I Tried a Therapy and I Liked It

I’ve heard this idea that therapy is for everyone. That no matter how neurotypical (NT) you think you are, no matter how well things seem to be going in your life, that everyone can benefit from therapy.

(I know that this isn’t true – absolutes are for chumps.)

I’ve often wondered what therapy would be like. I didn’t have any “goals” for therapy, so would it do anything for me? Everyone has some background level of stress, but I seemed to have things mostly under control. I’ve never really wanted to set up appointments, travel, sit down in front of a therapist, try to discover if I’ll like them (and if I don’t, to have to start over again), and I didn’t want to pay big bucks to try out what seemed to be unessential extravagance. After all, a solid community of family and friends who are good listeners, therapy happy hour and therapy pedicures had gotten me this far in life.

But not too long ago I sought out therapy. I had come to realize that my neurotypical, mostly optimistic self had been dealing with a huge, specific stressor, and therapy started to feel less like an extravagance and more of a potential tool for dealing with it. I felt a little sheepish because the stressor was that I had started to deeply dislike my job. It seemed silly to me – lots of people don’t like their jobs. Surely I could find a way to cope? But it was really affecting me. I’ve always needed to enjoy my work. If I have to survive by spending the best hours of my life each week working, I need that work to be something that engages me. And it wasn’t.

Without going into specifics for why I had fallen out of love with my job, I’ll say what it was that caused me to reach out for therapy: I was coming home feeling desolate more nights than not. I lost track of how many times I cried in work bathroom stalls. It became difficult to fall asleep. I started stress cooking – not eating, just cooking. I would come home late on a work night and prepare highly complicated meals that took 1-2 hours to prepare. I find comfort in cooking, so I guess my stressed out self found refuge there.

I loved my employer but had lost my joy and confidence in my ability to perform well in my role. I didn’t want to quit, but I was making myself ill because I couldn’t seem to influence any lasting change in my situation. I spoke openly with HR and my director about my disengagement (I truly love my employer for being able to feel safe to do that) and we planned and brainstormed ideas for how to go forward. But things move slowly in large corporations and I was still dealing with anxiety, sleeplessness, and vacillating between numbness and Very Big Emotions.

I decided to try a therapy app to hash out some of the brain jerkiness. It seemed like an easy, less expensive, low commitment way to dip my toe into talk therapy. The idea of not having to travel to a brick and mortar location was very attractive. As was the idea of being able to type out my thoughts. It probably doesn’t come as a shock that a personal blogger like myself processes through writing. I also liked the idea that when I had Very Big Emotions while doing some of this processing, I wouldn’t have an audience. I wouldn’t have to be anxious that I was being performative, or that my nonverbal body language or facial expressions were being analyzed. To an extent, I could choose what I wanted to reveal. That made me feel safer than the intimacy of in-person therapy sessions.

I chose a therapist based on her write up – she appeared to value patience, self-kindness, resilience, and not having to carry our burdens alone. These seemed like very attractive things in the state of mind that I was in. She didn’t have any woo dog whistles or anything that might indicate that she was going to tie physical health to mental health (I rejected a few candidates who focused heavily of the body-mind connections. I’m fat and I don’t think yoga is going to solve all of my problems, so maybe let’s start somewhere else). Oh, and most importantly, she has experience dealing with workplace stress and has spent time in the corporate world. Ya know…the little things.

I got super lucky and like her fairly well. I started writing to her once every day or two, and she has always responded within 12-24 hours. I dumped a bolus of information about my situation on her, and one-by-one we started picking through the individual stressors. As we began to resolve those we found some patterns of behaviors and reactions that have popped up in other places in my life, and sometimes we spend some time examining those. I’m into my second month of chatting with her and it’s overall been a very helpful experience.

One immediate benefit of this therapy was that I was able to stop vomiting my emotions all over my close friends and family. That took a lot of guilt off my shoulders and now I can hang out and talk about things other than me and my troubles. My husband doesn’t have to shoulder the weight of a despondent, self-absorbed partner five days a week. He’s also not eating quite as well, but he thinks that’s a fair trade-off.

Having a therapist who I feel hears me and recognizes and validates my stress and emotions has been profoundly healing. It’s probably an appeal to authority, but when my friends say “you’re being very hard on yourself” it doesn’t have quite the same as effect on me as an unbiased professional saying “you’re being very hard on yourself.”

I’m also more focused on recognizing and sorting through my emotions in the moment. One of the benefits of the therapy app is that I can sit down in the moment and let all of the Very Big Emotions out in writing. I don’t have to save all of my thoughts up between physical sessions. Even if it’s mid-work day, I have a job where I can take a few minutes to write, feel better and then get back to work. I know that what I’ve written will be heard and responded to. I don’t feel alone with the stress.

On the whole, talk therapy via a therapy app has been really good for me – a fairly neurotypical person who decided to stop taking her mental health for granted and dedicate some time to examining and improving it.

I’d be interested to hear from people who have tried both remote therapy and face-to-face therapy. What were the pros and cons for you? Do you prefer one over the other?

I Tried a Therapy and I Liked It

Wow – it’s been a while

So yeah…the bunnies are a tad bigger now.

First I was busy doing other things, then Mom moved to Minneapolis, then the elections, and a new position at work, now Nazis.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I’ve been getting my writing and sharing itch scratched by doing updates and conversations on Facebook. I’ve done a small amount of short story writing, but not as much as I’d like.

As an aside – I think it’s fun that I’m writing on my SJW blog again at the exact same time as the red pill scene from the Matrix is playing in the background. As another aside…jeepers Reaves is a bland actor. I made the mistake of watching that Netflix movie about the girl going through a stay-away program for people living with eating disorders, and he was pretty much Neo in that, too. He’s always Neo, even before Neo was a character.

Let’s see…what else…I decided to be kind to myself and not worry too much about what I’m writing so this is going to be disjointed. Just is. I forgot all of the blogging tricks. I wonder if I can remember how to post a photo…

two cats sleeping on a cat bed - a tabby cat is curled around and hugging a smaller tortoise shell patterned cat.

Ehhh…seems to do the trick. Oh yeah, I got two cats. This is Ori and Dori. They’re sweet but shy reformed ferals – brother and sister. Dori, the little tortoise-shell, still won’t let me pet her (it’s been three months), although she’ll sometime stay put if I slowly approach her with a treat extended. I’m worried about what will happen if she gets sick and I have to take her to the vet :/ Ori has turned into my little cuddlemeister for brief periods.  You can see that he’s all about the cuddles.

I’ve stepped down from the atheist radio show that I was doing. It got to be more work than fun, and when that happens to a volunteer position, that’s the beginning of the end. The show, Atheists Talk, is still going strong, which makes me happy. After a brief hiatus from that, I joined up with two friends to start a podcast called Super Serious Social Justice. We dawdled with setting it up for about a year, and finally got our first episode out at the end of this past May. We’re releasing episodes every other Wednesday, and on iTunes – which is a trip for all of us because we’ve never started a podcast before! We’re still pretty rough – if you’re an audiophile you might want to just skip over the first couple of episodes – but we’re having a blast. We find ourselves very funny.

icon in shades of purple that reads sssj. The j is a microphone with a curly cable
More later…I think tomorrow I’ll write about the Charlottesville vigil that I attended on Sunday night here in Minneapolis.


Wow – it’s been a while

Officer Hops and Becky

This weekend was spent preparing to bring two new bunnies home! My friend’s French Angora gave birth to 10 healthy babies two months ago, and now – eight weeks old – they’re ready to be weaned and brought home!

A man, looking at the camera with a small smile, sits with a small white bunny on his lap and a small brown bunny cuddled on his arm

The Hubby sits with two-week old Officer Hops and Becky with the Good Hair

A couple of weeks ago we began looking for hutches. We found a large hutch for sale on craigslist for $25. It had previously been used as a chicken coop and needed some work – stabilizing the legs, replacing the wood floorboards with 16g wire mesh, cleaning the heck out of it. Continue reading “Officer Hops and Becky”

Officer Hops and Becky

CONvergence is Upon Us!

Tuesday after work marked my beginning of CONvergence 2016. Tuesday night I learned more about Cinema Rex couches than I ever thought I would know. Carpet powder, vacuuming, quality inspection, layout, the history of couch acquisition. Daymn, Cinema Rex has their shit together.

On Wednesday I had an opportunity to volunteer for three other groups that I’ve never worked with: Logistics (hauling heavy stuff), Connie’s Quantum Sandbox (helping organize the kids activity room. ALL the arts and crafts), and Programming (panel room layouts, floor taping). It was a solid day that started at 9:15am and ended around 5:30pm. Afterwards, dinner in the hotel bar with, and then back home to pack up clothes, costumes, board games and bourbon.

I’m participating in eight panels this year (lolsob).

*Balloon Hovercraft Activity
*Scotch and Cigars

*Oddities of Animal Transport
*Our Favorite Board Games

*Road Tripping the Light Fantastic
*Face Value: The Truth is Trickier Than You Thought
*Space Plague and Goblin Pox


The full schedule with panel descriptions can be found here.

It’s worth noting that my Friday, Saturday and Sunday panels are all 9:30am panels, which is the “early” panel. I also managed to draw a 11:30pm Saturday night panel, which is the latest panel one can have. That there’s some timing magic. I like my Thursday lineup. I think I should invite the kids from the Balloon Hovercraft Activity to the Scotch and Cigars panel. I joke, but that’s one of the things that I love about CONvergence – there’s something for everyone and for kids of all ages.

I’ll also be hanging around in the Skepchick Party Room and volunteering around con all weekend. If you’re going to be there, I hope you have a wonderful time! I look forward to seeing all of you nerds.

CONvergence is Upon Us!

New Computer is New and Powderhorn365

Eeeeee! New laptop acquired!

It’s pretty, too.

I went with an ASUS Q553 PC Notebook this time around. I’m managing my way around Windows 10 (a moment of silence for Photo Gallery and I’ve yet to figure out how to resize photos within W10. Hello Paint, my old friend). I’ve managed to sign into the most popular of all of my websites. I’ve adequately convinced both Origin and Steam that I actually own the games that I’d purchased on my other computer AND I’ve been able to open them and confirm that all of my saves carried over.

And here’s my latest submission to Powderhorn365. It’s not up on the website yet, so you get the sneak peak of the newest photo in this year’s record!

Rainy Day Walk in the Park

Two people walking across the grass down a slight slope, their pink umbrella a contrast against the lush green trees behind them.

These two shared an umbrella for a drizzly stroll through Powderhorn Park on Saturday.

New Computer is New and Powderhorn365

Frivolous Fridays: Mobile Gaming

Frivolous Fridays are the Orbit bloggers’ excuse to post about fun things we care a lot about that may not necessarily have serious implications for politics or social justice. Although any day is a good day to write about our passions outside of social issues, we sometimes have a hard time giving ourselves permission to do that. This is our way of encouraging each other to take a break from serious topics and have some fun.

I am lurving the mobile gaming these days.

I dabble in some PC and console gaming, but I really hit my stride with easy to transport world-building games, collecting games and daily challenges – games that I can carry with me, and check in on periodically…say…over my morning coffee, in line at the post office or over lunch at work.

Continue reading “Frivolous Fridays: Mobile Gaming”

Frivolous Fridays: Mobile Gaming

Grandma’s Passing: A Humanist Funeral

Back at the beginning of April my Grandma De died. It was expected; she was ill and had achieved a respectable 83 years of life. I had actually spent a week down in Southern Illinois with her and my family two weeks prior because everyone, including her, knew that she was…

cue five minutes of typing and deleting and typing not trying to write poetry or be trite or robotic or grotesquely blunt and finally settling on

…dying. She was dying. And on April 3, 2016 she died at home in her sleep with my aunt by her side and her dog, Buddy, sleeping at her feet.

Continue reading “Grandma’s Passing: A Humanist Funeral”

Grandma’s Passing: A Humanist Funeral

Calling Bull on Service Trips

I read an article last week that made me really uncomfortable. Because, dang it, I fall right into the population that the article is calling out.

In her December 2015 article 7 Reasons Why Your Two Week Trip To Haiti Doesn’t Matter: Calling Bull on “Service Trips”, Michelle Lynn Stayton points out that “helping” isn’t synonymous with long-term solutions to the problems that local populaces are facing. And that wanting to help isn’t the same as actually helping. And that spending a buttload of money to travel to somewhere new and exciting under the guise of “service” is a load of self-aggrandizing hooey.

Continue reading “Calling Bull on Service Trips”

Calling Bull on Service Trips