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Do you discuss with a close friend


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I'm still trying to get comfortable with my tdoc. I like him and all, and I think overall I'll be able to open up more... with time. There is, however, something that I may or may not want to bring up right now. Maybe it'll be helpful, maybe it won't. Problem is, I just don't know how to start. I don't want to seem like a drama queen. Somewhere inside I know that what happened was wrong, wrong, wrong, and there's nothing "dramatic" about it. But I'm still unsure of where to begin. I was thinking of talking to a friend first - she's a very close friend, and we've shared a lot - and just gauging her reaction, and seeing if she has any thoughts on it.

Does this make sense? Am I wasting my $50 co-pays by not bringing it up in therapy first? I feel lost. And I HATE when he asks, okay, what do you want to talk about? Might as well put a floodlight on me and hand me my last cigarette.

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I don't see any problem with discussing thing with a friend first.  For me, it tends to vary according to who I see first:  therapist or best friend?  They both hear a lot of the same stuff.  Week to week, they both hear the highlights. 

Will discussing things with your friend first make you more comfortable raising the topic with your therapist?  Then do it.  No one ever said you have to go into therapy raw, without having done any of your own processing and thinking before hand.  In fact, it's mostly impossible (some of us are special) to deep freeze your emotional responses until you're seated on your therapist's couch.  Processing the important things a little more with your friend before you discuss them with a comparative stranger, even a professional stranger, is just fine. 

Your therapist hasn't been hired to do your thinking for you.  Your therapist is there to guide and facilitate and to kick you in the butt when you've gotten stuck someplace.  You're still doing the heavy lifting.  Your therapist is a coach.  Who says you can't do a little warm-up exercise before the coach shows up? 

If your friend turns out to be a second coach figure, there's nothing wrong with that, either.  Whatever helps you become more secure and confident in your own life and skin. 

The big bonus with therapists:  you can say the most awful things in their presence, and they'll still be there.  They're objective.  They aren't part of it.  They're outside your life except for fifty minutes a week.  Your friend, I assume, is less objective.  Use the strengths of both, if your friend is willing. 

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And I HATE when he asks, okay, what do you want to talk about? Might as well put a floodlight on me and hand me my last cigarette.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

It is hard when the tdoc starts with such a wide open question. I have gotten better about starting off with an actual topic or problem but I still can't do it every time. I do think it gets easier as you get more comfortable with a tdoc.

lmnop made some excellent points and advice. If I may offer some more, I won't be able to say it as well as her but anyway.

Between the times you see your therapist, try to write down any event or time that provoked certain feelings or reactions. You don't have to know why, the tdoc can help you with that, but it can give you something to talk about. E.g I was watching a TV show and for some reason I felt uncomfortable or started crying, etc. Tdoc may still come back with "why do you think it bothered you," you may still have trouble saying why but it can open a dialogue.

Can you tell your tdoc that you have things you want to talk about but just don't know where or how to start? Tell him you need help getting started. What you want to talk about today is: help on working on ways to bring up issues that you want to talk about but in a way and in a time that is comfortable for you. You know you have to stop swallowing all of this stuff but you need help getting started, as ella said a therapist is like a coach and a coach can also help you work on fundamentals. Does that make sense? Again, it can open a dialogue.

Your friend may be a good resource for you, someone who is willing to listen and try to help, but keep in mind that even a very good friend may not be able to handle some of the things you need to talk about. I am trying to say something here but words are failing me.

Erika

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Motorgrrl and Erika,

Thank you for the support. I've never opened up to anyone, including my husband on a lot of things. And therapists are not my favorite thing. Just trying to figure out a way to begin has caused me a great deal of anxiety. At last week's appt, I didn't even know beforehand exactly what to talk about, other than feeling crappy. When he opened the door to the waiting room, just for a second I seriously considered bolting out of the room. Very bad nerves right now.

Erika, I think you explained yourself beautifully. Now here's the kicker. My friend, who I love dearly, wants us to get together this weekend so we can talk. I told her over the phone that things were going on, but didn't give details. Then early this evening she writes an email, saying she didn't want to change the conversation, but... she had an MRI this week, a benign (hopefully) tumor has been discovered, but there's a small chance it could be cancer. Well shit. How can I possibly, selfishly, talk about my past when she's facing the here and now. Shit shit shit shit shit. Here I am crying about my problems, and she's too busy worrying about a very real concern. I feel about an inch high right now.

I'm going to bed. Wish I could stay there til the next appt.

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Heya Rabbit,

Your friend has a real problem.

So do you.

You each care a lot about the other.

Your friend needs to feel you need her as much as you need to feel she needs you.

Focusing outside myself is a way to make it okay.

I *think* you can help each other.

This as someone whose best friend is likely her FP, so FWIW.

Have a good sleep.

--ncc--

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Rabbit,

I agree with ncc. You friend needs your help now but that doesn't mean she can't help you too. If nothing else, you can talk about how scary things are for both of you now, and can offer one another some comfort. Listening to and helping others is rewarding in itself and can make you feel better about yourself, but that doesn't take away your need to be listened to either.

I hope you two have a good visit. Hang in there.

Erika

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I had a therapist once who said not to "prepare" for therapy....just come in and let it tumble out....that she would help me put it in perspective.

I'm not sure it was the most productive way, probably took more visits/more money, but it sure reduced the anxiety, and I felt I could say anything to her after awhile.

Good luck to you and to your friend.

When your friend is well, perhaps you will find that bouncing things off her after the fact will also be valuable.....just getting her take on what happened.

You need to trust your therapist....that you can say anything.  If you can't, then I think you may need to evaluate the "fit."

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Heya Rabbit,

Cute bunny.

I agree that if the fit is good, you will at some point feel comfortable saying anything to your therapist.

I have that with my FP.  With my therapist, I felt it wasn't even okay to say the word "bipolar."

So I'm getting a new one.  Seriously.  When I get home.  I am.  Really.

Sounds like you're doing okay. 

I think it takes a while to come to that feeling that the therapist has no vested interest in your life, and as lmnop said, is *outside* all your relationships.

Sometimes I think it depends on how much pain/embarrassment/fear the subject brings up inside you.

It's good you have a friend and that you are there for each other.

--ncc--

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Good luck, Rabbit.

Do whatever you need to do to get the help you need.  If that means handing him what you have written, that is just fine.

I had a pdoc once who I would give a list of questions each visit.  That way he could keep us on track with the time we had.  Every situation is different and you just have to do what feels right and gets you what you need.

It could be that this therapist is perfect for you.  You just need to get over those early-"relationship" jitters.

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At my very first therapy session, my therapist told me my homework was to go home and think about anyone or anything that has ever caused me pain starting from my earliest memory until the present. It didn't matter how big or small or how silly it seemed. We spent the 1st few months just working on that list. I believe that is what made it so easy for me to connect and trust him right away because I got everything out right away. Would something like that work for you?

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At my very first therapy session, my therapist told me my homework was to go home and think about anyone or anything that has ever caused me pain starting from my earliest memory until the present. It didn't matter how big or small or how silly it seemed. We spent the 1st few months just working on that list. I believe that is what made it so easy for me to connect and trust him right away because I got everything out right away. Would something like that work for you?

I like that idea. I have trouble verbalizing, especially when I'm under stress. I had a hard time talking last time, just finding the proper words to describe. I find it so much easier, for instance, to email. I even type fast, my thoughts just kind of flow. Maybe I should make a short list, not to overwhelm him or me. It would be a start.

Still have a bit of anxiety, but I see hope as well. Thanks.

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I like that idea. I have trouble verbalizing, especially when I'm under stress. I had a hard time talking last time, just finding the proper words to describe. I find it so much easier, for instance, to email. I even type fast, my thoughts just kind of flow. Maybe I should make a short list, not to overwhelm him or me. It would be a start.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

If you find it easier to email/write, then why not take those to your therapist? Write email you can send yourself, then print out and take in. Or write 'email' that you just print out and take with you.

I've long kept a journal that my therapist read at the beginning of our sessions because I find it easier and quicker to write than to speak, especially when I'm feeling really lousy. Also, I could write about topics that I would not have been able to bring up by talking about them; and he could know about some topics that I wasn't yet able to talk about but that might be impacting things for me.

Fiona

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Just an update. I did what I said I was going to do, typed up some thoughts and handed them to my shrink. It just brought up one freakin' question after another. I don't like this, I HATE this. Walked away crying, feeling like shit, even worse than when I went in. No bagels. Instead a bought a pack of cigarettes, first in 15 years, and stood in the grocery store parking lot chain-smoking. Came home and washed down part of my not-yet-taken morning meds with a beer, figuring I'll just skip a dose for the rest. At least husband is home today, and can take care of the kids. I'm taking a nap, maybe after sleep I'll feel better.

I hate psychiatrists. They make you think too much.

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Just an update. I did what I said I was going to do, typed up some thoughts and handed them to my shrink. It just brought up one freakin' question after another. I don't like this, I HATE this. Walked away crying, feeling like shit, even worse than when I went in.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Not to ignore your pain or feelings but sometimes that is what happens in therapy, you leave feeling worse than when you went in. It can be a good sign, even though it hurts and it sucks, because it may mean therapy is working. Therapy isn't easy work, working in therapy is very hard. On the other hand, if you think the pdoc and you are not a good fit and this is part of it, then you may need to try to find another pdoc. Or, you may just need more time to become comfortable with him and more time to come to trust him. For most of us developing trust takes a long time. But if/when you can finally trust the right pdoc then you have someone with whom you can talk about anything, even things you would never tell your closest friend or your spouse.

No bagels. Instead a bought a pack of cigarettes, first in 15 years, and stood in the grocery store parking lot chain-smoking. Came home and washed down part of my not-yet-taken morning meds with a beer, figuring I'll just skip a dose for the rest. At least husband is home today, and can take care of the kids. I'm taking a nap, maybe after sleep I'll feel better.
Ouch! Sorry your morning was so difficult. I am not judging you or your actions at all. I am NOT judging, just please be careful with the alcohol and meds. And don't beat yourself about what happened today, again therapy can be very painful. I am glad your husband is home today and able to look after you and the kids. Sleep isn't a bad idea. I hope you got some sleep and woke up feeling better.

I hate psychiatrists. They make you think too much.

Yeah, that is what they do! Sucks sometimes.

Be well and take care of yourself.

Erika

*edited to fix quote format

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The only way to get over your fear is to go right through it. Don't worry about where to start, just start. What is it that you fear thats holding you back? Is it rejection, judgement? What is the worst possible outcome if you opened up? Does your therapist see the struggle you are going through? Does he ask you about it? Did you hand him your list as you were leaving? That must have been difficult for you. Congrats on making that step. It's a start!!

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