Sunday, March 6, 2011

Antibiotics for the Soul

Confession: I started seeing a therapist about a month ago.

I tell all my friends therapy is a great thing.  I was deeply involved in my college’s peer counseling program.  I’m about to be a health care professional and I really do believe that therapy and mental health support services can change and help people in immeasurable ways.

Despite all this, going was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made.

Now that I’ve started seeing someone it doesn’t seem like a big deal at all.  I talk to my friends about it openly and don’t feel self-conscious.  I even told Samuel Whiskers, back when I was still emailing him and I hadn’t completely walled myself off, that I was going and even now it doesn’t feel like a loss of face.  It really was just getting over the hump of picking up the phone and making an appointment.

So why did that seem like such a huge, insurmountable task which I couldn’t possibly bring myself to do at the time?

I guess I was just too proud. 

I thought that needing to go to therapy was admitting defeat.  That it meant the life and support system that I had built was not enough.  It meant that I didn’t have enough friends or they didn’t love me or tolerate me enough to get me through a rough patch.  It meant that my willpower wasn’t strong enough to put aside the hurt and carry on with my life I after I had tripped and fallen.  It meant that this really was a big deal and something I just couldn’t handle.

But here’s the thing.  When I did call it was because I was defeated.  I just needed to realize that this was my Waterloo.

Even though I’m glad I’m in therapy and I really do look forward to that hour every week, I still struggle with the idea that this was my breaking point.  It was three months.  It was fun and made me really happy, but I think mainly in a superficial way.  I was not in love.  So why does this feel like the denouement of my life and not of a passing relationship?

If I had felt this way after my previous relationship I tell myself that it would have been easier to swallow.  I had invested not just three years of my life, but my whole heart and being in him.  I thought I was going to marry him and that was going to be the rest of my life. 

It wasn’t, obviously. 

So shouldn’t having my whole life plan turned on end have been the great event which sent me to my knees?  Surprisingly it wasn’t and I can’t figure out why.

Right now I tell myself that it was a combination of stresses that weighed on me.  I still had unresolved feelings over my last relationship and probably still do.  I constantly have doubts about the career path I’ve chosen.  I’m overworked and under rested.  But in reality I feel like those are generic umbrella excuses which don’t come close to explaining why I was so cut to the quick.

I’m obsessed with finding the answer because deep down I feel like it’s the key to a cure.

Once upon a time people thought germ theory was crazy.  The concept that something tiny and virtually invisible could cause so much death and destruction was inconceivable and the institution of medicine resisted this theory for decades if not centuries, allowing and probably being the cause of thousands of deaths.  It took so long to find cures for diseases because physicians refused to believe that there was a sincere cause to be found.

I am looking for my germ. 

It may be invisible now, but I am determined to use every avenue available to find it.  I know it’s naïve to think that I will be able to pinpoint the source of all my vulnerability and suffering so accurately, but the thing is simple answers are discovered every day, and they were missed before because people didn’t have the faith and simplicity of mind to believe they could exist.

I’m not afraid to look.  If there's a germ then maybe there's a penicillin too.          


1 comment:

  1. I had a great therapy session today and left feeling happier and lighter than I have in a long time. I owe it to you and Flopsy and our other rabbit friends who have been so supportive and open and allow me to talk freely because I know you guys love me unconditionally. Like you, I had no idea why all of a sudden everything fell apart--there didn't seem to be a logical explanation. But it's there, somewhere. I don't know if I've found my germ yet, but I know that whatever it is, it's treatable :-)