I went to see my therapist yesterday and I have to say that, quite frankly, she pissed me off! I sat in the waiting room with my chest out and my shoulders back and a quiet smile on my face. For reasons outside of my control it had been quite some time since I’d seen my therapist and I was so excited to tell her that I’d been winning the battle with my bipolar disorder daily, posting to my blog; I’d started it in 2013 but hadn’t done much with it until this year, and I was still celebrating having a year clean and sober. I was all bubbles and sunshine inside while I waited to see that door open and her pop her head out and call me into her office. For the first time in forever I was really ready for therapy. Then it happened. She did call me back and on the way to her office she asked, “How’s it going?” I was beside myself with glee waiting to get started on how good life was going for me and how happy I’d been lately and then…she blew it.
I’d decided to downplay the sobriety thing and start with my mood. I told her that things had been quite good for me where my mood is concerned. I’d been able to use my CBT and DBT skills to keep me grounded and I’d been more positive than I’d been in a very long time. She looked at me with a blank stare, shook her head and that was it. Really? Maybe she didn’t hear me. Maybe her mind was someplace else, I don’t know. This wasn’t what I expected or what I’d planned on. This was supposed to just floor her and instead she just looked at me. Fine. Okay. I decided to talk about my blogging.
I went into detail about how I’d been putting my feelings into the blogosphere about my bipolar disorder and treatment and my recovery from drugs and alcohol. I knew she’d be impressed with me because I’d been in a horrible slump for so long not able to do much of anything and this was monumental for me. I kept looking at her face waiting for the big smile to open up and let me know she was proud of me. Nothing. She just shook her head and turned around to her computer and began making notes. Are you fucking kidding me! What the hell is her problem; clearly she did have a problem. Well, the last thing I had in my arsenal was my sober birthday and I knew this was going to get her.
After no response to my rambling about my good mood and my blog I was jumping up and down inside to tell my therapist I’d finally reached my first year of sobriety. And I was right, that got a response. “How did you feel about that?” That’s what I got; a question. As far as I was concerned it was a stupid question. Wasn’t sobriety like this the goal of hours of therapy and training? Anyway, I decided to bring attention to my blogging again and explain how I’d blogged about the bittersweet feeling of my year being sober. I went into detail and made a very important point; at least I thought it was, about mourning my addiction like a good friend. I thought this was really big and I thought that being able to verbalize it in such a way would surely impress her. Nope. What did she do? I’ll tell you what she did. She took the wind out of my sail like her certification gave her the right to just cut me down at the knees. How dare she! “Well, you’ve been mourning this for months, what makes it any different now?” That was it; I needed to do some quick mental checking because I was on the verge of losing my cool.
In my head this woman was every name in the book but a child of god. I thought about getting up and just telling her never mind for the session and walking out, she’d touched something in me that I knew wasn’t good. My inner demon was coming to life and that never ends well. In an instant I had to jerk myself back to a happy place because I was quickly going down the wrong road. I could envision her calling security just like the social worker did in the ER when I came to the defense of my partner; I just hoped my eyes hadn’t turned the least bit red. This just wasn’t going the way I’d envisioned and I was totally thrown off by her nonchalance. Right then I had to decide whether to take the high road or to just show my ass. Trust me, it was a hard decision. All of this took place in a split second.
And then I came to the realization that, as much as I wanted my therapist to be happy for me and give me some sort of accolade, the most important thing is how I feel about what I’ve done and how far I’ve come. My therapist’s job is to guide me down the road to being able to manage my mental illness and staying sober. She’s not responsible for giving me my self-worth; that’s my job.
So after I had this internal dialogue with myself I decided to let my therapist off the hook and go on with our session. I reminded myself that I was there for therapy not ego stroking and, surprisingly, I was okay with that.