Friday, February 25, 2011
My First day of Counseling
If you are a regular reader of my blog, you may remember that I played the message that a counselor left on my voice mail. In it, the counselor asked me to call him back if I was still interested in counseling. At the time I left his clinic a message, I was not in a good mental state. The message was very late but I guess when you go to the free or "affordable" clinics, you get what you pay for. Beggars can't be choosers.
I decided to get counseling because I have struggled with depression all my life. At first I just thought that I was different and I never really felt like I belonged, especially in social settings. I'm a little bit better now but In my early twenties I can recall showing up to social settings and feeling ackward. Many times I just sat in a corner and people watched.
I have had problems with insomnia as well. For many years I have felt the typical symptoms of depression; the isolation, anxiety, and feelings of despair. I have had every dark thought imaginable.
I applied and got accepted to Chapman Law School. Acually I got accepted to every law school that I applied for including Pepperdine, Whittier, and Chapman. My first year I was overwhelmed. I was taking five classes and the reading was immense. During this time I had several traumatic incidents that shook me up. I broke up with my girlfriend at the time, I was a full time law student, and my father passed away.
I was put on academic probation and was ultimately dismissed because of grades. I rarely tell people that I attended law school because I never finished. When I did attend, I noticed that I had difficulty focusing epecially during exams. My anxiety prevented me from focusing and so I sought counseling after I was dismissed and I was diagnosed as bipolar depressive. I was given medication namely Paxil which I took for several years.
The medication did help me to sleep but my depression seemed to worsen. I finally got off the meds and have been med-free. But I take natural supplements and I seem to be o.k. However, I never sought counseling.
Having been unemployed recently increased my depression and I was starting to lose hope until I got work but I have always had this nagging suspicion that my depression has taken alot from my life. Too often, I am ambivalent and I just felt that talking to a professional may help improve my life.
THE FIRST DAY OF COUNSELING
I show up to the center and it is in a residential area. The building looks like an old house and because it was dark when I arrived at 7:00PM, it was kinda creepy.
"You need to sign a few forms and it's $10 for the intake meeting," the recptionist tells me.
"Can I have a key to use the restroom?"
"Sure let me buzz you in"
I return and I wait in the waiting area when a little Mexican dude opens the door smiles and says, "Israel Carrasco follow me."
I walk down a small hall and I enter a little room in the back. I see a couch and a chair. I yell, "Sigmund Freud!" The counselor giggles.
I'm asked to sign all these disclaimers. I read and sign privacy forms, confidentiality forms, and am told that our conversation is confidential unless he feels I'm a threat to myself, I intend to hurt some one, Or I'm abusing a child or elderly person. I sign away.
"So why counseling Israel. Why are you here?"
I explain to the counselor that I think counseling could help me and I also explain my history with depression and while I'm explaining my story to him, I get fixated on the fact that he is tiny and has a big head. Those two things are my obsessions: Tiny people and Big heads. He had both! I had to look down.
I talked and talked and I mentioned some of my interests including poker,chess, comedy, and blogging.
"The time is up Israel. I will see you here next week", the counselor tells me.
My next appointment is Thursday at 7:00PM. I have no idea what to expect but it seems like counseling is just listening to myself speak. I could have saved $10.