Thur’rupy Part 3: Paperwork


T’aint pretty, but you get the idea.

“Hello, disis deright s’tetute calleeng you about makeeng ana pointment.”

It wasn’t exactly clear what the words were supposed to be, spoken hurriedly and through a distinct accent, but I caught the words “calling” and “appointment” and assumed it was the therapy center at last calling to schedule a session.

“Dees is the second voicemail.”

I definitely detected a note of rebuke.

I knew it was the second voicemail. The first one had come in on the afternoon of July third and had been so indistinct that I hadn’t even bothered to Google the number: I figured that I knew who it was and I already knew I wasn’t going to call back for another two days. If I called back at all. I already knew I wasn’t going to pursue sessions at the prices they had quoted me three weeks earlier. And it had been three weeks. A lot changes in three weeks. If I’d been in a bad place, would I just have been dangling for all that time? I figured so: it had happened to me before. And if I wasn’t in a bad place, three weeks was plenty of time to think better of pursuing a costly treatment that clearly didn’t require immediate attention.

I wasn’t sure the waiting period was doing them any favors.

I never did call back. I was curious to know whether they would follow up again, and, if so, how many times.

So far two.

The intervening weeks had not been easy ones. The uneasy mood that had caused me to seek out the therapy center’s website had intensified into an ongoing anger and depression that only seemed to be getting worse. Tiny setbacks sent me into a rage. Even thinking about my feelings raised a lump in my throat and started tears welling up in my eyes. I briefly, but earnestly, considered taking up boxing. Clearly something was happening in my subconscious. It’s a pretty good sign you need a change when you find yourself crying helplessly on the morning of your birthday and your husband has to use the Very Gentle Tone Of Voice to remind you that you sometimes tend to spiral.

And then, like magic, it was gone.

Whatever circuit was overloading finally blew the appropriate fuse and flipped my switches back to Normal. The second half of my birthday was perfectly calm. The days since then have been calm. Normal. Even keeled. The rage was gone and so was the lump in my throat, and I could prod the edges of my feelings without winding up in tears… if I could manage to think at all around a chronic sinus headache that settled in my face on Monday morning and has been there ever since.

So I decided to take stock of everything I’d been going through.

“As the only family member who’s actually gone to therapy, I should weigh in.” My Dad said over a phone call early on in this process. “It was helpful, definitely helpful, but it didn’t tell me anything that I didn’t already know. It just helped me act on what I needed to do.”

This rang true to me.

I’m not the kind of person who avoids self-reflection. I had a pretty good sense of what my problem areas were, and why, and about what and in relation to whom. I just needed to act on what I knew I needed to do. And I wasn’t convinced that I actually needed to pay someone in order to do that.

What is the point of therapy? I asked Google. For a friend.

I actually found some pretty useful answers on the first result:

Easy to follow concepts. Actionable points: things that I could work through on my own before looking for professional help. I could figure out what goals I wanted to reach, what problems I wanted to solve and what somatic responses I wanted to be able to control in my body.

So my first step was paperwork. I sat down and began to try to organize my thoughts in the most orderly way that I could manage. What were my main issues. TRUST and WORTH. Who did they relate to in order of importance and why? How were they affected by my evolving sense of identity? What patterns was I seeing? I wrote about four pages of a bullet-point list and tried to set goals about what I wanted to address with each bullet point.

The relief of getting these thoughts out of my head and trapped in ink-lines on paper was palpable. The sinus headache magically disappeared and has been gone ever since. It was as if the thoughts had physical mass and had been taking up actual space in my skull all this time. Even after four pages, I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface of the topics I want to address, but it was definitely a big step forward.

Now, at least, I have a picture of the roads. Next, I’ll figure out how to draw a map.

~ by Gwydhar Gebien on July 12, 2018.

7 Responses to “Thur’rupy Part 3: Paperwork”

  1. I occasionally get that urge to punch a punching bag, but I can’t say it was ever linked to depression…more like frustration with some source of stress not leaving me in peace, whether that’s family or work getting on my last nerve.

    If I have to do that paperwork you mention, I fear I will break down in tears and say something like, “I don’t know.” I can’t be concrete about life goals nor can I say they are clearly defined in steps I can tackle. But… Sometimes what seems like a goal is just a whim and unnecessary. And, how many get their “calling” in therapy versus everyday experiences?

    I guess you had your own free breakthrough, though.

    • I find that I think more clearly when I am writing than when I am speaking, so trying to write down my thoughts is helpful because it forces me to put things into words and the words into order. You’re quite a prolific writer yourself- I suspect that if you were able to get a toehold on the things that bother you that you’d be able to tug on those threads and organize them into groups and then figure out how to work on them. It’s definitely hard work, though, so it may not be the right process for everybody.

      • I can’t seem to think clearly no matter what I am doing. Or, I don’t even know if I am thinking clearly, anymore. If changes to my body aren’t getting to me, it’s family, work or technology. Like right now I am having a really bad computer day, again. And, if internet connection wasn’t so attached to everything in this messed up world…I’d probably be more at peace. I’m lucky I can even respond to a comment right now.

        I’ve written in notebooks til my fingers hurt. I’ve tried using a computer for a variety of writing tasks. I once used an electric typewriter. For the longest time, drawing was my therapy tool. But, even that I have lost interest in because I want my drawings to be preserved and valued. But, I am not a quick salesman nor do I have a good place for my work. I feel like a tree producing fruit or unable to produce the fruit he desires.

        So, for all my effort, what comes out of me is more metaphorical than clear and precise in terms of some kind of goal schedule.

        I am a force of creative nature. And, while I have a rather large vocabulary, words like “prolific” slip my comprehension.

        I think I have a toehold. But, if I stop and think or analyze something at the core of my misery, it just risks breaking a dam of tears no one wants to catch. I am not one who can cry alone and know what happened the last time I did. I cannot repeat that action.

        If you have a husband who works with and supports you, you are leagues ahead of me in terms of help.

      • Right? Isn’t it so frustrating to create so much work (art,writing,etc) only to have to keep it in a closet and start all over again? I feel you on that! I sometimes think of it like a sacrifice to the muses: I have to feed them dozens or hundreds of pieces of bad work, failed attempts, and meaningless frustration just so that they get used to coming around my studio and maybe occasionally leave me something shiny as a reward.

        To call someone prolific is to say they do something abundantly: create a lot of art, write a lot of words, sing a lot of songs, have a lot of babies, etc. You seem like you are always creating, and even if it doesn’t feel like a success you’re already winning half the battle.

        As my dad always tells me: “just keep pushing through the pipes”. I’ll either become a success or a plumber. I understand that both are quite lucrative.

      • You have no idea how many times I’ve “started over.” And, only since 2009 has this accursed feeling of deja vu started haunting me. Some days, I feel like Sisyphus. After hearing about various theories on the nature of the universe, I sometimes wonder if everything isn’t repeating itself, and only because of my abnormally solitary lifestyle that I have the awareness of the phenomena. Or, that’s my curse. But, then, these could just be crazy thoughts brought upon me by solitude and non-conformist thinking.

        Feed muses lousy work to get attention or something shiny? Sounds like slavery of monster spirits. Gremlins at work. Why chase the shiny things? After all, that old saying about money as the root of all evil?

        I don’t do anything prolifically except spew thoughts and words when my kettle is full. When I have emptied my reserve, I can be quite the opposite. I am no better a blogger than anyone who hasn’t gone commercial.

        As I said, though I am surprised you even notice, I am a creative force of nature, like an apple tree or a bamboo plant, always creating new raw material and, in a strange, human way, expecting something more to come of it than simply producing and waiting for me to turn my back so people take and put my efforts to their own use sans my conscious desires.

        Is an apple tree winning at anything when its fruit rots on the ground or gets plucked too soon? Or, when the apple tree is cut down to make room for a cell phone factory? Is that success? I see that as tragic and horrendous.

        So, you’re Princess Toadstool.

      • A poem by Mike Hofstetter:

        Do not be frightened of your love,
        Of your curiosity, and the forces within
        That pull you further, opening doors
        To places that urgently await your presence,
        Itself a beam of sun, a drink of water,
        A worthy offering given to joy,
        To beauty and to other holy things.
        Follow these impulses.
        Like tracks in the snow, they lead to the great creature
        Who made them,
        A terrifyingly beautiful encounter
        With life itself.

        And if you must be afraid,
        Remember your pain and hold it gently.
        This creature kills.
        It eats its young and devours dreams.
        It mauls and maims and stalks and strikes.
        Feel into your wounds and know that
        You are not alone in your fear.
        That these stabbing moments
        Are humble spasms of recognition that you too will be consumed,
        Like an insect approaching its mate,
        Like a moth into a flame,
        Feeding something

        She is a beast, beautiful and hungry
        And if you feel hesitant,
        Then truly you are standing present with her.
        Become a trembling monument to courage,
        Erect upon a pillar of wobbling knees,
        Steadfastly holding yourself in the open places
        Naked and upright.
        It makes you easier to digest.
        Your fear makes your courage possible.

      • What a confusing, haunting poem. Don’t be afraid and revel in your uniqueness, even if it seems mad and risks your life in a world that may not agree and support you…or accept your fears and caution and get eaten in a grim, terrifying way.

        So, I’m either something beautiful and wonderful or doomed to be shark food.

        I will stand bravely until the monster bites my head off? And, I do not want to be naked anywhere except in a bath tub, shower or hot spring.

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