AskMe has finally convinced me to seek therapy. I'm scared, so I've typed up an outline. For the sake of not vastly exceeding my allotted time I can condense it to a short statement. Is it completely inappropriate to show up with three pages of numbered and bulleted woes?
I'm uninsured and broke, so I'm going here
. I have an initial "intake" interview to talk to one of the graduate clinicians, who will then, with the help of a psychologist, decide with whom I should ultimately be working or refer me somewhere else. The person who scheduled the appointment seemed unwilling/unable to discuss anything specifically, saying that the graduate clinician would go over everything, but I'm asking about that initial appointment itself. The $30 really is dear enough that it has to "count" (heck, the $5 is dear enough that I'm doing this anonymously rather than through a sockpuppet).
Anyway, I now have this jauntily-titled list of my problems and me!
and I think it's pretty comprehensive. The contents are largely irrelevant to this question, but what I would distill from it is, "I feel really incredibly sad sometimes, and when I do, I self-injure physically and occasionally have pre-suicidal thoughts. While I can still function at a basic level and am doing reasonably well at the moment, this keeps happening and I want it to stop."
The outline itself is a an extremely honest and open compendium of years of personal notes/observations, and specifies problems I don't have (mania, hallucinations), things I've done that have/haven't helped, how all this makes me feel, my fears/concerns about therapy, and discusses themes from my childhood (primarily, being raised by alcoholic parents) and how I see them affecting/having effected me. It's not defensive in tone, though it does lean toward spewing PROBLEMS!
rather self-consciously/deliberately. It is literally three single-spaced pages long right now; I could pare it down to probably one-and-a-half if the loss of content/detail would be worth it. Or I could scrap the whole document.
What I'd hope to gain by having it with is to show I really have already put a lot of thought/effort/contemplation into this, and don't want to go over everything "as if for the first time" unless someone specifically decides that's for the best. I kind of am picturing reading from it, but I promise I wouldn't be all robotic and reference "section 3-C-ii-a" in lieu of actually communicating. The main reason I wrote it, however, is that, if just asked how I am/what is wrong/what brought me in, I'm extremely liable to blithely lie and downplay everything to the point that I seem maybe just a bit glum and in need of bucking up and acting like an adult*, and I think the outline would keep me honest. But maybe the therapist will want to do things her/his own way?
I trust you people. Through answers to countless others' questions, you have already helped me immensely, and given me the confidence to do this thing in the first place. So, given that I have a really long self-report that could be useful but might also be vastly overkill, or - I worry - make me come off as way more self-obsessed/defensive than I am and set the tone to one of breaking down my perceived "walls"*, what should I do with it?
Thank you all so very much.
*The first time I seriously tried to seek help, I felt that the doctor was being condescending and telling me exactly that; I agreed and stopped going because I was ashamed and felt guilty for wasting resources.
**As seen with school guidance counselors back in the day.