I recall sitting in her office. She was warm and had a lovely smile. My childhood therapist. I didn’t know her name and I had no idea why I was there but my parents took me to her every week after nursery school. I played with G.I. Joe’s small plastic figurines; they were always saving the world I pretended that it was my brother and me fighting against evil villains. I’m not sure why I was so concerned about fighting crime or danger.
That was the theme in my childhood. I was always worried that something bad but was going to happen and that’s why I struggled with intrusive thoughts and OCD. But I did not know that’s what was happening at the time. I thought I was being cautious.
I believed I was being careful I didn’t know that I had a mental illness.
From what I can tell my therapist who treated me when I was three did not know that I had OCD. Hey, that rhymes. But it’s possible that the symptoms did not come out that early. To her credit maybe I wasn’t showing signs of OCD that young. Later, I would be diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder
My dad tells me that I used to repeat myself. I used to ask the same questions over and over again. “When is mom coming home? “I repeated this question multiple times wanting genuinely to know when she was coming back. Maybe I was insecure. Perhaps the repetition helped me to feel more solid. I’m not sure why I was doing that. I’m not sure what my internal motivation as a child was, but I know that it must have soothed me.
I think about how I must’ve felt as a tiny child in that therapist office. Not knowing why I was there but understanding that there was something that I needed help with. Maybe I just thought this was a place that I went to play once a week. I was there because I had social anxiety and I didn’t know how to relate to other kids. After I completed my course of therapy I went to elementary school. I was still introverted but my therapist believed that I was capable of entering a school environment and able to relate to other children.
I question the efficacy of this person because I still struggle with social anxiety and I’m almost 40 years old. So did she do anything? I don’t know. Did she make an impact on my mental health? It is hard to tell.
Maybe I wouldn’t know the answer to this unless I never saw her at all.