Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Bring Your Fiancé To Therapy Day

Life sentence. :)
So, my fiancé who is normally out of town Wednesday mornings happened to be in town a couple of weeks ago when I had a therapy appointment scheduled.  I knew he had been curious about how best to support me when I'm having an OCD or anxiety crisis, so I decided to bring him in to therapy.

While my therapist gave him some nice advice and a good handout with some strategies for coaching me, she also gave him one piece of advice that I did NOT appreciate.  

He told her about a particular instance where I was crying inconsolably at 3 am over something I had no control over and asked her what he could do next time.  She said he could go to another room and go to sleep. 

Are you for real, lady?

Now I understand this perspective if crying in panic was a nightly habit... even if it was a weekly habit or bimonthly habit.  Obviously if someone is irrationally upset and having hysterical breakdowns late into the night on the regular, that person should not expect a partner to stay up and suffer every single time.

But that is not the case with me.  Not even close.  This was a very upsetting circumstance regarding a family member that lead to what I still see as genuinely justifiable sadness for that person's current situation and potential poor prospects for the future.  

When I was crying, did anxiety lead me to catastrophize?  Absolutely.  But in many ways, this situation was a catastrophe without any help from my anxiety-ridden brain.

One of the tragedies of having anxiety and OCD is that you can often fall prey to "Boy Who Cried Wolf" syndrome.  You get anxious and upset often enough that when something is really bad and you are reasonably upset, people tend to still see you as unreasonable.  

My therapist may have many years of experience with anxious patients, but I can tell you what I know based on 28 years of being me:  If my fiancé had gotten up and walked out to sleep on the couch that night while I was panicking, he would not only have had a panicking and upset fiancée at 3 am.  No, that would have quickly transformed into an extremely hurt, angry, panicking and upset fiancée at 3 am 

I let my fiancé know that I was not okay with the therapist's conclusion on this issue, and we talked it over.  I think he agreed at least in part with my side.  

It is true that you cannot always be the best judge of what you need, but a therapist's advice won't perfectly apply to every situation you have either.  You have to fit that advice into your life in a way that works for you, and try to make strategies and suggestions fit your individual situation.

Ultimately, I'm glad that my fiancé came with me to therapy if only that it opened up more lines of communication on these issues.  I'm very lucky to have a partner with me on my fight against OCD and anxiety.  Navigating these obstacles will be a challenge, but one I know we can face together.



2 comments:

  1. I'm with you, Laura. Big time. I hope you expressed that to your therapist.

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    1. I'm probably going to let it go. I know she meant well!

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