The One Where I’ve Been Avoiding My Therapist

Alright, that sounds really bad. But by avoiding my therapist I don’t mean, like, I’m having some really intense issues and hiding them from the person best equipped to help me. That such a situation is what the phrase probably calls to your mind is, I think, one of the things that’s broken about psychotherapy and the mental health industry in general. We assume that therapy and/or medication is the only valid solution for mental dis-ease, and that’s not true. It doesn’t work for everyone. In fact, it doesn’t really work for me.

Which is, I suppose, why I’m avoiding my therapist. You see, I have to keep seeing him, because to get top surgery and a scrip for T, I basically need a doctor’s note. I have to stick it out with the same therapist for however long it takes to get that note, and the money, to transition the way I want to. And I like my therapist. I’m happy to keep seeing him. But we don’t ever talk about gender or transitioning. I’ve got nothing new to say on the subject, anyway. You can’t make an hour-long session out of “Can I get my tits hacked off yet? How about now?”

What we talk about, instead, is my parents. I always have plenty to say on that subject. A new complaint every day. But none of it is progress. I can complain about my parents until my head falls off, and I probably will, but it won’t improve my relationship with them. At this point, I’m not sure I want it to. We’ve had multiple family sessions, too. Every time, it’s emotional and agonizing and seems like a breakthrough has finally, finally been made. Every time, as soon as we get out of my therapist’s office, nothing at all has changed. I’ve bent myself as far as I can go in every direction trying to find a place where the line of my life might again meet my family’s. As long as they won’t bend to meet me somewhere in the middle, nothing will change.

So, that’s all on them, now. I don’t see why I should have to keep talking about it, week in and week out. I don’t feel like talking about it. And I’m pretty sure in this case, I’m not retreating emotionally from something important. This isn’t important anymore. It’s a shallow, meaningless cycle. I’m bored of it.

In fact, I’m tired of talking about most of my feelings. The past week, I’ve been having minor bouts of depression. No big deal, nothing I can’t handle. And I don’t want to talk about it. Some part of me has this juvenile desire for people around me to magically notice and fix it for me without my having to say anything, but it’s not that large a part. And by fix it, I don’t mean talk it out, which is how most people tend to take that. Especially at a Women’s College. This isn’t just a stereotype, I speak from five long years’ experience. I mean show me a little affection and distract me with a movie or something. I don’t need to talk about my feelings. Sometimes they’re just there, they’re not some puzzle you can solve with the healing power of a sensitive dialogue. Feelings don’t always have a reason. Some of them are just chemical bullshit, and the best you can do is rearrange those chemicals by doing something other than talking about your feelings.

I don’t even feel like talking to my therapist about my feelings on the talking about your feelings model of therapy. I don’t feel like talking about much of anything, but I recognize that’s completely unhelpful to both my therapy and my social life. I’m working on that. At some point, I’ll convince myself to set up another session with my therapist, and I’ll tell him what I just told anyone who happens to read this. I’m also teaching myself to play Scrabble and RPGs and things, so I have something to do with my friends other than talking, you guessed it, about our feelings.

I thought I was wrapping this post up, but I’ve thought of another thing I simply must soapbox about. The assumption, invariably, when one isn’t interested in discussing their feelings, or when one does and goes about it more rationally than is considered normal, is that they are hiding from their feelings, repressing their feelings, bottling them up and preparing to explode. This is the one thing my therapist and I disagree on. I’ll report back to him on something that’s been bothering me, and give it to him in the form of my own logical analysis. I’ll tell him what I’m feeling, why I think I’m feeling, what I think other people involved may be thinking and feeling and why, whether I think the feeling has a rational basis or is an irrational reaction I should work through. And when I’m done, he’ll always point out that what I’m saying is intellectual, and that my intellectual standards cannot be applied to emotional issues.

Fuck. That.

Yes, a lot of people use logic to hide from their emotions, and that’s unhealthy. Just as many people use their emotions to hide from logic, which is equally unhealthy and also leads to them being really, really stupid! Why don’t we call them on their bullshit? Why do rationalists, emotionally healthy or otherwise, get their experience so thoroughly discounted and disdained by our society, while emotionalists can do whatever they please, as long as they’re true to their feelings.

Honestly, I just don’t have a lot of feelings. My everyday emotional range doesn’t really make it past the surface. For the most part, my emotions are shallow and transient. Some of them run deep, with an intensity that frightens me, but I do not use rationality to hide from these, either. I use it as a tool with which to dissect them, that I might understand them and keep both myself and other’s safe from any damage such intense feelings might cause.

So, what’s wrong with that, I ask you? Only that it seems to make my entire life experience that much more inaccessible to those around me. Why should it? It enables me to more clearly explain, to break down into easily understandable terms, my own subjective experience in a way other’s should be able to objectively understand. So why don’t they? Why can’t, say, my parents, as a random, non-specific example, two reasonably intelligent people, make sense of the very basic, clearly communicated information I provide them? In other words, put two and two together and get four?

Because our entire society is biased toward emotional experience. And not just emotional experience, but to a particular, prescribed form of it, in which feeling are priority one, but no one ever talks about them honestly. Most people are preprogrammed to focus on the subtext, often to the exclusion of the actual text. Often, the more honestly and rationally you present something, the more your audience will think it’s some kind of defense mechanism and start digging around for what you really mean. Repeatedly, in conversation with my parents, I find myself keeping my expression carefully stoic, trying my best not to exacerbate the situation, trying to protect them from my own emotional outbursts the way they never try to protect me. It never works. The more blank I keep my expression, the more hateful a message they see on it.

There’s nothing wrong with being an emotional person. But designing a whole society around the idea that A) passion always beats logic and secondly, no matter how much time we spend talking about our feelings, we always really mean what we’re not saying, is how we keep ending up with two plus two equals maybe pi? Or no, wait, 42!


~ by onetiddlyridley on March 16, 2011.

2 Responses to “The One Where I’ve Been Avoiding My Therapist”

  1. HI! I comment! I don’t know if you want a lot of feedback or not, but I am letting you know I read this post. I like reading your writing. But I really wish someone would make a tv show out of your and Lanthir and Iambic’s lives. And your other friends.

    Oh hey! Throwing a party on Fri. Come and bring friends? Lanthir’s mom will be here 😀

    Btw, got here via Fetlife link.

    • Huzzah! Always good to know people are reading what I write. And yes, I should be one a goddamn TV show. If only the networks would realize this.

      Um, I don’t see how I could make it down there. I have no transport. At all.

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