26 December 2009

Outpatient Therapy-Days 27 & 28 (December 21 & 23)

Monday was supposed to be my last day of group—the insurance company had only authorised sessions through then. I was not prepared for it to end. Despite my attitude at the beginning, I have gotten a lot out of this therapy and I think that I have made significant strides. I asked my therapist what process I had to go through for discharge and she told me she didn’t think I was ready, especially with the Christmas holidays coming up—she knew I would be alone as, once again, my family enjoyed their celebration with no nod to me. I am beginning to get used to the idea of spending the entire holiday season alone. My son came to visit me two years ago, but he lives out West and, for both of us, it can get rather expensive just to fly in either direction. So, the therapist told me to return on Wednesday as she was going to submit a request to see if the insurance would authorise additional days.

The second half was on self-esteem—something I am sorely lacking. Despite my butch bravado, I saw traits from the description of those who have poor self-esteem and I ranked right up there. That actually pissed me off a bit. Nevertheless, in reality, I do not always stand up for myself and usually take a back seat. I am not exactly a doormat, but I am not as assertive as I could be. It’s odd as at work I can take the lead with regard to directing projects (considering I have taken that blasted Six Sigma training), but when I am relating to others on a personal level it is more apparent.

As the session drew to a close, I wondered if today was going to be my last day. I gathered my stuff and flew out the door as I had another iron infusion directly after group.

I came back Wednesday morning and was pleased to find out that the insurance company had authorised three more sessions, including Wednesday, through December 30th. That would take me through the New Year’s weekend leading right up to when I was supposed to return to work. When our “small” group was sharing, I tried to process the difficulty and anxiety I was feeling about returning to my job. I fear that I do not remember how to do what I have painstakingly spent three months trying to learn. I try to stay in the moment as I still have another week to go, but I cannot help worrying about it. I feel stuck and do not know how to reinsert myself into the routine. I got a lot of good feedback from the therapist and others, but it did not necessarily quell my anxiety.

The second half of the session was on assertiveness—something that I am not very good at as I am more than likely to be either aggressive or passive aggressive. The entire group, as usual, gathered for this part and our entire group is getting way too large for me. It is enough that my little group, when we split for the first half, has too many people. I have discovered that there are a couple of noisy “talkers” in the other small group. As the therapist began her discussion on this topic, those talkers always had something to say about everything and would get into their own discussions if they disagreed with each other. The more they spoke, the louder they got and more people started getting into the action.

It was becoming too much for me. I wanted to listen to what the therapist had to say and ask my questions if any came up. After a while I thought, hell this is a topic on assertiveness, I think I will try it on for size. Rather than just jumping into the fray as everyone else had been doing, I raised my hand (OK, that does not exactly project an assertive position). The therapist piped up (she was pretty good about keeping the group on topic) and nodded to me. I waited for everyone to get quiet, looked around, and gave everyone eye contact. Then I explained that it was hard for me to be around large groups of people, especially when it got loud and everyone was interrupting each other. I told them that when they got carried away, I felt anxious and asked everyone if they could respect my position.

At first, everyone just stared back at me and then the therapist chimed in first. She said she was glad I spoke up and voiced my concerns and told me that it was an assertive position I took and was very appropriate (I thought to myself, “So there, hah!”). Then the noisiest of the bunch jumped in and said to the therapist, “Excuse me, but don’t you control our group?” She said it was a group discussion, but everyone had to be aware of each other. Then Mr. Noisy said, “Well, I’ll respect your position.” I looked at him and wanted to say, “What am I, chopped liver?” What I really wanted to say was, “Fuck you” but I did not (so OK, I was not completely assertive). For a while everyone seemed to settle down, but it did not take him long to go back to his diatribes and, once again, everything exploded. There were ten minutes left to go, so I just decided the statement I would make would be just to pack up my stuff and leave the room. I was not that quiet about it (here is where I was being passive aggressive), pushed back my chair and got up and walked out of the room. I though, “Well, we’ll have Friday off for Christmas, so that will give me a breather.” However, I was glad my insurance had authorised two more sessions.

Two more days until Christmas. To tell you the truth, this year it has almost snuck by me. I do not get out much so I have not been too exposed to the shopping traffic. Moreover, I definitely do not go to the mall. I have forgotten that it was going to be Christmas on Friday. For me, it will just be another day.©2009

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