Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Are you smarter than the bear?

You know how funny it is to watch the dog run around in circles chasing his tail? Everyone but the dog knows it is his tail. That is what makes it funny. Or maybe it is just the dog running in circles like that and NOT falling down. I don't know. Or, perhaps, it is that the dog can do this endlessly and never tire of it. Entertainment forever.

I have felt a bit like the dog. Only it hasn't been funny. Or entertaining. It has just been endless. And it has been exhausting.

Depending upon your geography, circumstance, upbringing, etc. the word therapy will resonate differently for you. I know that some people would rather eat chalk than see a therapist. Others have their therapist on speed dial. I have been in and out of therapy. Therapy is the place you go when your life goes into Crisis Mode and you need an unbiased person to help you sort it out. That has always been my view on therapy.

The last time I was in therapy was for marital counseling, then during the divorce, and then after the divorce. There was a lot of sorting there. Also several therapists.

Anyway, I know when I am unraveling. As in seriously unraveling. As in losing it. As in my cup runneth over with stress and I no longer know how to wade through it all. And I can't think clearly with the migraines and I need professional help. I am hitting the button. So, I hit the button and had my first appt on Monday. First appts are always hard.

Tell me in 45 minutes how you got here. The therapist doesn't actually say this, but I feel the pressure to explain it before I ever enter the room. As soon as I say that I have had this migraine for ten years.... every day for 10 years, I know I have to let the other person collect herself (in this case, herself). And then it is this: try to get through all of the crap in the last 10 years as fast as possible with everything that is beating you up worst now, so that she knows what you need. It is a lot of ground. But we did it. Glossing over the stuff we could come back to later. Hitting on the most relevant stuff to now.

She said something at the end about how well I articulated everything. I told her it wasn't my first ride on this Merry Go Round. Or something like that. And she rightly asked if I had been in Therapy before. I shared with her my philosophy about needing therapy when you hit those Crisis Points in your life. And she said, "Well, that is kinda like running for your life, while trying to load a gun for the first time, with a bear hot on your heels."

While I am trying to process that.... Yes, I was in the middle of an "aha" moment. I can vaguely hear her saying something like it is a lot better if we already know how to use the tools before we are in the crisis. Or something like that. I was still mentally picking myself up off the floor trying to digest the bear image. My Crisis Point therapy idea was wrong. As in really wrong. You wait until you are in crisis and you are already so far behind that you are running, loading, and have no idea how to shoot. Meanwhile there is a bear that wants to kill you and it is chasing you. That is not the time to be learning how to shoot the gun. In fact, it is an excellent way to get yourself shot.

I feel better already. We haven't actually solved anything. But, at least the person I am talking to is smarter than I am. I can't say that about every doctor I see.


  1. Robin: Can you please send me a box of chalk? I starving!

  2. lol, love this. I will probably go, realize I should have gone years ago..and that will be that. Then again, if you had the tools...you probably would not be where you are now. Got to start somewhere. and I feel you on the talking to someone smarter than yourself. it's harder than it looks. lol. Especially when you sarcastically throw out the catchphrases they are going to use before you get there, then you get there and they use them. It's all downhill from there. good luck, I hope it gets you where you want to be.

  3. The one and only time I ever spoke to a therapist for my own perceived benefit, I literally ran out the door and never looked back. She actually had stinky little furry dogs (and you know how much I actually do love dogs) penned up and whining in a corner of her office space and she couldn't seem to get over the fact that I actually felt really bad to say anything even remotely negative about my mother. It was truly awful. However, years later I had a wonderful experience with a support group- that is until most of them decided to be stuck in their issues for the rest of their lives. I really did get a lot out of that experience though.
    I hope you get plenty out of this. Your therapist sounds a lot more normal than the one I tried.

  4. My take on therapy has been mostly the same as yours, though I've known others who benefitted from regular work. But the therapist makes sense, especially to someone who often feels the bear's breath on her heels while hoping she won't break a nail while loading that gun for the first time if she can only remember where she hid the bullets. Something to give serious consideration to ....

  5. Therapists are like anything else... you have to find the one that fits you. I went to see a therapist after the death of my Dad and my divorce which happened just a few months later... she helped me. However, I've known quite a few therapists that were train wrecks.

    I hope all is well with you, Robin... :o)


  6. I'm definitely one of the ''keep a stiff upper lip'' types - I think I've spent too much time in England! Everything on this blog makes perfect sense to me, and your new therapist sounds as though she's going to be a good one!

  7. I think another way to phrase it is: It's a crappy time to learn to swim when you're drowning.

    I like to think of therapy as preventative medicine. I take it twice a month, like eating good food regularly and working out regularly, so that I don't get sick or get lazy on how self-aware I am. And I find that THAT preventative measure works wonders.

  8. As you know, I've been doing the therapy thing for about 4 years now. First, you need someone you trust. With your deepest gut. You should feel at least a little of that when you walk out the door after the first appointment. Then, IMO it's about how honest you are with the therapist. I know someone who isn't and it's helped exactly ...ZERO. I don't think that will be a problem for you though, Rob. (and I mean that in a very good way)I'm really glad you got a good vibe from this person. Plus, I like (and agree totally with) what she said about therapy being a preventative thing. Hang in there, kiddo. I'm rootin' for ya. XOXO


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