Firing One’s Shrink (Part One)
The shrink I’ve had for the last eight years or so is a nice guy. He was shrink #3, in line after Guy Who Couldn’t Prescribe and Guy Who Disappeared For Six Months Because He Had A Nervous Breakdown. Yes, my shrink had a nervous breakdown. You can’t make that stuff up. Shrink #3 means well, cares, and doesn’t get snippy and just refer you to someone else if you question his methods. He’s a good guy and makes his best attempt to not half-ass his job. He even keeps supplying me with drugs even though I can’t currently pay him for an office visit.
All that considered, he just doesn’t get it. I don’t know what I expected of him, really. I’ve been here all day every day for 32 years and I only get it 85% percent of the time.
He spent eight years telling me that my problem is wearing too much black, being too opinionated, and not having enough of a positive attitude. I’ll admit that those things don’t help, but I’ll also follow that by saying that the path to mental health is NOT sitting around indicting yourself for everything you do. It sounds like an excuse to never work on yourself, but there’s a difference between saying, “you know, I handled that badly, and now that I know better, I’ll do better” and saying “everything I do is wrong.”
The other night, I stood in the shower trying to remember when things started going really awry in the “indicting yourself for everything” department. It was a long, slow decline, so it’s hard to say. I suspect it started with art school, the unofficial motto of the program there being “if you’re not on anti-depressants now, you will be.” In the years 2001-2008, I heard more and more people saying things right to my face that they shouldn’t have had the balls to say because they should have known that I’d call them out for it. I fell down on the job of standing up for myself, so those people had no boundaries put in place. As a result, they felt perfectly free to treat me like crap, say non-constructive things to my face, dog me out in front of friends and coworkers, and (in one charming example) lay me off six days before I was supposed to close on my house. People, like toddlers and dogs, need boundaries. Without them, they lose respect for you and run wild. (PS: I fully grasp the implication of “people are like toddlers and dogs” and, no, toddlers are not people.)
How did we get here?
How did we lose the boundaries?
How did we end up paying someone to tell us we are wrong?
Why am I using the “kingly we”?
Tune in tomorrow.