The next is that I’m planning to go to Japan. I’m not sure exactly when or under what circumstances, but I’m adamant that I need to at least go once in my life. If I do go, I’d also rather it be as soon as possible rather than be something I say “someday” to (Like what I originally planned on doing with some friends of mine before we started drifting a bit)
Treating those both as inevitabilities, now the purchases of things I might want become a lot easier to ignore. Obviously there’s still going to be things that have me forking over my money (like I recently bought an Omori figure and will be buying some certain nendoroids over the next few months) but I’m thinking they’ll be much more meaningful purchases than the past.
I’ll be living with my parents a bit longer, but I have no intention of sitting completely still. While I can’t say I have any concrete plans to move anywhere at this time, I do think I might go to an anime convention or two. My intentions being less focused on visiting the vendor halls, like most of my previous conventions, but possibly volunteering and maybe trying to experience one in a less antisocial capacity.
The specifics of that are still up in the air though as it depends on several factors (like whether certain conventions will still require masks or not since I can’t stand masks) Even if it falls through though, I’d like to get out more.
Potentially, I’d like to start dating. If I could find someone that aligns with me on enough stuff. However, most of that is dependent on a lot of things I can’t necessarily control. Though I do think I am actually in a place where I’m ready and not simply searching for the exact copy of what Candace was to me anymore.
That’s all I’ve got for now. I’ve been writing this over a couple hours now, and I don’t think I can keep myself from playing Infinite Wealth any longer. I’ll keep you all updated on anything BIG, but other than that you might not see much from me for a while. Not making any promises. Just saying