I'm not romancing my shrink, but it does feel a little like it.
There I was for the very first time, meeting my brand new therapist. Thoughts run through my head: Will I like him/her? What will this be like? Does he or she already know my deepest, darkest thoughts? What if I have to pee in the middle of some deep therapeutic revelation?
Therapy is a little like dating. Here's why.
1. I play 20 questions on my first date.
The first time I showed up to the shrink's office, the therapist asked a billion questions. Date of birth, family history of mental illness? Yes or no? It feels a little like the first time I go on a date.
They ask if you have sisters, dogs, a degree, and if the person is bold, even more. I sit and answer these questions when on dates, hoping my answers are satisfactory, while also feeling completely bored to death. I wonder when I get to leave finally.
I sit and answer the therapist's questions with the same hope that I'm not revealing anything too "icky," and feel bored. I wonder when I get to unearth the deep stuff like why I always get sexually excited by the sound of a whip.
2. I worry if my deepest thoughts are easily readable.
Sometimes when I'm on a date, I wonder, is my face or are my words letting on more than I want to let on? It's like being under microscope, except I'm larger than an amoeba.
Therapy is no different. I might answer my shrink as honestly as I am willing to answer, or even answer with 100% truth, but I'm still wondering, does he know about that time I shoplifted crotchless panties from Frederick's of Hollywood?
Mmhmm, he knows. Oh yes, he does.
3. I play the waiting game.
Each time, I sit with my Google calendar ready to pick a time to see my shrink, while he buzzes through his busy appointment book, until BAM! He finds an appointment that works. Whew.
Just like dating when I wait and wait and wait to hear back for the second or third date, it's a ton of fun ... said nobody ever.
4. My fear of accidentally farting plagues my thoughts.
No one wants to fart, burp, or cry in front of the therapist. Well, crying pretty much comes with the territory when it comes to therapy, but the first time is a little embarrassing, especially when the therapist hands off the tissue box.
I felt like such a dip. Oh, and nobody wants to fart while revealing daddy issues.
On a date, crying is a sure sign that things are going downhill, and farting ... well, that's the single most awful thing that can happen on a date (besides realizing your date vaguely looks like one of your parents).
Ugh. Freud, where are you?
5. I awkwardly await how I will end the date.
How does one "exit" therapy? Say, "Thank you for listening to me rattle on about my imaginary friends," or, "Have a good day after listening to my depressing love life"?
Hugging isn't quite right and waving seems so casual to the person I just unearthed my soul to.
Exiting a date? It's not easy feat. Do I want to kiss the person, hug the person, run for my life, or smack him or her? It's a tough call and sometimes I'm awkwardly waiting for him or her to make the final call on how to wrap it up. It's tricky.
6. My hidden quirks start coming through.
My therapist gets to know all about me and my lovely self, as well as my weirdest quirks. Do I hum when I'm sad? Pick at the skin around my nails? My therapist knows everything and might even have me down in the book as the "hummer." Not that kind of hummer, dearies. Wink.
When I'm dating after those first few dates, my mate starts to learn that if I start quoting from 19th century novels, I'm feeling anxious about something. Or, if I lock myself in the bathroom, I might be obsessively checking Facebook where he or she can't see.
Yup, my shrink and my partner know the good, bad, and ugly about me.
7. I know the uncomfortable silence all too well.
I know that moment when I'm not sure what to say to the therapist, so I sit in your comfy chair or lie on the beaten couch and wonder what the hell is going on?
It's sort of like when I'm arguing with the dude I'm dating, and I'm so mad at him but won't say a word. If I do, I might kill him with my verbal lacerations.
Or like when I'm out on a date and my "winner" yammers on about his or her ex for an hour, and I wish I were playing bingo with grandma or cutting my toenails instead. Anything but listening to this punk.
8 .I wonder how my date feels about me.
Am I the pain-in-the ass client my therapist dreads seeing each week, or one of the ones he really cares about? Yes, I wonder, does my shrink hate me for my evil, selfish thoughts?
I'm not about to buy my therapist flowers or anything, but it wouldn't hurt if he liked me. Pretty much the same as when I'm on a date with someone I like: does he/she like me?
Well, just grab a flower, pick off the petals, and see if "he loves me or he loves me not."
Therapy is exactly like dating. Of course, I won't actually date my therapist unless I want to be in therapy for my whole life ... or get my shrink thrown in jail.