Volunteering as Tribute

Debbie1 wants me to do volunteer work and to look into joining a class or a club. She thinks that will help me establish more order in my life, become more independent, & will help me to overcome the shyness.2 I wouldn’t mind doing those things if I eased into them. Or if I was in one with someone I know. 

I know that socializing and getting out of the house more is good for mental and physical health issues. I also know that socializing is a difficult issue for someone3 who has almost perfected the art of self-isolation. I told her that I would try. It’s a non-committed level of commitment that feels safest right now. I will look into doing those things, but I’ll also keep in mind issues like transportation, anxiety, cost, etc. That’s reasonable, right? I won’t look for ways to get out of the volunteering/socializing stuff, but, if I can’t find something, I won’t give myself a hard time over not signing up. See…more reasonable behavior. 

She’s also put me on the referral list for weekly DBT group sessions. She said it may be a few weeks to a couple of months before the group gets back to a starting point. If I join it, I’m sure that my first session will involve ugly crying.4 Hopefully, DBT will help me better handle the BPD & other issues. That’s what it treats best, so that’s what I should expect. 

I like my monthly individual sessions with Debbie much better than I liked being in her anxiety group. I never was able to tell her who specifically or with a generalized description I was afraid of in the group.5 I didn’t want to take away a healing opportunity for them, nor did I want to say something that made Debbie think I was being ridiculous or judgy. 

  1. The therapist, not the relative. 

  2. I think she underestimates the severity of the shyness. 

  3. Me, duh. 

  4. I’ve always done that with group therapy sessions. The first time or two is always filled with tears. It’s kinda like my reaction to the first day of school as a kid. From second grade on, I would have crying sessions and anxiety attacks on the first day of school. 

  5. Two men. One had a restraining order from his ex & hasn’t been allowed to see or communicate with his kids in years. The other openly admitted to abusing his wife in the past. And he sounded aggressive when talking about her and her agoraphobia issues. As a person who has been abused & has agoraphobia, I didn’t feel the group was a healthy place for me anymore. If I hadn’t officially left, my attendance would have continued to be sporadic and my sessions would have involved sobbing through the whole appointment. 

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Janet Morris

I'm from Huntsville, Alabama. I've got as many college credits as a doctorate candidate, and the GPA of some of them, too. I have a boss by the name of Amy Pond. She's a dachshund. My parents both grew up in Alabama.

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