Saturday, October 11, 2008

My Brilliant Shrink: She's Shrinktastic!

I'm lucky and smart enough to be surrounded by great health-care professionals. Here's my in my most recent therapy appointment:

PG: I feel like shit. I'm anxious and depressed and I hate my third trimester, and I can't stop crying.
Therapist: When was the last time you felt excited about your pregnancy?
PG: Couldn't tell ya.
T: Well, let's do an exercise.
PG: [eyeroll]
T: I know, and you don't have to really mean it. You can just fake it, I don't care.
PG: Fine.
T: Tell me what a typical day will be like after your baby comes.
PG: I don't friggin know!
T: Well, imagine it.
PG: I'll probably be up at friggin five a.m.!
T: So let's not start at five a.m. What might you be doing at two in the afternoon?
PG: I don't friggin know!

It goes on like this for a while. Finally, FINALLY, my patience-of-a-saint therapist gets me chatting about how I'd been to Target to look at nursery accoutrements. I brightened slightly as I talked about how I didn't want to surrender to the Power of Pink, but that this one brown-and-pink pattern from Dwell was so pretty... it was such a tiny, tiny, and let's face it, inconsequential thing, but as T reacted with what I knew was manufactured, overzealous delight designed to encourage me -- I felt, for all the world, slightly encouraged.

It's like that rule I used to write about in women's magazines: If you don't feel like smiling, smile anyway -- because that action of the muscles releases a small amount of endorphins, and a faux smile can become real.

I'm not saying this was a cure-all. Within a day or so, I was back to feeling so blighted, I was weeping in my anxious husband's lap while Tina Fey pulled out all her Palin-tricks to cheer me up (well, not just me, but by all rights I should have been laughing at the TV, not sobbing helplessly). But the simple act of sticking my head up out of my groundhog hole of third-trimester blue period did save me, for a little while. I'll try a little positive thinking along with my kegels.

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