I haven’t written about my new therapist yet. I’ve had two sessions with her so far. The first was spent answering a bunch of questions about why I was interested in therapy, basic background/history, a bit about my relationships, strengths, etc. I also told her about my previous therapy experiences, and she assured me our sessions would not be like that. Which made me very happy. She assured me she uses a very practical approach, to which I replied, “I’m all for practicality.”
She asked that I come to each session knowing what I wanted to discuss. Because I was having such a hard time narrowing it down for my second session, I decided the topic for the day would be my racing thoughts and constant worry. This seemed like a good place to start.
You know when I said I got an extra hour of sleep when I found out I could go to work two hours later than normal the other day? Yeah, that’s not exactly true. I went back to bed, and watched as my thoughts proceeded to spiral out of control. it went something like this:
Our writing group is meeting on Saturday and I haven’t read or commented on a single poem. And I’m the only one who hasn’t written anything.
Oh, and Sincerity asked for that book back. I don’t even know where it is. I hope I didn’t lose it.
I wish I had some better books about writing. Actually, I have some on the shelf I haven’t even read yet. I should put them next to the couch so I can read them while I’m on bed rest.
Crap, I wonder if I can use the laptop on bed rest. Is the heat or radiation going to kill our embryos?
And on, and on, and on.
So that’s what I talked about with my therapist, Dr. N., that very same afternoon. She offered lots of practical solutions, nothing revolutionary, nothing I hadn’t heard before. But the difference is I know I’ll be back in her office next week, and I’ll have to report on how it’s going. Am I going to sit there and say I didn’t follow any of her suggestions? Never one to miss an opportunity to seek a pat on the back, I don’t see that happening. I’ll have to try these strategies and give my impressions on how well they’re working (or not) for me.
Here was my homework:
Set aside a “worry time” each day. Write down my worries, then put them aside and try not to think about them for the rest of the day.
Practice mindfulness and single-tasking. Rather than letting my thoughts roll around in my brain willy-nilly, focus on the task at hand, whether it’s showering, eating an apple, or having a conversation with Hubby. Concentrate on one thing at a time (even if only in short bursts).
Streamline my morning routine. She listened to my concerns about spending 20 minutes in bed planning my day, and made a few suggestions. One of which was giving myself permission(!) to make lying in bed for a while part of my routine. She also said it might be a good idea to lay out my clothes the night before. Again, nothing I haven’t heard before, but execution hasn’t been my strong suit.
If I have trouble sleeping because of worry, get out of bed and worry in another room. Don’t associate worry with lying in bed trying to sleep. This hasn’t been an issue lately (other than the other morning).
Since that session, I’ve only had one opportunity to try to streamline my morning routine, which worked out beautifully. I set a time limit and only spent 10 minutes in bed and had my clothes laid out, ready to go, which thrilled Hubby because he didn’t even hear me come back into our bedroom to get them (as opposed to my usual opening and closing of drawers).
I’ve also been trying to practice mindfulness. When I think of it. Baby steps.
What I haven’t tried yet is the “worry time.” This was a concept that came up back when I was taking journal-writing classes. Something about the act of writing helping to clear those thoughts from your mind. Again, not a revolutionary concept, but I’ve felt so good that past few days, I haven’t felt the need to try this exercise.
Yesterday was a good day. I woke up early. I did yoga. I ran/walked with Hubby. I practiced mindful eating. I was supposed to meet with Sincerity and A. for our writing group, but S. cancelled the night before, and A. also ended up cancelling, but I didn’t know it until long after I’d gone to the meeting place. I waited 10 minutes, knowing there was a possibility she wouldn’t come, but not beating myself up for not trying to contact her to confirm or feeling stood-up. I didn’t make myself feel stupid, which is huge for me. Same goes for when I got a parking ticket that afternoon. Oh, well. Shit happens.
This is progress. And I couldn’t be happier about it.