And I feel fine (as the song goes).
This week's session with Dr A focused mainly on the two tasks he's set for me as homework. A while back he mentioned that me getting my driver's licence would be a huge benefit, not only in practical terms but also because it would mean I had conquered a life-long fear. He's right, and it's not like I haven't already thought of that myself... but the actual physical task of going and getting my Learner's Permit (for the SIXTH time) is beyond me at the moment. However, I have promised to visit the licensing website and do the online Learner's test as practice, and also to find out the costs involved. I first got my Learner's Permit when I turned 17 (the legal driving age in Western Australia), and was also given a car by my beloved grandfather. The car, a 1972 Ford Cortina, had been his and when he died a few months later I wondered if the loss of freedom (he never got another car) had finished him off. I moved to the city a few months after my birthday, leaving the car with my parents until I eventually decided to sell it (having only had a few lessons and not really ever feeling comfortable with the idea of driving in our country town, let alone the Big City). I've had other goes at learning to drive, with varying success, but I've never booked a driving test - the idea of having to park on command, and to follow complicated instructions from the examiner, seems to negate the fact that I am actually a fairly competent driver (according to the various instructors I've had over the last 22 years).
My second piece of homework involves Mr Ex, and the fact that our 12 months' legal separation was completed this week. I downloaded the paperwork (don't you love the technological age) for the divorce but had yet to broach the subject with Mr Ex, especially as last weekend he came along to my Bowling Birthday Party and we had a great time. Not a "getting back together, happy every after" great time, but a great time nonetheless. Dr A had a bit of a go at me for the mixed messages I was sending out willy-nilly... especially to myself. I definitely DO NOT want to be married - to anyone. But that fact remains that I adore Mr Ex, for all his faithlessness and foibles (and by that I don't mean "infidelity". Blame Wandering Coyote's deep thoughts here for the use of the word "faithless" haha). Part of my worries about him, whether he thinks we'll get back together, whether he will do something self-harming. But, in the spirit of "Being In Therapy" I agreed with Dr A that the paperwork needs to be addressed. I printed it all out today and was planning to deal with it when Mr Ex came over to walk his dog. My best-laid plans were thwarted when Mr Ex texted me to say he can't come over today. At least the papers are printed and filled out, and in reality I don't need Mr Ex's permission or signature to file them. I do, however, need an amount of cash to go with said papers. Ouch.
Apart from these nagging administrative tasks, my life continues to sail along. I start my new hours tomorrow, which sees me working every second Monday along with Tues, Wed and Fri each week. On the opposing Monday I see Dr A. Which still gives me Thursdays to sleep in, vege out, blog and blog-visit and see friends. I think I will manage, it's a fine compromise, and having some extra money is always welcome. I can save up to get divorced - blah. I still haven't written to my friend H, who sent me the out-of-the-blue birthday presents. I've been thinking about it, and intend to do it, it's another one of those "when I have the energy" tasks. Being mental is exhausting lol.
One area I need to watch is the continuing urge I have to over-achieve at work. Given that work was my area of downfall prior to this most recent breakdown, I've really been keeping track of my thoughts and emotions at work - and during the week I had a weird "showing off" hypermanic episode. I still crave validation and approval constantly, and have to fight the urge to pursue it from my superiors at work. It's one thing to do my job well, but another thing to undermine other staff, over-achieve, big note myself and get breathless and giddy when I'm given praise. The best thing was, though, that I caught myself in Emotion Mind (as DBT would call it) and could step back and use Reasonable Mind to see the situation for what it was - thereby stopping the roundabout before it got going. Something that might have progressed and spun out of control, was dealt with fairly quickly. Being only low-dose medicated also helped, because I am not as numb/blunted these days I'm more aware of my changes in physiology (heightened colour/warmth, faster breathing, shaking hands, talking faster) which sometimes come along with my Emotion Disregulation episodes.