I had the first counselling session yesterday with Sabina. It’s really hard telling all this stuff to a real-life person face to face for the first time. I couldn’t help but think I must have been coming across as a complete weirdo/pervert/slimeball/freak, but of course she didn’t let me feel like that – as no counsellor would. The opportunity to talk openly was amazing, and I could have gone on for hours.
We covered some background – how long I have been obsessing over bondage, gender identity, porn etc, and we also talked a lot about my current relationship with S. It made me feel pretty bad to confess my thoughts about the shortcomings in our relationship, as if to say “I don’t feel she is good enough for me,” but I know that I have never been good at putting myself first. This is something that has come out of previous CBT sessions with counsellors.
I told Sabine about an incident where I put myself in harm’s way for a sexual thrill. I’ll blog about it separately here and add a link to this post when I’ve done so, but suffice to say that is a very hard thing for me to talk about, because it makes me so angry and ashamed at myself that I did it. I was worried about telling her and hesitated for a time, eventually recounting the story towards the end of the session. I was worried what she’d think, but if I could see one emotion on her face it was sympathy, and that has made me feel good – like I can share more in these sessions.
The session itself was less structured than I thought it was going to be; more like a chat in the pub than a treatment. On the one hand this gives me the chance to talk about whatever I want to, but at the same time I would like to know how we are intending to fix these problems. Maybe I need to have faith – in the sessions and in myself – that talking things through will help find a way.
Positives and negatives
Many times Sabina stopped me from describing negative feelings towards myself and tried to get me to describe positive ones. She asked how it makes me feel when I am cross dressed, and rather than me saying how I felt very ashamed and guilty afterwards, she wanted to know what was good about the experience. How did it make me feel while I was doing it?
The answers I gave were extemporaneous, but kind of make sense now I think about them more: extraordinary, beautiful, special. I have always loathed mediocrity and ‘the average’. Perhaps the chance to feel extraordinary is what I am seeking.
Sabina also asked questions that I struggled with, and one in particular sticks in my mind: what do you like about yourself? I started by describing the things that I have done in life that I am proud of – my education, the books I’ve written and the name I’ve built for myself in my career. But that wasn’t what she was getting at.
She wanted to know what qualities I like about myself. And I really struggled with this. There are many things I don’t like about myself, but I find it more troubling that I can’t think of positive ones.
We ended the session with me asking if she was alright – if what I had said was OK? It was a disguised invitation to reassure me that everything was OK, of course, but she smiled and said that everything was fine. That I didn’t need to worry and that I can say anything in our sessions.
I left feeling tired and with a massive headache. This morning I feel like I have started something that will be difficult and at times unpleasant, but that is also necessary and will have impacting changes on my life, if I let it.