Blogmas Day 5: New Therapist and Family Bonding

Today was one of the best days I’ve had this break!

The morning didn’t start out too well, though. I wasn’t able to get out of bed until 11:30 a.m. The good news is, at least I got nearly 12 hours of sleep!

Upon waking up, I opened the curtains and did my usual morning routine of brushing my teeth, cleansing my face, applying moisturizer, etc. I cleaned my room so that my clothes were no longer piled at the foot of the bed. By the time I reached downstairs, it was lunch time, so I had a brunch of cereal, boiled tea egg, my mom’s famous smoothie, an egg roll and some Shang Hai style stir-fried green beans.

After brunch, I headed back to my brightly lit room and watched a 25-minute episode of “Fuller House” (that show gives me the feels…) while awaiting my phone call appointment with my therapist of the past two and a half years. I made a list of all the things I wanted to discuss with her, including:

  • the depression that started at the commencement of winter break
  • my questioning of pre-med
  • my despondency towards dancing

At 1:30 p.m., my therapist called. We hadn’t spoken since week 3 of fall quarter, so about two months ago. Basically, I spilled out everything I needed to get off my chest and asked her how I could get out of the depressive rut I’m currently in. She suggested that I force myself to leave the house by planning at least one activity each day that involved spending time with friends or family. She urged me to continue dancing, even if not as a profession. She told me to treat dancing as exercise, social engagement and a fun outlet. I don’t need to turn everything I do into a competition, with an end goal in mind. Even 45 minutes of dancing is better than none at all.

My therapist has faith that I will be able to get back on my feet, as I’ve always taken to heart the behavioral suggestions she’s given me. I also found out that my therapist is currently pregnant with a baby boy and will be gone for maternity leave starting in February! She thought it best, then, to transfer me to a new therapist, in case I needed help again down the line. Also, since I’m 18 years old, I’ve technically “graduated” from child psychiatry and am eligible for adult psychiatric services. So my therapist found me a new lady, whom I will be meeting tomorrow for the first time.

I cried over the phone when I found out that I’d no longer be seeing my current therapist, who’s helped me for nearly three years. I came to her July of 2014, when I was about to start my junior year of high school. I was a very grief-stricken, bitter, closed-up and socially inept girl suffering from depression and anxiety. Through weekly one-on-one cognitive behavioral therapy sessions with my therapist, as well as an intensive outpatient group therapy for teens and their parents (I’m so grateful for my mom and dad, who never missed a single meeting), I slowly recovered. If it weren’t for my therapist, no way would I have the courage to tackle my social anxiety by facing head-on the situations that scared me most. She gave me the tools and the emotional support to fight my anxiety, even when things seemed hopeless. She helped me see my many distortions and crawl out of an extreme, unhealthy way of living. She’s the reason why I’m able to enjoy my life more today. She saved me.

I really do miss my therapist, because over the years, we’ve developed the most intimate relationship. She knows my greatest fears, struggles, thought patterns and behavioral habits. I’ve entrusted in her things I dare not divulge to even my parents. However, I’m glad I will still be able to keep in touch with her via email. Even though my case will be handed over to a new therapist, I will keep her posted on my progress, and hopefully, eventual conquering, of my mental health problems.

After the phone call was over, my dad took me to Best Buy to buy a new laptop, because on Friday 12/9, I stupidly left my MacBook Air on the plane that took us home from UCLA. I know, I know. Very absent-minded and inexcusable. I called and emailed Virgin America several times inquiring about my laptop, but to no avail. My laptop is gone. We all make mistakes though (and this one was quite an expensive mistake), but the key is to LEARN from them. Next time, I will TRIPLE check that I have all my belongings before exiting the plane.

We went to Best Buy and got the laptop, as well as a pink case. The total amounted to $956.77, which I plan on paying back to my dad (when I get a job this summer, of course).

At 3:45 p.m., Austin, Chris, my dad and I headed to the movie theaters to watch Dr. Strange. It was originally supposed to be an ENTIRE family activity, but since my mom had to monitor Ken, the handyman installing a new stove-top in our kitchen, she had to opt out this time.

The sci-fi/fantasy movie was pretty epic. It’s about this brilliant but insanely arrogant and self-centered neurosurgeon, Dr. Stephen Strange, who, after suffering a (self-induced) freakish car accident that ruined his hands, was forced to retire from his profession. He struggled to find meaning in life after the career that constituted his identity was taken from him. By word of mouth, he discovered this spiritual place in Nepal that is known to heal “broken” individuals. While he thought the “Sorcerer Supreme” would heal his hands so he could go back to his former way of life, he was in for a LOT more than what he’d originally bargained for. Watch the movie to find out more about Dr. Strange’s fate!

As we exited the theater and braved the bitter cold walk towards the car, I asked my dad if neurosurgeons were usually arrogant. My dad, who’s met quite a few at the hospital, said that most were indeed quite full of themselves. “Probably because they make so much money,” he deduced.

From the theaters, we swung by our house to pick up my mom and grandmother, who’d be joining us for a buffet dinner in Daly City. We were all pretty hungry by the time we arrived at Moonstar Buffet (we purposely didn’t buy popcorn or other overpriced movie snacks to save our appetites), but thankfully, there was no wait time, and we could dive straight into the Asian cuisine!

For the first time in a while, I was in good spirits throughout dinner. Austin and I joked about my dad’s pronunciation of “newbie” (he pronounced the “bie” like he was saying “pie”). The three of us also played a game where we stared at my mom with poker faces as she was eating and observed how long it would take for her to notice. It was really difficult trying to keep a straight face! I could tell my mother was very pleased that my spirits were up. My happiness is her happiness. If I’m hurting, she’s breaking inside.

As for the food, I indulged in:

  • ramen soup noodles with wontons and seaweed strips
  • sweet and sour pork
  • a variety of greens, including steamed bok-choy, string beans, and stir-fried broccoli
  • corn on the cob
  • giant clam over transparent rice noodles (not sure what these noodles are actually named)
  • pan-fried flat rice noodles

I was able to exercise some self-restraint by staying away from the buffet’s ice cream bar. For dessert, I had a single almond cookie. Nothing earth-shattering. My sweet tooth was surprisingly mellow tonight!

On the car ride home, I attempted to sing Sia’s Titanium, to my brothers’ horror. I’m thinking of auditioning for UCLA Hooligan Theater’s production of Footloose this coming quarter, so I gotta get those chops ready! Austin and I shared several laughs about the movie. Chris fell asleep mid-car ride, and I was pretty wiped-out myself by the time we got home.

Now it’s 11:21 p.m., and I’m typing away this blog post!

I’m looking forward to tomorrow. At 1:00 p.m. I’ll be meeting my new therapist. At 2:30 p.m., my brother Chris and I will be going to our friend Noa’s home to bake blueberry scones! In the evening, I’ll will meet my friend at the gym for a workout. I’ll be out of the house, fighting my demons by building relationships. Honestly, life doesn’t get much better than that. Sharing simple pleasures and making memories with people you love. As I’m learning to live in the moment and stop obsessing about “achieving success” in life, I’m also realizing that the beauty of life lies in the NOW. You don’t need to have loads of money or a prestigious career to ultimately be happy.

Thanks for reading today’s Blogmas, and I’ll see you all tomorrow!

3 Gratitudes:

  • my therapist
  • good food
  • my family




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