Not Engaged Yet

Therapy

Hummingbird125Hummingbird125 New York
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edited June 2014 in Not Engaged Yet
So... I have my first appointment with a therapist (LCSW) on Monday afternoon. I'm nervous. The reason I'm going is because I think the reactions I have when things don't go the way I want them to are out of proportion with the issue at hand. As some of the ladies on here know too well, I've had problems with FI going out for happy hour after work. There have been times where he was clearly in the wrong (we had tentative plans and he broke them), but there have been more times when he made me fully aware of his plans, they were entirely reasonable, and I was still upset. Moreover, when I know he's going out after work - even if he's given me all the details - I'm still stressed and nervous and just primed to be angry or cry if he decides to stay out any later than planned. We've had good talk about it, and he knows what I need him to do to make me more comfortable, but I feel like even if he does EVERYTHING I ask, I still will be upset if he doesn't come right home after work. As a side-note, I have no reason whatsoever to mistrust him, and I hate feeling like a crazy, unreasonable, partner.

It's not just the happy hour issue that has caused these feelings. Early in the wedding planning, a venue I hoped we'd like turned out to be far below expectations, and I couldn't stop crying on the way home - I had decided that we could not afford a decent wedding and we would never find something we'd like within our budget. What sparked this was seeing on FB that a friend of a friend had just gotten engaged, and in my head, I was sure that THEY would have the perfect wedding, while we never would. I've been pretty happy at this job so far, but in my past two positions I've become so stressed that I couldn't stop crying on several different occasions. My dog killed a bird a couple of days ago and I was a MESS for several hours. 

I've always said that I think pretty much ANYONE could probably benefit from therapy, but I've never actually been myself. I'm hoping it will help to talk out these feeling with an expert, and help me put things into perspective so that I can have more appropriate reactions when things don't go my way. 

Anyways, for those of you who have been, what can I expect for my first session? For future sessions? Do you think I have reasonable expectations going in? Thinking about it now, I'm worried I'm going to burst into tears the second she asks me why I'm there...


CN: Going to first therapy appointment on Monday. Nervous. What can I expect?

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Re: Therapy

  • Dignity100Dignity100 Northeastern Ohio
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    We're in the same boat, kinda.  I have my first session on Saturday.  My MAIN reason at the moment for going is how to deal with my mom.  She has a lot of anxiety issues and between my wedding and her aging, it's getting worse.  I have sent her FB messages here and there but I haven't talked to her on the phone for over a month (we used to talk every other day).  I have other stuff I want to talk to the therapist about too.


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  • SwazzleSwazzle New Jersey
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    edited June 2014
    I don't have advice on the therapy part because I haven't been since I was in high school but I'm wondering if your birth control might have something to do with the crying fits. I had that issue with a couple different BCPs that I took in the past and that weirdness went away when I switched to something else. Maybe something to consider or talk to your OB/GYN about when you go?


    ETA: All the hugs <3



  • I'm with @Swazzle - I know that when I was on a particular BCP (and I don't remember which one), that I would have irrational emotions like that, and they were completely out of my control.  it does have to do with my PMDD, but hormonal BCPs can definitely play into that. 

    I think that you'll find that therapy will be a huge relief.  lots of hugs!
  • Aw, Hummingbird, that's a lot of stuff. I'm really glad you're giving your own theory a shot and trying therapy. It can be scary at first, but it is a wonderful tool to understand yourself and gain more control of your actions and thoughts.

    I've sought short-term therapy two or three times in my life, and in my experience, the first session or two are about history taking, getting to understand the reasons you want counseling, and figuring out what approaches might work for you. Then in future sessions, I have basically come in with updates about the things that are causing me problems, and we workshop those issues and talk about ways to deal with them. When I come back after that, we go over how things went using the strategies we talked about. Repeat until I have nothing to say, which is usually my sign that it's working. :)

    I think you have very reasonable expectations going in. It sounds like you already recognize that you're not reacting the way you want to, but maybe just need some help catching yourself in the act before the whole situation gets away from you. A therapist is a great resource to help you learn to do that.

    Two bits of advice:

    1) It's OK to change it up if you don't feel a connection with the first person you talk to. I wasted a lot of time with my first round of therapy because my counselor was just not helpful to me - great listener, but he was far too quiet and didn't give me much to work with. He was ALL about getting my feelings out and then...nothing. Try a few sessions and if it's not benefiting you and you're not a fan, it really is OK to try someone else.

    2) Bursting into tears is OK! It's not my favorite thing to do either, and I was very embarrassed the first time I cried in front of a counselor. But her reaction was so helpful and accepting, and I found I was able to move past the tears surprisingly fast. I hope that, if things get really emotional, you'll have an experience similar to mine. But you may find it a lot easier to talk about things than you think you will right now; just talking about it to someone who can help is often a huge relief, even if you feel a little silly at first.

    Good luck, lady! Let us know how it goes! (If you want!)

    Hummingbird125Ollie08
  • Hummingbird125Hummingbird125 New York
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    @Swazzle - It's definitely a possibility. I'm actually on a different BCP this month, but I think it's very chemically similar to what I was on before. I don't want to do something different that the pill, but maybe the OB/GYN will have recommendations for different pills? Thanks for the suggestion, I actually hadn't thought of that. And thanks for the hugs :-)
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    Swazzle
  • lilacck28lilacck28
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    edited June 2014
    Sounds like you're doing the right thing. My first few therapy sessions with any new psychologist or psychiatrist were always "getting to know you" sessions. I would expect that they would tell you about what they do/ specialize in, and I would expect ask you for some basic info about who you are, and thoughts about why you are there. I tended to be very thorough and would run through info on my family, childhood, friendships, school, relationships, fears, etc. They barely had to ask me anything, I'm a talker.  I basically analyzed myself for them. The smart ones, the ones I really liked, helped me understand what my analysis meant in psychiatric terms, actually diagnosed me, and gave me concrete things to do. They taught me things I didn't know. Others would listen and nod their head and tell me it was going to be okay. That was sometimes nice as well, though a little less helpful. 

    And if you burst out crying during this, well, you might feel better and they might have a better idea of what you're really like and what your issues may be. In college, which was when I went to therapy, I was an anxious OCD mess, but I was DAMN good at appearing just fine in therapy, because, well, I'm a perfectionist. And I like to appear just fine no matter what. That was often counterproductive. I would have to explain to them when they would be like "you're doing great!" that, no, I was not. "Please disregard me smiling and telling you how great my grades are and how many leadership positions I have racked up. I am a nutball." 

    Anyway, you'll do fine! You many not like the person you meet with. As in, you find them annoying, or stupid. That happens. Find someone else if that is the case.  
    travelcoffeemug0
  • I've gone to therapy many times in my life for various reasons, and I am also a social worker so I can speak from both sides of the coin.  I don't do therapy now, but have in the past.  But in essence, your first session you will discuss the primary reason you decided to seek therapy and then they will want to do a little assessment as far as just asking you some general questions about yourself.  They may ask you some basic questions about your mental status...that means just making sure you're aware of your surroundings, thinking clearly, that kind of thing, as well as probably asking about any mental health history you or family members may have had, substance use, etc.  It really depends on the approach of the therapist as to how long it will take to answer many of these questions, it could take multiple sessions of really getting to know your background before helping you with your concerns.  You may cry, and yeah, it's awkward, but they are used to it and that is your time to let go if you need/want to.  I hope you find what you need from it.  But, as I always tell people, if you don't feel comfortable with the person you chose, you should find someone you feel you can open up to.  It's just like any other service...you're not going to take your car back to someone you don't trust to fix it or not rip you off.  Same with therapy.  You need to trust them to some extent which can take time and to feel comfortable with them.
  • and if you burst out crying, that's totally okay.  crying is SO therapeutic.
  • Hummingbird125Hummingbird125 New York
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    Thanks @Dignity100, @Swazzle, @CocoBellaF, @CloGreenEyes, @Lilacck28, @Pepperally for your advice!

    I'm also concerned about the whole insurance thing. Luckily the person I'm seeing is a "preferred provider" of my insurance, so I'm hoping that means more is covered, however I haven't really been able to figure that out yet. A friend told me that usually the first 3 sessions are covered, and then unless you are given some sort of diagnosis, further sessions are not covered. I don't think I want to/can pay out-of-pocket, so I'll need to get on the phone with my insurance company and figure that part out I guess - or, you know, hope I'm totally fixed in 3 sessions :-P


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  • Well, you can also tell the therapist what you hope to get out of the sessions, and that if it is warranted, you would like a formal diagnosis of what is going on so that you can put a name to it for your sanity, as well as have it be covered by your insurance. No harm laying that out there. If there is nothing for them to diagnose, they will tell you that. 
    CLoGreenEyesbride2b71614
  • I would not worry about a diagnosis.  I guess if your friend has the same insurance plan as you maybe they know what they're talking about, but basically insurance plans that have mental health coverage cover a certain amount of outpatient sessions with a basic diagnosis - you can't bill without a diagnosis.  You can call your insurance carrier and ask if there is a maximum amount of outpatient therapy sessions as part of your plan.   Most people who go to therapy will qualify for at least a minimal diagnosis, and those in the mental health field know that it can take a long time to develop a true diagnosis...usually a lot longer than three sessions.  But they start off with a "working" diagnosis meaning it's a work in progress, it may change over time as they get to know you.  Rarely have I gone to therapy and discussed a diagnosis in depth.  If I had something that needed more an a basic anti-depressant then we may have discussed diagnoses further, but starting off just working on your problems they're not going to delve too much into a firm diagnosis.  They may say "it sounds to me like you are experiencing some anxiety, or some depression" rather than saying "I'm diagnosing you this X, Y,Z". 

  • Sorry, I can't edit stuff on this work computer...we have an old version of Explorer.  Ugh.
  • Dignity100Dignity100 Northeastern Ohio
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    @Hummingbird125 - My first 3 sessions are covered through my EAP (Employee Assistance Program) which is through a different provider than my normal insurance.  After the first 3 sessions, if I choose to continue, my insurance will cover the remaining sessions.


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  • Hummingbird125Hummingbird125 New York
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    Good to know, @Dignity100 and @Pepperally - thanks!
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  • Ollie08Ollie08 Central FL
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    I ditto everything @CLoGreenEyes said. Including not being afraid to try someone else if the first one doesn't work out for you. 

    As for the insurance, it varies. You should call your insurance company. My previous company required me to get authorization from my insurance first that explained how many sessions were covered. If your regular insurance doesn't cover a lot of sessions, you could also go through your EAP (most companies have them) program and see if the person you're seeing is covered as well. 

    As a spin off of this, why is mental health coverage under insurance so difficult? Why does it only cover so little? We'd probably have a lot less crazy in the world if we could go to therapy without paying an arm and a leg or jumping through hoops. /rant 

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  • eilis1228eilis1228 Southwest
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    *hugs* I think it's great that you're looking into therapy! I don't have too much to add here---I went to therapy for a year during high school, so my experience and memories are limited. I do, however, remember it being VERY helpful during a difficult and stressful time, and I hope it can help you get to the bottom of your anxiety/emotional issues. Let us know how it goes!


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  • I'm pretty late to this party, but therapy has been a huge part of my life for the last 17 years with only a year or two missing from those years.

    Here is my advice to anyone starting therapy for any reason: cry if you need to, don't hold it in. You're going because it's a safe place, it's a place where you are 100% allowed to let every emotion out. The first few visits are usually, like everyone has said, history and whatnot. Tell your therapist what you need (that includes the insurance concerns) and don't fret about an "official" diagnosis. Therapy is a work in progress, but so are human beings and there's not a single thing wrong with that. I was diagnosed incorrectly once, the freak out that followed (for 2 years) did a lot of damage. When I started going to the woman I see now back in 2012, I was correctly diagnosed but I still panicked a bit when I heard it - I was more focused on that than the treatment itself. You'll do great.

    My piece of advice that isn't about therapy but sort of is, is this: I have PTSD, which brings on some really serious panic/anxiety attacks sometimes (sometimes over really small things, but that's another story altogether) - when they happen, try to remember this: inhale for 5, hold for 7, exhale for 8.

    Good luck!
    doubleSS07
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