Yes, I’m a complicated man. And sometimes therapy is needed. Honestly, I don’t understand the stigma some people associate with seeing a mental health professional. My ex had an extreme phobia. She would never seek help until things were too far gone…..and her hatred of shrinks was one of the main contributors to our breakup. And in hindsight…..thank you Lord for the fact that she flipped out when I insisted on going to couple’s counseling before we were married. Biggest. Bullet. Dodge. EVER.
As for me, I grew up around therapists and have had at least half a dozen different ones since I was about 17 or 18. The first time I saw one was a few months after my best friend, who was about seven years older than me, murdered his wife and a good friend of ours when he thought they were messing around. And he did it really, really ugly. He will die in prison. I was not a model citizen when I was a teenager, and it took a while for the impact of that whole event to takes its toll. But when it did, my therapy journey began.
Since then I’ve gone to different ones for different reasons…..bad relationships, deaths, general depression and anxiety, etc. A few weeks ago I started seeing a new guy when United Behavioral Health (the worst company in the history of this planet) dropped my regular therapist. In reality, it’s a good thing to get a fresh start…….I have a weird way, be it conscious or unconscious, of developing too friendly of a relationship with my therapists, and the new guy is very professional and challenging, which is what I need. I had one guy, back when I was living the porn-dealer rock and roll life, actually tell me “I love seeing that you’re coming in because it’s like an episode of Melrose Place”. Melrose Place was like 7th Heaven compared to the reality of my situation at the time, but either way, not a good line to cross with a client.
So with everything that 2009 has given me……surgery, three deaths in the family, looming job loss, as well as the great things like a marriage in a few weeks, there comes a time to check in with an unbiased professional. The bariatric surgery is still an issue at times too…..the foreign joy of no longer having to buy the largest sizes at Old Navy anymore, as well as dealing with unburdening yourself from a lifetime of insecurity and self loathing. Not to mention the sickness at your core that drives the addictive personality that required the surgery in the first place…..and the minefield of replacement addictions you have to avoid…..everyone who has read any of this blog knows my lifetime love of booze.
Long story short, I’ve only had a few weekly sessions so far and I do like my new guy. He’ll do that thing like you see on TV where he’ll ask a basic question and let you answer it, and then ask the same question again when you’re supposed to go a little deeper with it. I like having to really think and leave with things to think about, and he mixes it up enough to keep you involved and thinking towards your next session. And of course, there is the homework…….
I am NOT someone who would ever buy anything endorsed by Oprah, but at his suggestion I bought a couple of books by Eckhart Tolle……dealing with boredom and things being too slow is a HUGE issue for me, so reading about being in “the now” like a former therapist discussed with me could be beneficial. Especially when we talk about eating/alcohol issues…..now that I can’t pig out, my tendency to drink is all about making things that would normally bore the shit out of me bearable. Get a bottle of wine in me and I can surf YouTube indefinitely…..something I would NEVER normally do, and something that is honestly not as productive as I like to be.
So some major themes….dealing with “boredom” and where that comes from, which I’ll read about. Then he had me watch “Tuesdays with Morrie” after we talked about my obsession with being very project-oriented and the need to “get everything done”….even though that’s an impossibility, and how it keeps you from enjoying the basic things in life. For example, I have a nice deck and furniture out back and I PICTURE myself out there after mowing the yard and watering my herbs, watching the sun go down with a nice cigar and my dog……but that NEVER happens because there’s always something else to be obsessive about. I can’t slow my brain down enough just to enjoy something that simple. I LOVE Jack Lemmon, and I did find the movie to be applicable to our therapy….lots of OCD/fear/father issues that ran parallel to much of what is on my mind.
Then last week, per the title of this post…….he told me to watch Fireproof after we talked about how fear is too much of a driver in my life, and how letting low-self esteem take over is really just an egotistical way of putting yourself at the center of the universe and making everything about YOU. But Fireproof? Seriously? That was the first time I literally looked at him and went “What the HELL?”. I’ve spoken of my distaste for Kirk Cameron and his whole “Way of the Master” religious con job…..so asking me to watch that movie wasn’t too far from asking me to attend a tent revival. And the movie is pretty much what you expect…..bad acting and cinematography like one of those Lifetime Channel movies. BUT, there really were some decent themes about marriage and taking yourself out of the center of the universe….and the religious content wasn’t nearly as overboard as I was expecting.
So I’ll go back in tomorrow and we’ll talk about it……there are a lot of things in life that I love and enjoy, but part of this round of therapy is about actually DOING them and opening up. It makes me happy to branch out and be way more active, be around people, write more….and I do realize that my potential would be a horrible thing to waste. Cheesiest saying EVER, but there is some huge truth to nobody being able to love you until you love yourself. So I’ll forgive him for Fireproof…one thing it did remind me about was the fact that 99% of Christian people are nothing like the Evangelical creeps I obsess over. If they want to make their Fireproof movies, without that damn Kirk Cameron next time (WOW he is a bad actor…..I mean BAAAADDD), it really doesn’t hurt anyone. I mean, even factoring in the cheese-factor and the ham-handed scriptural content, it’s way, WAY less offensive than a charlatan like Dr. Phil.
So that’s the long and short of things…..not exciting, and more for my own point of reference since I find the blog to be an invaluable way to judge where I’m at.
And three weeks from Thursday I’ll be a married man!