I am headed in about an hour to a new therapist. This is nothing different than the other thousand times I have had to change therapists – usually because of insurance problems. I go into each office expecting the worst and oftentimes get exactly that. Although there have been a few exceptions, therapists that changed me for the better, for the most part therapy is a pattern that can be truly exhausting.
First are the standard first appointment questions. What is your goal for therapy? How do you handle events in your life? How many times a day would you say that you think about suicide?
Second, in subsequent sessions, there are questions in direct response to the answers you gave that first appointment. So not only are the first appointment questions asinine in the extreme but they can direct everything that is talked about for the next year. And this is if you are lucky enough to get away from the true/false questionnaires and tests. The problem with this comes down to the simple fact that if I can answer the first appointments questions, I probably don’t need to talk about it. I don’t need to rehash what I already understand.
I am not looking forward particularly of meeting this new doctor; it actually makes me want to jump in my bed and simply avoid the whole thing. But I know that there is a possibility that this woman will give me what I am searching for, and for my own health, shouldn’t I at least try and find out who she is. I despise common sense.
One of the things that I have been thinking about a lot lately is exactly what I am looking for in life. Blame it on the art that I have been created, the self-help book I just finished or simply a period in my life when the status qua just doesn’t give me the comfort it once did.
Maybe I am growing. Maybe I am pushing boundaries. Maybe I am tired of my life. Maybe I just want to see life in all its glory like so many are able. Whatever is happening it started in April of last year and hasn’t given up its hold on me since.
I know what is going on in my life. I know what triggers look like and the things I should do and often the things not to do. I know what the darkness feels like – the comfort it can give and the danger it represents to my soul. I know before my children walk into the house what it is that I need to be on my toes about, so I don’t emotionally hurt them in places they don’t deserve. I fail at all of this despite knowing the what in my life, but it is no longer enough to understand what will happen.
These days I need to know why. I need to understand why it is that intimacy is something that scares me and requires actual energy to make sure I, in no way, find myself in an intimate relationship. I need to understand why the pendulum of emotions that I am capable of swing about an inch each way. I need to know why I can’t feel great joy, great sadness, but anger is as easy as breathing.
I need to know why I can’t look myself in the mirror and see anything but a catalog of faults; especially when I know intellectually the inherent problems in having this issue. I need to know why I have no self-esteem at all. I don’t see myself as good at anything and often hurt myself trying to be someone I don’t think I should be. I need to know why.
I know what, now I need to know why.
Is there an issue that I have buried in my psyche for so long I can no longer see it there? Was there a traumatic event, or even a series of traumatic events in my life that have destroyed my ability to live not an enormous life, but a life with grace and kindness? Is there a reason I can’t hold down a job? What exactly has gone on in my past that it is time to finally see?
Not easy questions and it takes a special therapist to help you through them. It isn’t enough if the therapist simply sits there and looks and listens to you. It isn’t enough if a therapist has their own agenda that is different than the journey you want to travel. It isn’t enough if the person you are counting on as a guide is nothing more than a tourist in your life. It won’t work that way. Nothing substantial will work that way.
I don’t know what the next couple of hours are going to bring. I don’t know if I will leave that meeting sad and feeling discarded or if I will be able to see the promise of something that will finally give me the answers that I need. I need those answers to finally be at peace; or maybe I need those answers simply to understand my next step. Whatever it is, it is solely dependent on one woman. And I think that is the most discouraging idea I have had yet. Depending on one individual to help you through a journey as dangerous as one where answers are found can be either the greatest thing you ever do, or just another time in life when reality trumps hope.