Let me just open by saying: I haven’t left my house by myself in over a year. Yep, that’s right – one year.
I’m not a crazy recluse with 25 cats. Although, I can’t see anything wrong with having several cats. I love cats…and dogs. But, 25 is just logistically impossible in my opinion. But, back to the topic at hand before people go crazy agreeing/disagreeing with my comment.
Several years ago, I had my first bout with anxiety. I don’t know if I was ever truly diagnosed with panic attacks, generalized anxiety disorder or what. I did spend 1 month shy of year in therapy and on meds. I discontinued therapy because I felt GREAT! But, anxiety slowly crept up on me over the next couple of years. Then, about 1-1/2 years ago, I just couldn’t bring myself to get out of my house. It just freaked me out…I was overwhelmed with an irrational fear. It wasn’t a fear of anything in particular…just a generalized fear of everything. It took me a few months to get back into therapy, and that’s were I am now.
Despite having dealt with it for a year or so, I’m not an expert on this type of fear. I wish I could, but I don’t fully understand it myself. I can, on the other hand, offer some insight on other aspects of my process.
Why did I seek therapy at first and then again? I’m very well aware that MANY people, including some family members, live their entire lives feeling like I did and don’t seek help. I can’t do that. If something is wrong with my head, I need to fix it. My hats off to all of those people who can go it alone. Seriously. If therapy isn’t for you, it just isn’t for you. We’re all different and need different things.
What can I tell you about finding a therapist? You need to find the right one for you. In my first therapy round, I was seeing a psychiatrist and a psychologist. The first prescribed the meds and the second heard my problems. They are both men, and they are both good professionals. I point out their gender because I do think that it’s an important factor when choosing a therapist. My problem with a male therapist is that they don’t get it when a woman comes in raving about having gone shopping. Blank stares, hehehe
In my second and most recent therapy round, I first contacted a friend of the family…also male. At first everything was good. But, I soon realized that we weren’t a great fit. I can only sum it up paraphrasing Sarah Millican: There are therapists that let you cry, and there are therapists who make you cry. He was the latter. He’s very successful with his patients, but I just didn’t click with him. My current therapist is a woman and she is also into “alternative therapy”. She was EXACTLY who I was looking for. She even has a practice in my city, 15 minutes away from my house. Basically, I had to have the guts to trust myself and keep looking for what I needed.
What about the process? The process is crappy. I won’t lie or sugar coat it. Sometimes, it’s eye opening and inspiring. Other times, it’s confusing, painful and even stressful. But, it is always a path towards healing. You have to keep that in mind. Oh, and you have to put in the work (hard work) and the time (indefinite time).
Where am I now? Hwaiting! Well, I’m kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place…between fear and self-esteem issues. They are two sides of the same coin. That much I know. For the moment, I’m focusing on understanding and dealing with the fear. I’m working on getting into the head space for going out by myself and not freaking out. I have gone out to a corner store by myself several times. And, even if I feel like crap, I try to muster up the courage to go out alone or with somebody. I’ve appropriated a Korean word for this purpose, 화이팅 /hwaiting/(or 파이팅 /paiting/). It has slightly different translations depending on the situation. But, basically it’s a word of encouragement and support. It really pumps me up ^^
If anyone has any comments on their experience, I’d love to hear them. In the meantime: 여러분 화이팅! //You can do it, everyone! ^_______^