I've tried for most of the evening to decide what to write about tonight. I nearly decided to just post my recipe for chile verde, but (though I will post it eventually) that's not really where my head is at. As those of you who follow me closely on Twitter know, I've recently lost my therapist to reorganization and budget cuts at the university clinic where I get treatment. Tomorrow I have a first meeting with one who might end up being my new one.
I have a complicated relationship with therapy. I don't like going and find the fifty minutes goes by slowly as my former therapist (let's call her Dr. S.) and I try and piece together an idea of how my week went, how my anxiety is doing, whether my meds are doing their thing and how to manage the coming week. I usually leave feeling wrung out and ready take a nap. At best I feel relief that I won't have to go back for another week. Yet therapy is important. Bipolar disorder, especially mania, has left holes in my memory. Depression has left me with emotional bruises and scars. Anxiety disorder gives me terrifying panic attacks that medication barely controls. Therapy is a place where I can't hide from these things, where I can face them in safety and without judgement. However much I dreaded sessions, Dr. S. always made me feel safe. Under her treatment I finished my dissertation, got my driver's licence and dealt with the stress of applying for jobs. She's good at what she does and we did work together. It's been little more than a week since our last session but I already miss her.
Those of you who've had psychotherapy before know that finding a new therapist, getting to know them and having them get to know you is a painful process. It's one I dread. Normally I would have considered that maybe I don't need a therapist. After all, I'm better now than I've been in years. I hate having to travel across town to the doctor (though it does mean I get to have lunch tomorrow with Paul). But last month, due to a gap in our insurance coverage, I went 4 weeks without a therapy session. And I noticed the absence. My anxiety level was higher, my productivity lower. Life slowly became more chaotic. I didn't stop taking my medications, but I started missing my hypomania more than I had in a long while.
So I know I need a new therapist. I need to do the work to establish a relationship with her (I know my therapist will be a woman — they work better for me). But I don't have to like it.