Daily Archives: August 4, 2015
Yeah – there is nothing like an over-sensationalized headline to grab the auld attention! But, despite my joviality, I am thoroughly depressed and completely rotund! Think Mrs. Clause corpulent and you probably have a good idea of what it is … Continue reading
this has nothing to do with illness, mental or otherwise but I am so, so, so thrilled about this I had to share. Guess where I was last evening?
Never heard of her, but she writes like a goddamn angel. Beautiful words, ugly things. I think that true storytellers are my favourite authors – I’m thinking of Jeanette Winterson before she got her head stuck up her own intellect. Tolkien, obviously. As the Elizabethans said, you can’t have drama without conflict (although they probably expressed it something like – wearisome is the story without war, begone with thy pale tales of mewling kittens) and so I think that beautiful words about beautiful things lack the bones of a true story.
Oh ffs blah blah blahhhh…. Go read her, not me. Here’s a little quote to reroute this post back to its soul…
“I don’t know how to belong to the story in a way that doesn’t betray it. I don’t even want to be in the story.”
Originally posted on Longreads Blog:
Lydia Yuknavich, author of the acclaimed new novel The Small Backs of Children, has a haunting essay up at Guernica about “Laume,” a mythological water spirit and guardian of all children that her Lithuanian grandmother introduced her to when she was young, and about the stories we tell ourselves to make sense of violence and tragedy:
I had a recurring dream for twenty years that I would have three sons.
I did not have three sons, and I’m fifty-two, so it’s not looking likely. What I did have was a daughter, who died, and one son, sun of my life. But I did have three husbands.
Maybe dreams don’t mean a goddamned thing.
Or maybe they mean everything.
They say you marry a man who is like your father. My father, the artist-turned-architect, molested and abused us. He was big. Angry. Loud-fisted. Marked us forever—three little women, making for…
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This is one of those “I’ll write this article and assume that I’m not the only one” sort of posts. I’m going to pretend that at least one other person out there is still hung up on an ex.
An ex-therapist, that is. Because I have to confess this: I miss my old therapist.
Veronica* was an extraordinary therapist. When I met her, I was seventeen years old and, let’s be real, I was the poster child for Mental Health Crisis™. She was compassionate, non-judgmental, sensitive, and perceptive in ways that I had not expected.
I spent three years (and a half, to be exact) in awe of her calm, even when I sat curled up on that couch, describing my depths of my suicidality or my utter despair for things ever improving. She created a safe space for me to explore the darkest parts of myself, with a passionate and relentless commitment to my well-being.
The cherry on top: Despite not being a gender specialist by any means, when I came out as transgender, she told me it was her responsibility to provide the best possible care. She educated herself, sought out resources and guidance, and did a damn good job at helping me embark on my transition.
By the time we parted ways, I had gone from being completely despondent to being the happiest and healthiest I had ever been. It’s no coincidence that some of my most important realizations and growing happened under her care.
So I’m not sure that anyone can blame me when, in the midst of a crisis, I find myself thinking, “Ugh, shit. What would Veronica say? What would Veronica do?”
Followed by an ever-so-small part of myself still grieving for this person who was so significant and yet, for professional reasons, is completely gone now from my life.
If this sounds anything like your own experience, I suspect we aren’t alone in this. When you spend a good amount of time with someone, divulging difficult experiences and intimate secrets, an attachment happens whether you mean it to or not.
I certainly never meant to get so attached that I would actually miss my old therapist. In fact, when I entered into therapy as a depressed teenager, I was convinced nothing could help me. Oh, how wrong I was.
I like to think that the occasional sadness I feel for not having Veronica as my therapist means that she did something incredibly right. It means that I felt supported and cared for, but not so much so that I couldn’t move forward without her.
In fact, the happiness that I have now is fostered, in part, by the many tools and skills that I learned during our time together. Whether or not I understood it when I first left, I was ready for this next chapter, and our sessions laid the groundwork for the life that I’m leading now.
Nonetheless, the sadness still comes around once in a while.
I count myself lucky to feel this kind of sadness. Lucky because it meant that I was one of the fortunate ones who could find a therapist that had such a profound impact on me. A therapist who could disarm me, who could provoke such unwavering optimism in me, and could create a safe space when it was difficult just to feel safe inside my own head.
Finding a therapist can sometimes feel like a cruel game show, auditioning total strangers with the hopes that you can trust them with the deepest and most important work you’ll ever do.
But if we’re lucky, really lucky, some of us are able to find the Veronicas of the world – the therapists whose empathy and validation convince us that there is, indeed, some good out there – and we trust them with this work, forging the kind of bond that’s needed so the real healing can begin.
I am the person I am today because there was a therapist who believed in me. I can honestly say that, even at my worst, there was never a moment when Veronica seemed to doubt my potential to do something meaningful, to do something important with my life.
She was the first to hear my authentic voice and to teach me of the power that my voice really had. In a way, the work that I do now was made possible by her conviction that my voice mattered.
If you haven’t found this therapist yet, fear not: They exist. They’re out there. Sometimes it requires jumping through obnoxious hoops and navigating a health care system that doesn’t look too fondly on us neuroatypical folks. Sometimes it requires paying out of pocket and dealing with an empty wallet at the end of the week. Sometimes it means getting yourself out of the house when you’d rather hide under the covers.
Whatever it takes, if you can, find the person who deserves your trust. Find the person who deserves your time. Find the therapist that is worthy of taking this journey with you.
And years down the line, when some smashing opportunity arises and you decide to move to California or something equally spontaneous, you’ll have that moment when everything goes awry and you start to think about them. You’ll start wishing they could offer just one more bit of advice or lend their ear, calmly reclining in their chair as you rant and rave about the way that things never go as planned.
Because, oh man, do they ever go as planned?
You’ll miss your old therapist and, like me, you’ll be glad that you do.
Sam Dylan Finch is a queer activist and feminist writer, based in the SF Bay. He is the founder of Let’s Queer Things Up!, his blog and labor of love. With a passion for impacting change through personal narrative, Sam writes about his struggles and triumphs as genderqueer and bipolar with the hopes of teaching others about his identity and community. When he isn’t writing, he’s probably eating takeout and dancing to Taylor Swift.
*Editor’s Note: Names have been changed to protect the identities of those mentioned.
No more brain zaps, I have 90mg Cymbalta on board, though I took it in 30mg increments throughout the day. No setting off hypomania, either. Last time I was on 90, I went total manic episode so I have to be careful. If any of you stalkers, er, followers (<3) notice me being positive and spewing sunshine and bleeding rainbows…Smack me with a rotting fish and tell me so, please? So often with mental illness and its distortions, we often don’t recognize warning signs in our own behavior.
My kid has been a bonafide brat since I brought her home. My mom bought her a box of Frozen cereal, which is basically Lucky Charms, but my kid doesn’t like the healthy stuff so she eats-and my mom lets her- nothing but the entire box of marshmallows. Pure sugar for two days. Thank you, mom. I get satan child, in spades. The word no triggers her enough, toss in sugar aggression…Yeah, it’s been fun. NOT.
I am soo not looking forward to trying the Restoril. I read the pharmacy insert and the mere term “hypnotic” makes me want to recant every complaint of sleep disturbance and just live with it. That’s some scary shit, and even if it’s not scary, I DON’T WANT THE FUCKING HANGOVER. Seriously, I could have a couple of glasses of red wine at bedtime to sleep and not wake up with hangover, so why do the pills come with one? And the “may cause you to get up and do things you have no memory of doing”…Yeah, big selling point. NOT. I prefer to ride my cheetas and giraffes while awake, thankyouverymuchandfuckyouaswell.
And it’s yelling at me again…Love my kid, and I don’t think she’s satan or anything, but my tolerance for assholes is nil even when it’s my own flesh and blood. Sue me.
In a note of light, I’ve been making goo goo eyes at the kittens all day. The older ones. The new ones Shade had aren’t gonna make it, I don’t think. I have to lock her in the pet taxi or otherwise she just leaves them for hours and ignores them. My fluffalumps Juju had are healthy as a team of oxen. And loud. Aresenic and Zatar were tag taming daddy Voodoo earlier, climbing all over his back and trying to nurse and I thought it was hysterical. He did not and left them in the lurch, going across the room with this indignant, “I am dad, I do no nurturing” look.
I sent R a text earlier about a funny youtube vid and he never did reply. If I didn’t reply to his most inane message he’d have a tantrum. I think he’s letting me know how not dropping everything to do his bidding has inconvenienced him thus I shall be ignored. Whatever. I told him last week repeatedly I had plans for today. Not my fault all he hears is what he wants to hear, mainly everything about him and nothing about anyone else.
Ugh, my stomach churns the closer it gets to bedtime and that Restoril. New meds make me so nervous. There is no “I can’t try it because I have to take care of my kid.” There is only I have to take care of my kid so I will try it warily as yeah, I’d like to feel well rested for a change, too. If the hangover is like Trazadone, though, it’s gonna be a brief courtship. How is sleeping all night worth it when you spend the ten hours the next day with your head pounding and cobwebs on your eyeballs and brain? It shouldn’t be like that just to get a good night’s sleep.
Then again, it shouldn’t be baseline for it to take ten years and four doctors for most people to get a proper diagnosis. There is nothing positive about mental illness and the sunshine spewers can go choke on a pastel colored cotton candy tasting cloud for all I care. This is just a bucket of fail and “trying not to fail.”
I’m ready for crypt time. Three trips into the dish, fifteen different stops, a defiant brattleaxe of a child, yapping kittens climbing me and eating my toes…I’ve served my time.
And for my next bumper sticker, dedicated for this place…
“If assholes could fly, this would be an airport.”
That is all.