When I last wrote I told you something bad happened on the train that triggered an anxiety attack. You might be happy to know that I have since apologized to my work colleague and to the woman I screamed my head off at. (We’re both cat people!) Both accepted the apology. Unfortunately, my therapist did not seem pleased with me for the apology, and you’ll see that reflected in the new homework assignment listed below. It’s not easy being nice and being told that wasn’t a good idea, but read the whole post before you side with me and against the therapist.
The new homework assigned to me was a curveball to the previous assignment. I did really well with letting people into my world by letting them bother me/invade my senses. But one thing happened on the way to therapy where I had another shouting match with a stranger at the entrance to the subway station. My therapist asked me why this situation bothered me so much and I knew it was because this woman had called me rude despite having started the yelling match with me.
And I finally understood: Because of how I was raised, where I was raised, I am pretty much mortified when people think I am rude.
My therapist then further brought home a point right in front of me: New York City is a rude place. And people who survive in this city are the appropriate amount of rude in a given situation but no more than in that flash of a moment. They do their yelling and move on, no more thought given to it.
So my homework was to be a rude New Yorker and not feel bad about it. I was so horrified by the idea that it took a good 20 minutes for him to convince me this was a good idea.
Therapy is hard.
I’ve been doing my homework in little moments and have done a good job. Several encounters with people resulted in me being defensively rude (never started anything) and it worked 100% of the time because it was always another New Yorker. (You know when your people are standing in front of you.) I did not act rudely to tourists. I’m not ready for that yet.
But I also saw my psychiatrist and told her how anxious I have been. We decided an increase in my meds was a good idea for the winter. I’ve been on the new dose for four days and I already notice a big improvement.
I also have been confiding in two of my close friends at work who have a close look at my daily behavior in relation to my life situation. They have been super helpful in letting me know their thoughts. One friend did point out that I have a deep-seated need for approval, stemming from Daddy Issues. I can’t deny that. It would be foolish to do so. Her advice was to accept, forgive, no longer seek approval, and live a happy life. A wise diagnosis and prescription.
Tomorrow I go to therapy again. Looking forward to it because hard stuff is coming up and I would really appreciate some guidance in finding within me the best way to make it through with minimal anxiety.
Wish me luck. For others struggling, I wish you luck as well.