Firing One’s Shrink (part two)

One day (in this case, a day in 1998), you catch yourself balled up in a metaphorical fetal position. The next day, you admit you need help. You spend the next 12 years having shrinks give up on you, or you end up with a shrink who’s a serious feminist and just tells you you’re fabulous (nice, but not constructive). You put up with years of frustrating visits where a well-meaning doctor tells you the same damn thing he’s been saying for years. Try meeting guys at a book signing. Try dressing differently. Have you considered the armed forces? Maybe you should get some hobbies? No, hobbies that involve other people.

The last straw was when the shrink suggested that I “try to keep a schedule.”

Half of you are laughing your asses off right now because you know I am a walking schedule. To-do lists are a food group. I’m so heavily-scheduled that I feel genuinely sorry for any guy who tries to date me. I can’t (or won’t) drop everything on an hour’s notice to hang out with you. You have to give me enough notice that I can shift things around, so as to still get everything done. If I drop everything, I will eventually resent you because you have become the reason I’m not working out, not reading, not practicing, or not doing any of the other 1,000 things I was doing for years before we met. I need structure because the things I can’t control are quite enough chaos, thank you very much. (Ugh. I’m exhausting. God bless you guys.)

After the “try keeping a schedule” conversation with the shrink, I decided I could do badly all by myself. I’m tired of tracking down the shrink. I’m tired of paying for drugs. I’m tired of having my insurance rates jacked up. I’m tired of watching that change that comes across a guy’s face when I explain the two giant bottles of pills in my nightstand. Something in their eyes changes, some way that you are reflected in their eyes. It’s this “you’re not who I thought you were” look. What do you mean, you’re not bulletproof? This is OVER. I’m tired of being made to feel like I have something to apologize for.

OK, I have plenty to apologize for. Most of us do. But it’s not up to you (or Humana) to decide for me what those things are. I’m working my way through a long list of apologies that need to be given. It’s just taking a long time because I kind of suck at it.

Sidebar: it’s amazing the way that the need to apologize will eat away at your skin, and I don’t think I’m alone in that. Once upon a time, an ex of mine went off to L.A. for roughly 5 years. When he came to play a show, I decided to go, even though I wasn’t sure whether I’d be welcome. Still, it was one of those easy breakups, where nobody is to blame and it just didn’t work out. Nobody’s fault.

The first thing he did when I walked up was hug me. The second thing he did, immediately after, was apologize for the breakup. He didn’t even need to, but the way it was the first thing to come out of his face burned a Polaroid in my brain. The same thing happened with my dad at one point. I’d been all pissy for several years, over some things that were only kind of in my parents’ control. He eventually took me out on the front porch and apologized for “not always being the best dad.”

First off, he was the best dad that he knew how to be at any one time, which is all you can really ask of someone. Second, when my dad was the age I am right now, he had two kids. Sometimes you have to grow up and realize that you still don’t know what you’re doing in order to forgive your parents for not always knowing what they were doing. Third, he didn’t do too shabby a job with either me OR my sister. So there.

Tomorrow: coping mechanisms, Paxil wearing a wifebeater, and more tmi than you can shake a stick at.

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