The talk therapy has begun. I’ve now had 3 sessions, and I think I’m finally starting to see how this could help.
I really did go in thinking that I wasn’t all that broken. Nothing went astoundingly wrong in my childhood (although, I was NEVER allowed a Slip ‘N’ Slide growing up because my Dad said it would ruin the lawn… oh, the abuse I endured!), fairly normal upbringing and from the outside, I look happy and successful and well-adjusted.
Thing is, that well-adjusted person? Yea, she exists outside my house in the public realm. She’s the face I put on for the world to see. But I get home, and with a sigh, discard the mask. I sink back into my chair and know that if people knew what I was REALLY like that they’d never be friends with me. And then I eat lots of ice cream and potato chips to cheer me up.
And this issue of feeling like I’m almost two different people — the one everyone knows and loves and the not-so-lovable person I am at home — has made therapy difficult. Here I am, sitting in front of this relative stranger, and everything inside me is screaming at me to act all normal and happy so she’ll like me. I spend so much time posturing and acting out my impression of a sane person that turning it off is just short of terrifying.
I have to consciously remind myself: her job is to listen to all the dark things that are in my head.
And that she won’t judge me because of them: her job is to help those dark thoughts go away.
But it’s still tough for me. Opening up and feeling vulnerable, even in a place that I feel completely safe in, brings all sorts of emotions to the surface.
It’s a start, though. And when I force myself to give the details and to not gloss over the parts that I don’t think are ready for public consumption, I feel freer and less burdened for having shared it. Especially when my therapist doesn’t respond by running out of the office yelling, “Crazy person! Crazy person!”.
This is all good. But while I can see the good, I’m still not necessarily seeing the ultimate path — the way from unhappy to everything’s peachy. And being the person I am, I have a hard time with the not knowing where I’m going. I like having a plan and spot-checks along the way to make sure we’re headed in the right direction. But, I’ve jumped into this head-first, understanding that this will be a murky process at best.
What do I know? I know I need to change how I view myself — I’ve known this forever — and am hoping that my shrink will provide the tools for me to get to that place, since I haven’t been able to do it on my own. I also know that I’ve got to reconcile my public and private versions of myself, so that when I’m in a relationship I don’t feel like they’re getting the prettied-up version of Laura.
More than anything, I want to feel authentic. That’s all, really.