Friday, August 22, 2008

3rd visit with the new shrink

Someone asked me: Since I've had 3 visits with this new shrink, does that mean he's a keeper? My response was that I'm keeping my options open. I'm just going to take this one week at a time. As long as I feel I'm getting something out of the sessions then I'll keep going to him. If the sessions start going south and I start to feel like I'm not getting anything out of them then I'll evaluate if I'm ready to stop going to a shrink or if I need to find a new shrink.

One of my therapist assignments was to purchase the book "The Feeling Good Handbook" by David D. Burns. (not to be confused by another book by the same author titled simply "Feeling Good") I ordered it on Amazon and it arrived yesterday. I've only thumbed through it a bit. It's a workbook where I actually have to write stuff in it. I have reservations about this.
  • First of all, I don't write in books. I don't know why, it's just one of my quirks. I get upset when I pickup a book and find writing in it. I don't even mark, highlight, or otherwise notate in my scriptures - because that's writing in a book. I tried once, and now I get upset every time I come across one of the passages I marked up.
  • Second, this is a dang big book - a 732 page workbook. I thought about writing my thoughts on a separate sheet of paper; but, there are lots of parts where you just write a few words. Keeping my thoughts separately while maintaining their correlation with the associated section in the book seems like more trouble than it be worth.
  • Third, if I'm going to be completely honest then the book is going to have to be private! Just like I said when I wrote down my life history - there are things I'm not ready to tell my wife and don't know if I'll ever be ready. If I'm going to be completely honest with myself and write down my true innermost thoughts and feelings, I'm not comfortable with the idea that a family member could pick up the book and read it along with my notations. I need to figure out a way to keep it private. I almost wish they had published it in the form of a personal diary with a lock. Maybe I should purchase a little hasp and lock to glue onto the book. It's not totally secure, but it's sends a strong signal to others that it's private - in case I accidentally leave it lying about. Hmmm, gonna have to think about this a bit more.
We talked about things I used to enjoy doing. I mentioned model railroading is a hobby I used to enjoy. I'd like to enjoy it again, but I just can't get motivated. I also told of a time when I was trying my hand at music composition and had even started setting up a home recording studio. And, my biggest passion right now is photography. For our next visit, he wants me to bring in some of my favorite pictures that I've taken as that will tell him something about me.

I also talked about how I like to meet with other gay people, such as my excursions with the gay christian network. He said that makes perfect sense to him - to want to connect with people who are aware of and accept that part of me. He even went on to say how important it is to connect with people in a face to face setting rather than over the internet (I had previously talk about my blog and our little queerosphere). But, then I explained that my wife doesn't like it when I meet with other gay guys, it makes her uncomfortable. He said that is perfectly understandable - but we'll each have to make compromises and hers may be allowing me to to do certain things even if it makes her uncomfortable.

He started to talk about things I can do to connect better with my wife. But, then I said that will be very difficult to do since she is leaving tomorrow for 3 weeks (going out to California to be with our daughter when she has her baby). So, he said we'll just table that for now. He did mention the possibility of bringing her with me to therapy; but, I just don't know if she'll agree to that.


Anonymous said...

Too bad there isn't an online, password-encrypted version of the big dang book. ;)

Chedner said...

I have developed my own 'alphabet' that I've used in the past to write my personal thoughts that I didn't want anyone to know... okay, so it was mostly developed so I could write unrelated things when I was supposed to be observing teachers when I was a permanent subsitute...

Anyway, I'd be willing to share my schema with you if you're interested (it's not a 1:1 encryption -- meaning, it's not "a=q, b=z..." -- it's much more genius, if I can be so humble).

... or you can use a computer and password protect the file (but that's not as much fun, and you run into the dilemma that someone could look over your shoulder at any minute).

Beck said...

I think it's encouraging that he wants to bring your wife into the picture, work on compromises on both sides, and help her accept some of these realizations you're coming to. Whether she's willing to or not is not important at the moment as is the idea that she's important to you and he's wanting to see a way to help you help her instead of abandon her and move on.

As for the book, I'd just go get a lock and chain personally!

Philip said...

You have a valid concern. A bulky workbook is difficult to hide. I know I got to the point were I became careless about hiding things because deep inside I wanted those things to be found.

If I were you I would tell your shrink about your concerns with the workbook if only to make it very clear to him how difficult it is for you to be open about your feelings.

I don't mean that he is not aware that you're closeted but that he might not be aware to what extent you're closeted. Letting him know you find it difficult to express your feelings on paper even in your own home should make it clear to him to what degree you are closeted if he is not already aware of it.

Maybe he can recommend some other option until you get comfortable expressing your feelings more openly.