Woah my first ever sequel! And thank you for waiting so patiently for this my seven dedicated readers!
Sitting on her couch, I reached for a long woolly pillow and held it on my lap. The giant ceiling-to-floor window was right beside this comfortable couch. A line of birds (probably the signature Canada Geese) were traveling in the grayish sky, escaping the winter eh? It was 6pm. The parking lot around this small business building was entirely empty. Deep down, I felt very proud to bring myself here again, for another therapy.
Jen, let’s just call her Jen for the sake of privacy, came into the room with her warming smile. She has this sweet and soft voice that you really need to pay attention sometimes in order to hear her. I bet that is one of her tricks to calm me down. “Let’s get the payment for our session first, shall we? So we can move that out of our way!” Oh right, money, money. Is it just me or this part of the therapy ruins the moment? But I guess that they do not have a receptionist outside of the 9-to-5s. So the psych-doc has to do it all.
I didn’t prepare my speech for today’s therapy. But it didn’t take long for me to realize that I was complaining about my previous relationship, my current relationship, my work, my family, my incompetency, the guilt, the sadness, blah blah blah. I couldn’t even finish describing one event before jumping into a totally different topic. Jen was just looking at me, taking notes here and there, and breathing. I mean really breathing, deep breathing with the whole inhale and exhale motion. At some point, I felt like my talking was interfering with her breathing, so I stopped.
Jen said:”What are you feeling right now?” I paused a moment to examine my body:”Umm, my heart rate is fast and my head is buzzing.” “Ok, why don’t we just breath for a minute. Let’s just take a minute.” So here I was, holding a pillow and facing my therapist, awkwardly breathing in this super silent room. I didn’t even know where to rest my eyes at. But my overactive brain was quiet. It was an odd feeling since it was always filled with things, running and running like a hamster wheel. For a brief moment, it was completely quiet.
“I noticed that you like holding onto that pillow.” Jen finally spoke after a century long of silence, “How does that make you feel?” “Oh, I never really paid much attention to how it made me feel honestly. Safe, I guess. I feel safe hugging it.”
So the therapy went on smoothly. Jen is obviously trying to teach me some tactics to redirect my attention when I am about to have a panic attack. She is teaching me to notice and address my physical reactions to stress. When I was describing my problems, I can hear myself from a different angle. I realized that I might be too controlling. I expected things to happen in a certain way, and only in that way, otherwise it would make me upset because it would no longer be perfect. And I was constantly waiting for my to-dos to end so that I can relax. Jen said:”The to-dos is part of life and it will always be there till we die.” Dark, but true. There are always new problems and we will always be challenged if we are progressing. Accept that.
Then I can start to allow myself to take breaks, even with an unfinished to-do list.