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Therapy advice? Edited with an update!

A lot of you gals are seeing therapists and psychologists, right? Can you please give me advice on how to proceed?

I started seeing a therapist in October because I was violently mugged in July. I buried the trauma away because it happened two weeks before I took the Bar exam, and I didn't have time or emotional resources to deal with it. Not surprisingly, it started coming out in weird ways, like me not being able to sleep, especially when Manlover was not home with me, nightmares, and worrying about people breaking into my home all the time. I had a panic attack where I thought someone was breaking into my apartment through the basement (something my neighbors told me happened to the last people who lived here), and I ran out of my apartment and locked myself out.


So, I found a therapist who deals with trauma. The sessions have been painful, really emotionally draining. I just cry and cry and cry, and I feel miserable all that night and the next day. I have to go in the evening because there is literally no way I could go to work or volunteer afterwards. It's just a lost evening. At first I was OK with this, because it makes sense that I'd have to work through a lot of awful stuff to get better. Now, though, I just don't know. Because of holidays and snow, I've had three weeks of no therapy, and it's been...kind of nice. No, it's been REALLY nice.

Since I started therapy, I've been going every Thursday, and having nightmares every Thursday and often also Friday. The last nightmare I had was the day after my last therapy session, three weeks ago. After my sessions I've been miserable and sometimes pick fights with Manlover, and I haven't done that since my last session either. I feel normal walking around, and even took a long walk in my neighborhood after dark with no irrational fear. I don't wait up at night waiting for someone to break in. I've been sleeping through the night.


I'm going to a session tonight, and honestly, I don't want to. I feel anxious about it, I feel the tension rising in my chest. It's a few hours away and I am just dreading it. I've been dreading it every week all December. I feel like when I went every week, I spent so much time dreading it I never really calmed down, but now that I've been away for a few weeks, I feel how much I just hate going in.

Anyway, that is a long story, but my questions are:
How do you know when therapy is done?
How awful should it feel when you go?
Is it normal to totally dread going in like this? I like my therapist personally but I hate the way I feel when I leave her office.


I'm not sure how long is appropriate to go to therapy, and right now I feel like it's gone from helpful digging into trauma to stirring up shit. I also don't want to just stop because it's hard, but I don't want to go in and pay an exorbitant amount of money just to have nightmares and feel like shit.

Advice? Cat hug gifs? Thanks, internet buddies.

Just updating to thank you all for your advice and kind words. I talked to my therapist about the way I've been feeling with my time away from her and how anxious I feel going to her. She asked me what I wanted to do, and I told her I wanted to go home, and not see her anymore. So we said good-bye. I feel such a weight lifted off my shoulders! I know I wouldn't have been so direct about how I was feeling if you all hadn't encouraged me, so thanks a ton!

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