I had my first visit with the counselor today.
I thought it went well. I do feel like I rambled a bit, got off track several times, but on the whole I think I got a lot of information out in the open that will help her to help me.
We started out by going over some of the “why are you here” questions. Bits and pieces of my story came out. She went through a battery of questions…”are you depressed”, “how are you sleeping”, “any history of mental illness in your family”, that sort of thing. Then we got into my biography. I know I jumped around a bit, but we went through my childhood and then into my shaky teenage years, then on to my marriage and moving around a lot and finally getting to where I am now. I feel bad because I really painted myself as a better person than I really am. One thing she asked me was what vices I had…that made me think. I have vices. Maybe I’m not a drunk, or hooked on drugs, or anything like that. But I have vices. I need to remember that for my next visit.
We talked a lot about where I was versus where I am now. We talked about my big decision, whether or not I should try to get back with the Ex. I mean, up until this point, I haven’t taken that option off the table. We talked about what has changed since the separation. I have changed a lot. The Ex has hardly changed at all. The counselor put it bluntly; going back to the Ex now would be the definition of insanity – doing the same things and expecting different results. If the Ex was unfaithful before and during our marriage, what would be different now? Wouldn’t I be setting myself up to be hurt all over again? I brought up my concerns about kiddo. I have been having a lot of doubts lately about whether I’m being a good dad or not. I wonder if, by getting back together with the Ex, I would at least be putting our family back together. That has to count for something, right? The counselor warned against it. She said it would be worse for kiddo to be put back into that old situation than to keep the family broken apart but at least providing some consistency the way I can now. We talked about my need to take care of myself. I have always looked at taking care of myself as selfish, but the counselor said that it’s like being on an airplane. When the oxygen masks drop, you put yours on first. Then you take care of your kid. You can’t help your kid if you are passed out. I guess the point she was making was that if I don’t take care of myself, I won’t be able to take care of kiddo. I get that, but it still feels selfish.
The hour went quickly. We set up another appointment for two weeks from now. I told her that between now and then I would read back through my blog posts (which she thought was a great idea, by the way) and pick out some specific examples of times when I have been anxious. Maybe some times when I have struggled. We will talk about them and work through my confusion and anxiety and hopefully…just maybe…I can get some direction and create some goals and really get ahead. Something else I want to talk to her about is how I feel guilty for being happy. Especially when I’m around the Ex. I feel like it would be rude of me to be happy around her since she is always so sad and lonely. But I think that goes back to her earlier point, that I need to take care of myself, I shouldn’t have to hide my happiness. I’m doing well. I’m surviving. I’m better off than I was last year. I have savings. I have a great job. I have a roof over my head. My rent is paid on time every month and I’m healthier and I’m not perfect but I’m getting better and that has to count for something.