Friday, November 18, 2011

Bosom Buddies

The long-forgotten post about my therapist/bosom buddy is here. Stop holding your breath, darlings!

She was recommended to me years ago by a friend who is also a therapist. The friend is a bass player and we played in a band together at the time. To cut a 33-year story short, after my wedding reception, during which my mother made it all about her and provided the 100-pound straw that broke the camel's back, I decided ENOUGH. I knew at that precise moment that I could not manage her brand of crazy anymore and I had to figure out what to do. So I explained enough about it to my friend to convey my therapy goals, and with recommendation in hand, I was off to get my head shrunk.

We started right off the bat with some deep, dark shit. Abusive and neglectful childhood, narcissistic and delusional mother, and so on. I left most sessions crying a mix of agony and relief. And then we worked through a lot of that, and I came out the other side with a confidence I had not felt before. I did not have to endure this anymore. I could walk away. And so I did. My therapist essentially, actually literally, gave me permission to cut my mother out of my life to preserve my own happiness. And so I have. It still requires a degree of active management (Krazytends to not take hints or honor requests) but it's been a huge weight lifted. So, yay therapy.

When my job at that time (management! business development! travel! 60-hour workweeks!) started to feel shitty, and then we got The Diagnosis (super shitty sperm syndrome, SSSS), I continued going to therapy to deal with these emerging issues. And we worked through them, too. But once I got pregnant and had started a new work-from-home job, I stopped going to therapy. I thought, I've got this.

Oh, stupid me. You've never got this.

So in the wake of returning to work full time after a nearly 4-month maternity leave, at which time I kind of lost my shit and my mind, I quit the job and immediately called to make a therapy appointment. Like, 5 minutes after I gave my resignation. I was diagnosed with postpartum anxiety and we talked about drugs, talked about behavioral modification, talked about self care, and without even needing the drugs, things started to get better. She shared stories with me about her kids' colic and breastfeeding struggles and sleepless nights and the first thing she said after our first session back together was, "Girl, we've got to get you some sleep." So, once again. Yay therapy.

Now for the interesting part. The friend who recommended her to me started a private practice, and my therapist joined him in a shared office. (I now typically go to appointments a few minutes early to catch my friend in between his appointments, and we chit chat.) Anyway, the friend just got married and both KB and I AND the therapist and her husband were invited. No, scrap that. We were all in the wedding. Yeah. KB and Mr. Therapist were both groomsmen, Dr. Therapist Lady gave a reading (the "love is patient" one for you biblical scholars), and I sang a couple of songs. We all sat together at the rehearsal dinner. We looked at pictures of each other's kids. We drank tequila together. We also sat AND DANCED together (white people dancing, natch -- it included The Lawnmower) at the reception. It turns out we have a lot in common as civilians and we make good company. Huh.

Both KB and Mr. Therapist said to us (separately), "Jen needs to find a new therapist so we can all hang out." What a strange compliment, you guys. But the truth is, if I had met Dr. Therapist Lady at our mutual friend's wedding or anywhere else under different circumstances, I think we would have become fast friends. When we talk about my mother-in-law issues in sessions, it almost feels like two friends bitching together. (Except I get a bill.) It's simultaneously weird and comforting. But that's how I'd sum up therapy in general, anyway.

Our current discussions center around A) how to deal with my in-law's brand of crazy (the mild variety) and how to deal with the anxiety that creeps in over planning for Operation Der Kinder Nummer Zwei. And I learned my lesson about foolishly thinking, I've got this. Maintenance, man. Just because you change your oil doesn't mean your taillight won't go out. I plan on continuing to go, even if we cut back on frequency (every 2 weeks now and longer stretches around the holidays) through the next 6 months or so, at least, as we embark on another embryological journey to the center of my bank account and my uterus. And then I'll be sure to go back after Hypothetical Bebe Deux is here to head off postpartum-whatever at the pass. This dog can learn new tricks.


Pale said...

Damn. Here's me, dropping in outta no where just to say ... great post.

Anonymous said...

So what will you do then? Hang out with your new friend or keep going to this therapist? I surely would not know what to do, if I were you.

In-laws are just another synonim for batshitcrazyan'stoopid. At least in my world.

(puts teacher glasses on) (straightens them up again) (takes them off and puts them back on the desk) You're aiming for twins, aren't you? :-p You know well das Kind is neuter, but you like to keep us on our toes, don't you? Sneaky one, this is.

Rebecca said...

I wish you luck on trying for the second one. I totally get the mom thing and I've been told to cut both my parents out of my life. Yes, therapy is wonderful!

Trinity said...

Your mother ruined your wedding day, too? You mean, I'm not the only one who does her very best, when recalling her wedding day, to remember her dashing husband and her smiling friends, and NOT her joke of a mother who sprayed Krazy all over the place just 30 minutes before she was set to walk down the aisle???

In a way I don't feel entitled to feel this ('cause, you know, who AM I to say this), but I am proud of you for your self-care. It takes a real sense of self-awareness (and a bit of badassery, too) to do what you've done so far in therapy. So, yeah--yay therapy, but also YAY YOU. X

I love that you've found this kind of kindred civilian friendship with your therapist, and I hope that you two will continue to have a proper friendship beyond the therapeutic relationship. Good girl friends (and good mama friends) are too hard to find in this life. Sadly, it is also too hard to find a good therapist in this life. There's all kinds of transferance/countertransferance issues that arise, and you two will have to be dutiful about this until you find your new head shrinker. I think it's totally worth it.

bunny said...

I had the same twins reaction to Der Kinder! And also wanted to echo T. --it's such a testament to your strength that you've learned to take care of yourself. Or at least try. So yeah, does this mean you're keeping the therapist and passing on the friendship? I'm curious partly because having a new therapist can be nice from time to time--get a new perspective. On the other hand, who wants to have to start all over. Interesting choices!