Today was my first appointment with my new counselor. Based on previous attempts to seek help, I was not optimistic going in, but it turned out to feel like a good fit. One of the most important aspects of counseling is finding a good connection between patient and counselor. There must be a good therapeutic connection for any trust to form and change to happen. There seemed to be such a connection for us and I'm looking forward to working with her. (Finally! Some help!)
They say that just the act of scheduling a counseling appointment induces change. You are taking the first step and that encourages further action. I couldn't sleep much last night because I was wondering how this would go. I felt the urge to run away and that told me that change was coming.
I was feeling good about the appointment when I got up this morning and as I entered the building. (The counseling office is inside a much larger office building). But then I saw a woman with a brand new baby walking towards me (of course, why wouldn't there be a brand new baby as I go for my counseling appointment??) I felt that all-too-familiar pang of anxiety about being around a baby and so I turned down the hall and quickly walked to the office door. I was at the reception desk filling out forms when that woman walked through the door and stood directly next to me. I have not yet had such an overwhelming visceral reaction thus far as I did as she stood next to me. She was cooing to the baby and the receptionist at the next counter began the typical "ohh, look at the tiny little baby" comments and I just about lost it. I literally began shaking and sweating and I could no longer concentrate on what the receptionist was saying to me. I just started looking for an escape route and nodding along as she spoke. She said something and handed me back my insurance card. I took it from her and bolted down the hall towards the waiting room as fast as I could. My heart was pounding and I was still shaking. (PTSD, much?!) I went to sit down and fill out the remaining forms, trying to calm down. A few moments later the mama walked in and everyone in the room started cooing over the sweet baby. (Honestly, this is my life. I try to get help and the waiting room is like my worst nightmare.) There I was, sitting in the counseling office, sweating and shaking and trying not to explode, looking all over for a way out (I'm sure everyone just figured I was one of the "crazies"). I wanted to scream at her, "my baby just died. How dare you bring your baby here!" but I didn't. I just got up and hid around the corner, sweating and shaking until my name was called. When she came to get me I must have looked a sight, all shaking and sniffling into a tissue. I didn't stop shaking until we were safely in her room, away from the baby. I told her why I was so shaken and how I felt like I just can't escape it anywhere I go. She said she understood how hard it must be and also commented that she couldn't remember when the last time a baby was in the office. *sigh* It's because I was there; that's why the mama with a newborn just had to be there today. This is my life now... no escape. Trapped in a world of everyone happy with their newborns while I sit and shake and sweat and die a bit more inside. (Sometimes I honestly think the universe is conspiring against me. It's literally everywhere I go. No matter where I am, there's a baby. I'm fairly sure the goal is for my complete mental breakdown.) She calmed me down and things went well from then on.
I'm going to see her once a week. I've been having such a hard time. I really hope she can help. Until then, I'll be home, tucked away from the world of babies.