Blog post: Why I dumped my therapist and started embracing negativity.
Dumped my therapist. Ultimately, I looked back on all our conversations and though she was a perfectly likable and frank person, she never really did much for me that I personally benefited from. She basically wanted to encourage me to think more positively and to be more mindful, which are things I’ve heard before and have tried to do before on my own time. She stressed the importance of these things and described how she does them, but I didn’t personally find it useful. I already know how to quietly be present in the moment as I wash my dishes. I don’t need someone to tell me how to do that. I already see happiness and sadness on spectrums and understand that I can slowly inch myself from one side to the other, maybe.
I didn’t get much acceptance and recognition of pain from her. And I guess that’s what I wanted. Whenever I said negative things to her about how I felt or how badly I feel about the world, she said kind of pat, surface level stuff about her still believing the world has good people in it. She never wanted to really get into the emotional murk with me. I can understand why. But when I’m paying a professional for help that was specifically sought because of a triggering recent experience with my abusive ex, I want that professional to be willing to explore that trauma and negativity with me. She didn’t seem to care about the backstory or the origins of any of my negative feelings. She wanted to focus on very surface level mindfulness practices to make me feel better in the present.
I don’t want to feel better. I don’t want to not look at these things. I don’t think that’s a problem. She said something that really irked me about how adults must take responsibility for their mindsets. Even if horrible things have happened to us, that’s part of what adulthood is.
Fuck that. On some level. Adulthood is not refusing to feel negative feelings. Adulthood is not stuffing the pain of the world out of awareness. Adulthood is not ignoring the devastation we are facing. Things are bad. I want to see the badness. I want to be able to live with the badness and stay alive and good. I want to be the real me, negativity and stubbornness and all. I don’t want to be like her, doing yoga and traveling constantly to forget the bad things that have happened. I want to remember. I don’t want to ignore.
I’m in it. I tried focusing on just my own happiness for a few years, after my assault and stalking. It did not work for me. It made me feel guilty and sluggish. Allowing myself to feel badly and working to examine the negativity head on is what helped. Seeing things as they are is what helped. That is taking responsibility for my thinking. Not trying to shove myself to the happier end of the spectrum.
Bad things have happened to me. I am not going to be quiet about them even if they make people uncomfortable. When my dad died I told no one. For years. It took half a decade for the angst to overcome me and for me to really look at what his death did to my values and self-esteem. When I was abused, I didn’t tell anyone. It slipped out in small details and the way anger made me sit up with a terrified start. I paid the price for ignoring that pain, and I learned to face it, and I got slowly, realistically, better.
A few years ago, I would have really bought into what my therapist had to say. I would have warred with myself and journaled and meditated and gone to parks and shut off and shut out the world and rested and struggled and still would have been sad. Fuck that. I am sad. The world can be miserable. There is injustice lapping at my feet. It has drowned some people I love. I’m fucking here. I’m in it. Forever. I’m not giving up on the things that are negative. I’m not afraid to be sad or angry. This is what being an adult is. This is what I want for my mental health. I want to see things as they are, not be superficially happy.