She was an idiot; I could tell from the start. I walked into this busy place for my appointment. She comes up, “Are you Frances,” but doesn’t introduce herself. I take a brief look at her, noticing stiff, pinched shoulders and curtains of dried out lizard skin under hollowed eyes. I don’t think I looked at her again for the 15 minutes I was there. “Can I sit here?” Anywhere, sure, but she didn’t invite me to sit, so I just stood there till I had to again take the initiative. So she starts asking me increasingly personal questions as she fills out the form. “Do you have a partner?” That’s when the tears started dripping out of my eyes.
We filed our divorce papers less than a month ago, you see. But that particular wound has been hurting for a couple years since I asked myself if our relationship was going to survive. He’d been pulling away for longer than that. I didn’t know what was happening, just that it hurt like hell. A split was unfathomable to me, and unbearable when it happened. I don’t how how it is that I’m still alive. He was my one and only, even if it was all a mistake. The one that I thought loved me, who often acted lovingly, despite his emotional incapacity overall.
But I’ve never tried to kill myself. I always tell counsellors and therapists that in the first session. This true fact, at my multi-decadal age, seems to reassure them. Also, “I have no intentions,” which is not always true, but, hey, they can’t police the inside of my mind. Clearly, they have little if any understanding of it. So that’s a white lie to keep me from being locked up against my will. I also tell them I think suicide’s not necessarily a bad choice, and by the way it’s not illegal and we even have some assisted suicide now in Canada. So there.
But life has been tough, so tough that none of these counsellors can help me. Certainly not this one, and that’s why she sent me away. Just as well, because she was an idiot. “You need some longer-term help. Go to Mental Health. See a psychiatrist if you’re depressed.” Wow, lady, I’m not depressed. I’m sad for a reason. People throw around clinical labels like GPs throw around antidepressants – like candy. This candy, like real candy, is not good for you and doesn’t really hit that sweet spot of satisfaction. No, that requires empathy – something that should be limitless, but is very rare.
I tried to take the bright path, not the dark one. But days like this the path feels very dark, indeed.
Can’t stop crying. Cried all the way home, in front of people. Got home, lay down and cried some more. After half an hour, I was read to go do something useful. But never again go to any kind of counsellor. I’ll have to sort this out on my own.
See, the last serious counsellor I went to told me something interesting in the last session. It was, “Well, I’ve failed you.” Thank you, woman! First person to have the balls to admit it instead of just biting their lip hesitantly and sending me away. Most of these counsellors have nothing to offer. Me re-telling my story interests them, clearly, as the fascination shows in their eye-glaze, just like a dog looking at food on your plate. But the re-telling doesn’t help me, if I get nothing back, if I get no understanding and empathy. Not sure which is worse, lip service or the silent treatment. Maybe both are just complete garbage, equally rotten.
So, my life was built around him and for him, and now he’s gone, except when he pops up in email to say something irritating and ignore whatever I said. But I just can’t shut the door. I regretted shutting the door on others in the past and I can’t do it to the guy I married. Even if he’s batshit insane. He can’t help himself.
But my life! I don’t spend whole days or multiples in turmoil anymore. I am trying to cram more useful, progressive, hopeful, constructive and fun things into my days. I am doing a time-study – logging every half hour on a spreadsheet. So why am I wasting time writing this blog? Well, really, there are a few different stories I wanted to tell and weave together. Threads in my life. I guess I should have started with a funny bit instead of bitching about the idiot “plain old everyday counsellor” who doesn’t think she’s better than other counsellors. Which I thought was a pretty bizarre thing to say. I guess I’m glad she sent me out of there, because I just saved potentially 12 hours of time spent with her and probably 24 or 36 or more hours of turmoil coming out of letting my life stories be sucked out of me by an emotional vampire who gives nothing back. So, yay. I have to depend on me. As everyone says, I am extremely dependable. Unless you’re depending on me not to cry.