Thursday, 4 September 2014


So, it's official. I've been seeing a therapist.

Turns out I really do have anxiety.

I'm not sure if I ever had an image of what a therapist should look like... If I did, it would probably be Hollywood's version of what a therapist should look like.

When I was referred onto a therapist a couple of months ago, I wasn't really sure what to expect. If I was to use the knowledge I've gained from movies, there would be a wall of books, a reclined bed/chair, plants, and a big window overlooking a city in an enormously spacious room.

And a older, bearded gentleman with a notepad.

There'd also be some meaningful chin stroking and regular "So how does that make you feel?" questions, as if I actually had the ability to analyse my life and emotions, figure out the reason I needed to see a therapist in the first place, jump up, thank the bearded man, and leave with my new-found outlook on life.

But if all of that didn't happen (which it didn't, by the way), I was at least expecting some answers. Answers that would identify deeply rooted childhood issues that I've been afraid to deal with, or didn't even know were there! And then a plan of action to deal with them.

Failing that - drugs.

My therapist's room was actually a little bit disappointing. There was no reclined bed/chair, there was no wall of books, the room was as small as my bathroom, and there was no window overlooking the city. And no prescription pad to scribble down my desperate need for drugs.

There was a notepad, though.

If you're a parent, then you'd be used to having to come up with various consequences for your children's actions. Whether it's a smack, the loss of an electronic device, being sent to the corner for time out, or money for the next bus; there's always reactions to things we do. Children can quite quickly work out that if their iPod is taken away from them right after they've been sprung playing on it without permission at 9 o'clock at night, then it's because they broke the clear "no iPods in bed after 8" rule.

And hopefully they'll learn better next time, though I'm pretty sure they won't.

In a different example, I know that if I have coffee after 5pm, it takes an extremely painfully long time to fall asleep, and I wake up super tired the next morning (not that it stops me - I love coffee)...

Because things like that make sense!

I suppose going to therapy, I assumed I'd walk out with some answers like, "You react like that because you have abandonment issues", or "Because your dog died", or "Because you overcooked the pasta."

Heck - I'd even be happy with a "You react that way because you're female!"

Like how it is in Hollywood, I wanted someone (a professional that is, not a crazy semi-naked drunk dude on the street) to pinpoint the moments in my life that destroyed and shattered my mind's ability to remain calm in any situation.

Instead I am left with no answers (maybe because there aren't any 'moments')... Just a handful of exercises to learn and practice when I start feeling anxious.

If I've learnt anything about anxiety lately, it's that people don't really know what it entails. It's not something that you can shake off like a cold or flu. It's not something that I will feel comfortable sharing every minor detail about it with everyone I know. And it's not something that will magically disappear after chatting over coffee.

It's also not my fault, it's not my fault, it's not my fault.

The good news, though, is that I have a few ideas for you to support a friend who suffers from anxiety!

... But it'll have to wait, because I'm afraid we're out of time.

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