I spent the first 20 minutes of my lunch today getting a cookie for my therapist because I’m at that point in my life where that’s something that can happen. It has taken me a year of explaining to this person every fault I’ve found in myself, every insecurity I used to be able to justify, every self-destructive habit before I could say with some degree of confidence that it was cookie time. The cookie, in this case, signaled the end of our time together arguing whether or not I’m a person or the concept of disappointment given human form.
This is the first time I’ve ever left a therapist for a reason other than “got the medication I needed” or “didn’t want to get out of bed so I cancelled every appointment for the next 6 months.” In this case, we both noticed that all the problems I had initially come to deal with were resolving at a pace parallel to my insurance switching from a student to an employee so I’d have to start going somewhere else to talk about how much I hate that I don’t have telepathy.
I’m a pretty open advocate for mental health awareness and that comes largely from being acutely aware of my own mental health and how much talking to someone about it can help. To focus in on a few of the smaller issues I started seeing Dr. School over, I’m not really the same anxious, obsessively unhealthy, self-destructive student I was when I started talking to her. I’m a lot better at dealing with my anxiety which is kind of like getting really good at bailing out your sinking boat: yeah, a lot of the holes are still there, but my bucket work is rockin’ and it doesn’t always feel like I’m drowning anymore. I eat food made from ingredients I can pronounce. I may have shortened my lifespan a bit by getting healthier, but it’s worth the early death knowing that I won’t one day freeze in place having finally succumbed to the–admittedly delicious–plastic grease that goes into every potato chip. And I made it through school, which might not have happened if I didn’t have someone around I could go to, say “holy shit this is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, I can’t do this” who would reply with “yes it is, and you probably can.” I’ve seen so much change and improvement that I didn’t think I deserved or could manage, and most of this isn’t even related to the main thing I started seeing her for–which I’ll write about someday soon.
So, because I’ve had a year in which I’ve gone from a spiraling grad student inhaling bullshit and slowly dying to an “actually healthy adult”–her words not mine–I got my therapist a cookie. I know it was her job to see to it that I didn’t come out of therapy worse than when I came in, and that she works for the university which wants me around long enough to make that sweet, sweet English major cash so I can give it back to them when they call me at dawn on a Saturday. I know it’s literally a therapist’s job to try to help their clients deal with whatever they bring in, but holy shit, why isn’t everyone who has the chance to do this not taking it. I bought my therapist a big frisbee of sugar because, after looking at how much difference there was in a year, I was surprised and wanted to respond to that surprise in a way that showed I’m pretty glad this happened.
Also, most importantly, it was a really good cookie, and everyone should eat a good cookie on a Monday afternoon.