Chapter 19 – On The Road

Oh, where were we? Oh yeah, my therapist, Anne, has agreed to allow me to call her as often as needed. I’m feeling soothed and secure and ready to get on the road.

But, on my first day of driving, I’m saying to myself – “What kind of wuss are you anyway? You can’t keep relying on Anne and not put into practice the coping techniques she has given you. You have to learn to stand on your own two feet. You must apply with vigor those methods to ‘self-soothe that you’ve been taught.

” “Hey, this is your Quest”, I say to myself. “You can’t wimp out right from the beginning. Think of this journey as a rite of passage. If you can’t motivate yourself at such an auspicious moment, how will you accomplish your goal of self-knowledge? This is your time. You can do it.”

Having received the pep talk from my coach (me) was inspiring. I tend to have that effect on people. If you ever need uplifting and edifying words to help you through a rough patch, give me a call. (just kidding)

Boy, was I feeling enthusiastic after hearing myself give myself a rallying cry. I was ready. You should have seen my driving down the interstate. Yeah – I was going to do it. Think Rocky. He pumped himself up and so did I. I was charging forth with the taste of victory on my lips.

I would hang tough and not let go. I could do it and I WOULD do it. I was determined not to call Anne once during my entire trip.

Eight hours of pedal to the metal, bags dumped on the bed at the hotel, and then a flash of ‘genius’ aroused my tired and sleepy mind and body.

Yeah, right, I would not call Anne because I am strong and self-sufficient now but what I WILL undertake is to write her a letter.

Yeah, big smile on my face. Am I happy. Writing a letter to her provides no indication that I’m needy. In fact, it proves my independence. It proves that I can deny myself instant gratification. Oh boy, am I ever proud of myself.

Laptop, yes. Printer, no. O.k – I do have paper in my notebook. And I have a pen. Yes, I can still write by hand. I have no problem using the tools of the cave man. So, settle down I do and write pages to Anne. Hey, that felt good.

But, now I need to mail the letter. No envelopes, no stamps, strange city; where’s the post office? -and gotta get on the road early next morning.

All I can think of is that I NEED TO MAIL THIS LETTER. All other concerns are out of my mind. It’s obvious that I’m feeling detached from Anne, isn’t it? (note sarcasm here).

You must understand that at the time I believed I was acting very independently – even when I bounded downstairs to the front desk and begged them for an envelope. They graciously offered me one of their official business envelopes with weird size, weird shape, and a return address embossed in a state 1600 miles from home. That’s o.k – it was an envelope. I took it.

My mission was not complete. I needed a stamp. “Would you have stamps I can purchase?”, I asked the front desk person. No.

Dang – where and how will I acquire a stamp? A hero stepped forward – just a guy in the lobby who recognized my not well-hidden distress and pulls a couple stamps from his wallet. He’s my savior and I’m delivered from agony.

To be in the throes of an unfinished mission creates focus like nothing else. Next obstacle to conquer is to find a mailbox. Where is a mailbox? What city am I in, anyway? So much for focus, huh? Front desk clerk offers to put my letter with the hotel’s to be picked up by trusty U.S. Mailperson.

What? Pass my treasured writings to a stranger and worry whether she will lose it or read it or pass it off to another? Oh, man, no way can I risk such a potential tragedy, forgetting that entrusting envelopes to the U.S. Postal Service invites such risk automatically. I

thank her, but decline. I must find a mailbox on my own. And I did. Focus arrived with a vengeance and no mailbox could be hidden for long.

Mission accomplished and I was able to get my engines roaring again and head off into the wild blue yonder.

Still proud of myself, I was. I had not called Anne. I had everything under control.

Or so I thought. Wait until you learn what happened next.

What’s It All About?

I had the idea a few months ago that I would like to share my experiences of what it’s like to be in psychotherapy. I know everyone’s experiences are different and I don’t propose to claim that my experiences are the norm but I do believe that many of us who find ourselves in therapy encounter similar emotional reactions within the therapeutic process without regard to the issues that we may be working through.

My posts will not explore my personal psychological issues with which I initially entered therapy. My intention, instead, is to offer a first hand view of the volatility that can sometimes be a facet of the relationship with a therapist.

Although I will be mentioning certain therapy terms throughout the book, I claim no expertise in psychotherapy. I am not a psychologist nor a psychotherapist. I am not offering advice or suggestions to anyone who reads my tale. Each person’s path is unique.

I will share some of what I’ve gleaned from publications and from my own experiences of how therapy can ‘work’. If I have misinterpreted any writer whom I have quoted or if I have not understood well the processes in therapy, I ask for your understanding.

My goal is only to give others some ideas of what they may encounter in therapy or for those already in therapy that they realize that their experiences are not outside the norm.

My therapist follows the psychodynamic and humanistic model. Persons involved in trauma work or somatic therapy or solutions oriented will probably encounter a much different scenario in their own relationships with a therapist.

People who have more serious mental health diagnoses are possibly helped with medications and intensive therapies that my path in therapy has not encountered.

My intention for writing about my experiences is mostly to enrich my own understanding of my own travels on this road to self-growth and self-awareness.

And intrinsic to my experience with no doubt whatsoever, is my ‘perfect’ therapist.

Now, I know and understand fully that no person is perfect, not even therapists. And my therapist has resisted my claiming that she’s perfect. She has made mistakes and I am comfortable with that knowledge. Nevertheless, I will go to my grave claiming that my therapist is perfect because she has saved my life, not necessarily in a literal sense but in ways that are not seen.

And so I dedicate this telling of my story, my adventures in the realm of psychological exploration guided by my perfect therapist, TO my perfect therapist.

I look forward to your comments and suggestions. I would like this blog to be a place where you can also share how the topics presented affected you too.

Oh, and one other thing. As I revise chapters, those revisions will replace the previous un-revised chapters. So, if you read Chapter 1 last week, it’s possible Chapter 1 has been revised since then –new material added; some material removed or maybe only grammar mistakes corrected.

Final revisions will be made only when the first drafts of the anticipated 45 chapters are written.

Thank you for joining me in my ‘adventures’ in therapy.