What Therapy was to me

“I should have a therapist. I have plenty to therapise about.” – Norah Jones Let’s talk about therapy. Or better: let’s start by talking about therapy they way I would have done it two years ago. I’d  begin by rolling my eyes, I’d snort blatantly and recall a quote or two from a movie of Woody Allen’s. I’d tell you that that stuff doesn’t work, and if it does, it certainly doesn’t do anything to me. Now let’s fast forward to today: I’m ready to swear to you that therapy has been the most life-changing experience of my life so…

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Things I’ve Learned about Anxiety – Anxiety is not your fault

Do you think you are somehow responsible for your anxiety? Do you ever believe that the way you feel is your fault? Do you have the feeling that all this suffering has been caused by some mistake of yours? Do you think you somehow deserve it? If you replied yes to any of the above questions, trust me: you got it wrong. This is one of those cases in which it does exist a right or wrong answer. And the correct one here is “No”. You’re not responsible, it’s not your fault, it’s not because of some mistakes you’ve made,…

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Things I’ve Learned about Anxiety – Anxiety is a Transitory Status

I have to admit that I consider myself a Pro when it comes to anxiety. The quantity and the extent of anxiety I’ve experienced often make me feel like I have a PHD in that subject. For sure, each of us experiences suffering, as well as any other emotion, in a personal way, but still there are some basic concepts that – you can trust me on this, remember my PHD? – are true for every anxious soul out there. So let’s go with the things I’ve learned about anxiety: 1. Anxiety is a transitory status. I know this could…

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Of Gratitude and other Emotions – Part 2

Continued from: Of Gratitude and other Emotions – Part 1 Mid-December came and so did my last therapy session. With my little present in my bag, I was waiting for the best moment to pull it out and find the right words to present it to my therapist. I hadn’t managed to “prepare my speech”, since every time I sounded either too mushy or too cold in my rehearsals, so I had given up, trying to count on my generally-very-poor improvisation skills. When we approached the conclusion of the session and I was ready to turn to the chair to…

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Of Gratitude and other Emotions – Part 1

1 year and 6 days after everything began, 371 days after my anxiety had burst sweeping away most of the life I had known until then, it was time to say goodbye. By mid-december it was time for (what I thought it was going to be) my last therapy session. As you may have already read, I got back for some more sessions during the following spring, but at that time, December was the planned time for the ultimate closure of my therapy. As all of the other sessions, and understandably even more than that, the closing experience of such…

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On a May Day – Part 2

Continued from On a May Day – Part 1 My first thought as soon as my therapist names my emotional side is “Am I really able to feel it, my emotional side? Do I even know what she’s talking about?” I’ve trained myself for decades to be as rational as I could. I managed to succeed at it hands down. I basically got a PhD in Applied Rationality. But how about emotivity? I feel like an innocent – and even a little dumb – child, when I hear myself saying “I’m not really sure if I know what you mean by…

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On a May Day – Part 1

On an early May morning, I showed up to my last therapy session. Needless to say, I was feeling nervous. I didn’t know much about how we were going to handle that last appointment, but I had an image that had popped in my mind few days before and I wanted to discuss about it with my therapist on that last meeting. During the previous days, while thinking about the person I have been all my life and the one I’ve got the feeling I’m transforming into, a geometrical metaphor had surfaced in my mind. I easily pictured the usual…

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The Past Me, the Present Me

By mid of November, our plan was counting 3 more therapy sessions to go. I had been feeling good for months, but there was an image that was still hurting pretty bad every time it surfaced: it was the memory of those awful days, in which my worst anxiety had kept my body trapped inside my house and my life trapped inside my head. My therapist welcomed me with her usual smile: “Today we can address those memories, by going back to EMDR.” [1] We had used EMDR for the first couple of sessions, then spontaneously moved to a more…

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Live by the Plan, die by the Plan

One of the first necessities I remember acknowledging in front of my therapist was “I need a plan”. We were talking about the Xanax I had been prescribed to help me relax a bit before going to bed and my reluctance to even try it. I had thousands of reasons why I didn’t want to open that little bottle: fear of dependence first of all, fear of losing control over my real-self, fear of being transformed into someone else by those drops, fear of starting it off without knowing if, when and how I could have quit it. So I…

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Mi analysis es tu analysis

As I began to love myself, I freed myself of anything that is no good for my health – food, people, things, situations, and everything that drew me down and away from myself. At first I called this attitude a healthy egoism. Today I know it is Love of Oneself.  ― Charlie Chaplin When I summed up the events that had led me to breaking up with him and explained her how surprised I was about my positive reaction to those events in the following days, my therapist reflected “We can say that he served as a good training ground”.…

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