Category Archives: Womb Envy Wednesday

Womb Envy Wednesday – The End.

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Womb Envy Wednesday – The End.

That’s all folks. It is with a slight note of sadness that I pen my last Womb Envy Wednesday post. I had my last therapy session today. Now I think about it, it didn’t feel like a session at all. I guess all the pressure was off by this point. It was a bittersweet session as I am going to miss my therapist and my time with her. She really has helped me over the past year so I have much fondness for her (but nothing inappropriate).

Today I started off by telling her the reason I was now sure that I was able to give up therapy. Something happened yesterday that bugged me. I won’t go into details as it isn’t important and it’s kind of boring. In a nutshell something happened that annoyed me. I got angry. A minute later I asked myself what I was angry about? Then I figured out that I wasn’t angry at the person and that I realised that I was actually in the wrong. I then apologised and felt much better.

This is the reason I am ok with stopping therapy. This is something that I would have had to take to therapy before. It would have irritated me for a week before I could talk to my therapist and discover what I was really feeling. Now, I am able to do this for myself. I have learnt to be more open minded and to self-reflect on things so I can figure out what is really going on and not fly off the handle at things that did not deserve any handle flying in the first place.

My therapist mentioned something that I found interesting. She said that I have changed physically recently. I think she means that as I have become less depressed and stressed my physicality has altered. Looking back to  when I first started therapy, I must have looked all tense and scrunched up. I know I used to have trouble making eye contact and I would often sit drawn up in a protective position and talk into my chest.

I took a moment to notice how I was sitting today. I was sitting back in an open relaxed position and I kept eye contact for the most part. I can’t just stare at people all the time. I would look weird. I am also hoping that I am looking healthier and happier. I don’t like to judge my appearance too much, but I will take a compliment when it is offered to me.

She asked me how I felt about her reading my blog posts about my therapy. I said it was fine. She knows most of what I have written anyway as I discussed it with her first. I hope she likes them.

Then it was time to end. I even went two minutes over my time. She said that it was nice that I didn’t feel the need to rush off.

And that my dear friends is that. New projects with cool people await. Two plays have to be finished. Agents need to be written to about my book. A new book has to be started. All in all, I think that is a great place to stop therapy and start another journey.

Take care buddies,

David.

Womb Envy Wednesday – It’s the Final Countdown (Do do do do).

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Womb Envy Wednesday – It’s the Final Countdown (Do do do do).

As the title suggests, today was my penultimate therapy session. Next week will be the last one. This is an odd thing to contemplate as I feel both happy and a little bit sad about this. I am happy because I feel in a good enough place to not need therapy any longer. Which was the whole point of starting therapy in the first place. I also feel sad because I will miss my therapist and my valued talks with her. Still, it is on balance much more of a positive than a negative, so I feel good about it.

I went to therapy today and for the first time ever, I wondered ‘What on earth am I going to talk about this week?’ I literally had nothing. Well, I had nothing I thought really needed to be spoken about in therapy. I thought I could tell her about my weekend holiday to celebrate seven years with Gauri and two years since we got engaged. Or that we are planning our wedding. Or that a homeless guy we saw in Brighton refused the leftover pizzas we offered him because he was dairy intolerant.

Interlude – Does anyone else think the idea of a homeless person refusing food due to being dairy intolerant a bit weird? I know it can’t be good to have a bad stomach when homeless, but then again, I think of children in Africa who knowingly drink unsafe water because they have no other choice and I can’t help but think there is a huge difference between those two situations. And surely he could have taken the cheese off? Ah, anyway, I am in danger of getting seriously sidetracked. Back to the point.

My therapist asked me how I feel about endings and what coming to the end of a therapeutic journey means to me? Endings mean different things to me. As a writer, I am obsessive about endings for books, plays, tv and films. If the ending to something is not good, I have a hard time liking anything that came before it. I have a different view to my therapy ending.

I have never finished therapy before, so I was not sure how to explain where I was at. The best way I can explain it is by saying that I felt that the only reason for me to continue therapy was because I was too scared to face the world without it. And I didn’t feel scared. In the best way possible, therapy had made me not need therapy. I even joked with my therapist that she might want to rethink her business plan as this is not good for keeping customers returning. I do value her ethics in that she always checked if I still needed therapy, rather than just continuing to take my money. Good on her.

I am fine with not needing a grand final therapy session where everything is resolved and all loose ends are tied up. I think this is an impossibility. What in life is really fully resolved? When we do not know what tomorrow will bring, how can we say we know everything today? Therapy has left me in a place where I feel I can handle whatever happens in the future. I think that is perfect. I wouldn’t believe it if I was told therapy would cure me forever. I simply hope it helps me to never need therapy again.

This was another thing. The double edged sword of ‘I thank you for the time we had together and how much you have really helped me but… I hope I never have to see you again in this setting.’ I imagine it is the same for Funeral Directors who say ‘See you later’ and people respond with ‘Not too soon I hope.’ On the other hand, it must be cool from the therapists perspective to know they have done a good job and they can send someone off into the world much better equipped to deal with it than before.

The final question she asked me was ‘What are you going to do on Wednesday now that you don’t have therapy?’ Isn’t that a damn fine question? I don’t know exactly what I will do, but I feel hopeful that whatever it ends up being, I will happy to do it.

And my journey through therapy can be boiled down to this:

One year ago.

Therapist: What do you want from therapy?

Me: To be happy again.

One year later.

Therapist: How do you feel now?

Me: Happy again.

Take care buddies,

David.

Womb Envy Wednesday – The Beginning of the End.

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Womb Envy Wednesday – The Beginning of the End.

After eleven months I am at the stage where I am going to be stopping my therapy soon. I mean this in the most positive way possible. If the aim of therapy is to get a person from a bad place to a good place then my journey is almost over. It is now only a matter of crossing some Freudian t’s and dotting some Lacanian i’s and I am done.

Today’s session started with me being quiet, calm and relaxed. I explained my experience with not eating due to a food bug leading to a quasi spiritual feeling of peace and stillness in my mind. You can read about it on my post from yesterday ‘Unwilling Fasting and Unforeseen Benefits’. If you want to that is. It is not a direct order.

Since Saturday night, I have been empty headed in a good way. The usual frantic pace of my brain has slowed to a glacial drift and the things that bothered me a few days ago seem a long distant memory. I have had to work hard to resist the urge to over think this new way of being. Something in my very core told me to just stop and let it be for a few days.

So, I have cut down on sensory stimulation, I have taken time to be quiet and still and I have resisted the urge to constantly look at my phone. As I made my life quieter, I noticed old beliefs and thoughts coming to the surface; like a mental version of excavating an archaeological dig site. Little bubbles of thought came to the surface of my consciousness and I was able to notice them properly.

One of my beliefs is that of Taoism. One idea from that is to listen to your inner voice and act upon what it is telling you. I imagine that I, much like everyone else, suffers from the modern day predicament of so much information being thrown at them, that it is hard to know what is true and harder to hear the voice in my head above all the din and ruckus.

So, I took time to listen. Yesterday, I went to Farnham Castle with the intent of being in a place with few distractions, so I could sit and let all the noise in my head die down. It went well. Luckily, it was pouring with rain, so I had the place to myself. I sat alone and watched the rain and felt my mind quieten down. It was the most relaxed I can recall feeling in ages.

I came to a few conclusions. One was that I was finally thinking about what it was that I wanted to write. I wasn’t thinking about what others want me to write for them, or what the latest trend is that I should write about. I simply considered what it was that I was interested in doing. I think this is important. It is easy to chase the latest fads, but I believe that long term happiness and success in what I am doing lies in knowing exactly what it is that I want to say.

I also realised that I had stopped worrying about how others perceived me. That is up to them from now on. I am at home in my own skin and mind, and on balance, I think I am a pretty good person. I am not worried about how I come across anymore. Thankfully, I am witty, charming and above all, modest, so what is not to like?

I told all this to my therapist and she once again asked if I felt I needed to continue with therapy? I replied that I think it is time to start winding it down. I simply do not need it as a crutch anymore. I did thank my therapist for all the help she has given me and stated that it is because she has done such a good job of helping me that I feel I can cope without it. Naturally she reflected back that it was I who had done the work. Therapists, you gotta love em’.

So, what is next for me in my post therapy existence? I don’t know and to be honest, I am not even thinking about it. I am concentrating on ‘what now’ in my life. What I am doing right now is so much more important than thinking about what might be in the future. Well, that is what I think anyway.

The only downside is that I am going to have to say goodbye to my beloved ‘Womb Envy Wednesday’ posts. My therapist suggested calling it ‘Empty Womb Wednesday’ and I was only slightly annoyed I hadn’t thought of it first. Perhaps I will write that. Perhaps I will write something completely different. Who knows?

I am sincerely looking forward to finding out.

Take care buddies,

David.

P.S I am sadly aware that there are many people still suffering with depression. As I am in a good place, it feels only right that I offer a metaphorical shoulder to cry on if anyone ever needs. So, if you simply want a chat or need to unload, considering me your friendly neighbourhood shoulder.

Womb Envy Wednesday – On a Thursday.

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Womb Envy Wednesday – On a Thursday.

I cannot deny I am a day late with this post. Yesterday’s therapy session proved fruitful so I thought I would give myself the day to simply ‘be’ rather than blogging straight away. The reason for this will become clear by the end of this post. Or, that is the hope.

As I wrote last week, I missed my therapy session last Wednesday and was frustrated as I was desperate to bring up an issue that had been bothering me. It was a simple question; who am I? I asked the question to my therapist and we talked for a time. I said the usual things about knowing it was part of the process. It was not a completely negative idea either as I saw that it is because I am making progress in therapy that I am in the middle place of getting over depression and crossing to a happier mindset.

I described it as being like a redevelopment project for a building. The building is not knocked down completely; instead, rooms are redecorated, a conservatory is built, walls might be knocked through. The same goes for me. I don’t think every part of me is bad. There is a lot of good I want to build upon, while chucking out the negative luggage that is still knocking about since depression moved out.

It occurred to me that I was lacking confidence in myself. This is very odd for me. I have never thought of myself as lacking confidence, yet the tell-tale signs have been there for a while; feeling apologetic for stating an opinion when asked for one; thinking everything I said was dumb as soon as it came out of my mouth; even with blogging, I feel like I am an annoyance and hope I don’t bother people too much when I put up a post. I was not sure who the new me is and therefore I was not sure how to put myself forward as a person when meeting others.

My therapist stopped me and asked if I fancied trying something different? She said she had a box of toys and wanted to know if I would be willing to pick a few that called to me and then talk about it. I could see the hesitation in her eyes and that she thought I was going to say no.

I said yes for a couple of reasons. One, asking me if I want to play with toys is a no brainer. Of course I do. It is a running gag between Gauri and I that when we have kids, it is the kids who are going to have a hard time getting to the toys before I do. Another reason is that I spent two days with Gauri at a phototherapy in prisons project she has been working on with her professor. In a nutshell, photos/photography are used with prisoners to help them deal with emotional issues or help them find employment after prison.

If you want to learn more about it, you can on the following link – http://www.phototherapyeuropeinprisons.eu/

I like the idea so I was willing to try a similar idea in my therapy. I picked through the toys, discarding Darth Vader as it was ‘Anakin’ Darth Vader from the rubbish Star Wars trilogy and not the good trilogy. If you have to ask me which is which, then we can no longer be friends. I picked two dinosaurs, a fawn and a bear.

The bear, in his nonchalant pose and wearing his dungarees without a care in the world was the inner me I want to be. The fawn, because it had one hoof raised was me getting ready to go to the place where I can be who I want to be. The dinosaurs were there because I simply like dinosaurs. Now, as you know, I am a fan of therapy and therapists (I am going to marry one afterall) but they do have this little thing where they look at you and without saying a word, convey the sense of ‘Is this really nothing? Perhaps it has some meaning that you are not aware of?’ And they are usually right. As soon as she raised her eyebrows at me saying ‘they are just dinosaurs’ I realised something.

The dinosaurs were me fearing that my beliefs in life might be outmoded  ideas unsuited to the world around me. I want to be an honest, innocent and positive person but I fear that this is asking for trouble in a world where, let’s face it, bad things happen. I didn’t want to become as extinct as the dinosaurs. She asked if I needed to add more people to the picture and I said ‘No. If I am going to be ok with being myself, then it should be based on me being comfortable with the idea and not trying to be different for other people.’

So, she asked what I wanted to remove? I took away the fawn and one of the dinosaurs. I figured there was no point in being in a perpetual state of readiness for something. I might as well crack on and get started. I left one dinosaur and the bear as I realised that it was fine to be the little positive bear that I want to be and it is also fine to be careful of the world around me. We look both ways when crossing the road, so I figure it is the same with our beliefs. I am happy to be optimistic, but that doesn’t mean I want to walk blindly into dangerous situations.

And that was where I stopped the session. I like that each session feels like a chapter in a book and when it comes to a natural full stop I enjoy the sense of completion that comes with it. At the end of the session, I came to a conclusion that is only revelatory in terms of the fact that it is so obvious and I am stunned I did not realise it before. Therapy does not have to be about depression. I talked about anxiety and how I am struggling to find my place in this big old universe of ours, but depression did not come up once. I know it is obvious, but hey, learning the obvious is part of the process too.

Take care buddies,

David.

Cock Blocked on Womb Envy Wednesday.

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Cock Blocked on Womb Envy Wednesday.

Well bugger! I should be in therapy right now, however I have been cock blocked from attending. The ‘cocks’ I am referring to are the various companies that run the English Rail service. Obviously, ‘run’ the service is used in the loosest possible sense. Delays upon delays meant I missed my connection and could not make therapy, which is a shame as I really wanted to go today. Hmm, what an unusual state for me to be in; I actually miss therapy when I can’t get to it. So, I am left with the burning desire to discuss something I have been thinking about for a few days and no therapy to discuss it in.

Unless…

I give myself therapy this week? Yes! That is a sure fire hit of an idea.

The question I wanted to discuss is ‘Who am I?’ I have been thinking about it this week and I came to the conclusion that I am not certain anymore. I know who I used to be when I was depressed. I was a depressed person. It was how I defined myself. Now I feel like a radio that has been taken apart by, oh I don’t know, let’s say a young version me. Taking it all apart was easy. Putting it back together again so that it picks up all the radio stations is another matter entirely.

I have self-reflected on this for a few days. I say ‘self-reflected’ but I could as easily substitute ‘incapable of being able to not think about it because my brain won’t let me’ but the former is more succinct and flows more pleasantly. In my dark hours when I stare blankly out of my window I have asked myself ‘Who are you?’ I have only been able to reply ‘I do not know.’

At times when I am with certain friends, I am the cheeky London boy who grew up in Sutton. On the phone, I try and sound like what I think an adult should sound like. With new people I am uncertain of myself, where I used to be full of confidence. I try to be kind in the instances where I am put down. I get angry when people are being nice. Not only do I not know who I am, I cannot be who I want to be at the right times either. Or I am at a loss as to what ‘the right person’ to be in different situations actually is.

Even my voice doesn’t sound right to me. Swaying from faux cockney to pseudo posh in the same sentence. Using words like a child then realising I am sounding childish and change to what I imagine a serious, sensible adult should be. It is all too much hard work. This constant chasing of an ephemeral idea of what I should be to please everyone who sees me. How the bloody hell am I meant to manage that? Being all things to all people? Why do I set myself such an impossible challenge in the first place?

Sorry, trying to be both therapist and client at the same time is not as easy as I first thought. Why did I think it would be easy?

I know the obvious answer is ‘Be yourself’ but seriously? I have hated myself for over twenty years. Why would I want to be like me? I tried to be the happy honest child I most closely associate with what I consider to be the essential essence of what makes me me, but that was pretty much crushed when it didn’t fit with other people’s expectations of what I should be as a person. I know it shouldn’t have bothered me, but it was at a key stage of my getting over depression and some things hurt way after you have told yourself that it no longer bothers you.

I am not even sure I live in a world where being innocent and honest is such a good idea anymore. People are so quick to try and screw others over that I feel I should be less trusting than I want to be. How sad is that? Perhaps that is part of the problem? I think I know who I want to be, but it doesn’t seem like a good idea and that I would open myself to more hurt and leave myself open to being taken advantage of.

Hmm. That almost feel like a conclusion of sorts. Actually it is completely not. It just opens another door to another question. If I know who I want to be, how do I reconcile that with the idea that I think I would be a person who would be one of life’s suckers; merely waiting for the next con to come along that I would trust completely?

Then again, perhaps that is a question I can ask in next week’s therapy session. If I can get there that is.

Take care buddies,

David.

Womb Envy Wednesday – Cha cha cha changes – Turn and Face The Strange.

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Womb Envy Wednesday – Cha cha cha changes – Turn and Face The Strange.

One major thought has been in my head this week, which I discussed in therapy today. It might make more sense if I explain the background first. The thought stemmed from two different conversations I had. One was with Gauri in person and the other was with a friend on Facebook. Which to choose??? Oh, the dilemmas of blogging. Just for the sheer hell of it, let’s go with the Facebook conversation first.

I was chatting to a friend who has known me for about five years. We were talking about how we have both changed in that time. I basically said how embarrassed or ashamed I felt about the ways I used to be or acted, but I hope she has seen that I have changed as a person since then. She replied ‘We both commented a while ago about how much you’ve changed. Please take that as a compliment. I can’t explain it, but you’ve changed somehow in a positive way.’

I have a rueful smile on my face as I write this, mostly because I can’t be help but read the subtext (and yes, I have been doing a lot of playwriting this week) of ‘You used to be a dick, but you are nicer now.’ In her utter defence, I was a complete dick at times and she didn’t use the term ‘dick’. It is simply how I feel about myself and the ways I have acted in the past. I know now it was based on depression and bad reactions to medication, but it doesn’t detract from the fact dickishness was was in evidence from me.

It got me thinking about how people see me now and how I see myself. I think I have changed enough to make people notice ‘Hey, David’s not down and angry all the time anymore.’, yet perhaps not. I do wonder if people who have not seen me for years and knew me when I was not at my best, still have that mental remembrance of me? As if It was the last image they saw when a film is paused and having not been able to press the play button by seeing me now, do not think of me as any different to the person they knew.

Or that maybe me being paranoid.

The other conversation I had was with my good lady. I am not going to share the private deets of my life for a blog, so I will skip past the chat we had to the bit I want to talk about. There was a moment when I asked ‘Why did you keep that bottled up for so long?’ She replied that she didn’t want to bring me down or depress me with her troubles (which is something I have said to her countless times, so no judgement from me).

I asked her to look at me and say if I looked angry or depressed about our talk? Whether it seemed I was repressing anything or it was bothering me in the slightest? This was the moment that an internal movie player in my mind has not let go off all week. She looked at me and it was like she was looking at me for the first time in ages. She actually cocked her head to one side. That’s how intently she was looking at me. It was a look of almost surprise. She said ‘No, you don’t look depressed or angry.’ I said ‘Then it is ok to lean on me if you need rather than bottle up things I don’t need protection from anymore.’

Let me point out, this is in no way an attack on what she said and felt. The sad thing is that I understand it completely. She has seen me down and depressed far more often that I would have liked. I can’t blame her for worrying about me more than she should. I have done some crazy shit. doubt myself on occasions, so it is understandable for her to do the same. It was just the moment when I knew she had realised that I have moved on from being depressed and was handling life in a completely different way.

A bright point from this is that I feel the best equipped I have ever done to be a good boyfriend. I can be the one supporting her for a change. It’s not that I have never supported her. After seven years, that would be douche-bag level of bad boyfriending. Of course I have supported her and she might even say I do support her equally, but I will always feel I am the one that needed more help. I suppose it doesn’t matter. We are here to support each other and I believe that’s what good relationships do.

I think overall, it is understandable for someone who has lived with someone who has/had depression to be cautious of recovery. It is a life of walking on eggshells and it must be terrible not knowing what the right thing to do or say is. Even I am a bit lost at present. I am changing from week to week and I don’t know how I am going to react to problems. I know how I used to react, but I am constantly surprising myself by finding new and better ways to react.

I need to keep on making those cha cha changes and turn and face my own strange new existence. Oh, and sweep up those eggshells so people do not have to walk on them around me.

Take care buddies,

David.

Womb Envy Wednesday – Unconscious Confidence v. Conscious Unconfidence.

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Womb Envy Wednesday – Unconscious Confidence v. Conscious Unconfidence.

There were two main points that I brought to therapy today. The first, as the title of this post subtly suggests, was the difference between me being unconsciously confident versus consciously unconfident. I realised mid-way through my week (and isn’t it odd how I think of a ‘week’ being the seven days between therapy sessions, rather than the normal way?) that I was just dealing with things. I wasn’t consciously dealing with them, I just was.

Rather than being worried about money, I looked at my outgoings and incomings and figured a way to balance the books (for this month at least). Rather than being scared of a new job opportunity, I bought the things I needed and arranged for some gardening work for me to do. Instead of being scared of writing because I thought it wasn’t good enough, I wrote and decided to work out the kinks afterwards.

The reason this felt so strange was that I was not aware of making any decisions to do any of these things. They happened naturally. I kinda felt like I was kept out of the loop by myself. I imagined my unconscious having a staff meeting and saying ‘Very good job all. Things are running smoothly and lots of things are getting done. Just one small thing. Don’t let David know because he will only panic and muck up the new system.’ Whoever was running that meeting had a very good point. As soon as I started thinking about all this, I started questioning and wanting to change things and could feel my confidence leaching way. Thankfully, I am more aware of my bad habits and shortcuts to giving myself an emotional kicking and I stopped before I started.

So we spoke about this and how when I don’t overthink, things work out well, when I try to hard, I am not as effective as I would be if I let it happen. The new idea seems to be ‘trust myself and don’t try too hard.’ As the saying goes ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’ I am content to let things be as they are currently.

I even asked my therapist of it was possible that my unconscious mind was keeping things from me because I was actually happy and moving forward in my life and it didn’t want me to overthink things and change what did not need to be changed. In fairness to her, that is a pretty hard question, so I am not surprised she did not have an answer.

I tried to explain it (as I do with many things) by using a Simpson’s reference. There is an episode where Homer hits the Queen’s Royal carriage and they are going to behead him. Two Beefeaters are practising mounting Homer’s head on a spike with watermelons and one guard says ‘Don’t worry it. Let the blade do the work.’ I think of my brain like this. If I don’t overthink things and let them work on their own, it will be perfect.

The other thing I brought to therapy was that I seem to be happier at points being totally removed from everything else. This idea came from a discussion I was having with a friend about a play I am writing for him. We were discussing whether a human is more human as part of humanity or apart from humanity. I discovered he feels more human as part of a group and I feel more human away from a group. I have had the feeling many times this week of being in a giant glass hamster ball and everything else being muted. It is a feeling I was surprised to discover I really like.

My therapist asked me if I am introvert, and for anyone that knows me, they will understand why I have never even considered myself as an introvert. Yet, I do not consider myself an extrovert either. I might have been at one time, although there is an argument to be made that seeking attention was due to a host of insecurities more than anything else. Perhaps, I am somewhere in between. Neither needing to be seen by others in order to feel of worth, nor wanting to hide away from people because I didn’t want them to see me depressed.

My life seems to be one of finding the middle ground between contrasts at present. I do not want to be an adult that has lost the ability to see the magic and wonder in the world, nor do I want to be a child who throws his toys out of the pram whenever he does not get his own way. I am of course referring to my inner child. I am not some weird adult/baby hybrid invented by a less educated cousin of Dr Frankenstein. I am happy to work hard to get what I want, but I do not want to work myself into an early grave to do it. I am happy to share time with others and I am also happy to say ‘Hey, rest of the world, I am doing my own thing for a bit.’

I guess that finding the middle ground is an obvious part of therapy. After coming from the depressive end of the spectrum, I figure it will take some time to move over to the happier spectrum. While I am in the middle ground, I can figure what it is that I do and do not want to take with me when I do eventually get there.

Take care buddies,

David.