I knew this would happen. Good intentions entirely blown out of the water. Set up a travel blog before you go to the West Coast of Canada for two months, write about scenery and your thoughts on the world, the thoughts in your head and maybe a humourous tale or two. And here I am, nearly a year later, no further forward – although I did take the trip, but not a word has been written. But, I did get published in a national newspaper, so that’s something… see here: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/apr/30/what-im-really-thinking-person-in-therapy
So, where next. I’ve always felt “Letters to my Therapist” would have legs, or at least “Letters to my therapist, about my therapist, about therapy and other tales” would (title not snappy enough). I used to write three or four times a day, so I know I can do it, hopefully it’s more succinct than before (not hard). We’ll see.
I realise that my first few posts have been entirely unrelated to each other. Vague even. The title of my blog has no bearing on anything I’ve said. That’s not really intentional, and I hope in the not to distant future all will become clear, it’s just, real life isn’t straightforward, so the things I hoped would be happening are still somewhat in limbo.
All should make sense soon…
There are certain topics of conversation that will always stop anyone in their tracks. Admitting to having a weekly therapy habit is – in my experience – pretty much the pinnacle of ending small talk. As a Brit, therapy as a weekly expenditure (£40 an hour if you must know) is somewhat frowned upon. I get that. However, I don’t understand people who spend £40 on their nails once a week either so let’s call it even.
You may see me walking into my therapist’s office and not have a clue that is where I am going. There is no flashing neon sign advertising the supposed witchcraft going on behind the door. It is just an office, in the middle of a city, as anonymous as the individuals who enter it.
Therapy is, to most, the Freudian Hollywood version. A bearded, bespectacled, German accented old man sitting in a wing backed chair, in a dark room, pipe in mouth asking me (lying on a sofa like a damsel) how that makes me feel. However, my therapist is young, with beard (in a hipster way, not a Gandalf way) and I can assure you, I have never laid down on a sofa, although I do sit on one. It’s from IKEA and is probably the same as the one in your living room. The Mark Rothko painting on his office wall is a perpetual sore point for me – I plot to get rid of its hideous form every week.
There is no suggestion that every thought I have can be traced back to my mother or my father or phallic analogies. We talk about the things that keep me awake at night, the flashbacks to my past that happen in the middle of my day-to-day life for no apparent reason. Freud has never been mentioned. I have seen nine therapists and psychiatrists to get to this point. Getting to this point hasn’t been easy. What we talk about now isn’t easy either. It’s not meant to be.
I don’t know that it matters why I spend twelve percent of my monthly income on paying a stranger to listen to my dark confessions. Nevertheless, I find huge relief and comfort in talking to someone who has no stake in the players of my life and who can help me – piece-by-piece – work out why some days are harder than others. So, if I mention therapy to you, please don’t baulk, just smile and nod, while you admire your £40 manicure.
I am, at this stage – that is early February 2016 – in some ways finally moving in the right direction. There is a plan of sorts, there are dates and there is a ripple of relief running through my veins. I am so entirely in need of a break from my life, that this seems like the only way to do it. Remove myself. Some may say I am running away. I probably am. But can anyone really blame me? I have, for so long stayed still, because I thought I had to. Because the alternatives were always somewhat blocked. And I don’t know if that means the past three years or the past 16. A combination of both.
Now. Now, there is what I can only describe as a big old exhale on the horizon. That’s what it feels like – just a big long deep breath out. Nowhere to be. No-one to please, or not as the case may be. Just me, trying to work it all out. I may fail, I may soar. Either way, I will know I have done all I needed to in that moment.
There are things before it, exciting things, but nothing that makes me want or need to stay for much longer than that. Same old same old.
I used to have a blog http://teasympathyedinburgh.blogspot.co.uk/ but I gave up in 2012 (such a slacker). I may revive blogging as a side line. Who knows. But, for now, this will be it….