I have a theory. It is about denying my own shame.
I cultivate these crystals of negative thought. These little self-contained notions -- hard and possibly sharp-edged, tiny but numerous. They have gathered, throughout my life, into a sediment that cushions the bottom of my conscious. They are sublty building themselves into an undeniable majority.
Sometimes I have fantasies, as I lie in bed in the dark, that I can carve a hole in my skull and pour them out into a pile of white on the living room floor, I can watch them skitter away, little pieces of self loathing, under the couch, under the chair, let them be ground into the weave of the carpet. Hold them up in handfuls, watch them pour through my fingers.
Maybe vaccuum them up, perhaps using one of those long thin attachments designed to help you suck dirt from small places.
They'd still be there, though.
The specific chemical makeup inside my head would still combine to precipitate them, filtering like snow until I am a shuddering, capital-a-anxiety-filled mess again.
Hence, the therapist.
His name is Dan but I call him DeeP. This has to do with my own personal amusement -- a shortening of his initials (DP) into a little jibe at his chosen profession.
He accepts this with little comment. I believe he is secretly pleased at garnering a nickname. One of the sick, sick aspects of therapy is how therapists love to vivisect your relationship with them as part of "the process." You are constantly forced to analyze your own analysis of the situation, creating a sort of MC Escher effect that, occassionally, I consider to be fucking annoying.
Of course, when I say, "DeeP, you are being FUCKING ANNOYING," He seizes upon this moment to say something like, "I seem to have hit a nerve." He usually does this while arching an eyebrow in a coy manner.
Well, I like the guy, anyway. Trust him, even. Which makes me, I suppose, a very lucky girl. There is a possibility he can help me manage my in-scull beach situation.
He is not the first therapist I've tried. Only the first I liked.
About four years ago, I was having trouble keeping my sand-filled head above water, and a friend refered me to her therapist.
This woman, I'll call her Dr. Friend, (ironically, this really is her name. Don't tell anyone, okay?) shares a huge modern loft space with her husband, who is also a therapist. They had a receptionist who sat at a massive oak desk with a phone, a lamp, a rolodex, and a vacant smile.
Dr. Friend came out and ushered me into her office, which contained a desk, a couple of large, overstuffed chairs, and massive bookcases filled with books. During my first and last appointment with Dr. Friend, she peered at me over her stern half-glasses, underneath her perfectly coiffed hair helmet, and nodded silently over her notebook as I articulated my pain -- recent suicide in the family, fucked up divorce, fucked up relationships, etc. and on and on.
At the end of the session she cut me off mid-rant. "Well, we're out of time," She said, closing her notebook and tucking the pencil into a drawer. "I want to say that you definitely need therapy. But I can't be your therapist."
That's right, people. I was rejected by the therapist.
Turns out, my friend was too close of a friend for me to see Dr. Friend. She might have had some sort of conflict inherent.
She said, "I will connect you with my husband."
Dr. Friend is married to a man I simply refer to as Dr. Chuckles. Dr. Chuckles had an office full of objet d'art behind glass, artfully lit. He would sit in his uncomfortable wooden chairs and chat. Dr. Chuckles would sit at a slouch, his long legs sprawled in front of him, and slide his sock-clad feet in and out of his tasseled loafers. Dr. Chuckles and I didn't have too much chemistry, but, in the end, it was his loafers that drove me away. I just couldn't take the way he would slide his feet in and out of his shoes while I paid him to do just that.
Next, I was referred to a severe older jewish woman in a ritzy neighborhood. She had an office filled with piles. Piles of books, piles of papers, piles of magazines, piles of files. She had a space carved out of the piles for a couch and a lamp, where we would sit together during our sessions.
At first, I felt like I might be able to handle this one, the pile lady.
But then I noticed she had a tendency to forget what I would tell her from session to session -- I would have to fill her in again and again on the most basic of details. Then, I noticed that she began to make strange, sweeping diagnoses -- on the fourth visit, she suggested that, perhaps, was I a compulsive, chronic masturbator?
Lady, I hardly know you.
Now, good people, I may, on ocassion, enjoy a nice release now and again. Not that I particularly want to share this with anyone, even, sometimes, my own lovers. It's, well, kinda private.
Point being, I wasn't sure pile lady even remembered my name. Why on earth was she making me wonder if my self-pleasure was an unhealthy indulgence?
Nonetheless, I persevered. Over the next several weeks, I:
-was told to go out and buy this book. Yes, I am easily distracted, I am an American Child of MTV. People, yes, I have my moments. But, as I read this book, I knew that this was absolutely not me. Strike two, pile lady.
The final strike, the eventual out, happened at my final session -- I was describing a situation with a friend. Now, there is no denying that my friendship with Johnny is, at times, somewhat unhealthy. But, ultimately, he is like my brother. He's with me to the end. Some other time I'll tell some stories about Johnny -- in the meantime, I cannot get driven to distraction -- as I wound down my description, she eyed me with alarm. "I think this friendship is unhealthy," she said, after hearing me describe it for exactly 50 minutes. "You must cut off this friendship altogether. Until you do this, I suggest you don't come back here."
Now, to me, this seemed somewhat irresponsible of pile lady.
I'm still friends with Johnny, but I didn't go back.
I found DeeP when, in a apopolectic depression, I dialed one of those 1-800 lifelines you always have as part of your benefits package. I dialed the lifeline at 3AM on a Saturday morning, weeping uncontrollably.
They sent me to DeeP.
Ah, DeeP, with your smart mouth and sweet mannerisms. Thank goodness for you.