i have this friend who is a mental health advocate and she suggested i go to a therapist. she arranged it. i went. i had a real Good Will Hunting moment. the “it’s not your fault” scene (only, of course, mine would be about dad’s disappearance and mom stroking out in my bedroom). she offered tissues. i declined.
we started out with her texting, “are you going to be here by 11? i hear traffic is very bad all around. anyway, i have a 12nn right after so just letting you know.”
(as someone in communications, i can tell you that this is not an auspicious beginning, even if yes, traffic was so bad that one of my colleagues had to go home because EDSA was impassable on her end.)
anyway, i was right on time (for once, because i know enough not to waste people’s time) and i set my alarm to 10 minutes before our session was up. #goodpatient
we talked about her being unable to bring her son to school because of the traffic. #ice-breaker.
we talked about the year of the strokes.
we talked about alcohol-induced dementia or alcoholic dementia (“is that doctor-diagnosed?” she asked. “yes,” i said.) and dad’s disappearance.
we talked about the books on her shelf. #deflection
we talked about her, because i’m an interviewer, and i tend to control the conversation.
we talked about her childhood, what school she went to, the possibility of her writing another book, her relationship with her mum.
we talked about my depression (or non-depression. according to the psychologist, i have the pre-existing conditions for depression, but i don’t have a major depressive disorder. goodie.)
we talked about feelings (40% anger and 60% sadness) and my flirtation with repression.
we talked about my control issues, because i’m a self-aware person and i admit to (most of) my failings.
we talked, to satisfy my intellectual curiosity, about adjustment disorder (considered “relatively benign” in the US, yet insured, go figure) and, inevitably, the outbreak of suicide awareness in reaction to recent high-profile suicides.
we agreed that i was not suicidal. #rejoice.
i asked for tips on how to deal with suicidal friends. (take them to the ER for admission in the psych department.)
we talked about friendships and career tracks and a bunch of stuff.
my alarm went off, at the same time the next patient knocked on the door. kismet.
the session helped, in a way. the whole point of the exercise was catharsis.
(although i’m not a fan. there’s a self-indulgence, i feel, to catharsis. an opinion probably stemming from my shame and guilt and aversion to vulnerability, so take that with a grain of salt.)
it also didn’t help, in a way. i’m not a fan of quickie diagnosis. this was our first meeting. she did give me a choice over what to focus on, and what i wanted to do with our time, so i can’t really accuse her of not trying, yes?
i’m a fairly transparent person who used to be a peer facilitator back in college and i do believe in seeking professional help for the sake of your mental health.
i don’t think i’ll be doing this again. not any time soon, anyway.