Saturday, January 22, 2011

"I have been close enough to death

to know that there is a time

when life is indistinguishable from pain,

when you want to turn your face

to the wall and pass through it

into the fog that slowly lifts on the wind

and goes into the air and the earth,

and each molecule becoming something else"

~marge piercy

Friday, January 14, 2011


I walk wakeful and every day
is a calendar square like a prison yard
to pace. Every day is laid on
me and torn off like a bandage
on a slow dripping wound

As a child, every year I headed toward felt dooming. I rushed to not waste them; the future was a brick wall. Now at 25 I feel like my life is over. I'm not excited to graduate in a few months. I have to, because I don't belong in school anymore and I can't fail at this yet again. But I don't feel like I can have a life afterward. I definitely can't work with kids or teenagers. i see a group of teenage girls on the bus or a child holding hands with a parent and I feel so much grief.


I just want to feel safe and contained. I continue to search. At 25 I still stare at yellow-lit windows of houses at night while I walk, wondering when I will return to two parents who’ll wonder where I’ve been, who will ask me how I’m doing, take care of me. At 25 that is never going to happen. I’m supposed to be that for someone else and I can’t. I had my chance but it wasn’t enough. Nothing is enough for me. I suck up love and concern like a black hole. I can’t be filled, there’s never enough to sustain me. If you didn’t get what you needed back then, is anything after that ever enough?

What do you do when you’ve never lived? When you can’t recall a single day spent in your body instead of outside it, or a day spent outside of your head, the judgments that swirl around. I wish I had regrets. I have nothing solid. I spend nights looking at pictures of other people’s lives, trying to remember what my life felt like. I remember the past like I lived a hundred different lives, none connected to me, but only to the people who were with me. If they aren’t with me now all is lost; I can’t hold on to the feelings, they slip away. Each chapter of my life passing is like a death.

I was six and sobbing after any good day passed, scared I wouldn’t be able to hold onto it. I was right. That was the year I started saving everything, and was given my first journal; continuously replaced and furiously scribbled into, minute details, because if they were forgotten had I ever even existed? What child barely starting out in life fears time running out, pressing down? I was six and my summer of needles and hospitals and legs splayed open had changed me. I understood the future with a sense of doom, with the approaching procedures and symptoms I was powerless to stop. Time was a wave and there was nothing to cling to. My life soon became one eternal clinging, as if to lose anything is to lose myself. My self tied with others, with objects, any reminder or proof of my own existence.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Psycho Therapy

Have you ever felt like you needed therapy just from dealing with so-called therapists? I've felt like that over and over again, which was why it's been difficult to force myself to try to find a new one. I've spent the last 6 years in therapy, with my previous therapist lasting almost 5 of those years. Before her I went through half a dozen of well-meaning but misinformed, arrogant, pity-eyed, insincere, or freaked-out "professionals," crawling out worse than I crawled in. Before, I would accept anyone who would have me, convinced they were right and I was wrong, the crazy one, or scared I would hurt their feelings if I quit. I'm done putting myself through that, I'm armed with far more knowledge both about myself and my needs, as well as psychology in general. This time around I am also angry and bitter, one who has been mishandled and hurt, trust broken and hope lost. but I'm also still scared and desperate.

It's hard to choose a random name, pick up the phone when you're at your most vulnerable, and pray that the person on the other end, with all this power, won't be an asshole. Since ending with my therapist over the summer, I've taken that risk 3 times. The first two times I was dropped after just a few words about my history. This last time, about a week ago, I was hopeful despite myself. Dr.Q hadn't hung up on me or suddenly lost all his openings; his voice sounded calm, and he fit me in a couple days after my call. His office was off of a gorgeous street in Cambridge, within walking distance from my house. I was holding out for this day like a life preserver. Had I learned nothing?

I tried to overlook the rumpled shirt, running sneakers, and choice of hat wear, the sitting back in a recliner, and the barely-acknowledging of me, the girl in front of him, look beyond the questions he instantly dived into between jotting notes. I know some therapists like to get through their questions and all that, but they weren't even good questions. For instance, he asked and wrote down the age and occupation of my boyfriend, but never asked how long I've been depressed, eating disordered, didn't take family history, etc. I barely got to talk at all, in fact; everything I said was brushed off or talked over. You would think that 20 years in practice would have taught him to at least be able to listen.
We briefly went through my history, stopping to argue about medication. He said if I worked with him he'd strongly suggest that I be on something. I told him that wasn't an option, that I've been overmedicated and had horrible side effects. Medication doesn't work. He said, "Well if that's your attitude it's not going to." Yeah, no shit. That's called a placebo effect.

I said so many telling things that he couldn't even hear. He didn't so much as ask me my treatment goals. And his solution? I'm supposed to go out and buy the book Learned Optimism, read the first 100 pages and really take notes. And pay special attention to chapter 12! That's when it tells you what you need to do! Well thank fucking God. What was I doing in all these hospitals and treatment programs? All I had to do was read chapter 12 in this fuck's book! I just need to be less pessimistic! He said I seem "fairly intelligent" and should find a job where I really use my brain. "The key to happiness are in work and love." Wow, who knew it was that simple.

Well Dr. Q, you asshole, I'm glad you, with your almighty psych degree, know what's best for me while knowing nothing about my thoughts and feelings. Thanks for all the great advice I didn't ask for. I'll be sure to read that book even though I'm so malnourished and crippled by depression that I can barely focus or concentrate on anything. Of course, I won't forget to "focus on the positives" even though i'm crippled by the past and hardly functioning day-to-day.

If I ever see that book I will burn it.