For the first time in many years, I have no therapist. No shrink to call my own. The guy who worked me through five years of challenges officially fired me Friday.
Maybe it was all the times I walked into his office with a huge cup of Starbucks bold. He was always on me about quitting coffee because it’s “just another drug.” Bringing coffee to my appointments was my way of telling him to fuck off.
Maybe it was that I constantly forgot appointments. He’d call five minutes after an appointment was scheduled to start and I’d always be like “Uh, that was today?” He never charged for missed appointments, so clearly I was starting to cost him real money in lost co-pays.
The truth is far less dramatic than all that: He’s retiring and moving to a sunny place in the South. I expected him to talk about therapists in the practice I could see next, but instead he told me sternly, “You have no business being here.”
He didn’t mean forever. When autumn hits and the seasonal depression starts tapping me on the shoulder, I’ll probably need to resume therapy.
But for now, and for the next several months, I’m done.
That doesn’t make me cured of OCD or the unpleasant byproducts. I still have my off days. But I now have the coping tools I need to manage it all, and his verdict is that I’m using the tools well for the most part.
I want to thank my therapist for the last five years. He taught me a ton about how the brain works, what OCD and other disorders look like with pictures of brain scans and illustrations showing little nodes that don’t fire commands to other nodes properly. He made it concrete. I was no longer a freak for having OCD. I had a medical condition that affected my thought processes. A treatable condition at that.
He showed me how different medications work for specific disorders and helped me adjust my own meds.
I’m in a much better place today, thanks to him. And now he has told me to stop therapy — if only for a few months.
I would have celebrated with a drink, but I no longer drink.
Those authors write about their own struggles to manage depression, to overcome all the fears and insecurities of youth and to find acceptance. They do it differently than I do. They use fictional characters who mirror themselves and people in their lives. I take the direct, nonfictional approach. Both types have their place, and listening to them talk made me feel like I was listening in on their own therapy sessions.
We had our afternoon date planned before Friday, but it turned out to be an appropriate way to celebrate.
There are still enough people out there who have been where I’ve been and are willing to share what they’ve learned. Therapy or not, my support system continues to thrive.