Look in a one-way mirror, like the ones in the play therapy rooms of a psychiatric clinic. You’ll see nothing but yourself and all the germtastic toys piled on top of each other like sinful pancakes. (There better be a hand sanitizer pump in here, otherwise I’m going to kiss this doorknob). On the other side of the mirror looking in is probably your shrink and whoever brought you into therapy. Your family, your partner, and your alter-ego, for example.
You don’t know half your demons. If you think you can name them all faster than your favorite Manga characters, think again. You don’t fully know what’s going on inside that nefarious noggin of yours. A therapist’s job is to put your problems on speed dial. You’ll learn how to be angelic enough to ward off the demons when they pop up unexpectedly, ruining your daily interactions, increasing your self-loathing, and adding to your binge eating habit. That’s assuming you’re capable of such halo-worthy behavior.
We live in an on-the-go American economy. Everyone wants everything pronto, and talk therapy is way less common than it used to be. But shortcuts don’t really work as much as they used to. They were fine when we were kids. We would be walking home from school and duck through a fence with a hole in it to save a few minutes. And those few minutes were precious ! But not anymore. The fast road to mental health usually ends with you flushing your meds down the toilet at 3 AM.
Nowadays, if you want to deal with your issues, you can pop pills and chat on comfy couches and write in your leather-bound journal. The self-help articles you cleared from your browser history tell you that everything will get better. So you make your idea lists, dress up and go to the city, exercise, eat right, blah blah blah.
But what happens when you’re sick of paying someone to care about your problems ?
When your therapist seems to have one hand in your wallet and the other in your psyche, twisting it around relentlessly, it’s time to take a break. You could leave a shrill voicemail while your meds make an ominous blue puddle at the bottom of your pale porcelain toilet bowl, but that would be tacky. You could also just go in to the office one more time and leave them with a parting gift–cookies, kale chips, postcards, vitamins. Different strokes for different folks.
Just say, “You’re so good at what you do, you’ve put yourself out of business. Congratulations !”
Going at it alone can be great, but make sure that when you come crawling back you bring chocolate. Nothing says “I’ve missed you” like a bar of Ghirardelli Midnight Reverie. Plus, you can pig out on it while recanting your latest string of failures. Cheers.