Monday, November 30, 2015

the wisdom of my therapist

I've been seeing a therapist for a couple of years and, at this point, she knows me really well. I honestly don't know how I would have lived through the last couple of years without her and only wish I had started working with her sooner.

I've been thinking of some of the things that I have learned from her.

Patients who advocate for themselves have better outcomes. My therapist used to work in a hospital and this is something she learned then. I find it very comforting, especially as I make call after call to make sure I get the information I need to know how I am being treated and why. I feel so much better when I know what's happening. It's good to know that studies bear out my gut instinct.

It's almost impossible to have a panic attack if you are breathing. In one of our earliest appointments, she had me stop talking and take the time to breathe deeply. I felt first impatient and then much calmer. I very often forget to breathe when I am stressed, or I breathe very shallowly, and if I remember to breathe slowly and deeply I immediately feel much better.

Pay attention to what your body is telling you. This is especially true if, like me, you tend to live in your head. As with breathing, it's easy to ignore a headache, tense shoulders or anxiety gnawing away at the stomach. I've had to learn that, somewhat counter-intuitively, ignoring these pangs does not make them go away. They need to be noted and even held up to the metaphorical light and examined. As she keeps telling me, the body and the mind are very connected. Not in the sense that you can will yourself better but if you pay attention, your body can be telling you that something is wrong or that you need to slow down and take care of yourself.

Talking about something, even your worst fear, doesn't make it happen. This should be kind of obvious but I think lots of us are guilty of not saying things out loud because we are on some level scared that we will make them happen. Of course this isn't true and talking about a fear openly can make it lose some of it's power.


Louli said...

Oh Laurie this hit home in a big way -especially "saying things out loud doesn't make them come true" and remembering to breathe. You have been in my thoughts these past few days. I'm sorry for what you are going through - I wish this was not happening but it is and it sucks. I send you love and courage and many hugs. You will pull through this. Hugs to you my dear xo - C

laurie said...

Thanks so much. xoxo

ebg said...

Hi. I check your blog periodically, though not with great regularity. I was so dismayed to come here today and see your last two posts. We don't know each other but if we did I would be on the phone w/ you right now conjugating my favorite curse words at the top of my lungs.

I'm really good at it. I'm not great at lots of other things but I can sure hurl invective with the best of them and, for the right person, it can be helpful. Occasionally therapeutic, sometimes just funny, but either way it's a small service.

So in the sanctity of my solitary commute home tonight I will hurl some invective into the universe on your behalf.

And as a mom I will hold you and your family, especially your boys, in my thoughts and will wish strength in your direction.

Lola said...

Thanks SO MUCH for writing this. I needed it today of all days! Not that it's about me-it's about you:)) Your sharing throughout your journey is very giving and selfless. I don't want to say the cliche but I am going to "I don't know how you do it" but I do. You live each day and you have your super family and friends right? Hugs

Joanne Brennan said...

You're in my thoughts Laurie, holding you're hand. Joanne

Lene Andersen said...

This is amazing. A definite keeper for the dark times.

Thanks for this. It's going to change lives.

laurie said...

Thank you so much all of you. Your voices mean so much to me. Really.