It will come as a surprise to absolutely no one that I have been seeing a therapist for about as long as some of you have been alive. Oh, this is news to you? You clearly don’t listen to our show.
Well, I have as many issues as a newsstand, as they say, so I have been on the couch for years. From issues arising from my mother’s schizophrenia, and my father’s death, to depression, to other fun items that have cropped up in the ensuing years, I have worn out several therapists. Well, it’s more accurate to say that therapists have come and gone, due to retirements or moving to other jobs, but throughout it all, I have been going to the same general therapy group all this time. As a matter of fact, it’s the same group that my mother had gotten her treatment from for many years.
When my family struggled with issues due to my mother, we had group sessions with her previous therapist, which made it easy to skip over the whole deal of trying to explain her particular behavior. After my father died, my mother, brother and I had group sessions with the same woman, and then after that, I saw her alone for several years. It was difficult to transition from her to my second therapist, but we did develop a rapport, and it was a blow to have her suddenly leave the practice due to unknown medical reasons. That meant I moved onto number three. She is very nice, and is comforting, but we don’t seem to actually be getting anywhere. I am an onion, and there are levels to my madness, but I think in a year or so, we have stayed on the surface, and I am getting more of a pat on the head and a lollypop than anything else.
Now, not all therapists can prescribe medications, so that meant that I had to see a psychiatrist from time to time to renew my medications, too. I adored the first one, who left to join another practice. I HATED the second one, who was condescending and insulting, and I am having a problem feeling comfortable with this third one. She almost seems to have more issues than me, particularly an eating disorder she seems to still struggle with, and I am getting concerned that our meetings to renew my medication are more about her needs to vent than my need to get my meds and get the fuck out of there.
So, for the first time, I am dipping a toe in the waters outside of this practice, and looking for actual, moving forward type of help. It is scaring the pants off of me.
I searched the internet for possible new candidates, and found one woman who seems okay so far. I just met with her for an intake kind of visit, where you are asked a bunch of routine questions to narrow down just what kind of sicko you are, and on my side, it was to see how we fit. It was tough to tell how this will work yet, but I kind of felt like I was cheating on my therapist the whole time. I haven’t cut ties with the old place yet, because I don’t want to do that until I’m sure I’m in a good place. She seems more professional than the place I am used to, and that is a bonus, but it’s scary to move away from the familiar. But, in terms of where I am in my life, and my general happiness, I have to be brave and step away from what seems to be palliative mental health care, and onto a bit of tough love- let’s get your lazy ass going – type of care.
Next step is trying to find a new psychiatrist to prescribe meds. I don’t want to just break with my nice therapist and have to keep going back to that person who is not a good fit for meds. I guess I need to finally break with the old practice altogether. It is familiar, but it is also haunted with the ghost of my mother’s former presence, and with unhappy associations of other sorts as well. I have a list of possible choices, and I am going to ask my insurance company, too. It’s all been something I have been thinking about for a few months, but actually doing it is making me anxious as hell. What a stupid time to quit smoking.