Yesterday was the best holiday of the year, I certianly looked forward to it more than I did Easter. It was T day! -The celebration of Diana's first therapy appointment! It was a sunny day, fitting for any holiday, and It was late enough in the day that I was able to get enough sleep, in spite of my "kids on Christmas eve" excitement the night before.
First good sign- the location. This office could not be in a cooler place. It is right next to a well know park near my neighborhood. This park (and neighborhood) is amazing, It has the ritzyest of the ritzy on the same sidewalk as students and the most indigent people you can find. The energy in this area is electric. I am in a neighborhood that I could build my life in, it is only appropriate that the office where I will develop the tools to build this life is nearby. This is a location I can walk to and from on my strongest days, and that I can hop to and from quickly on a bus on my most social phobic days.
The actual first good sign would be my first interaction with - I will call her Dr. T (Dr. Therapist :) ) Over the phone she was very considerate in her emphasis on rapport. (rapport is a neccessity in effective therapy, if you feel like the therapist dislikes you or you dislike them you won't be able to trust them enough to open up) No therapist has ever gone to the trouble to remind me of this. She repeatedly reminded me that this is important and to not hesitate to find someone else if there wasn't a match. She reiterated this point at the appointment. Her making this point was really appreciated, sensitive people have a hard time in hurting other people's feelings, and she made it very clear that it wouldn't be personal. She obviously cares more about offering effective care than building her business. (And she has a long list of clients to show for this caring.)
Other things I feel positive about. She is obviously very smart. I have never felt that a therapist wasn't "smart enough" to treat me, but I have been misunderstood before. A smarter person might be able to see that I am a smart woman who struggles with verbalizing her thoughts, a less smart person might just think I am "ditzy." It also appears to me by her specialties and research that she has interest in neurology. My case is a combination of enviornmental and biological factors. I think the environmental & behavioral stuff can be fixed much more easily than whatever chemically is going on upstairs. I take comfort in the idea that my therapist studys these things.
Here is a wierd thing I see as a possible benefit about this therapist- she is conventionally beautiful, and seems unapologetic about it. When I was in good shape I was conventionally beautiful and I had a REALLY hard time dealing with it. I was uncomfortable with the attention (NOT a good thing for a social phobic when people REALLY ARE looking at you!;) My low self-esteem left me open to people who wanted me only for my "trophy" qualities, with no regard for my feelings or opinions; I have problems with assertiveness and it is hard for me to say "no", when you are conventionally beautiful you have more need to use that assertiveness; And of course, the "Halo-effect" is wonderful, but it does have the flip side that people assume you can handle insults and criticism, and they can be unnecessarily harsh.
I think any good therapist would be supportive and empathetic to these issues I have, but frankly, they embarrass me. Beauty is a double-edged sword for women in this country. We are punished if we don't have it, we are punished if we do. I honestly take a lot of comfort in my weight as it is, it makes me invisible which helps in the social phobia thing. But being overweight, as well as the eating habits and sedentary lifestyle that lead to it, contribute to depression. There are all sorts of reasons I should lose weight but don't want to. I use food as a coping mechanism, I need to replace that with effective ways to cope. I take comfort in fat, because it helps me know my boyfriends like me for me, not my looks. Problem is I am more inhibited sexually now than when I liked my body- when I find that man who likes me for me I want to feel comfortable enough to relax and really share myself with him. I have no fear of the work it will take to lose this weight, what I am afraid of is being conventionally beautiful again. Even if she wasn't conventionally beautiful I am sure she would be supportive to my issues with this, but since she is, I think I will feel safer in admitting them.
And she is skeptical (as am I) of this so-called "personality disorder" I was diagnosed with. Yay! I am happy to accept whatever is wrong with me in order to fix it, but that diagnosis did not make sense to me. I remain open to the possibility, but I appreciate her skepticism VERY much. She also volunteered that the nurse practitioner who took me off the Ativan in 2001should have dealt with the decision differently. I am glad to be where I am now, so I wouldn't change the past, but I do think I got a raw deal in that whole scenerio- I appreciated Dr. T's validation on that.
I feel very positive, I think this doctor may be able to help me. I feel very fortunate that I could run across this feeling with a doctor in this area and who is covered by my insurance. I also take great comfort in the idea that if she cannot, that she doesn't want to treat me, and won't take it personally if I find someone else.
Thanks Dr. T! :)
mood: ALIVE, awake, awesome