Full disclosure, before I get started here, I should state that I’ve been with my therapist for something like 6 years now. I’m not sure how typical that is, but really, nothing about my life is typical so this falls perfectly in line.
We have a weird relationship. It’s mostly always good, but…ya know. There’s that part of it that has an emotional and human element to it. whatever that means.
I know she cares. At the end of the day…I know she cares. And taking the “human” side of it into account..that’s probably where a lot of these things come from.
It’s funny, because in my post a few days ago, I mentioned how much I hate those questionnaires they ask you when you go to the doctor. You know the ones…the depression and anxiety screening and all that. Yeah. So if you read that post, you already know my feelings about those.
In my opinion, they’re useless, they tell you very little, and they’re not reliable. Depending on who is asking me the questions, my degree of honesty varies greatly. If I don’t know you or trust you, I guarantee I’ll give the most benign answers that may score me mild or moderate at best. If I know you and trust you quite a bit, like I do my therapist…. I’ll be more honest.
But that honesty has a floor. No matter how bad things get or feel, unless I’m actually that desperate (which I have been in the past), I’m just not going to say those things. I’m not going to answer those certain questions as honestly as I feel them. Because there just isn’t a point. There’s nothing to gain (for me, in my opinion), from being that honest.
In conversation, that’s different. I frequently and openly tell her the darkness that I feel. But in a questionnaire? No. Im sorry. I’ve been “trained” better than that. So my lowest answers will always be consistent. There is an absolute floor to my honesty that won’t be exceeded when it comes specifically to something like questionnaires.
That floor was created to protect me. At a young age, I learned that I was absolutely not allowed to ever disclose how I really felt. I would always get in “trouble”. By my parents, by my school….there was always a consequence for honesty. So, again…while I’ve grown and adapted in conversation….I’m sorry but that just doesn’t, and will not ever apply in the form of a documented questionnaire.
So all that is to say…last night was a rough session. It wasn’t difficult in the sense of conflict, more like heavy in feelings and heavy with the topics discussed. I very rarely show up with any sort of emotion other than sarcasm (yes, sarcasm is an emotion in my books), so when I do, it’s usually a red flag for her I’m sure. We’ve been working through some very complicated and heavy things recently..and I promise I’ll fill you in on that soon. But I’m really not ready yet to put something out there into existence that just may never happen.
Any time things get just a bit too heavy or too real…it seems like things go wrong. And to be honest, there was nothing crazy going on. No tears (hah, I’ve literally never, ever cried during therapy. It’s actually a goal of mine to one day be able to…but now isn’t the time), no conflict or disagreement…just heaviness. As to be expected.
The other night was rough for me. Going into therapy the day after that particular night…well…I just didn’t feel great I guess.
Anyway. It’s heavy and rough for a bit, then it gets quiet. For maybe a minute or two too long. She asks if I’ll “answer some questions” and I laugh and say sure, because I know exactly where this is going.
She goes through and does a few of those test things and then compares them to the last time we did this, which apparently was last May, so over a year ago. Her demeanor changed and I could tell she was disappointed. I made some jokes to lighten the mood because, well, you know me.
She’s disappointed, frustrated, upset…something along those lines. Hard to tell exactly. But she says that my scores were pretty much the same as last time, over a year ago. Again, I joke and say “that’s great! We always strive for not worse”. She was serious and said “actually no, that’s not great”.
Again, I already know where we are headed here. Lack of progress, blah blah blah. She said she would have hoped or expected me to make more progress in that time and wants me to come up with things to do that might help us progress faster or something.
And this is where Therapy makes no damn sense
If you want to go ahead and look at some test scores to determine my “progress”…well, that’s just silly. Come on. I sit in front of you 3-4 hours every week. Like…she knows me. COME ON.
Guys, last year I was the hot mess express, I mean really. I’m still basically a shit show, but oooooooh boy. If you were to see me last year? To say that I haven’t made progress since then is laughable, and also slightly insulting.
Just a glimpse of last year, I wasn’t sober. Like…at all. Ever. I’d wake up and just drink, and then would drink all day. I was living in a cycle of complete misery. My marriage was pretty shit, NOTHING was going well. I was self harming just about daily, and really, I’m shocked it made it out of that year alive. It was very easily the WORST year of my life. It was shockingly bad, and while things still aren’t perfect…come on now.
Your test results say that I haven’t made progress since last year. But I really beg to differ.
And not for nothing…I did go through a rather traumatic sexual assault just weeks ago, So lets not forget about that. Don’t look at your scores, which we ALL know I’ve unintentionally trained myself to answer more or less the same way every time, and determine that there hasn’t been progress made.
I understand her frustration, I understand where she’s coming from. Yes, last night our session was difficult. But just because things are heavy and my life is hard and there is a LOT of pain to work through…lets not be so quick to say that our time working together isn’t doing enough.
JP, you’ll probably never see this one, and if you do, that’s really fine too. You single handedly kept me alive last year. I mean, some other stuff too, but there’s just no way I’d still be here without the hours spent in your office feeling like shit. More often than not I’d leave feeling just a little bit better, or at least a little bit less alone. It was the strength I needed to make it to the next day.
Your test scores say I haven’t progressed, and I understand why that is incredibly frustrating to see objectively. But let me tell you…I would really, REALLY hate to go back to living the way I was living last year.
Things aren’t great now, they’re not perfect or pretty or sustainable…but if we’re truly going to compare right now to last May…things really are drastically different. Even if it doesn’t look like it. And I know you think I should’ve made “more” progress, and of course I’d love to feel better as well…but, like we all know, my life is an abnormal shit show, and it’s extremely painful and difficult. So lets not operate under the assumption that I should “progress” at any certain set pace.
Again, I really do get it. It’s probably incredibly frustrating or annoying or whatever word you want to use to have to see me so often and feel like nothing is better or changing. I’m struggling, and things suck. They will for a while.
But I promise. Last year was worse.