How My Day Turned Around

Today’s therapy session had been an important one. Well, I say that every time I leave therapy… Of course, all of my sessions are important in their own unique way but the last time I was there on Monday, I had been avoiding some topics with S. I had spent 20 minutes talking about something very superficial.

I admitted that to him today. And today, I told him that last session had triggered a landslide of emotions and thoughts as I left his office. We talked more about that. I will hash this out in another post. The post I want to write right now though, is a different one.

It’s about how S had actually given me a tangible homework to do. We were dealing with the issue of indecision that I have been struggling with for a while now. I am paralyzed by fear when faced with decisions, especially decisions that could affect a great outcome.

So due to that fear and anxiety, I tend to live life very conservatively. I eat things I know will taste good and have liked previously, I go to places I know, I wear clothes I know will be comfortable, etc. I don’t take many risks – and that one time I walked around downtown without knowing where I was going? That was very uncharacteristic of me. When faced with a day without a plan, I’m crippled by anxiety and I waste time in indecision.

So today, after I left CAPS, I was able to not feel the depressive aimlessness that I’ve been feeling lately. I was able to walk out of CAPS and head somewhere, because S had told me what I needed to do. He gave me homework and I needed to do it.

His homework was to expose myself to a situation where I would be faced with a myriad of choices and to allow myself to fully feel the panic and anxiety as I am overwhelmed by the choices. Then, I would have to tell myself, “Okay, I’m going to take all this in and I’m going to make a decision”. He didn’t say whether I need to be happy with that decision or not – maybe he did and my ADHD brain wasn’t listening – but I assumed that I would have to be satisfied with that decision.

S told me to start with something small – maybe go to a Chinese restaurant where they have a hundred different things on the menu (We both laughed at this as I said, ‘Why do they do that???’) or to go to a food court that has many selections of cuisines. OK, lunch. Sounds like a doable venture, I told him.

So off I went. I had a tutoring session scheduled for 1pm and my session ended at 11am. I had 2 hours to do what I needed to do.

I spent about 40 minutes meandering almost aimlessly because I couldn’t decide where to eat.

Here are the things I posted on Facebook as I meandered:

PostTherapy01
First post after therapy. As per usual, names have been erased to only leave initials.

Then, about 10 minutes later when I arrived at the area where there were many restaurants, I posted this:

PostTherapy02
Indecision… Indecision…

Then when I finally made a choice, I walked out of the restaurant and went into another… And another…

PostTherapy03
Sigh…

I did kinda panic. I decided to go to Starbucks to get an Iced Green Tea Latte to calm down. The caffeine and L-theanine amino acid in the matcha green tea always helps calm me down. I went in to Starbucks and had the best service I’ve ever gotten anywhere. Then a woman who was waiting on her tea asked for agave nectar from the staff. This was the resulting conversation:

Lady: Can I have a few packets of agave nectar please? I don’t have it on my desk and I am drinking tea all day… (She sounded apologetic)

Jules: Oh, drinking tea is not a bad thing. (I was trying to make her feel less bad about her habit) I drink tea all the time. Do you do chai?

Lady: No, I do green tea. I’m trying to be good anyway…

Jules: Oh! Me too! My go to is green tea…. In fact, there’s my drink now (as the barista handed me the Iced Green Tea Latte).

Lady: Oh, what is that drink?

Jules: It’s actually an Iced Green Tea Latte. It’s made with matcha, which is a great substitute for coffee. It has the caffeine content of coffee but because it also contains L-theanine, an amino acid, it causes the caffeine to be released slowly throughout the day.

Andy, the barista: Oh my goodness Jules, you’re hired! The drink is also good for not causing a crash the way coffee does. I drink twice the amount of this stuff than she does!

Lady: Is it sweetened?

Jules: No, Starbucks recently cut out the sweetener in this drink.

Andy, the barista: Yeah… We did. But we could always just make it with hot water, mix it with just regular water or even make it into a frappucino.

Lady: Oh wow, that’s amazing! I’m going to have to try that next time. I am definitely going to need something like that where I don’t get a crash later in the afternoon. I’m always having to drink tea throughout the day to keep my energy up!

Jules: Yeah, this drink always helps me out and I’m feeling clam throughout the day.

With that, we bade each other a good day and I decided after my sip of green tea that I would have lunch at Jimmy John’s. I went with Jimmy John’s because I knew that despite the myriad of choices they have on their menu, that I really like their #9 with Hot Peppers. When I went in, I was greeted cheerfully by the staff and I felt warmed. I had a good lunch and contacted my person, SH, as per usual just to feel a little connection. I was starting to feel good. So I decided to go back to Starbucks after my meal.

Andy: Hey, you’re back! What are you trying this time?

Jules: Oh, I just wanted to get two more of my drink. I’m going to surprise a couple of people.

Another barista that rang me up which I forgot the name of, oops: Wow! That’s so nice!

Jules: Yeah, I just wanted to spread some cheer… I just hope they like my drink choice for them. I don’t think one of them has had it before.

Another barista: Well, they should! If they don’t, well then… Shame on them because you’re doing something so nice for them!

Andy: And it’s a great drink. They should like it!

I paid for the drinks and left feeling even better than I did when I walked in. This was the best Starbucks experience I’ve ever had.

Then I walked all the way back to CAPS. It took 10 whole minutes in the hot sun. Thankfully, the ice didn’t melt too badly.

Gift
Paying it forward.

I saw D, the receptionist, and she was on the phone. So I waited. When she was off, she asked me what was up.

I gave her the cup of tea that had her name on it. “Here you go, D”

“Wait… That’s for me??” She exclaimed, “Oh my God!! That is amazing!! Thank you so so much!! I love it! I can’t believe you got me a green tea latte!”

I didn’t expect her burst of joy. She was infectiously happy.

“I love this drink! Thank you so much! You’ve just made my day!” She continued to gush.

I couldn’t help but smile widely. It felt so good. I made someone’s day. It was a $4 drink that anyone could’ve bought but by doing so, I was able to make someone’s day.

“Um… Is S in? I bought him one too…” I asked.

“Oh let me check!” D said excitedly. “Oh… He’s with a client right now. Would you like me to give it to him when he’s done?”

“Oh yes please! He’s never had it before so I hope that he likes it!” I said.

At the same time, C, the office manager, walked in. D showed her the cup of tea that I had bought her and excitedly told C what I’d done for her. I almost turned bright red at that moment. I like doing nice things for people, I like being validated for it but I also don’t always enjoy the attention I get from it. Yes, I’m a conflicted individual.

Then as I was leaving, D beckoned me back. “Come on Jules, cheers!”

“Oh! Cheers!”

So we toasted each other and touched our cups together. And I smiled again. I couldn’t help but feel so uplifted, especially by the way D reacted.

So that was my day so far. It went from a challenging therapy session with S because I had to admit that I was avoiding processing my feelings on Monday, to being quite a good one where I had many moments of connection with people.

Maybe these are the moments that will keep me alive until I can desire it for myself. I sure feel less suicidal and a little bit more energetic than usual.

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2 thoughts on “How My Day Turned Around

  1. That’s so great; I love this story of your day. You know, there is research showing that doing nice things for other people improves your mood. But it is extra fun if the recipient is as pleased as D was.

    About the decision-making: my son and I read this article about different types of decision makers. There are “satisficers” and “maximizers.” A satisficer can make a decision faster because all s/he really needs is something that is good enough. So when I go to a restaurant, I can order quickly because I scan the menu, and usually just order the first thing that sounds appealing. I stop reading the menu and just go with that, because I know it will be good enough to satisfy me. My husband, however… he’s a maximizer and it takes him FOREVER to order at a restaurant. He always wants to make sure he orders the best thing out of all the options, so he has to read them all and think about it and consider which will bring him the maximum satisfaction. Because we know this about him, if we have any time limits at all, he now just lets me order for him so it won’t take too long.

    Anyway, people can be satisficers in some aspects of their lives and maximizers in others. And there are good things about both ways of being. Satisficers are more efficient, but more likely to make a poor choice based on less information, so they have to take that chance. Maximizers make more informed choices but may spend a long time getting there and sometimes experience more worry as they make the choice.

    You can also gradually change over time. When I became a boss and had to make more decisions more often, I became increasingly comfortable with trusting my instincts and going with the first reasonable-seeming option. So I think it make me into more of a satisficer.

    Just thought I’d share that with you. Once we learned that in my family, we all understood more about each other and why it took some of us longer than others to get some kinds of things done and therefore less judgmental. 🙂

    Like

    1. Thanks Q! I wish I could’ve taken a video of her reaction. It was so amazing to watch. It really lifted me up and made my heart swell. She’s such an amazing lady and I’ve told S before how many times she’s impacted my life just by talking to me while checking me in. S told me that he thinks that D genuinely enjoys seeing me and that *I* have an impact on people positively. But anyway, yeah, doing nice things for others really helped me. I hope to be able to do more nice things like this!

      And thanks for telling me about the satisficer and maximizer bit. It definitely makes perfect sense! I think in this case, I must be a maximizer since I take a very long time to decide things…

      Like

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