Therapy is Just the S**t

There is a strange stigma surrounding discussion of mental health. Admitting to going to therapy is treated like an admission of weakness, which is silly because every person who’s ever tickled themselves over not going to therapy most certainly has something to talk with a therapist about if they’re getting that much joy out of their delusion of emotional grandeur.

“What’s that? You talk to someone to get through your emotional issues? That’s soooo lame.”

I think about mental health a lot because mine sometimes comes a little too close to matching my physical health, which is bad, like, panting up the escalator bad. Yesterday, I went back to a therapist I accidentally hadn’t seen in 10 months. It wasn’t an accident that I hadn’t seen her, but it was an accident that it took as long as the time between seasons of Game of Thrones for me to make another appointment.

I want to do what my therapist can’t. I want to talk about what we discussed while I sat on a very comfortable green chair and was distracted by birds fluttering outside the window. I want to say that therapy is just the shit.

Not what the chair looked like, but it captures the feeling well

They started me off with a survey because it’s a university therapist and I think they’re trying to assess how many students and employees sometimes think of dying. I wasn’t one of those, but the survey did ask for a preferred name and pronouns, and I’m all about that shit. Yeah, Dr. School, I’ll tell you what I want to be called, and whether or not it’s the name my parents gave me when I was naked and screaming and freshly alive or not is up to me because this is how you simulate autonomy in a culture that actively tries to steal it.

You know how many times I can talk to someone about my shitty childhood and have them not go in for the awkward “You probably need some affectionate human contact” hug? None. Or, maybe more than none if I’m talking to someone who is also as emotionally hesitant as I am. I can think of almost no other people who will sit down with me, listen to me make awful jokes about what the proper ratio of trauma to optimism should be to have a child end up really funny, and then that person will talk about healthy coping habits because humor is clearly a way of deflecting my real feelings. That’s good shit, Dr. School. Tell me what to do.

And sweet damn do I love the time limit. On tv I learned that anytime someone goes to therapy, they will talk without realizing the passage of time, then a buzzer will ring, and the appointment will come to an abrupt halt. There’s no buzzer, and no obvious timer, but the appointment does only last an hour before the conversation is over. You know what else works like that? School. The classes I teach run for an hour, and I’m so used to university-sponsored interactions happening within that hour-long window that I’m satisfied and ready to go once the hour is done. You know who else is conditioned to end formal interactions after roughly an hour? Virtually everyone who has ever been processed by the American school system, which is so gung-ho about getting classes as exactingly scheduled as possible so as not to waste the tax dollar that goes to funding our schools.

Just the one tax dollar

And then it’s time to go, and there’s no awkward goodbye period because there’s no chance we’re going to the same place. I have to go to a little desk and pay for this emotional carnival, and Dr. School started out in her office, and that’s where she stayed. Sometimes I see a friend in the grocery store, we talk, and then say goodbye, and then I run back into them by the Greek Yogurt, and there’s this awkward look of betrayal as if they’re saying “I thought you were leaving.” No, I was not leaving, and I will not leave without my low-fat yogurt, you overly attached social wart. Leave me and my goopy fruit bucket to reunite in peace.

The social stigma around discussions of mental health and admissions of going to therapy is silly because therapy is just the best time. It’s a no-stakes interaction that ends with you having a sticky note full of ideas for how to cope with your weird life, and then you get to go away until you decide to go back. Why isn’t everyone doing this?

19 Replies to “Therapy is Just the S**t”

      1. As a middle and high school teacher I have seen more than a few kids come through my classroom that I know would really benefit from therapy. It is really sad how many times I have had a parent ask my advice at parent-teacher conferences about what they can do to help their child. As soon as you mention that maybe seeing a therapist would be useful and helpful, most parents glaze right over. Even more frustrating than seeing someone who really needs help refuse it is seeing them apply their own stigmas to their child–“my child can’t need therapy” as if it is somehow a parental failing on their part.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh geez, I can imagine. I’m lucky that I haven’t had to encounter many parents, but I’ve been an open advocate for therapy since I started teaching. I tell my students that I’ve been to therapy hoping to normalize it, but I can also imagine parents–mine included–treating their child going to therapy as a failure. For those cases… maybe the parents should go to therapy too

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I wish every social interaction was like this. You meet a friend, you spend exactly one hour together, and in the end they give you pointers as to how you can be a little less weird next time you meet them. And then you don’t see them again until you call and make an appointment.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve never had a therapist cry on me. Most of the appointments I’ve had have involved me talking, the therapist asking how I think the things I talked about influence my behavior, and then I make jokes and they help think of ways for me not to be an emotional wasteland

      Liked by 1 person

  2. So funny because I have a blog post draft I had started on therapy and mental health. It is ridiculous that people think addressing things and trying to be healthy means you are unhealthy. Shit is stupid. Thanks for being vulnerable and creating more dialogue around this topic. There is an awesome song by Dar Willims called what do you hear in these sounds. I beg you to give it a listen she kicks ass on the writing and lyrical front.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a really interesting and useful subject to talk about, and I look forward to reading yours!

      Yeah, some of the ways people think about mental health is just ridiculously shitty. Like, if someone was shot, it wouldn’t be admitting they’re weak if they go to a hospital.

      I’ll check that song out! I’m always into ass-kicking lyrical ladies.

      Like

  3. I think you are spot on with this post. I’ve seen a therapist just a couple of times in my adult life and really enjoyed it. I remember being told that I was very self aware and left feeling good about myself. People should not feel ashamed about seeing a therapist at all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Therapy is just a nice and healthy experience most of the time, and it’s a shame more people don’t think of it that way. Also, when someone with a degree in knowing stuff about people says something nice to you, it feels amazing

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Everything you’ve said about mental health is very true. It’s something that people should really take seriously. Looking back on High School I really should’ve opened up to someone. I was pretty depressed for a couple of years there.

    Also, that whole thing about seeing a friend again after you’ve said goodbye is so hilariously accurate, like holy shit. I don’t know how many times that’s happened to me.

    “Ah, you again.” — *Quickly walks in opposite direction.

    Btw I don’t know if I’ve said this, but I really enjoy your blog!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, there was a lot I should have told a therapist about back in high school, and I hope mental health resources are becoming more available to people that age now because there wasn’t shit when I was in school.

      I’m glad you like my blog! It’s been fun seeing your comments 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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