When Dreading Therapy Turns to Needing Therapy

I have my monthly psychotherapy appointment this morning. I’ve been dreading it since it first took residence on my calendar, but I think it has come at an important time. I have a lot on my mind and I feel it’s necessary to get some professional support rather than just my own mind leading the self-directed charge. Depending on how the session goes, I’m even considering requesting an appointment in two weeks because four weeks is a long way off.

Yesterday was a nice day. Ben had the day off and we got some home projects done. I worked in the morning and we relaxed in the hot afternoon listening to the cracking thunder and the deluge of rain ricochet off the roof. It was a good day to have his company because my heart was heavy with difficult emotions and my brain saturated with memories, thoughts, and self-doubts, particularly after working through my morning writing. Sometimes, when you’re feeling low or emotionally distraught, the best medicine is company from your partner or best friend, who happens to be the same person in my life. He also has been feeling a bit unmotivated and lonely lately, since we haven’t had much time together, so the shared day talking, improving the home, and relaxing in companionable silence was just what we both needed.

Today, I’m expecting to feel comparatively isolated and unfulfilled. While it may sound like this pessimistic attitude is setting up a self-fulfilling prophecy, it’s actually helpful for me to anticipate these challenges so that they don’t surprise me if they creep up. Because I so significantly struggle to identify my emotions and recognize troubling ones in a timely fashion, they tend to feel like they crop up suddenly and overwhelm me. If this happens and I can’t easily figure out what it is I’m feeling, and more importantly why, I usually become anxious and unsettled. This exacerbates the negative feelings and further drives me towards a depressive spiral. By preemptively envisioning how I might feel and why, I not only don’t feel like the emotion snuck up on me with little warning, but I can try to plan accordingly, potentially minimizing the impact or preventing the issue altogether. Today, for example, if I feel uneasy and sad, it’s likely that I’m lonely and missing companionship, especially after a nice day with Ben and with all the painful things on my mind. After my therapy appointment, which is likely to actually scrape those wounds a bit and make me feel more down, I may need to set up something distracting and more fun than just going home to an empty house to work. The library, a walk at the park, or time in the sun with Comet are all possibilities that are more appealing to me and might feel like a “treat” when I’m down.

At least the weather is beautiful, the birds are singing, and my stomach isn’t quite as bad as it was yesterday so far. In a few hours, therapy will be behind me and I’ll hopefully be a step closer to feeling better.

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