An unsent letter to my therapist (who is irrevocably human) - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies

An unsent letter to my therapist (who is irrevocably human)

Depression Expression #10

Previous entry: Picking the Time for Traumatic Art

Note: if you are currently in or thinking about therapy, please do not let my writing here dissuade you from continuing or starting. Therapy has been extremely useful for me and this specific experience is not indicative of what good it can do.

It was a shade over two years ago I had the ugliest crying spell in my life. The exact conversation we were having leading up to it is lost to the emotion of the moment, but the trigger is something I'm going to take to my grave. It was when I asked,

"Why didn't anyone protect me?"

I wasn't asking it to you, obviously, but to an overall feeling I'd had because of my abuse and the many moments in my life I felt I needed to power through instead of getting help. It felt like I was sobbing for hours. It couldn't have been because our session was only an hour long, but it was so intense I am trying not to dwell much more on it now so I don't lose this train of writing.

What you'd said afterwards, "'re too hard on yourself," is something I'd been told in variants in the past (I think my favorite was, "You are a grade-A masochist my friend"). But I needed to hear it, badly, and at that moment all the pain I'd been holding in felt like it could finally give way to some kind of acceptance. I was aiming for love or confidence, and the truth is I'm still aiming for those things, but because of what I'd gone through and the scars I carry "acceptance" still feels about the best I can hope for.

Maybe you don't remember that. Or maybe, when you got the call to make an appointment with me a few weeks back, you just didn't remember me as well as you thought. Because it didn't take much time into our session for me to feel something was off or changed. You seemed hostile, defensive even when on the offense, and the rigid way the room was arranged gave a different vibe from the ramshackle collection of toys, dog beds, and Lego bricks that your old office had.

What, precisely, made you feel like it was a good idea to tell me that it was stupid for me to stop my antidepressants? Because you were right during my nasty crying spell. I am far too hard on myself. So now, when I'm taking my medications in the morning, one of the first things that springs to my mind is "You were stupid for ever stopping." I'm trying my best to put something else there like, "You will be steady and better," or, "This is just part of the routine to get you back on track." But all I can think of opening the medication bottle is, "You were stupid. You are stupid. You've wrecked everything. You won't get things together."

You also made me feel like a junkie because you didn't bother to clarify how long I'd been taking pain medication. You were hostile and telling me, "I bet you're taking them out of a Pez dispenser," then, "Don't lie, you are aren't you" has also tied itself to the moments the pain gets bad and I need to take the medication. I wasn't on them for months, when we met again I had barely been on them for four days, and the way you tried to save face and suddenly take on a joking tone with me when you realized this made me feel like you thought I was a fool. Apologizing would have been the way to go. Not laughing.

I am now passing blood almost every time I go to the bathroom. One stone is right where my leg muscles press against my pelvic bone region so every step hurts. Then there's the matter of the cramping in my right kidney where another stone is just sitting there like existential and literal shrapnel ready to do damage to my psyche and body from a different angle. The money spent on our session could have gone to the 6k or so I'm going to need for the surgery on top of all the other bills that are starting to come in. This is right when a professional therapist might do me the most good and you wrecked that.

You left the practice where I met and started treatment with you, it's been almost two years, and maybe you don't want to be reminded of your time there. We are also in an opioid epidemic and you appear to work with a lot more kids now. I understand when you told me you wouldn't treat me if I became addicted. But your reasoning getting to that point hurt me, and now that I'm a few weeks removed and alone with my thoughts during the week I'm hitting fresh lows.

My trust is hard enough to earn and I already have enough issues with doctors as is. So I guess this is a way of making it so that this isn't your decision to make. I'm not coming back.

The image above is from the HBO show In Treatment, a fascinating and in-depth look at therapy that also takes a look at what the therapists do when they need therapy.

Next entry: The Cloying Hell of Antidepressant Commercials

Please help me if you can:

Posted by Andrew

Filed under: 2019 Leave a comment
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  1. Man, sounds like you had a crappy therapist — I’ve been there, sort of (of course, I’ve been on antidepressants myself for a long time, so what do I know?). Your writings about your personal issues are interesting and affecting, and as much as I disagree with some of your opinions (not about movies, but about politics and society) I applaud your taking charge of things — even taking ownership of your memories of bad therapy, and making it your choice not to go back to that therapist. You may not need to be told this, but please don’t give up.

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