As I may have alluded to in the past, and well, if you’ve been paying attention or if you know me, like, at all – you know that I’ve got some Issues. Of course, who doesn’t, right? But your issues aren’t my problem, and I can only work on me. Sorry about that.
And so the time has come for me to actually put in that work. I am nearly 40 years old and that’s a long time to be hauling so many hurts and anxieties and problems around. I don’t want to continue into the next decade of my life without at least having tried to address some of these things.
A local therapist was recommended to me by a friend and I have already been to two sessions. Hooray for follow-through! Normally that’s a problem for me, too. The office is located -literally- about three minutes from my house, in a small plaza with ample parking. She’ll see me after work in the evenings. So many things that might make me anxious about the act and process of simply being there are already resolved! I feel good about this.
Our first visit was more or less a “getting to know you session”; she asked a lot of questions about the issues I am facing now, my history of certain things, my family and my family’s history. She told me a bit about herself, how she got started, and what she focuses on now; when she mentioned her background in addiction and substance abuse, as well as trauma, I knew this was probably a good fit.
I spent most of my second visit biting my lip and desperately trying not to sob as I found myself going on and on for nearly 40 minutes about my mother. I couldn’t cry. I wanted to, but I am not there yet. And it’s not really a sad cry; it’s more an anger thing. I can’t seem to properly express my fury, it usually ends in a deluge of tears. But I am not there yet with this lady, and I don’t cry in front of strangers. My sister points out that your therapist is the one person you definitely shouldn’t worry about crying in front of.
Maybe I’ll get there in time.
My initial reason for being there was my constant anxiety, however, she believes that I suffer from dysthymia – a low-level, persistent form of depression – and seems to want to focus on that. I’ll go along with that for now. I don’t think she’s wrong, and who knows, maybe my anxieties are a symptom of that. Maybe it stems from something else altogether.
I’m open to exploring different possibilities, and I am not so naive as to think that there’s an immediate fix to be found. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
She shared with me this article, written last year by Therese Borchard: 10 Things I Do Everyday To Beat Depression. I expected it to be kind of cheesy, but in attempting to keep an open mind I gave it a read and I think there are some really helpful things to be found in the items that the author lists, and I would definitely recommend this as a worthwhile read.
The first thing Borchard talks about is how she swims early every morning, noting that “exercise is the most powerful weapon [she uses] everyday to beat the demons”, and that all aerobic workouts release endorphins,which,”while helping to block stress hormones and produce serotonin”, also can relieve depression.
I haven’t got a pool and I am not going to schlep down to the Y every morning, but I have begun taking a half hour walk every morning around 5:30am, just after I get out of bed. Once you are actually out of bed, there is something so wonderful about that time of morning. Though people may be just waking up, the world is mostly still and silent. No cars on the road, no children playing in the yard, and most importantly – no one is ringing me on the phone at that time of day. It’s glorious. I wish it could be 5:30am all day long.
I have found, in the past few days I have got much more energy and I am probably twice as productive. Is this sustainable? Can I keep it up? That I don’t know. But I did it today, so that is what I am trying to focus on for now.
I may slowly begin implementing some other suggestions from that list; for example, I like the idea of taking a minute or two to record the little joys of the day. It is the little things, so often, that provide unsuspecting moments of delight when one is fraught with anxiety and sadness. Taking time to collect these moments and appreciate them seems like a nice thing to slow your racing heart and still your crazy thoughts for time.
Power smoothies, however, can fuck off. Not in my house.
*The Skeletor Is Love image has been created exclusively for this post. We are not making a comeback.