As I mentioned in the previous post, I started therapy again three weeks ago. I’m seeing her on Wednesdays. This Wednesday will be my fourth session.

********

The second session I had with Brunet Young was just as productive as the first, but the third surprised me. Did I actually say all that? Yes, yes you did P. At ‘a girl!

It’s a good thing when you know what you’re getting yourself into when starting therapy. The same could not be said when I first went to see a counselor after my monumental mental meltdown in 2008. I had no idea what to expect then; I even walked out, or rolled out, of a therapist’s office in frustration in 2009. But this time… I have goals this time!

I came into therapy just as desperate, but more ready than ever. I know my borderline personality disorder (BPD) diagnosis, I’m more sure of the bipolar tendencies if the psychiatrist is right, and I’ve learned some basic dialectical behavioral skills training from Ex-Young Therapist as well as core training in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

I’m barely driving out of hell, but I have a tank full of gas, me thinks. That’s hope for ya.

********

On the second session, much like the first, we went over major areas of my life that need working on. I asked Brunet Young if she could tell me what it was she remembered about my history from the consultation team so I could fill in the rest as best I could.

I told her things like, “the overdose from two months ago was not my first, but definitely the worst” and “I have a history of abuse, though my views on it change. I mean, you have to understand our culture is different. But, it’s a fine line no?” I told her about my mother’s past suicidal tendencies, her upbringing, her sister’s (my aunt’s) suicide and so on. She already knew about my immigration situation, my medical problems, my tendency toward isolation, and my body image issues, so I didn’t have to go into that with her.

We talked a lot about how Monkey Man’s recent and sudden death has affected me, how I  was drugged up with him much of the time we were together (off and on), but how I always tried to get him to stop drinking. We discussed ways in which I can work up my courage to call his step-mom and/or dad to ask about the toxicology report results again.

On and on we went. I couldn’t believe myself.

Towards the end of the session, she did something I was so thankful for. She asked me to write a list of issues I thought I hadn’t had a chance to go over with Ex-Young Therapist.

********

My dad had taken me that second day and, on the way out, he said something that bothered me a little.

“She’s not good like the Ex-Young Therapist is she?”

“Why?” I asked.

“Well, she didn’t say hi to me as kindly as the other one.”

After the initial frustration this remark induced, a light bulb lit up in my head! Aha! I have to discuss this with Brunet Young, not this in particular, but my dad. I have to discuss how I think some of my black and white thinking patterns about myself lead back to his black and white thinking. I didn’t get into depth discussing my dad much with Ex-Young Therapist. I did a little, but more toward the end, or just when issues arose. In fact, because we focused so much on me learning DBT skills,  the therapy process and focus remained on present problems and not past, “unresolved” problems.

********

Last Wednesday, I decided to take the bus for our third session. It was better for all of us. My dad didn’t have gas money and I wanted the liberty of no off-handed comments.

It was an hour and a half bus ride; I have to take two buses and the MetroRail downtown but that’s a hell of a lot better than waiting on ole MetroLift’s shifty ass.

I arrived on time and with my homework assignment completed.

Here is my list of “past problems” I didn’t get to discuss with Ex-Young Therapist. And I added a bonus for Brunet Young. I added some therapy goals–totally my idea.

****

I’m on a roll. I’m telling you. Here’s what I wrote down for her:

Goals for Therapy

*Manage Panic attacks and chronic pain

*Reduce suicidal and self-injurious impulses/actions/urges and manage the thoughts better. (No more overdosing!)

*Increase support network
-> continue rebuilding relationship with brother
-> get into that DBT group at BT (keep calling! don’t desist!)
-> get involved again in community organizing/activist orgs.

****

* Interpersonal effectiveness -> review
* Distress tolerance -> review and continue practice!
* Develope a more consistent daily ruitine to include: writing/blogging, sketching, watching Lynda.com tutorials, planing, swimming/yoga, playing ukulele again, and getting a job after filing the immigration papers!
-> remember to do one thing at a time
-> break down into smaller chunks
-> plan ways to reduce stressful situations, not increase or worsen them

* Continue healthy eating / no binging
* Work on self-validation
* Work on healthier ways to deal with complicated grief
-> Monkey Man L’s death and guilt about death
-> hearing loss

* Ask about/look into other methods such as IFS (Internal Family Systems) and Schema Mode therapies.

****

Past Problems

* Mother’s verbal and physical abuse (I really hate the way I wrote this one because, honestly, I feel closer to my mother than my father and I love them both very much, even when they piss me off. And my mom’s changed for the better after getting help herself.)

* Dad’s continued invalidation and overbearing tendencies (not to mention the fact that I still have to depend on him financially)

* Medical Trauma (e.g. still need to deal with jaw incident and set up a date for surgery, continued nerve pain, decreased bone density, past accidents that led to ER, prolonged stays at hospital during childhood; loads of surgeries)

* Sexuality and validation issues (e.g. what happened with Dusty and Emily)

*Repetetive compulsion with alcohol and drugs (mainly alcohol and self-harm)

* Maladaptive core beliefs (e.g. I am not a “good” person, I’m “a burden,” etc.)

********

Yep, so that’s what I have so far. We went over this list I wrote, which she said was very good. I think it’s a good starting point too. And since I was able to write it out, it helped when she asked to explain what I meant by “sexuality and validation issues”. That’s when I brought up Sir Dusty and a lot of other things I may or may not mention here. Man, it was hard work!

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I.
Lorna —
running from awful nights,
nothing but a cataclysmic calamity
all to cavil and nothing to hold.
Too many nails digging in skin;
that’s what it is living
in this bawdy city.

Lorna, cursing. spiting, splitting.
Of all nights,
it had to rain.
Lorna, taking flight,
choosing not to
fill this rancor.
Choosing to churn it,
burn it into ash
and not fall in it anymore.

Bags waiting out back, but I
can’t carry many. It can’t show.

Rain, drilling, sizzling drops.
Rain, like Lorna, bouncing off roof tops,
drops son sounds of bags of falling diamonds,
crashing on hardwood floors.
Lorna, a caring crystal in unfamiliar
hands, in this odious out pour.

Downstairs, all that
drinking, all that clinking,
all that clamoring, and Lorna halts.
But I can’t sink! Not tonight.
Stick with your plan!
Lorna
La Mas Bonita,
what Big Johnny y los otros osos
ogros la llamaban,
has to rush
hush.

II.
Running now, down wood stairs,
sliding back, fast gotta go,
passing vacant curtains, swing back door
out to cold midnight air to flushing,
gushing wind that smacks
–a familiar punch.

This, this storm
is nothing
to storms Lorna
is living,
passing, and
passing.

Now this minty, misty spring wind,
this tonic, this aroma is kissing
Lorna, kissing la
mas bonita’s
sonrisa.

© Paz
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Today’s prompt was to write a  lipogram/Beautiful Outlaw/Beautiful In-Law. I didn’t even know what that was but apparently, it’s  “a poem that explicitly refrains from using certain letters.” I took the letter “e” out as it’s the most common and vowels are the most challenging ones to remove but are also more rewarding when it comes to results. Hey, learned something.

My ten buck sessions are up.

The young therapist I’ve been seeing at the university for the last year-and-half is graduating and moving to San Antonio come June or July. She told me this several sessions back, maybe two months ago or so but I wouldn’t remember–these last few months have meshed in my memory.

Fortunately, I’d already gotten in with the psychiatrist at the community hospital I keep talking about (well, the psych is really at one of their branch clinics but whatever). Now that I’m in with that psychiatrist, I was able to schedule with a therapist there–otherwise I would’ve been on a waiting list for months to come–and well, my first session there starts May 3rd. So my last session with Miss Young Therapist who doesn’t look a day older than myself is this coming Wednesday.

Two sessions ago, so two Wednesdays ago, she’d asked me what I thought about what happens after death (because I’d brought L up again) and I told her what I thought. I then asked her, “what do you think?”  I made sure to emphasize that you. And guess what? She answered with, “oh yeah, that’s what I thought you believed, pretty much.”

That’s not what I was asking. Anyway, I let it slide. She’s probably been the best therapist I’ve had since I started going there at the university late 2008, soon after my monumental mental meltdown which I hope to be able to write about eventually. I can’t muster the courage now. (It’s kind of funny actually, in the way mental breakdowns can be. Then again, it’s not funny at all because breaking down mentally is no fun even if I got the “Dotty’s Being Mental and Loving it award”.)

Wednesday when I went to see her, I’d asked her again, what do you think happens, only this time I told her I didn’t want to know what she thought I thought, I wanted to know what she personally thought.

She got quiet and gave me an uncomfortable look, you know the kind a kid gives his mom when he knows he’s not supposed to say something and is looking for approval from her. She said, “you know, I want this session to be about you.”

I knew then that she’d probably been instructed not to talk about her personal beliefs. That’s the thing about newbie therapsits. They’re too linear with their methods. They haven’t loosened up yet.

See, that’s what gets me. I get the therapist-client relationship and that the therapist should refrain from too much personal info so’s not to get attached and other such things. I get it.

But COME ON!

All I got out of her that day when I asked and wished her the best in regards to San Antonio was that she’s got her thesis or concentration on Borderline Personality Disorder. Now it makes sense why she drilled so much dialectical behavioral techniques (DBT) into me.

As far as the beliefs go, I told her it was just reassuring to know what other people believed regardless of whether I agreed with them or not. And that I think it would be good for grieving L’s loss.

She asked if I’d told any of my friends, and I’d said I feel I don’t have any right now. Then I chuckled and said, “just Eloise and Maribel.” Maribel by the way, who I hadn’t heard from for months, had called me the Saturday before last to tell me her mother had died; we commiserated. It was good, a sucky bad kind of good and a good kind of bad. So Young Therapist suggested I get in contact with friends, make plans and tell them about L and then ask them what I asked her.

I guess. We’ll see. I plan to.

Anyway, I wanted to ask you guys that are or have been in therapy. I’m really nervous and skeptical about seeing someone new yet again. You know, having to re-tell and re-open (I’ve never been completely open to begin with). It just makes me anxious. And you know how much I already talk about anxiety burning me.

What should I ask this new therapist when I go in, I mean besides the usual thing about how I am currently and a brief back-story? What do you do, may I ask?

Sometimes, I think I should just quit therapy all together. I was ready to be done last July, but I spiraled down again. And then I think of how raw I feel right now.

I’m kind of at a loss.

********

addendum: I’m going to do my best for today’s NaPoWriMo poem, but there are about  eight people here at the house, EIGHT PEOPLE or TEN! They all just burst in!  That’s not including my mom, dad, myself, my brother and his girlfriend who came by. Aparently my dad finally got a photoshoot gig and latin people like to bring everybody and their momas and their babies and whatnot. Aaaaagh! That’s the downside to a business at home. Then, I heard my dad’s cousins are coming for dinner. uuughhh. They are so nosy and pinchados (upiddy and conceited and haughty and shit), most of them at least.

If not, I’ll post two poems tomorrow.

NaPoWriMo Día 17: He

April 17, 2012

He

He, my muse.
I his.

His ease of inspiration
is thwarted by the need he feeds.

He, always
drunker than he lets on.

I will not.
I will not.

I, sallow,
now sail farther than my ship allows.

I am his muse he says,
his easel, his canvas, brush and paint.

HA! What will he do
when I’ve smeared off his page,

washed out, leaving it empty like
the glazed gaze washing over me now?

His embedded emerald eyes reveal
a touch of grey marble beneath,

a bit cracked like thunder
and clouded, darkened with the gods and demons.

All those deep pangs they release
on our frontal lobes when we elope.

I will no longer.
I will no longer.

I will not lie in
the blanket of his fever.

I alone hold enough fire to
light the darkest hour of night.

And damned be that evasive smile!
And damned be my indecision!

Voices echoed. Heidi calls again.
We, we, we, we, we. A screech!

Lost in his mental Minoan Crete.
He! He! Damned, depressed poet!

Glad to burn out his body
for a few years of continuous intensity.

I will not.
I will not.

He and his Dionysus
He and his courtesies

I must leave.
I will not. I will not.

I will not rot.

© PAZ

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Is it cheating if I picked up and finished a poem I’d started and dropped two or more months ago?

BAGH. It’s all over the place.
Blegh, it still feels incomplete like it always will, like his fuckin’ life.

Today was a long day. Not bad, not good, just long.
*le sigh*

Buenas noches