Mental Health Update #2

It's been 6 weeks since switching therapists and during that time my kid has been in the hospital for an eating disorder, I've been fighting with my ex-husband, the young woman I'm mentoring has been facing all sorts of challenges, my ex-husband changed our schedule with my kid without consulting me, oh, yes, and I had a run in with the police (it's being settled, but what a pain).  Suffice to say, it's been a very turbulent six weeks and not the kind of time best suited to making such a huge transition from Myrna to Sally.

Sally is...not Myrna.  Big surprise.  Sally is trained in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Problem solving and Skills-based therapy.  Myrna is psychoanalytc relational therapy.  The two are as different as going to a chiropractor and a massage therapist.  One fixes, the other makes you feel good.  At first with Sally, I was feeling like she was dealing with me with some kind of formulaic approach.  "How does that make you feel?" and "What messages did you receive about these type of things when you were young," etc.  Decent questions, but with nothing behind them - no sense of investment from Sally's part.  It sounded to me like I could be filling out a questionnaire.  So, I said something to her at our next session, about feeling like she was dealing with me in a cookie cutter way and she totally listened to what I said, put down her pad and was very present with me.  We started having this meta-session where she would tell me what was behind her question and then ask her question.  It was a very successful session and every session since then has been increasingly more positive and productive.

We're working a lot on my body image - which has been in the shitter.  And on my feelings of loss about Myrna.  I yo-yo in my perception of myself from self-acceptance and celebration to self-loathing and shame.  Sometimes these feelings ebb and flow multiple times during the day.  Last week when I finally got back to my nutritionist's office, I found out that my weight was up by quite a bit.  I freaked.  We agreed to go back to carb counting and see how things looked going forward.  And today I went back to see her and my weight is lower than it was before I gained the weight.  I don't know what's going on.  Clearly, the carb-counting worked (I was down more than just water weight amounts) to some degree.  I've also been curbing my drinking a lot.  For the last two or three weeks, I've only been drinking on the weekends.  Maybe that makes a difference too.  I don't feel any different physically having lost the weight I lost, but psychologically, I feel so much lighter.  Relieved, really.  

And that's kind of a problem, I think.  I realized in therapy that so much of my body-image shame is due to feeling like an outsider (in general) and that being big makes me feel like even MORE of an outsider.  Like now that I'm big there's NO WAY I can fit in anywhere.  And that disturbs me a bunch.   Frustratingly, it makes no difference if I'm around mostly over weight people, I still feel like my being over weight is a problem and alienates me from the group.  As if my particular type of being over weight is most unseemly.  I also tracked some of this back to my mom calling me ugly when I was a kid.  I think I internalized that and it made me feel like if I wasn't perfect looking, I was an outcast.  And there was a lot of shame around that, too.

We're still working on that aspect of myself while also dealing with my feelings around missing Myrna.  Not having Myrna in my weekly schedule is like missing a home-base for me.  Now there's no place I can go to "just let it all hang out."  I worry about whether I'm ever going to have that kind of connection with someone who does CBT vs. Psychoanalysis.  I don't know if that kind of approach allows for the kind of connection I crave.  Myrna made a space for me to be me.  Sally is helping me solve problems in my life.  It's not even apples and oranges, it's like apples and bulldozers. 

Overall, though, the transition has gone well and I'm half way through the trial period I agreed to give Sally when I left Myrna (she said to give it 12 weeks).  And, I'm thinking it's going to work, ultimately.  One thing I definitely like about the work we're doing is that it's cumulative.  There's a sense of working from week to week on an issue.  I like that a lot.

In six weeks I'm also going to be embarking on a new chapter of my eating work.  I'll be taking a blood test to check for allergies to various foods that may be inflaming my system and making it harder for me to focus, have energy and lose weight.  We'll see how that goes, I'm sure I'll update you when the time comes.

'Til then.  Peace.

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