I’m officially scared of chairs

For a little while know, I’ve known that conventional seating isn’t my thing. In a bit of a weird way. I just don’t like chairs. I much prefer sitting on the floor. I don’t know if it’s because they symbolise waiting rooms and classrooms and doctor’s rooms and rooms of other people I’ve somehow irritated with my existence. Whatever it is, chairs make me uncomfortable, especially when I have to choose between two seats and consider all the possible scenarios of what might happen sitting in each different spot and how it might affect my life going forward.

But today in group this was taken to a whole other level.

We were asked to move seats. As in, Hi, Welcome guys, we’d like you to sit somewhere new today.

Nope,

Nu-uh,

No thank you.

When did a chair of all things become an anxiety / panic trigger? And also why? 

It’s just a chair.

But I couldn’t do it. I could not sit in another chair. I could not choose a different seat. I was (as I was reminded none too gently by the group therapists) that I was not thinking particularly dialectically.

No shit. You think I know why I’ve suddenly developed an irrational fear of chairs? All of a sudden, something in me changed. That panic system that I’ve so carefully constructed for times of ‘threat’ and ‘danger’ erupted. It bubbled out in breathlessness and uncomfortable sensations and racing thoughts and a racing heart and hidden hurts.

What if they write on the board this seat has the best view of the whiteboard and what if I sit somewhere else then I might make the others uncomfortable because they sit far away from me for a reason and what if I need to escape the room because I’m wildly dissociating and this seat places me uncomfortably far away from the door and what if I forget where my seat is after an activity and we return to sit down and I sit in my usual seat now-someone-else’s seat and I break down all over again and what if what if what if what if.

This, just in case you missed it, was because of a chair. 

Something is happening to my brain, and I don’t like it. Never before have I described myself as an anxious person. I normally leap straight for depressed or suicidal. But not anxious, not until recently.

Something to ponder.

A New Therapy Path

I’ve seen a few people in the mental health blogosphere describe the process of leaving a therapist a bit like Nanny McPhee: When you don’t want them, but need them, they must stay, and when you want them, but no longer need them, then they must go.

This is not necessarily true. I am not leaving therapy, and I by no means no longer need therapy, but I am transitioning from one hour of therapy with my current psychologist a week to two hours a week of DBT group and one hour with a new (program-associated) DBT therapist.

I’m scared to end. I’m scared to begin.

And I keep circling back to that thought which underpins everything, which has always been at the core of my problems: I’m not enough. I’m not sick enough. I’m not deserving enough. I’m not bad enough. It’s put me in an interesting place, one where I self-sabotage and deliberately send myself down a spiral to confirm to myself that I am, indeed, worthy of therapy, that I am sick enough.

So I have to stop. Take a breath. Remind myself that that very thought alone – I’m not sick enough – is an ironic symbol of my inherent sickness anyway. It’s a thought distortion that has plagued me, and will probably continue to plague me for a while longer. It’s a thought distortion that I’m aiming to move away from by starting DBT. My therapeutic glimpses at DBT in the past have only been little glances of the help it can offer, but I was in such dark places at the time, it was difficult to apply them at all.

By the same token, it’s made me realise (in the same way that eating disorder treatment did) just how messed up I am. How messed up my emotions and thoughts are. How estranged I am from my experiences. How often I dissociate. How frequently I’ll avoid conversation to avoid reliving a memory. Isn’t it odd that the very act of starting DBT has made me realise just how much I need it?

I hope it gets easier.

Because right now, it makes me feel like a child. Maybe that’s what needs nurturing on the inside. I feel insulted when trying to analyse my behaviours. I feel pissed off at trying to change them, even though I know that they do need to change. I feel like crying when I have to confess that I self harmed, and no, I wasn’t able to use any skills, and no, they didn’t even cross my mind.

Trying to navigate this new therapy path is not so dissimilar to trying to navigate my own mind, so I guess eventually, I’ll just have to accept the winding turns and back-tracks and times where I get lost as bumps along the journey that I shouldn’t blame on myself.