Therapy Archive

Self Worth

Posted June 17, 2019 By kmarrs

For so long now, my self worth has directly tied into my grades. I have an amazing GPA, I’m graduating Summa Cum Laude, this is what my value as a person is based on, in my eyes.

My therapist is working to convince me that this is not the best thing to measure my worth on.

She also went as far as to suggest that in grad school, I won’t continue to be a straight-A student; which I immediately took as a challenge. I will defy that or die trying.

Then when I shared that sentiment with my friends and family on Facebook, someone else pointed out that it’s not worth the die trying sentiment because literally, no one is going to care about my grades after I graduate.

So really, aside from being useful towards getting into grad school, grades don’t matter.

So then maybe this is why I shouldn’t base my self worth on them.

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Keeping a Finger on the Problem

Posted May 27, 2019 By kmarrs

I have a new app recommended to me by my therapist called HeartRate+ Pro that I’m supposed to use for 5 minutes, 3 times a day (or 15 minutes once a day) to learn how to better control my heart rate.

The idea of the app is that the camera flash tracks your pulse while you breathe in time to the preset pattern. This breathing pattern is supposed to trigger the ideal heart rate.

So far I’m having limited luck with it. But it’s early yet and I’m not using it religiously like I should.

I need… I need to get better about that.

Because the thing is, if this tool can help lower my heart rate, I can start ADHD meds all the faster!

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Meditation

Posted May 13, 2019 By kmarrs

In the past, meditation has actually given me increased anxiety. This was because I was of the impression that the goal was to clear my mind completely. Which… is impossible. You can not clear the mind that has ADHD. I’m not even convinced you can clear the neurotypical mind.

Then somewhere along the way, recently, I learned the goal isn’t to clear the mind. You’re going to have thoughts. The trick is to acknowledge them then let them pass you by. Move them aside. And go back to focusing on your breathing until the next thought.

So, with therapist instructions that I’m supposed to meditate for 5 minutes a day, I attempted this. She wants me to spend those 5 minutes focusing on what I’m feeling. So I began the journey of daily meditation.

But it still made me nervous. Was I doing it right?

It took me a couple of days, but I finally downloaded a guided meditation app. The one I have has a beginner’s class that teaches you how to meditate mid practice. It’s not exactly what my therapist had in mind, as she’s since confirmed, but it’s a start. And I can spend an additional 5 minutes focusing on what Ruby wants me to focus on.

So, I guess I meditate now. I do it right before bed as part of my relaxation routine.

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Stress

Posted April 15, 2019 By kmarrs

It has come to my therapist’s attention that I self create most of my stress and that I need to be taught how to not do that.

It’s on the list of things to work on.

The list is, uh growing.

Anyway, as I mentioned previously, my resting pulse is like stupidly high. So if I can get my stress under control, I can hopefully get my pulse under control.

Also. While we’re on the subject of my therapist…

I really like her still. She calls me on my bullshit without hesitation, but in a caring manor. And then once she calls me on it, she makes it clear she’s happy to do the work to help me do the work towards correcting my bullshit. It’s really great!

She also isn’t afraid to challenge my psychiatrist of 12 years. Which really takes me out of my comfort zone. But it isn’t that she thinks anything bad of my med doc. She in fact understands how wonderful she is. Ruby, my therapist, just sometimes has a better view of the big picture because I’m with her for an hour every week and that’s a lot of time dedicated to figuring out my needs.

When I found out from my meds doc that I couldn’t be on anxiety meds and ADHD meds at the same time, my meds doc and I both agreed that the anxiety meds were probably more important.

It was Ruby who went “well actually” and helped frame the consideration that my ADHD is the root cause of a lot of my anxiety and that treating the ADHD would help with both.

So anyway, therapy is great. I really like my therapist. She isn’t afraid to call things as she sees it, but just it in the most supportive manner. It’s really, really great!

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Therapy Update

Posted February 28, 2019 By kmarrs

We’re still in the early getting to know each other phase. But my first impression is holding true. Her office is really cozy and just feels like a safe space. Ruby herself is friend shaped and I feel really comfortable talking to her about anything.

Which is really great because a few sessions ago I opened up about the trauma in my life. The fact my step father was a bully. The bullying at school. My mom being a narcissist. The fact my first boyfriend was 8 years older then me, coerce me into sleeping with him regularly, and in all ways took advantage of my youth and inexperience and desire to please this older man whom was the first person to pay attention to me. We pulled words to what he was: a pedophile and a rapist.

Anyway we talked it all out and she is starting to piece together why I am the way I am.

BPD makes sense. Eve from a young age.

Being asexual makes sense. (Some asexuals are born that way. Some become asexual after trauma.)

The current project that I’m working on is tracking my emotions and recording what they do to me physically. Like how anger makes you tense up? Where do I tense?

I bought a little notebook and am planning to track for weeks beyond what she is asking of me. If I want to get rid of my anger response, for example, then I need to know what anger does to me so I can counter act it.

Also, I’m realizing, with help, that the 90% of my life that I feel stressed, the emotion attached to that is fear. Fear of failure. Fear I won’t get everything done. Fear I won’t have down time to just relax. My stress is a fear response and my stress is killing me.

So yeah. Therapy is going great and I really like Ruby. She is the best! I feel like that’s an understatement. But she is just really comforting and a really super effective therapist. She calls me on my bullshit. All with understanding and heart behind her words. And all while wearing fun socks, and no shoes.

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New Therapist

Posted January 17, 2019 By kmarrs

We’ll start with the old. I saw my old therapist, Cindy, off and on for some 12 years. I was pregnant with my middle little when we paired up and I started DBT. It was right before I got pregnant that I was diagnosed with BPD. And he’s turning 11 in just a few days so almost 12 years seems pretty on the nose.

And Cindy was/is great. She specializes in BPD and DBT and I adore her. I would not have the skills I have now, if not for her.

But I’m at a point in my life where one of the primary things I want to talk about in therapy is my identity of being queer. (Which is how I choose to sum up my sexuality and gender identity.) And Cindy is not afraid to talk about me being queer, but she has no experience with it personally or with people in her life so she had no practical advice to offer. She had great listening skills, but I need a little more.

So I did a literal google search for trans therapists that are local to me and I found Ruby. I don’t know if she herself is trans. I honestly can’t tell even after a session with her (which is fine) but I do know she has a Master’s in Gender Studies and gender queer people in her life, beyond her own experience. (She did say she is queer. It just hasn’t been defined out. Which again is fine. I don’t need her life story beyond the generalization that she’s qualified in this topic and issue.)

Additionally, she’s also fully versed in BPD a lot like Cindy is. So I’m not completely sacrificing whatever help I need with BPD, just to have someone whom can relate to gender issues.

Anyway, as of now I’m going to start seeing Ruby every Monday after work. My first session was this past Monday, the 14th of January. And I want to talk about it. Not the details of what we talked about, though I will sum it up, but instead the general feel of it all. Why Ruby is the perfect fit for me.

She was just coming in from being outside when it was time to start our session. So we go into her rented office and she starts going around the spacious room and turning on a dozen floor and table lamps. No harsh overhead florescents. Nope. This isn’t a sterile office, this place has a living room feel. There are comfy places to sit with an abundance of pillows and blankets. Rugs on the floor. A play area for children. Huge, wall conquering book cases filled with books. This place just immediately felt like home. Which, as nervous as I was, it put me at ease.

After she turned on all the lights, she sat in her own comfy chair, bent down, and took off her boots revealing fun cat socks. Like. There are just no words. I picked her off this long list of therapists that I found because she was friend shaped. I was delighted to discover that she specialized in what I needed her to specialize in. But the initially what made me go to her website, off the list, was that she just looked warm and friendly. Warm. So warm. So to have her kick off her shoes, which is honestly my person aesthetic, was revoltionary. I didn’t know therapists could do that! From now on, any new therapists I try out, if they don’t kick off their shoes, then they just aren’t for me.

The office. The no shoes. I just felt really safe.

Moving on, though I could spend another 5 paragraphs talking about the no shoes and fun socks…

I’m pretty secure in my gender identity now so while I wanted someone who specializes in it, it won’t be the main focus of therapy. We talked about that some. Most the session was just a brief outline of who I am. Standard first session shit. But we did discuss the goals.

My main objective is to deal with my anger issues I’m finally admitting I have. I… when I’m frustrated by my kids or spouse I turn red with anger and before I even realize I’m doing it, I start yelling. All the fucking time. I don’t want to yell anymore. I need to replace it with something, I don’t know what because the kids don’t listen. But I don’t want to yell anymore. It’s just not how I want my home life to go. So over the next however many weeks and months, Ruby is going to help me learn skills to stop the yelling, and parenting skills as to what I can do in place of it to get the kids to listen.

Cindy probably could have done that for me. But now, with Ruby, when gender issues are on the forefront of my mind, I can bring them up and we can tackle them as a team. It’s not the primary objective of therapy, but it’s still a thing that can coexist.

So every Monday at 4 I’m in therapy with Ruby, who works out of what could easily be a living room, if not for the insurance agent across the hall, and who kicks off her shoes to reveal relatable socks. I’m… it’s a good way to spend my Monday afternoons.

I should have kicked off my own shoes. Next time.

And then after therapy I have a standing dinner date with my dad. Which will make for a long day, but it lets me avoid rush hour traffic in getting home (therapy is on his side of town, my house is decidedly not) and I really should spend more time with him anyways. So this is good. I get home 10 hours after I left it and exhausted, but that’s just how it is sometimes.

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