I love to shop. I love the anticipation of a great bargain, the simple joy of finding that perfect thing for someone I love, and absolutely beautiful smiles that await me on my return. I shop all year, in all weather and in all manner of ways. But there is an exception; I hate shopping for a new therapist.
Shopping for a therapist is like buying shoes without ever trying them on. You are given their color, their age, how they were made, and sometimes one or two other fun facts, but unless you actually try them on there is no way to know if they fit. The problem with this, at least in terms of shopping for therapists, is that trying them on requires you to sit (stand/lay) in front of them – a perfect stranger – for an hour and hope that you don’t have to do it fourteen more times until you find the right doctor to waste your precious time listening as they try to cure you.
It used to be that I would stay with a doctor for months, and then completely give up on therapy for a period of time rather than just continue shopping until I found one. It was like I gave myself permission to try to find a therapist and if it didn’t work out the first time, I would give myself permission to say at least I tried. And honestly, it always backfired on me.
I am a difficult patient. I have often described here why I am a difficult mother or a difficult wife, but there is a different kind of pain in the ass that I reserve for doctors. I am stubborn, and there are times when their ideas are so ridiculous that I have to roll my eyes (and it’s in front of them). I am smart, and I am self-aware (it’s the only to survive this disease). So while I welcome and desire other perspectives, and possibilities than the ones I am consumed with, I despise when doctors stick to the, “how did that make you feel”. I need reasons in my life, I need to be able to look at the same problem in different ways, and I need another voice to gently suggest that I should and can be different.
I have low self-esteem (I know from that last paragraph you don’t believe it) and I have the rarest of personality types on the Myers-Briggs. I am complicated, and this disease makes me even more so. I am quite capable of good things, but I am lazy and don’t do it. I would rather be reading than do just about anything else (eat, sex, watch TV, shop) and there is no way that you will ever convince me that I am a good person.
So what I need from a doctor is quite simple in all of that…I need a conversation. An intelligent conversation to help me work through the problems I am already aware of. And you would think that doctors, having paid for that much school, would naturally be smart, but my definition of smart and some of these schools definition of smart is very different. I don’t want hand holding, nor do I want a hug. I don’t need you to soothe me, or be falsely caring. I just need you to listen and think. Just think about it and help me to think about it.
Oh, why can’t I write a letter to this new therapist before I go? Telling him exactly what I demand? Why can’t I give him the head’s up he truly needs to be able to deal with someone like me? And why do I have to be so screwed up that I have to go to a therapist in the first place? Oh, to be normal.