Downsizing, On Mental Health

Yes. I Lied To My Therapist.

So, my first therapy appointment was very much a Get To Know What Type Of Crazy This Person Is session where you had to fill out forms outlining symptoms and answer questions to get an “official” diagnosis and treatment plan.

But here’s the thing. I had never been to therapy before and I had just met this woman who I didn’t know for sure I wouldn’t hate in 5 minutes.

When I filled out all of the forms marking all of the “symptoms” I kinda glossed over most of it because I didn’t want this person who I might decide I hate, to think I was crazy.

KIM, COME ON. THIS IS STUPID AND COMPLETELY COUNTER-INTUITIVE.

When she asked me if I ever had thoughts of suicide I completely downplayed anything from my past and just said, “Well, I wouldn’t say that. I’d say that I don’t fear death because it would at least be an end to worry.”

YES, KIM. DOWNPLAY THOUGHTS OF SUICIDE. THAT’S A GREAT IDEA.

But I just kept thinking, “I’m not suicidal NOW. I was a long time ago. I know what that feels like. But I’m not NOW. So why should I draw attention to anything related to it? I don’t want her to think I’m crazy.”

She noticed some of the inconsistencies between paperwork and discussion. She pointed out that on my form I didn’t check much at all. She said, “So…you never wake up with frantic thoughts?”

“Not really.”

KIM! YOU WAKE UP EVERY DAY WITH FRANTIC THOUGHTS. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?

Yesterday, I was walking down the hall at work and I was just sad and overwhelmed. The last pictures are taken of the house and it will be listed any day now and the last time it was listed was so stressful and I just was walking down the hall thinking, This could be my last day of freedom before I’m constantly worried about people wanting to see my house. And you know what I had to do? Fight EVERY SINGLE STEP not to curl up on the floor of the hall of my office building and just close my eyes and cry and sleep. Every. Single. Step. Every step I took forward was one HUGE internal argument with myself because that urge, the urge to just lie down and curl up and sob myself to sleep and forget about life was SO VERY STRONG.

But yet…YET…on that form where it asked if I was every overwhelmed enough to want to disassociate myself with the world?

“Nope. Not me. Never.”

I’m really banking on this being normal behavior. Because, I mean, does anyone just walk into a therapist’s office fully comfortable and trusting on Day 01? (Please say, “No.” Please say, “No.”) I didn’t really feel comfortable opening up to her before I knew I would be seeing her again. I also REALLY didn’t want to cry and I knew if I started really talking about some of my issues I’d start crying and I had JUST MET THIS WOMAN.

I am keeping a page in my bullet journal (OF COURSE I AM) of things I should probably clear the air about. But still, I don’t see me opening up up about EVERYTHING, not yet. I mean, I like her. I already can tell we have a lot of similar life experiences so that helps me feel like she’ll understand a lot of what I’m going through, but it takes me awhile before I feel comfortable and I can’t turn off that voice in my head that wants her to LIKE me and does NOT want her to know how anxious I truly get or how far down the pit of despair I sometimes fall. Like, what if I tell her how far I’ve fallen and she just ROLLS HER EYES? Like, “Get over it, Kim. Jeezus.”

Of course, there’s also the issue that sometimes I’m not even honest with MYSELF about how I’m doing. Like the whole Urge To Sleep In The Hallway Forever thing from yesterday? I think before I was going to therapy I would have just blown that off and not registered it as anything to make note of. When, you know, THAT’S A REALLY STRONG URGE TO GIVE UP ON LIFE, Kim. You might need to give that some attention.

I don’t know. I hope this is all normal and it will just take awhile to warm up to her 100% and to trust her. It feels weird not being 100% honest with the woman I’m supposed to bare my soul to so she can help me heal. But surely I’ll feel that soon, right? How long does that take?

Also – please say prayers and send me good wishes that our house sells fast. It’s 100% obvious that my sanity is at risk, here. If it doesn’t sell fast then I might as well set up a cot in the hall at work because I won’t be able to stay strong every day.

15 thoughts on “Yes. I Lied To My Therapist.”

  1. I didn’t exactly lie to my therapist, but I will say that those questions were all on the intake form, so I didn’t need to say it outloud. I think if I had had to state those feelings, in my own voice, to my therapist, I probably would have downplayed the entire thing. But on a nice checkbox filled form, no problem checking all the boxes that applied.
    This might also have some insight into why, when asked if there was physical abuse in my home growing up, I replied “not really, he just smacked me around a lot.” So complete disconnect from the actions of my childhood to reality, I guess.

  2. I dunno how to explain it, but for me it was easier to be honest with my therapist than myself BECAUSE I didn’t know the person. Like, as soon as I crossed the threshold everything was fair game and then I got to just leave it in the room. I was so happy to be able to just talk to somebody. I wish you peace. With the house, with the therapist, with all of the above. Good luck and hang in there! (Ugh, now I hear Dory in my head going “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.” What an earworm.)

  3. i certainly had A LOT of the same type of feelings when starting therapy, girl…i’m 100% sure that on some level we all do, even though we all continue to think to ourselves that these things are specific to us. HA! it turns out we’re all freaking “crazy”, girl…some have just found ways to deal with/embrace/hide it a little better than others.

    SQUIRREL! 🙂 so, anyway…my point was just to be that after putting myself through much more concern than ever was necessary about how i was portraying myself and/or how i was coming off to him? it was eye-opening to later learn he hadn’t been buying a word of it just b/c i said it…thankfully! 🙂 no, he’d waited to see/listen/learn about me on his own as a whole (not just the “good” or “bad” about me i felt able to put out there and draw attention to) before forming his true opinions about me and my needs and/or “diagnosis”. more or less, it didn’t really matter what i thought i should/could/would get across to him…it just mattered that i was there, to try and better/help myself, and that he was there with me.

  4. I think it is pretty normal to need time to warm up to someone and feel completely comfortable telling them everything. You have to build a relationship with a therapist just like anyone else.

  5. I totally get why you can’t really trust someone you just met, but just know that if you ever do meet a therapist who seriously ROLLS HER EYES at your problems, that means SHE is the asshole and it’s perfectly acceptable for you to get up and leave. It’s not okay from a doctor or a therapist or a pharmacist. Actually, it would be pretty unprofessional (not to mention counterproductive) for any healthcare provider to act like that.

    And like junkie said, a good therapist will be able to tell when a new patient is bullshitting them or downplaying their problems, because I’m sure they see it all the time. So yeah, you’re not alone.

  6. peskyblackfly – Before I was a Tortoise, and a Tedd, or a Tomato, I was somebody's Pesky Black Fly. I'm still Pesky you better believe it!!
    Tamara Tedd says:

    I agree with above- many therapists are able to tell when clients are (I dont want to say lying, but at least not telling all there is- downplaying is a good word) and are trained to draw out more information to get the fuller picture. It won’t be like that all the time Kim, so trust that as that relationship grows, just like any other, it will get easier to ‘reveal the real’ from the start.

    Trust in yourself- you can do this.

  7. So many wise words before me… if you weren’t blogging and telling us about it, maybe in some way you’d find it easier to tell her. As if, “As long as I’m telling someone, I’m not too far gone” (which I believe is mostly true…). However, I imagine she would not be where she is if she didn’t have the ability and desire to help you overcome all this. I totally agree that she may already have some inkling that you are holding back and is just waiting for you to feel ready to share with her. I hope it is soon. I am so looking forward to hearing about the victories ahead of you!

  8. Open up and clear the air as fast as you can. If your kid came to you with homework trouble and you worked hard and they did well, sort of, and struggled continually and it took six or eight months to realize the real problem was they ALSO needed to address the fact they need glasses…

    how would that be for them?

    Good luck. Good work.

  9. Oh, Kim — you are so so so hard on yourself. Just selling a house alone is enough to drive someone mad. And you have been in that loop for what, a year? At least, right? And you started a NEW job in the middle of all of that? That’s crazy making business right there!!

    I think everything you have been writing lately sounds perfectly NORMAL considering all that you have going on in your life.

    And I agree that not divulging everything up front to therapist is probably something I would do as well. You need to know that you are going to click with that person and that you can TRUST them with her innermost thoughts. A therapist can seriously jack up a patient, unknowingly. You are taking care of yourself and that is the most important thing in all of this!

  10. I am in complete agreement about not wanting to open up *those* kind of things too quickly because the inner working of (at least my) brain is scary!

    But I was totally cracking up reading this because my first thought is that your therapy homework is done on your blog. Do you think she might read other posts, also?? 😉

  11. Sweet lady whom I don’t know in person but identify with strongly over things we love and ways we act, I urge you to send your therapist an email with the link to this very blog post. The doors it will open will change your therapy, will change your life, in great ways. Pulling for you to be able to be brave in this way. Much love.

  12. It took me a while to open up to a therapist too. The first one I talked to was also seeing my child, so I had the added stress of wanting to not appear responsible for my child’s reasons to be there. I think she suspected it though because she referred me to a second therapist who wasn’t seeing anyone else in my family. I’d met the second therapist before, in a stress management class, so that went better. Give it time and I think you’ll be able to trust and open up.

  13. Totally normal to be unsure at first. And totally normal to downplay things at first.

    I’ve also been known to just print off blog posts and bring them in.

    You can also be straightforward. “Is this a thing, because I don’t know if this is a thing, but….”

    It gets easier, and then it gets really good. Hang in there.

  14. Yeah, I would totally suggest printing out the blog post, or just emailing her a link before your next session. That should be enough to clear the air and move forward.

  15. I agree with printing out this post. Yes what you did is normal and usual. I filled out the questionnaire to focus on 1 issue I alluded to some others the first visit. She rescheduled me for a week. I went back and I really stayed closed up. She rescheduled me for 2 weeks and the appt was only abt 35-40 minutes. I was annoyed enough that I brought it up 2 weeks later. She looked me right in the eyes and Said. “There is a lot going on with you that you aren’t talking about and until you bring it up, we cant talk about it. Um- Yeah- she knew what was up. I started started opening up, because I felt safe then. I reminded her that she had done that several years later and she said- Yes- that sounds like something I would do. She is now retired and I see someone else, it was easier the second time. By then I was a whole different person

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