So. I’ve been sad for a year. Not your run of the mill ups and downs. But a sort of malignant undertow. A feeling that if I don’t pay attention, I’ll be dragged under. And to be honest, it’s been exhausting. And a little scary. And life is too short to be shattered and sad and scared.
But I’m not one to sit around moping and bewailing the life. If something’s wrong, fix it. So I decided the time had come. To get the professionals in. The head shrinkers. The mind sweepers. The stick pokers*.
First point of business: find one. Not as easy as one might think. This is not something I was going to trust to the yellow pages. (Although I was tempted by the advert posted on a local lamppost, which offered to get rid of “bad mind trouble tokoloshe”.)
I had two options. Ask the shrinks I know or ask the people I know who go to shrinks. In the former category, a sort of ex-step sister, an ex-boyfriend and assorted friends of my parents. Not an option. In the latter, a handful of fabulous women who are facing the tough stuff. So I started my research. And settled on two recommendations by women I love and respect. Shrinker1 the girl and shrinker2 the boy.
This week was Shrinker1. She’s gooooooood. In session one, I lasted a total of 2mins28secs before launching into the ugly cry. I hiccupped eye-rolling apologies for the cliché of it all through great wracking innards-betraying sobs. But she was kind. And she said some pretty interesting things. And I was fairly surprised at the emotion that poured out. How deep the sads went. How quickly that ‘space’ allowed me to stop pretending. Didn’t know how much wallpaper had been slapped over the cracks. How much self-doubt and self-blame I was carrying around.
All that in one session. There’s a thought.
The irony is that I’m usually an open book**. I tell the stories of my life for entertainment. The loss, abuse, pain and disappointment paraded out as self-deprecation for cheap laughs and superficial displays of strength. Starting to tell those stories again with a different perspective was a little odd. Because there’s a lot there. And maybe I should be gentler with myself. Maybe I can cut myself a little slack. And, as my friend Sam says, just be ok to stand in the sore place and feel what I feel.
Easier said than done, methinks.
And next? Shrinker2. Who may or may not make me cry so easily, now that the beginning has begun. But let’s see.
On the upside, wearing my sunglasses in to work is stirring the water cooler gossip. Odds are split between me finally embracing my messianic complex or sporting a black eye.
*With apologies to Robin, who may or may not be offended by the flippant Shrinker monikers. I hope she understands that the flippancy is still a bit of a necessity.
And with apologies to everyone else, who will probably be seeing more of my insides than they might be strictly comfortable with.
**Well, it’s not the only irony. But we’ll leave that alone.