Friday, January 07, 2011

Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and my new poem

I wrote another poem a few weeks back, which I would like to share with you. I was walking around feeling completely aroused and frustrated because CY seemed to be pulling a disappearing act after our museum date and make-out session.

CY: Over before it began (December 20, 2010).

My breasts are nectar-plump ripe fruit,
My skin alert, electric.
My passions rage, thoughts don’t compute,
My mouth alive, cathectic.

My fingers tremble, reach to taste
Your shoulder, warm and firm.
Your cheek is rough against my face,
And leaves the sweetest burn.

From months of winter I awoke,
And savored fresh desire.
Yet silence is all you invoke,
No hope of love inspired.

CY subsequently reappeared, and we went to the Museum of Natural History, but there was no touching involved. Which doesn't mean it was a bad date, just rather chaste.

The next day I posted a status update that I attended a clinical social work mentoring group, which was very interesting but didn't make me want to become a psychoanalyst. CY commented, I responded, and we had a little conversation:

CY: Awesome. Was it today?
A: Yes. I just got home.
CY: What was it like? Tell me about it.
A: We talked about licensing requirements, private practice, and organizations that offer training in group therapy. There is one guy who is still a student, one woman who graduated last July, and the rest all have a lot of experience. So it's a good balance. I'm going to try to keep going, the group meets once a month.
CY: That is awesome. Good for you.
A: Thanks :) How was your evening? What did you do?
CY: I had to work late. I am not doing much just trying to go to sleep.
A: Sorry you had to work late. Hope you sleep well tonight :)
CY: Thank you. By the way, what types of things do you like to do on Saturday night?  I am starting to plan our date.
A: how about a movie?
CY: Sounds good. Can we talk before or after? I want an opportunity to converse with you.

That sounded a little formal. Talking on the phone with CY is painful because of his stammer. But I felt weird planning a date in public like that. So he called, and while discussing which movies we'd like to see... he suggested we watch a DVD at my place.

Ordinarily I would have been so there. But I don't have a DVD player. And for us to watch a movie together on my computer would be very crowded; I'd probably have to sit on his lap the whole time. It left me wondering how he wants to pace things. What he wants to happen between us. It could just be that movies in Manhattan are way overpriced and he's trying to contain costs, but coming back to my apartment to talk after the movie makes me think -- hope -- he wants to make a move.

Anyway. Last night I went for my first MBCT therapy session. It might be short-term or I might keep going. It was such a relief to be able to talk about why my behavior has been getting me in trouble, and how I need to better manage my illness so I don't call so much negative attention to myself. He also made me feel better about needing therapy even though I'm a therapist myself. "Most therapists are very open to seeking therapy, because they know it helps," he said.

At first I thought he was a little too cheery and chirpy. But he's a good listener, and comes very highly recommended. I told him I'm being transferred as of 2/2/11, and he suggested we start with a series of 4 sessions. Which might be enough or might not.

My first assignment was to eat my breakfast more mindfully. Normally when I eat alone I gulp down my food while on the computer, not paying attention to what or how I'm eating. He told me to become aware of my physical sensations, my emotions, and my thoughts. Not to judge them as right or wrong, just to be aware of them.

So this morning I microwaved some old-fashioned oatmeal, made some instant vanilla coffee, and didn't turn on the computer. I focused on the chewy rough texture of the oatmeal, the heat and mild sweetness of the coffee with milk. I noticed that my shoulders are again in knots, and my neck and back are stiff. I found myself thinking about clients who haven't come in for a while and how concerned I am about them, I haven't been able to tell them I'm being transferred, I'm worried about going back to where I started because I didn't get along with everyone there and --

This is why I like to eat in front of the computer. I don't like being alone with my thoughts. This is why I do Sudoku obsessively on the subway. Maybe mindfulness will teach me to cope without ruminating.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"


  1. If CY wants to talk, I suggest Edgar's. David and I had lots of serious conversations there. It's not too pricey and it's quiet and intimate.

    I have sensed in the past that you have mixed feelings about therapy, and have never quite understood why. Maybe it feels like you are stigmatizing yourself? A good therapist is a gift. Remember: unconditional positive regard.

    Shabbat shalom and have fun Sat. night.

  2. I don't think therapy is wrong. I just feel like I've had so much of it that I should be able to manage my life without it. Clearly that is not the case. CY and I went to Edgar's on our second date; I could suggest we go there after the movie.

  3. I feel like an idiot. I already posted the poem.