Friday, August 18, 2006

2am Answers a Question About Counseling

An anonymous poster writes:
Are you seeing a counselor on your own? I would not be surprised if a therapist advised you to be treated for depression.

Questioning one's marriage and one's future and all that stuff is tiring -- and, face it, depressing.

Currently, I am not seeing an individual counselor. I am considering that as an option, given the way the marriage counseling has turned into a session of "Put 2am on the Stand." I'm sure my insurance provider is going to love me, given that we've already had two requests for mental health coverage authorized on our plan in the last month.

I have been throught the counseling machinery several times before.

My first trip was when my wife found out about phone sex usage in the fall of 1994. I was diagnosed as a sex addict and went through about a year's worth of therapy, on a graduate student's stipend no less. The therapist was big on the cognitive stuff.

After I left graduate school, started a new job, and got caught in a relapse, I went to a new counselor. We started with sex addiction stuff, but it continued on with family of origin stuff and transactional analysis. It was at this point that I realized just how much my mother's parenting and then subsequent withdrawl screwed up my worldview. Later on, as my wife and I dealt with the conflict over having children, I had more therapy on that.

About the same time I was doing the individual therapy, I'd get dragged in on joint sessions with my wife's therapist. He was pretty even handed and pissed off my wife when he wouldn't rubberstamp her assertions. There were several sessions where she kept quiet, answering "yes" and "no" to questions on occasion.

In late 2002, two years after I moved back to my home state, I had a harrowing year. The prior year saw twelve months of trying to conceive fail because my sperm count was too low, and my wife, then 31, was in biological alarm clock hell. Over the course of the year, we went through two failed in vitro attempts and the process of an adoption home study. I also stopped initiating sex with my wife because she complained about being pressured. Throw in three months of having to house my sister-in-law and her 7 year-old son, plus a rapidly evaporating sexual climate, and I was one very unhappy puppy. My productivity plummeted, and it raised the eyebrows of my boss.

I sought some help from a counselor on my Employee Assistance Plan. After a few free sessions, he determined that it was likely that I was suffering from depression. I got referred to a therapist and a psychiatrist. I got put on the hometown pill (fluoxetine HCL, generic) and did that for about a year. Things improved some, but there were two side effects. I got a really sour stomach from the medicine, and I developed a weird sleep schedule that involved afternoon napping. During that time, I talked with the therapist about the sex drive disagreement. He didn't have much help to offer other than it was a very common problem.

About a year ago, during the latter stages of the Drought of 2004-5, I got some more EAP time to sort out my total dissatisfaction with my sex life and my job. Productivity was sinking with two kids in the house and no office for refuge. I was beginning to be more communicative to my wife that my dissatisfaction was bigger than just needing more sex. It was a global dissatisfcation with my marriage and my professional life. I stopped seeing that counselor when I changed jobs toward the end of the year.

A changeover to a job out of the house and demanding hours gave me respite for about six months. Sex reappeared, but it was still very infrequent and lacking in motivation. When the workload started to level off, I started to realize that things were still pretty bad sexually and were sliding back into the same kind of rarity as the Drought. A couple of skirmishes with the wife in June and July led me to where things are right now.
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