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.