I wanted to get at some unresolved issues, and get at them my therapist did, in the manner of a pitchfork churning up long buried muck and slime and spreading it all out to air in the sun. Meanwhile I'm on the sidelines yelling, "Hey, I just cleaned that!" Being the writer/neurotic (redundant?) that I am, I thought I would jot down some brief notes after each session, hoping that over time I would begin to see some kind of progress. However, being the well-intentioned but often-lacking-in-follow-through kind of person that I also am, this lasted all of one (1) session. My thoughts following my very first therapy session ever (carefully recorded in an e-mail draft) read as follows:
So, when do I start feeling better? Not so sure about this. Felt like I was drowning, and instead of throwing a life preserver she just watched, occasionally murmuring, "So, tell me how drowning feels." Also would like to know when we get to the part where she tells me how to fix myself instead of just nodding sympathetically. Sympathetic nodding is nice but not particularly helpful.And here is the part where you tell me, "Silly! Therapists don't tell you how to 'fix yourself'; they help you figure out how to do it yourself!" And yes, yes, I am well aware of that, but I was hoping for something a bit more...guided. Unfortunately, even after four months, it became clear that sympathetic nodding and boomerang questions were all I would ever get. Which is all fine and good, I suppose (her theory is that just talking about things can sometimes make the issues disappear--poof), but after four months of churning up and then re-burying the muck every week, I realized that, hmm, I didn't have so much to talk about, anymore. "Actually, I feel kind of...fine" only gets you so far in an hour-long therapy session, unfortunately, and so, prodded by my therapist, I would have to find some new muck to rake, and it's funny how after that, suddenly I wasn't feeling so fine anymore. This went on for weeks. I would go in even-keel, feeling that things were overall good, and leave burdened by the weight of all the past awfulness we had dredged up. All the pain and hurt feelings and disappointment of three decades past, condensed into a sixty-minute (or sometimes more!) session. Not exactly how I wanted to spend my lunch hour. After that I would bounce back and things would be good again, until the next week. Finally I realized, hey, if I feel pretty much ok until I start dredging up past shit, maybe I should...stop dredging up past shit? Like, hey genius, if it hurts when you poke it, maybe...give the poking a rest for a while? Now that I'm writing this down I realize it sounds kind of unhealthy and avoidant, but honestly, it wasn't like that at all. I had addressed the issues and discussed them, at length, and now I was ready to leave them alone for a while. Possibly forever. At least leave the muck buried deep down where I wouldn't have to see it and think about it anymore. Again, I realize that maybe this sounds the opposite of healthy, but honestly, I'm tired of wallowing around in muck; I want to run naked in the rain. (Metaphorically speaking?)
And so I realized it was time to break up with my therapist, which led to a not insignificant amount of stress. As much as I hate getting broken up with, I also hate breaking up with someone; I will move to a different country to avoid having to break up with someone. I was hoping to take the coward's way out and do it over the phone (ok, voicemail), but, like the professional she is, she made me face my fears and break up with her face to face. Which led to (seriously) the most awkward "it's not you, it's me" conversation ever. (She actually asked, "Was it something I said?") I reassured her (over and over), that it had nothing to do with her, and while I very much appreciated her time and expertise, lately our weekly sessions had been creating some unwanted stress in my life, both financial and otherwise. I pleaded poor and said it was hard for me to get away from work in the middle of the day, and even harder to get back into a groove at work after an emotionally wracking session. All of these things were true, and I stuck to that explanation, repeating it various different ways for her approval. She clearly didn't think I was ready to "graduate" from therapy, but finally said that she understood my reasons and wished me well. I left feeling lighter than I had in a long time.
And maybe it's because it's spring, with flowers blooming everywhere and summer on the horizon, but ever since then, I've been feeling pretty good. Like I tried to tell my therapist, I'm actually pretty...fine. I'm doing just fine. Thanks.
And that's the story of how in my 32nd year, I started going to therapy, and then quit therapy. Feel free to chime in in the comments if you feel moved to share your own experiences.
|Kitty says cuddle therapy works too|