Tuesday, July 21, 2015

I Have No Idea What I'm Doing

Therapy is a weird thing.  The very concept is pretty strange if you really think about it, you pick a stranger seemingly at random, pour out your heart, soul and deepest secrets and expect them to have the solutions. I have to wonder how it all began.  Was there just that one guy in the village that had all the good advice?  Did one woman in the sewing circle seem to have all the answers? Does it go further back than that?  Was there a talking circle around the fire in the Neanderthal cave? Whoever has the bone has the floor? When did it evolve into an actual thing?

They died hugging it out, apparently.
      With all the mayhem, uncertainty and emotional upheaval of my mother's diagnosis, I realized I was holding on to some crap that I need to either let go of or learn to live with.  I have chosen to let go of the old stuff, mainly because trying to have it out with an Alzheimer's patient is unnecessarily cruel and completely unproductive. I decided to give the idea of "talking to a professional" a whirl.  While I have never sought therapy for myself, I did take my younger son when he was being bullied and saw real benefits come from the process.  I have always questioned those people you hear about saying something along the lines of "Oh, I love my therapist, they're the best in their field!  I've been going to him/her three times a week for the past twenty years!"  How can they be the best if you still need that much therapy?  Twenty years and you're still a non functional puddle on the floor?  I think you need to reassess what you consider progress. I am not making fun of anyone, before anyone gets outraged, I just tend to be result oriented and could never accept an apparent ongoing, never ending process as a good thing.

My own search for a therapist was not entirely easy, I evidently live in a town comprised entirely of crazy people as the first three therapists recommended as good fits for me were unavailable for months or unable to take on new clients.  I finally get an appointment with one and happened to mention the name of my intended to a friend that knows me extremely well who laughed heartily and told me to cancel that appointment and find someone else. Puzzled, I asked why and she said "Okay, remember that teacher from Harry Potter?  The one who wore all pink and had the kitten pictures all over the place?" I asked, incredulously, if she was referring to Dolores Umbridge, and she told me to imagine her with a bible in her hand.  I cancelled immediately and came up with a short checklist that my future head doctor was going to have to fulfill.

Since she's not available.

I'm not super anal or anything, I just really didn't want to waste a lot of time trying to find a good fit.  This going for help thing is a huge step for me, I usually tend to face the shitty stuff head on so I can get it over with  as soon as I can.  A false start or two would have simply driven the idea of therapy completely into the dumpster so I needed to find someone at least sort of on my wavelength from the outset.  My list of requirements was short and to the point.

  • I do not need to hear "It's part of God's plan." or "God doesn't give us more than we can handle." Both of those phrases are banal at best and rage inducing for someone like me.
  • You need to think "Monty Python and The Holy Grail" is hilarious. Being able to insert quotes from it into a therapy session will win my trust completely.
  • You must not be offended if, when angry or highly emotional, I use "Fuck" like a comma.

  Made a few calls, confounded a couple of receptionists and was about ready to bag the whole idea until I hit the last number on the list.  I hit the receptionist with the three bullet points and after a long pause, she said "I think Dr. W______ will be a good fit for you." In our first meeting, I mentioned this to  Dr. W_____ and he looked a little nonplussed, he had no idea what I was talking about so I told him what my requirements were.  He thought for a quick minute and laughed, "Yeah, she knows me pretty well, then."  I think I'm going to like this guy.

We're three months in at this point and I'm not entirely sure what the hell we're doing.  I haven't had any "a-ha" moments, nothing that's felt like breakthrough of any sort, and I haven't told him anything I haven't been able to talk to my husband, my sisters or my best friends about.  The closest we've gotten to anything that even felt like what I thought therapy was going to be like was when he observed that while I get teary from time to time, I don't seem to let myself full on cry.  That stayed with me for a couple of days, then I had a huge crying jag and all questions were answered.  I told him the next time I went that I don't usually cry for a few reasons:

  1. The Hangover - headache and sore throat for the whole next day and sensitive eyes for two whole days afterwards.
  2. If the situation is bad enough that I'm crying about it, there is a lot of shit that needs to get done, immediately.
  3. Mascara
Question answered and no real emotional scarring or blockage was the reason, nothing from my deep, dark past was a factor, dammit.  I am realizing that maybe I'm in better shape than I thought, or at least I have good enough support in my life that therapy isn't really necessary.  My beloved knows all the ins, outs and players in the family; my sisters are right there with me the whole way and one of my best friends is dealing with her own crazy parent situation while the other has nothing like this going on.  I seem to have the bases well covered so I'm wondering what I'm doing with this guy.  He's really nice, I'm sure he knows his stuff and I even got him to drop an F bomb last time, so maybe my work here is done.

Or. I actually am completely off my rocker and just think I'm not crazy and everyone is just too nice to say anything.