Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Wednesday's At 11 With Sarah

"I quit therapy because my analyst was trying to help me behind my back."

-Richard Lewis

Leonardo da Vinci once said about art that, " it is never finished, only abandoned." If that's true about art... then I believe it is certainly true about therapy. I have been in therapy, in one form or another since I was 7 years old. That is a long time. LOL. Actually, there was a brief time in the early 1990's when I was blissfully sane. All was right with the world. Then the inevitable happened... LIFE. Well, actually, LIFE and Death. And also in there came stupid health issues like Epstein-Barr, and the onset of Panic Attacks. I still don't exactly know how or why I began having those, but I tell you what, I resolved to stop them from happening, and I saw it through. I occasionally get a pang of anxiety out of nowhere, but it no longer paralyzes me. I worked hard. I still work hard, just like so many other folks out there who are brave enough to face their personal demons, and deal with pain.

Pain. Does it ever amaze you just how many different directions pain can come at you from? Loss, unrealized desires, life frustrations, physical health issues, geographical moves, and so many more. I have dealt with my share, or so I always say just before some new stupid thing happens to make me sad. I like to think I have control over my own life... but realistically... of course I don't. My free will doesn't affect the decision someone else might make about their own life, which consequentially might spill over into mine. Take for example the drama that happened last week between my neighbors. I was sitting right here, happily working away on my computer, editing photos from a brilliantly lovely day, last year. All of a sudden, my neighbor is outside, screaming stupid, incoherent nonsense to the top of his lungs, which might be best described as a hissy fit. A grown man, stomping his feet and foaming at the mouth, because he was put out over something trivial.

That's not how I wanted to spend my night. Sheesh. "Hey buddy, do you need a plugsy (pacifier)?" Well, of course I didn't say that... but I wonder what he would have said, or done, if I had. Who knows? I wonder sometimes to myself, and I even asked Sarah a couple times, "Why should I be in therapy, working through stuff that is incredibly painful, trying to achieve good mental health, if nobody else is?" POUT. "Well," said Sarah, "Because you deserve to life the full happy life, and the truth is, you can't control how other's choose to live their life, but you can choose how you live yours." See, that's why she is the therapist. LOL.

"The Lamp" By Roy Lichtenstein

Sarah is the 45th therapist I have had in my lifetime. I asked her a little over a year ago, if she thought I might ever never need therapy, or was I doomed to have a standing appointment with the couch for Wednesday's, at 11, for the rest of my life. Does there come a point when, I will be done, finished, graduated to the world with a certificate in sanity? She smiled. She said nothing. For a long time. Then she said, " You have made amazing progress, you have all the skills you need for living in the world. So the question is... do you feel ready, or is there still some things you want to talk about?" I sat there, on that well worn in couch, where I am sure many tears have been shed over pain similar to my own, and suddenly I was aware of just how quiet the world seemed. I wasn't laughing, I wasn't crying, but inside my brain was a thousand questions... and I knew... I still had a ways to go.

Just before last Christmas, I asked her the same questions. Was I there yet? She said, "Yes." I anticipated that she might ask me if I felt I was there yet. She didn't, but I thought about that question anyway. Sigh. I think about a thousand questions came to mind, this time, however, I was answering them for myself. God I hate loss, I hate change. I hate that sometimes, people leave your life before you are ready to say goodbye. I hate the limbs that life makes us all go out on. I hate that love can be, at the same time, Ecstasy and Hell. I hate that I don't understand how it works, or how it can happen without our permission. But I know that I am happy it exists, and that I have it in my life in many forms. I don't really fear it like I once did, because sometimes love is just what happens to you, when you are busy making other plans. ;) My wonderful therapist Sarah, who has helped me find my way back to life, will be moving on to other opportunities at the end of the summer. I will miss our Wednesday at 11:00 appointments, but I am looking forward to just being in life again, flying solo, knowing I will land safely.

"Art enables us to find ourselves, and lose ourselves at the same time."

-Thomas Merton

"The Lamp"
Berkeley, California
Autumn, 2006


Robbie said...

I was in group therapy for about four years or so a while back. Gosh! It was about six years ago, I think. Sometimes I miss it. It was nice to have a set time each week to sit down and talk about what was going on. It's hard in the day to day hassle to do it. Or to open up and talk to friends because you don't want to impose on their time...yadda yadda yadda.

Anyhow, I asked the questions (When am I ready? How will I know?) about a year before I came to the realization that it was high time for therapy to end. When the time is right, you'll know. And, if it never is, enjoy your time as a time to take care of yourself. You deserve it. :-)

sunflowerkat said...

I've been in and out of therapy all my adult life. I have the best repoire with the guy I see now. That's a big loss I fear when we finally make the move. I don't feel like I'm ready to give up John.

You should be proud of all the progress you've made. Just think how many people refuse to face their emotional issues and live in pain their entire lives.

Steven said...

Love the Lamp. Lots of nice soft shadows. Very nice.

Hey, just so you know blogger flagged my blog as spam and I'm locked out of it until they determine it's not spam. Not sure how long that'll take.

My calm, cool and collected in the face of mind numbing nonsensical crap is all thanks to therapy.


Anonymous said...

I have never been to see a therapy. I don't like the idea of revealing my intermost feelings out to a stranger, I guess. I take all my feelings and dealings to the Lord in prayer and also read my bible. That is my therapy. *Smiles* It works for me.

Karen Funk Blocher said...

Thoughtful and interesting as always, and a nice tribute to Sarah - and to what you've accomplished together.