This time I was ready for the awe inspiring lobby, but what I wasn't ready for was the wait. This time we got there early, but my therapist was stuck in a meeting that ran a little long. He was less than ten minutes late for our session, but waiting alone in the waiting area was torture. I tried to make minimal eye contact with the other patients, while simultaneously trying to give each of them a warm smile. I know I was acting rather freakish, drumming my fingers on my iPad, and although the sound it made was audible, and probably annoying, the more I thought about stopping the harder and faster I drummed.
Eventually he came out and beckoned me toward his office. Gratefully I clutched my tablet to my chest and rushed over, barely hearing what he said over my racing heart beat. The last time we met we had gone over my suicide safety plan, but hadn't really gone into much else, so this time he had a bunch of new questions for me. I was eager to get into it at first, but as he asked question after question, I started feeling attacked. I don't believe this was through any action on his part, but rather because over the weekend I experienced a pretty major rejection (which I will talk about at another time) and I think I was still reeling from it.
When he asked me about the specifics of my disorders, it felt like he was testing me, to see if they were real, or if I was a mental health hypochondriac. When he asked how long my cycles were, and what it feels like to be manic, it felt like he was judging me. When he asked me about my OCD it felt like he was calling me a fraud. I imagined seeing distain in his eyes, though looking back on it I'm not sure I met his eyes even once. Then the final, most significant blow came near the end when he asked what I wanted to get out of therapy. I know it's a pretty standard question, but it sounded like he was trying to figure out how long he'll have to deal with my crazy ass.
Life is all about perception, isn't it? If I had opened myself up, and let myself recognize that he was just there to help me, it would have been a much better session, but because I was so caught up in my feelings of inadequacy, I projected my own frustration and insecurities onto my therapist, and ended up leaving his office feeling bummed out, and worse off than when I went in. I'll have to work harder next week to put those feelings aside, and let him in, or I may as well be flushing my eight dollars a week down the toilet.