Last Friday I went in for my intake appointment and met with a psychologist who explained that she would just be meeting with me once to ask a ton of questions about why I was interesting in counseling and to get some background information.
Needless to say I was very nervous beforehand. I had all kinds of ideas about what this appointment would be like and what the counselor would think about me.
The night before the appointment, I had a dream that the counselor would be about 80 years old with her hair in a tight, tight bun, pinched lips, humorless, wearing an old fashioned granny dress (black, with a pearl cluster broach on the left side), and wearing some old-fashioned eye glasses that were the thickness of a soda bottle and made her eyes look like a monster from the black lagoon. Oh, and the eye glasses would have one of those chains attached to each stem so she could take them off and they would fall hanging over her breasts.
I also pictured her asking me the required questions and then making these disapproving grunting sounds when I gave her extremely short answers. Then I imagined she would pause periodically and tell me to sit up straight.
Please, no interpretations of that dream. Thank you. ;)
Well, I'm glad to say the counselor was nothing like my dream pictured her being. She was probably in her mid-thirties, wore normal clothes with a really nice colorful scarf, had a pleasant smile, and never once told me to sit up straight!
One thing that took a little getting use to was all the notes she was taking. It didn't seem like she was writing down every single word I was saying, but she would ask a question, make a few short notes, and then ask something related to it, and so forth. After about 10 minutes it started feeling like we were having a normal conversation and I started telling her a lot more than I thought I would.
The other thing I found weird was that I was opening up and telling her all this extremely personal stuff about my life. I know that's what you do in counseling, but at first it felt very strange to be telling all this stuff to a total stranger. I didn't know a single thing about her except for her name and what kind of degree she had.
I guess what made it easier to start telling her more about myself was watching how she reacted to my answers. When I would say something with a little bit of humor, she would smile. When I would say something that got me a little emotional, she would look at me with some concern in her eyes, and once she moved the tissue box a little closer to me (which helped, but also made me tear up a little more).
We both sorta chuckled a little bit during the part when she asked me about my relationship with my dad, my mom, and my sister. I started off telling her about my mom and that we've always had a really good relationship. Then I told her some about my sister and how she's one of my closest friends.
Then I waited for her next question. She just looked at me and said something like, "Does it mean anything that you didn't mention your father?" I just looked at her and said, "Oh. Well. Yeah, maybe." So I was waiting for her to ask me something about him, and she said, "Have we just hit a hot button?" I sorta chuckled and said, "I think we can call it that, yeah." She made it easy to talk about him when she said for me to just take my time and I could tell her whatever I was comfortable saying. After I did, I'm sure she probably put a big star beside the notes she took.
One thing I really liked was when she asked if I was in a relationship with anyone special. That's about how she put it. She didn't assume I was straight and ask if I had a girlfriend. It was just, "Are you in a relationship with anyone special?" I thought the way she worded that was cool.
Anyway, she asked a bunch of other questions about how I was sleeping and eating. She also wanted to know when was the last time I ever thought about suicide or wanting to hurt myself. And then a lot of questions about what kind of mood I'm in most of the time, and so forth.
At the end, she said I had a lot of symptoms of depression and some anxiety. She explained that there were a lot of different types, and the kind of counseling I would be doing would be based on what kind I had and what kind of goals I wanted set for myself.
She said the next step is that they have a staff meeting on Tuesday mornings (today) and they would match me with a counselor they thought I might work well with. I'm suppose to get a call later today from that counselor and we'll set up our first appointment.
When I got home after meeting with that intake counselor, Matty was waiting by the front door and I was so drained from the session, he just wrapped me in his arms, held me tight, and just rubbed my back. He didn't need to say a word and just walked me over to the sofa, still holding me, and let me cry. After a short while I looked over at the dining room table and saw the most beautiful arrangement of Spring flowers, which he had ordered for me earlier.
We talked for a short while and then he asked if I wanted to go to our favorite Mexican restaurant. I wasn't all that hungry, but I thought it would be nice to get out of the house and have a little something to eat. Plus I just wanted to spend some time with Matty.
There's this Mexican restaurant we both love, and Mexican food is one of my favorite comfort foods and we've gotten to know the owners and most of the wait staff. The whole thing about the restaurant feels so comforting and the wait staff always likes it when we order and talk to them in Spanish. (I'll have to tell you about one time when Matty mispronounced some words and mistakenly told our female server something that really made her blush. I corrected him and he's now not officially engaged to marry her!! LOL)
So, there it is. I made it through the first hurdle and I'm waiting to hear from my assigned counselor later today. Yeah, I'm nervous all over again, but feel proud of myself for making it this far. I just hope it's not a counselor who tells me to sit up straight when I'm talking. Somehow I don't think it's going to be anything like that.