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I’ve been to therapy three times in my life. The first time was when I was nineteen. My father recommended his therapist. He had found someone “down to Earth,” who didn’t dress stuffy. I should have known he had ulterior motives, and he did. He wanted someone he could manipulate. Someone who would get him the prescription drugs he wanted. And so, as I watched him brag about manipulating the therapist we both used, I lost faith in her. After just a few months, I quit and went on with my life. I even quit the Lexapro she had prescribed to me, because I didn’t feel confident in her ability to determine whether someone truly needed medication.

Ten years later, I found myself in a bad spot. I needed therapy more than ever. I had lost a mentor, my job, and my apartment. Things fell apart very quickly, and I struggled. As darkness closed in, I decided I needed to do something, and so I found someone who I thought might could help, and in a way she did. She suggested I get a primary care doctor, and she recommended her own. She also recommended Wellbutrin, which I tried for a couple of months. Therapy went reasonably well, but she was always late. Thirty to forty-five minutes late. And I felt like her knowledge was limited. I was especially frustrated when she told me about a thousand dollar medtiation class, which was ridiculious when I was out of work. So, I walked away after six months or so. Not bitter, just over it.

Then came yeaterday. I walked back into a therapist office, almost ten years since the last time. Apparently, I feel like I need to do this every decade or so.

I spoke about my reason for seeking therapy a few weeks ago: Sound. I have some other things I’d like to discuss as well, but first, I need to make sure this is going to be a good fit for me.

I walked into the therapist’s office apprehensively. I wasn’t sure I had made a good choice. I didn’t have any recommendations, so I just found who accepted my insurance and was close by, then looked a pictures and picked someone. Almost instantly I regretted my decision. The woman I picked was around my age, maybe… or she could be in her early 30’s. It was hard to say. The thoughts started going through my head: what does she know about being a man? Obviously, some of my issues are growing older, will she be able to help me with this?

I had pretty much made up my mind before I walked in that this would be a one and done visit. I’d go in, do my thing, and then begin my search for a male therapist.

When I walked into the lobby, I didn’t feel much better. It was quaint, comfortable, and straight out of a HGTV show. The basket next to me was filled with women’s magazines, and it’s easy to see why males have trouble getting help. It’s not all that inviting for us. Pastel blue walls, overdesigned chairs, books with titles about “hope”, and the soft scent of what flowery fragrance was coming out of the plug-in. It might as well have been a women’s clinic, because nothing there was geared toward males. I felt like I was wasting my time, but I was already going to have to pay for this visit, so I figured I might as well go through with it.

My therapist invited me back on time, which is always a good thing for me. We went back to her office and well… things went better than I could have ever expected. She was attentive, nice, and managed to keep up with my pace. She wasn’t offended when I told her I’d spent twenty years working on self-improvement, studying Buddhism, meditating, journaling, but I had found a problem I could not fix. I didn’t want to come off like a jerk, but I also didn’t want to start at step one: start a journal, get a good night’s sleep, maybe meditate, go for a walk. I know all of this and it isn’t helping, I need the next step.

It didn’t take her too long to propose that maybe my issue with sound isn’t so much being annoyed by people or even by noise, but maybe it’s more about not being in control. I cannot control the rude people and that triggers me because it taps into some trauma response from childhood.

I didn’t word it nearly as well as her, but when she started saying it, it felt true. My eyes got watery and a weight lifted off my shoulders. There was a way to fix this and this was the right person to help me.

My first visit to therapy was a good one. In fact, it may have been the best and most productive therapy session I’ve ever been in. We skimmed over the lowlights of my life, and she proposed a few techniques and I’ll see her again next week. I almost had to drag myself kicking and screaming to her office, but I’m so thankful I went. Week one is down and I feel hopeful I can get this under control.

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  1. I’m glad you had a better experience than you anticipated. I can definitely relate to certain aspects of this (down the annoyance of people related to sound).

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