Another Friday, another therapy appointment. Looks like this is going to be a regular thing, and that’s good because I’ve never been this talkative before. Not even with Dr. Awesomesauce. To my surprise, all KINDS of stuff is pouring out of me, a lot of it relating to early life events that he and I never got to because we were always dealing with one crisis or another. This time, I’ve been able to start at the beginning and I’m spilling my guts to the point where I said at the end of today’s session, “Gosh, all I do in here is talk!”
Kathy looked amused as she replied, “That’s why they call it talk therapy, you know.” That tickled me, and I laughed out loud. I am quickly becoming comfortable with her, and even though she’s my junior by a whole lot of years, she is very good at what she does. Already I’m looking forward to the next time I get to go to her office, which has soft lighting and a trickling fountain which provide a calming environment, and talk about EVERYTHING. My bipolar. My childhood traumas. My alcoholism. Especially my frustrations with what I see as a very diminished role in life. Kathy encourages me to turn around that thinking and consider what I do bring to the table—a sense of humor and a deep love of family, as well as a talent for the written word and the ability to live in the moment.
That last attribute took me by surprise. All my life I’ve been obsessed with the future, in particular what could go wrong in the future. But when Will was diagnosed with cancer back in 2013, I realized that every single day is a gift and tomorrow isn’t guaranteed to any of us. And after that long fall from productive member of society to disabled person, I learned that anticipating the worst doesn’t stop it from happening, so why drive myself insane with worry? That’s not to say I don’t suffer from anxiety—I experience it on a daily basis—but for the most part, I’m just trying to enjoy this time with my husband instead of dreading the day when the disease finally wins.
And there has been reason to be concerned. Will’s been sick with a combination of pneumonia and a cellulitis (skin infection) of his lower leg, which started when he scraped it on some coral while we were on Grand Cayman. He was so ill he spent two days in the hospital, and even now he’s still pretty weak. The good news is that the cancer has NOT spread to his lungs as we’d feared, and the leg is looking better every day. Again, we can only afford to live in the present and let each day bring what it will.
In the meantime, I’ve been set up with a new prescriber, a psychiatric nurse practitioner whom I’ll meet in early March. I feel fortunate that I’m getting in to see her in only a couple of months; some people wait three times that long for a provider. I guess they don’t want a bipolar 1 running around without medication. Not that I’ll be without; Dr. A is still prescribing for me and no doubt will continue to do so until the NP takes over. But being reasonably stable, I’m used to going 2-3 months in between visits, and it’s not critical that I see someone right away.
That’s a good feeling. And so is being able to get rid of a lot of pent-up emotions without judgment, just like I used to do with Dr. A. Only in some ways it’s even better, because Kathy has stronger boundaries and doesn’t share much about her personal life. The entire hour is about me, me, and ONLY me. What luxury!