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It’s been some time

It’s been awhile since I last posted. I’ll work on some content for you guys soon. I have a few ideas for posts. It’s been a busy couple of months.

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Blog posts

Preaching to the Choir

I wish I could take my own advice and practice what I preach. I spend most of my helping other people and hating myself. I teach people skills in therapy. I teach them things they can use to improve their lives and reduce their symptoms. I know that I should probably use these skills myself, but I really have trouble believing in them.

Here’s the thing, I believe in therapy. I believe in cognitive restructuring and defusion. I believe in mindfulness and self-acceptance. I believe in behavioral activation. I believe in exposures. I believe in goal-setting and engaging in values. I believe that what I do with my patients really helps them. So, why can’t I believe it will help me?

Recently, I felt this rush of motivation that I haven’t felt for months. I was using my planner, creating tasks, getting shit done. It was great, but I burned out after two days. In my fervor, I contacted about 25 therapists in my local area, to get myself in for an appointment ASAP. I have the good sense to know that these brief periods when my depression disappears are just that, brief. I wanted to plan ahead. So, I have an appointment scheduled with a lovely woman who has her PsyD and has probably had excellent clinical training. She seems to be well-versed in the same empirically-supported treatments that I administer to my clients. I felt very strongly about finding someone who employs evidence-based practice and this lady seems to fit the bill. Nevertheless, I am hesitant to be hopeful.

I worry that, on some level, I am beyond professional help. Now, that I can recognize as a potential cognitive distortion (i.e., a “thinking trap” that probably isn’t true). I can examine the evidence for and against that belief. Obviously, I know that there are people who have much more severe impairment and pathology than I do, and these types of treatments have worked for them. I’ve seen them work for people. I know that the data supports their use. I also know that I am a graduate student. If I were beyond professional help, I don’t think I’d be able to keep my head above water the way I have. In some ways, I’d be a model client. I really want to get better. I have awareness of my problems. I’m familiar with the therapy process.

However, the “stickier” thought is that therapy won’t work for me because I already know everything she could teach me. In terms of techniques, I know CBT (her go to therapy) very well. I don’t think there is anything she can teach me that I don’t already know and haven’t already tried. When I learn a new therapy, I try to work myself through it before using it with a client. So, I don’t just have theoretical knowledge of this stuff. I’ve applied it to myself and failed. I don’t have high hopes for therapy. I don’t see it working for me.

Still, I suppose there is some degree of hope. I haven’t cancelled my appointment yet. I’ll give it a try, I guess.

 

I wonder how good of a therapist I can be, if I fail so miserably at applying these skills to myself…

poetry

My Depression, My Everything

My depression, like me, is a cliche.

It’s poem I write,

A talent I’m unsure of.

Because I don’t remember if I’ve heard this one before or if it came from my own brain.

My depression does that sometimes.

It makes me question my reality.

Sure, I thought the party went well, but have I considered that everyone just feels bad for me and no one actually likes me?

My depression is the voice in my head that screams “YOU ARE STUPID SHUT UP STOP TALKING” while I am trying to have a conversation with a colleague.

My depression is the “sorry I forgot what where I was going with that could you repeat the question sorry” when I raise my hand in class.

My depression is a punchline,

A joke I tell.

Isn’t it funny that this therapist is more fucked up than her patients?

Guess what they say about us is true.

We really are even crazier than you.

My depression isn’t blue.

It’s grey.

It’s all the brightness in my world gone dark.

An invisible vampire, draining me of love and hope and drive

Sucking the color from my life right before my eyes.

My depression is the roommate of your nightmares.

She’s always fucking home.

She keeps me up at night.

She’s loud and rude and barges into my room without asking when I’ve clearly shut the door.

She leaves dishes in the sink for weeks and crumbs everywhere she goes and calls me lazy for not cleaning up her mess.

She throws parties and invites me but makes me sit in the corner alone the whole time just waiting for all these people to go home.

My depression is the “just chillen” text I always send when you ask me what I’m doing.

Because I can’t tell you I’ve been sitting in my bed for six hours pretending I’ll get up in ten minutes… fifteen minutes… twenty thirty fourty… An hour two hours three hours

My depression is a clock.

Counting down the wasted time I’ve lent to indecision

Should I study first or write this paper or maybe I should shower haven’t done that in awhile I also need to do laundry soon because I’m pretty much out of clean underwear maybe I should just buy some more so I can put off laundry for another two weeks but then I’d have to go to the store which means I’d need to put on clothes and I have no clean underwear maybe I should just order some on online but then I’d need to get up to get my laptop and that’s not within arms reach so…

My depression is an excuse.

I’m a bitch, but it’s not my fault

I’m just depressed.

I’m selfish, but it’s not my fault

I’m just depressed

I’m destructive, but it’s not my fault

I’m. Just. Depressed.

My depression is the standard “Sorry I’ve been like sooooo busy with work lately” message I send to tinder matches after ghosting them for three weeks because I started to think I wasn’t capable of love until the empty walls of my apartment started closing in around me and I just wanted to spend the night with someone, anyone.

My depression is the lie I tell my father when he asks if I’m “feeling better this week”.

My depression is the lie I tell my mother when she asks if I’ve ever hurt myself.

My depression is the sinking ship I refuse to abandon.

My depression is my ambition crumpled up like trash on my bedroom floor.

My depression is due dates passed and unplayed voicemails

It’s chipped nail polish and smudged eyeliner

It’s unwashed hair and clogged sinks.

It’s the pile of old clothes that “I’m going to sell on ebay next weekend AT THE LATEST” that’s been living in my closet for the past two years.

My depression is empty diary pages and empty packs of cigarettes

It’s empty promises and empty smiles

It’s hurting you before you can hurt me

Because you will hurt me.

My depression is a fucking cunt and she’s ruining my life.

All that said,

My depression is my only friend

When I feel alone, she’s always been there to wrap her arms around me.

She tells me I just need to get some rest.

My depression spends the night when no one else will.

She’s seen me through my darkest times.

Sure, she’s kind of a bitch and treats me like shit, but she’s the only one who’s never left me.

She’s the only one I can count on to always be around.

I can’t just let her go.

Can I?

Blog posts

A few thoughts…

This has been a weird week and it’s only Wednesday.

I see all of my clients on Mondays and Tuesdays and everyone cancelled on me this week. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. It is really bizarre, but I guess it worked out that it happened this week. I have a huge presentation next week and gave a practice talk this Tuesday. All the cancellations gave me some extra time to practice.

Things haven’t really been great lately, but I’m getting through, regardless. I feel a little blunted. Things keep happening but I’m a little numb to the stress at this point. I don’t really know if that represents progress and growth or learned helplessness. I don’t feel particularly depressed, but I don’t quite feel euthymic.

I have an exam on Friday, for which I have not studied. I can’t seem to focus on anything lately. I should probably try to cram a little studying in, but I have so little motivation to do so.

I really wish I could enjoy my life. I am so young and missing out on so much. I don’t know very much about myself. I don’t have any hobbies or talents or interests. It’s a little sad…

This post is a bit scattered and tangential but that seems to be how my mind has been lately. So I guess it’s a good representation of my mental state.

Hope all is well with everyone. I am hoping to write with more focus after this presentation nonsense is over.

Wish me luck!

S.T.

Blog posts

Family Matters

I have been affected, in ways I had not realized until recently, by the way my family has treated me and has treated each other. The way I view relationships, friendships, myself, and the world has been irreparably damaged by my upbringing. Of course, everyone is affected by their upbringing and their parents. I do not claim to be special in this way. However, since becoming a therapist, I have seen how deeply these issues affect people and it has made me start to think more deeply about my own life.

It is no secret that I have problems. I have trouble trusting people. I hold grudges. I get severely depressed. I get anxious. I get desperate. I get furious. I have a lot of problems. I put up a wall between the rest of the world and myself. Very few people get through and get to know the real me. Actually, when I think about it, I don’t know that anyone really does know the real me. I’m not even sure that I do.

I am fortunate enough to have grown up relatively financially stable. No major traumas. No familial deaths. Still, I was troubled. I acted out in elementary school. I got myself into minor troubles. I had issues with peers. I never really thought much about it. I always attributed it to my ADHD, but the older I get and the more I process things, the more I realize that I have never really been okay.

Let’s start with that. I’ve never really been okay. While that’s true, I have always felt some type of pressure to be the “okay” one. I don’t like people to know that I’m hurting. Well, I don’t like most people to know. If I’m in a relationship, I have this awful tendency to put all of my emotional needs on this one individual. That’s not healthy, but I think it’s because I always felt like it was my job to be strong. I have realized how much parentification occurred in my family and how it only happened with me, not my sibling.

So, I’ve started seeing my parents differently. I have started seeing myself differently. I started writing this post a few days ago during a debacle with my father. I was so angry. I was truly angry with my family. It was a different kind of anger than it’s been in the past. It was anger at the situation. It was anger for everything in the past. It was the first time I felt an adult form of anger. I wasn’t a child angry at her daddy or a teenager who thinks her dad sucks. I was an adult woman who was sick and tired of the bullshit.

I stood up for myself. I’m proud of that. Still, nothing sticks with him. He’ll be back to pushing boundaries again tomorrow. One day, he is going to push me over the edge and I am going to really let him have it. I have been the bearer of the family dysfunction for too long. The facade is going to crack one day and I won’t be around to repair it.