When I first started therapy, I was so deep into a rabbit hole of “What ifs” and “How do I knows if/that…?” I thought again and again about my past, what had just led up to me being in therapy, trying to make sense of it all! It was exhausting and here was my therapist saying “well we don’t know…” Excuse me! We need to know! How can I go on without knowing for certain who I want to be with? How can I go on knowing I want to be with someone and my doubts got in the way?
I sat there with a small, just a tiny, amount of annoyance towards her haha but also understanding that this is what had plagued me for years so she must be on to something if she is also telling me I have to be comfortable with not knowing something.
I was asked to write down my obsessions and we reviewed them in therapy. Exactly how my mind flowed, often embarassing and jusging myself, stumbling on my words as if I didnt want to actually say them out loud. What would holding them in do, though? Keep me stuck! So I spoke. She did not bat an eye. In fact, she said “great. keep reading.” So here I was exposing all the thoughts I had only kept in my head about my family, my sexuality, my intimacy with others, and many other topics.
Once we had the truth out there, she was pleased. She said now we pick the top ones that are troubling you, and your goal is to become so bored of these thoughts that you dont even want to think them anymore. First, she said, they would make me anxious and probably upset (she was right) but the more I faced them, the less power they would have over me. So that’s what I did. Reading them out loud didn’t trigger me as much as listening to them so I recorded myself saying these monologues and listened to them nonstop. When I drove around I was listening to them. I would go out during the day or late at night, park in an empty parking lot, and listen to these thoughts on repeat, recording my levels of anxiety overtime. Slowly, the changes happened and what was also amazing was when I worked on one, some of the power of another script lessened!
I worked endlessly- tracking triggers and patterns, coming to therapy with a journal of questions and talking points, and taking notes on what we uncovered in our sessions. I agreed to take risks and put myself in situations that I knew would trigger me in order to disprove my anxious beliefs. I needed to start listening to myself and honoring who I was and what I wanted or didn’t want. I needed to trust myself. I had tough conversations, I said no to some people, I opened up to others, I risked love again, and most importantly, I became me again!