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Professional Help

by on June 17, 2010

About 20 years ago I was psycho-analyzed by a close friend that also was a Psychology grad student at UCI.  She informed me how my key personality traits formed from childhood experiences and environmental influences.  It was eye-opening.

Fast-forward to early April 2010.

I had rage issues.  On several occasions, I get hugely angry over arguably minor stupid things.  The refrigerator door with dents the size of a fist are obvious reminders of my frustration.

The “Getting My Head Straight” part of my “back-to-a-normal-life” master plan was going unacceptably slow.  This failure was a huge blow to my pride.  I just couldn’t rekindle my entrepenuerial spirit in any measureable fashion.  I needed to clear my head and I needed professional help.  Hopefully then, my spirit would come back to life on its own.

In years past, I would simply call a friend and vent.  Unfortunately for me, most of my close friends now have careers and spouses and kids.  In good-conscience, I could not monopolize hours of their time.  I had to look outside my circle.

Early in Satomi’s illness, I was given the name of a prominent grief counselor that specialized in cancer patients and their spouses.  At the time, I strongly considered seeing her but after a bit of investigation and soul-searching, I decided against it.  The idea of speaking with a “matronly figure” just made me uncomfortable.

Now that I’ve accepted the idea of professional help, I started digging.  I had no physical symptoms so I didn’t think I needed a Psychiatrist.  I focused my search on Family Therapists, Clinical Psychologists and Social Workers.  I contacted Blue Cross Blue Shield and got the laundry list of local providers. 

Now how the hell am I suppose to pick one out of this list of 96 within a 5-mile radius?  Well let me tell you…

  1. I wanted a peer, someone similar to one of my friends that I couldn’t bring myself to bother.  I didn’t want anyone to lecture me so someone near my age.
  2. They should have kids preferably young-like mine.  Someone that could appreciate first-hand the difficulties of raising two small kids and the likelihood of having to do it alone.
  3. I wanted an asian but more specifically, I wanted a Japanese American (JA).  Someone that could easily understand the cultural influences on my thought process.
  4. Finally, I wanted a female.  Sorry that sounds bad.

After several days of searching, I found someone who fit.  I made the call to set up an appointment.

My Therapist is a JA woman in her mid-30’s.  She’s a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and married with two little kids (3 and 5 years old).  She works with the County with abused kids but sees patients a few days a week.

She could easily have come from our circle of friends.  Her parents help watch her kids and her husband is a professional.  She just signed up her oldest for basketball.

Given the small size of the JA community, I’m sure that she would know-somebody-that-knows-somebody so I won’t use her name here.  I’m also very careful about mentioning names to her.  I definitely don’t use last names.  She doesn’t either-she uses her maiden name for all her counseling work.

I’m a pretty open person so getting up to speed didn’t take long especially since I had the benefit of my psycho-analysis all those years ago.  The first 2 or 3 meetings were fairly straightforward.  We talked about all the background that is necessary to figure out how I think.

Fast-forward to today.

It’s been an interesting journey and I’ve had a few revelations.

  • Things are really that bad, the pressure is huge, and my pain and difficulty coping is justified.  I’m not imagining it nor am I being melodramatic.
  • Stress is not my defining problem-Guilt is my defining problem.  My innate guilt puts huge pressure on me and that causes my stress and frustration.
  • Much of how I think and how I live are based on expectations that I put on myself.  I call it “character” but many would call it excessive and ultimately unhealthy.

Ironically, I’m sure that many of you already knew these things about me.  I think I just needed to hear it from someone that wasn’t already in my corner.

I’m going to continue my sessions for as long as our insurance covers it.  It really helps with the pressure but more importantly, it’s allowed me time to organize my thoughts.

And the journey continues…

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2 Comments
  1. Good call, Sean. I’m constantly impressed with your ability to not only take care of Satomi and your girls, but to keep track of doctors, tests, treatments, appointments, etc., and keep us up to date. Glad you’re taking care of yourself now, too! Since you guys feel like family I can tell you that I’m very proud of you! My love to Satomi.
    Barbara

  2. Pegs permalink

    =) Yeah. We all know you…and love your crazy self. BUT if WE told you you were putting too much on yourself you wouldn’t listen anyway. So, I’m glad that she’s helping.

    But call whenever you want. I always want to talk…and it is harder with us all having families, etc…but call anyway. If we’re busy, we’ll call you back! If we’re not, cool!
    =)

    Love ya! Hugs to you and Sat!
    P

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