Saturday, March 10, 2012

Therapy Thoughts

I'm having some trouble figuring this out. Basically, I've sort of been feeling like therapy isn't going that well. It's not going badly or anything, it just doesn't really seem to be making an impact. I'm starting to dread my appointments a little bit because they just seem like a waste of time. My eating is basically fine (still super rigid and unvaried, but not really restrictive in terms of calories) and honestly, I'm just sick of talking about it.

I wonder if this just comes down to me sucking at therapy. At the end of last summer, I was feeling this same sort of ambivalence about the time I spent with my old therapist. I wasn't any less rigid or ritualistic about eating. I still counted calories obsessively, worked out compulsively, and was generally pretty miserable. The only real differences between then and six months earlier (when I started therapy) were that I had gained some weight and was incredibly unhappy about it. I hope this isn't triggering or offensive to anyone reading, of course I'm not implying that weight gain = depression, but the reality of the situation was: I was more depressed that summer after refeeding than I had ever been before in my life.

I'm definitely not depressed to the same degree anymore and I actually like R better than my old therapist W, but I'm still feeling frustrated with the whole thing. Part of me wants to be left alone with my disorderedness, and part of me wants to know dammit, why am I not cured yet?

It's definitely frustrating when we start talking about something that doesn't resonate with me or feel very relevant. I tend to go along with whatever R wants to talk about, but mentally check out without steering the conversation towards something else. Not blaming him. I know that this is my fault. I give him a lot of my noncommittal shrug/grunt/"I don't know" things that he loves oh so much because really, what therapist doesn't love a withdrawn, detached, expertly poker-faced patient? Sometimes R tells me he needs to think, so he just sits there and kind of squints at me, and I start squirming and tapping my foot off and picking at my nails and crossing and uncrossing and recrossing my legs until he clears his throat and speaks up.

The other day I apologized for being difficult, and he said, "You're not difficult. You're just not vocal."

I don't know why the therapy stuff is so dang hard for me. I'm not shy in real life. Definitely reserved, but I have no problem whatsoever talking to people - friends or strangers. But in therapy, for some reason, I go into shutdown mode. I have lots on my mind, but none of it ever seems to get out.

Um okay, what was my point? I feel like I've strayed into the Land of the Ramblers. Oh yeah, that I suck at therapy and don't feel like it helps that much. THAT BEING SAID, yesterday's session went better because I actually took initiative and spoke up about something that was bothering me. Lately, I've been concerned (ahem freaking the fuck out) about my weight, which seems to be creeping up for no reason whatsoever. So after I got weighed and we went to his office, I sucked it up and said something along the lines of: I don't understand why I'm gaining weight and it's scaring me and I don't like it and I want to talk about that. So we talked about it and now I feel a little better. Is that what therapy is supposed to be?

Either way, R gets major points for staying totally patient, nonjudgmental, and persistent even when I'm a silent, shrugging, "I-don't-know"-ing block of ice.


  1. Ambivalence about therapy is frustrating, and I think it's a normal part of the process. It's tricky to know how to verbalize dissatisfaction food is still an issue (rigidness, discomfort with weight, etc) but you've gotten past the uber-restriction point and are getting closer to a healthy weight. I think a huge risk at this stage, though, is getting stuck in a sort of complacent, subclinical mode, where the ED is still dictating a lot of your thoughts/life even though it isn't an acute physical health risk at the moment. One of my biggest fears is a sort of semi-recovery purgatory, where I'm just okay enough to stay non-okay for the long term.

    So anyway, totally get where you're coming from. Don't fall into the trap of thinking that you're wasting time in therapy, though, because it is indeed a slow process. The focus has to shift, and sometimes it takes a while for the patient-therapist to communicate when/where/how that's going to happen...but it's worth it in the end. You are in now way difficult or "bad" at it, and I'd actually be willing to wager you are one of his more intelligent and insightful clients, which probably makes you really cool to work with despite the fact that you're not as "vocal" as some.

    Hang in there! You are worth it.

  2. I used to have the same thoughts about not knowing how to do therapy. In short, yes, by talking about what's on your mind, by verbalizing your reactions... that's how you do therapy. You're doing a good job!