I went to go see my therapist today.
We had a good session, talked about the streak of full marks on my checklist (today will be day 37, incidentally), and discussed one of the books that I’m reading, The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook by Edmund J. Bourne, PhD. The exercises at the end of the second chapter had me identify factors that might be helping to maintain my particular brands of anxiety, rank them from greatest to least influential to my life, and then identify the three of those that I wanted to seriously work on over the next month. I identified avoidance of phobic situations, lack of assertiveness, and lack of meaning or sense of purpose.
The first one is easy enough: Get out in public more, since I’m more or less agoraphobic. That means trips out to coffee shops, trips to visit with friends, trips to the grocery store, pretty much anything that will get me out of the house. The lack of assertiveness is something that I’ll be working on with my wife, since a lot of times she tends to just do things, like driving, because I’ve let her for so long. The third is going to be a little more difficult.
My therapist has recommended that I find someplace to volunteer for some time now, and there’s always been something that’s prevented it – fear of the unknown, juggling schedules with one vehicle, you name it, it’s come up. Today we once again discussed my need to volunteer with an organization that does work that I believe in. I initially offered my future career as my sense of purpose, but she argued successfully that it lacks a “why” element to it, beyond “it pays the bills.” She wanted me to find something that I’m passionate about and commit to spending time with that. I offered the SCA, but while I’m passionate about it, it lacks the direction of volunteering with a nonprofit, something that is a passion of mine in its own right. So after some going back and forth, we decided that I would get in touch with the local chapter of the ACLU and donate some time to them.
Today I got so far as to find the volunteer signup webpage, but haven’t filled it out. I’ll be leaving that for tomorrow.