Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Doctor Doctor, Can't You See I'm Burning, Burning?

I saw a therapist for the first time on Monday.

Now I won't say that there is a direct correlation between planning my wedding and the decision to see a therapist. It's more like the veil that broke the camel's back.

Mr F has been encouraging me to see a therapist for some time now given my proclivity to being overly stressed and anxious about just about everything. I have resisted mostly because while I think therapy is a wonderful thing, I tend to feel that it is something that makes much more sense for people who are dealing with "real" issues - like addiction, grief, or depression. Not so much for anxiety. It just seems so self-indulgent to see a therapist to deal with "stress" when people all over the world are sick, starving, and victims of violence and abuse.

That being said, the fear of blossoming into a fully formed version of my parents (who, the learned doctor informed me, are probably both dealing with severe forms of generalized anxiety disorder themselves) combined with quickly worsening and painful TMJ (from grinding my teeth at night from stress) finally was enough for me to agree that if speaking with a professional about my "issues" could ultimately make me a better person (better person = person not as crazy as my parents and with less physical symptoms of stress), then it was worth a try.

What is most fascinating is that I can write five pages on picking out china, but I don't have a lot to say on this. Mostly I'm writing in the interest of full disclosure and because I'm a little giddy at the recollection of our first conversation.

The Doctor begins by asking: "So, why are you here?"

"I knew you were going to ask me that! And I've been thinking about what I was going to say for the past few days. I think this has been a long time in coming. But the truth is that I've been really stressed lately and I have a lot of anxiety...about...uhm...hmm."

"About what?"

"I know this is going to sound funny, and I think it's really just a catalyst to get me here - and not the cause of my anxiety per se...but...I decided to come here because I'm really stressed about...Planning My Wedding."

"Hmmmmmmm." The Doctor looks down writes something (presumably "patient is crazy" or a picture of a bird going "cuckoo! cuckoo!") and leans back in her chair.

And then she said "OK, so tell me if you have any phobias."

"Wha???" Phobias? Did I hear right? Perhaps she said "tell me if you've picked out your phlowers?" No, no I think she did not.
Apparently what she did do was change the subject. Flat out just moved on. It was like I'd suggested we order a pizza and she responded with "Do you like my new sweater?" Not even a tacit acknowledgment of my statement.

I started to do my nervous giggle thing (which probably freaked her out more since I'm sure she suspected there were voices in my head telling me jokes) because at that moment I realized that even my PhD-holding-mental-health-professional couldn't provide any answers about the massive stress caused by wedding planning. Either that or I have a therapist with a severe hearing deficiency.

Well that's just about it. Except that it cost me $140 to learn that my therapist can't plan my wedding for me (and/or needs the Miracle Ear) and I got suckered into going back again in two weeks. I'm not really sure where this whole thing will get me (except for some potentially funny but unnecessarily expensive blog posts), but for those of you who are also stressed (but don't want to drop a Benjamin and a half on a shrink of your own), I'm happy to pass along her advice.

Unfortunately, most of this session focused on my crazy parents and my non-wedding-related issues so I have no advice to share, but I firmly believe that you should all stay tuned as I am certain that within $420 (also known in layman's terms as "three more sessions") we shall once again straddle the issue of the White Horse of the Apocalypse, the impending nuptials trotting toward me with advancing speed. Giddyup!


Anonymous said...

mmmm I had to go on a low dose of prozac. the perfect anxiety storm of wedding, job insanity and house buying did me in. I hope the doc can give you good advice on how to deal with your parents!

earlier in my life i went to therapy to deal with a specific issue too, and the doc steered me toward talking about my folks the whole time! interesting..... :)

lazybride said...

I started seeing my therapist about 3 months ago, right before the FH moved in because I was having anxiety attacks. She has me going weekly. Talk about indulgent.

However, she has given me some helpful coping mechanisms when faced with stress inducers in my life, namely, the future in laws.

For this, I heart her. And, to make you feel better, I mentioned the wedding right off, and she had me talk about different things, like my parents and family. I think because they are your basis for how a marriage works or doesn't work. They were your first and longest encounter with the life altering reality of marriage.

Stick it out, use it to talk about what stresses you and have them offer plans for you to get through stressful situations. It will be worth it.

insteadi said...

Hello E&E,
I'm about a year late on reading your blog, but I found it somehow yesterday and have been interspersing bouts of organising wedding things (it's in 2 weeks) with reading I Hate Planning My Wedding.

Apart from being utterly hilarious (that's because of your writing, not the actual events..), reading that someone else has a mother who is driving them to a therapist is therapy in itself.

The first time my mother met my inlaws, I was so stressed by her (my mother, the inlaws are great) 'antics' that I ended up taking a triple dose of muscle relaxants (the only thing on hand) after a goblet of wine at lunch. I spent the rest of the day trying hard to keep my head from flopping around the way a newborn's does..and controlling my eyes: so relaxed was I that they lost their ability to a) see anything in single vision and b) look in one direction at a time!

I haven't yet read what happened at your wedding, because I want to keep working back in the 'story' and save the best to last!