About Me

 

 The greatest thing we can do is to show up for our lives and not be ashamed.

 -Anne Lamott

 

I'm a creature of the word, learning to tell my honest story.

I offer it here because telling stories is the road back home.

Motherhood is not a biological designation
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Thursday
Jan032013

A letter to my therapist 

Dear therapist,

 

After some self-reflection, I've decided to postpone my appointment tomorrow for a psychiatric evaluation.  You see, I made that appointment in November, and I am feeling a whole lot different now than I did then.

Plus, it's not covered by insurance, so I would be paying $100.00 for a psychiatric nurse to tell me I am either certifiably depressed, or certifiably not depressed.

But at this point, even if she tells me I am depressed, I just really don't want to go on meds.

Mostly because I feel like I am getting better, but also because I do not want to lose my sex drive.

 

It has come to me that my biggest fear is intimacy- it's what I crave more than anything, but also what I fear more than anything (isn't that how it always goes?); ironically (or probably normally), I can handle intimacy with my outer circles of relationship: I love learning about people and their stories, I love the exchange of intimate sharing that can occur when two people care enough to be honest and real.  

It is intimacy with my husband and my children that I fear.  

I haven't dug down to the root of this fear. I suspect it has something to do with the loss of control if I really give my all to my man and my kids. You know, "what if I give everything, and it's not enough to satisfy them? What if I lose myself in the process?  What if I try to be a great wife and a great mom, and I still fail?"

And it probably has something to do with my pride- because I can't hide with the ones closest to me.

It's humbling to admit, but my intimacy with the outer circles of relationship can be an escape mechanism. It feels like I am giving my all, but I am still choosing how much I want to reveal, and I don't have to talk to someone on a bad day if I don't want to.  

My husband and my kids see me on ALL my days.  This intimate knowing scares me.  In the past, I've let my relational needs be met through a whole network of relationships-a diversionary habit that has sometimes left my husband feeling like he gets the leftovers of my thoughts or my energy.  

I can't do that here because I don't have a network of relationships anymore.

If I feel like I am doing a poor job at being present with my kids, I cannot compensate by attending a Wednesday night bible study where I might offer up some nugget of revelation and receive generous feedback; I can't go to coffee with a girlfriend where I engage in soul-sustaining conversation and walk away feeling known and seen and understood, and perhaps a little prideful about how much I am investing in someone or how relational I am.

And so, I am facing the bald face of my fear.  And I am making the choice to dig as deep as it takes to discover the root and dig it out.

 

Which is why I need my sex drive.

Intimacy is a choice, a super scary choice. Even scarier if that sacred marital intimacy has been betrayed.  I have justification to hide my cards close to my chest, but if I do this, I might as well not stay married. I'm not in this thing for a mediocre hiding kind of love.  

In all honesty, we all have reasons to hide our cards close to our chests. This is why marriage is so hard- it's a deliberate choice that defies reason and the human instinct to self-protect.

I am making conscious choices to draw near to my husband, to believe in the depth of his love for me, to tear up the ace hiding in my sleeve, to put all the cards on the table, even on the days when my hand is super crappy.

 

Therefore, dear therapist, if I go on meds, I am afraid the loss of my sex drive will undermine these choices to draw near even when my flight or fight instinct (the one that is so much stronger post-trauma) screams at me to run away and hide.

 

Perhaps I can best explain myself through a visual.

Exhibit A:

 

 

what my husband got me for Christmas.

Along with Anne Lamott's new book on prayer, Stephen King's new book of short stories, two chozy hoodies, and a spa membership which entitles me to either a one-hour massage or a one-hour facial once a month for six months.

I told him it was like a care package for the mentally unstable.  Absolutely perfect. He supports me with the time and the finances and most vitally, the humour, to pursue my self-care while not taking myself too seriously.

He also supports my efforts to design the most effective cocktail of healing practices, but he, like me, thinks I might be putting too much emphasis on talk therapy. 

He would know better than anyone that TALKING is the easiest thing for me to do.  I'm pretty darn good at self-analysis (hence the bliggety blog).

And while I used to say that everybody in the world should have a therapist, I don't quite believe that anymore. I think at some point it's important to address things on a primal level- yoga has taught me this.  Not all change is going to happen just because I can intellectually apprehend my issues.

As my (old) therapist used to say, the WHY is vastly overrated.  

It was also easier to say that everyone should have a therapist back when my insurance covered therapy for a $25 co-pay. Now that I pay upwards of $70-80 a session, I am rethinking my theories.  Funny how quickly money trumps idealism.

I've found a co-dependants anonymous group that meets on Thursday nights for free. I didn't know there was such a thing as a co-dependants anonymous group until my (old) therapist suggested I attend a meeting; I've been putting it off for months because everytime I say Co-dependants Anonymous, I feel like a B grade actor in the cheesy movie of my life.  But if I can just get a few friends to come along with me, I'm sure I'll be fine.

I've found a contemplative prayer group, also for free, which fascinates me; after reading Thomas Keating's The Human Condition: Contemplation and Transformation, I cannot wait to meet the people who attend contemplative prayer groups, and I cannot wait to be one of them.

Today, I went to an acupuncturist who treats in a community room to keep the cost down. She wore no makeup, a fuzzy knitted Dakine hat, super chozy clothes, and no shoes; like an ancient apothecary, her waiting room was lined with bookshelves, and every bookshelf held enormous glass jars full of clumpy herbs that all looked like shiitake mushrooms to my untrained eye.  I walked out of there feeling more balanced and blissful than I have in a very long time. I've got two tiny needles taped to my left ear, some herbs to get rid of my sinus infection, some herbs to detox my liver, a tingling in my feet which I've decided is a sign of getting grounded, and anticipation of a life-long practice of goodness that I can't explain-which is a good thing.

It's time for me to embrace a season where I can't explain everything; I fear I've thought of much of my healing like this: If I can figure it out and write it down, I can beat it. Otherwise, it will master me.

But I don't think this is true anymore.

Like the Fyodor Dostoevsky quotation from my new Christmas journal (about dysfunction) says:  To be too conscious is an illness- a real, thoroughgoing illness.  

I've partly relied on talk therapy because it feels safe to me- it goes back to my fear of intimacy, of wanting to control things beyond my control.  

With my husband's (and God's) help, I am pursuing the things that scare me, with an intact sex drive to help me through.

Love,

trin

 

 

 

 

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