“So how do you think it’s going, Leah?”
I’ve just sunk my frazzled body into one of the leather chairs in Paola, my therapist’s, room. She’s around my age and also recently new to Spain. Unlike me, she’s always impeccably dressed and exudes peace at all times. She’s clearly someone who has her life together. This is our fifth or sixth session.
‘So how do you think it’s going, Leah?’ is Paola’s reply after I’ve told her I woke up at 11:20 am for our noon appointment when I live forty minutes away from the office. (Yes, I gave myself zero minutes to get ready and somehow made it to the appointment on time. If getting out the door in under five minutes after waking up late was an art form, I’d be Vincent Van Gogh.) To justify this, I also mention I fell asleep at 9 am that morning due to the insomnia caused by my Vyvanse, giving me exactly two hours and twenty minutes of restful sleep, more or less.
I half-chuckle. I know Paola is expecting me to berate myself even more. To list off all of my negative thoughts brimming with cognitive distortions and then have me identify them—something she’s been having me do during our sessions together—but I’m going to tell her something positive for a change.
“Despite all of my issues and what the Vyvanse is doing to my sleep, I think I’m doing pretty well in Spain. I came here on my own and I found housing, set up a bank account, got multiple part-time jobs, and have managed to keep those jobs all without any help,” I say. “And I’ve made a few friends and done some traveling in between,” I add to further support my claim.
Paola raises her eyebrows at me, clearly surprised by this uncharacteristic optimism.
“Exactly. Think of everything you’ve accomplished and done right since September. You didn’t move here expecting things to be easy, and I know they haven’t been, but you should give yourself credit for everything you just told me.”
The rest of our session goes by quickly as Paola offers suggestions for how to get my sleep schedule back on track and my introverted ass out of my apartment. I nod along, promising to follow the advice she gives me but knowing damn well I’m too set in my ways to actually make any changes. However, I know that some of what she’s been telling me must be sinking in because the old me would be admonishing myself for this.
It may not be going perfectly, but so much is going right and I couldn’t be prouder of myself for it.
P.S. I realize this is my first post in almost three months. I’ve been busy juggling a new teaching job on top of my other tutoring jobs. I’ve also been teaching myself how to play ukulele after years of wanting to learn. I know these are just excuses. I’ve been avoiding writing for a couple reasons: I’m super critical of my work and because the subject matter forces me to be introspective to a degree I can’t handle most days. Of course it’s easier to turn on Netflix after I get off work or strum my uke instead of write about my issues. I’m going to post more in the coming months than I have been. My therapist I mentioned in this post has been giving me writing prompts as part of my therapy so I already have lots of new material. Also, I made a commitment when I agreed to writing for Psych Central and I want to follow through with that. No more excuses.
For now, I’m signing off. I hope you’ve enjoyed the ramblings of my black hole mind. I promise there are more to come.