The good news, the bad news, and the music.

The title has nothing to do with anything. Morrigan told me she was going to listen to the radio, “the good news, the bad news, and the music.” It sounded like it ought to be a title, so now it is.

It seems I’m not the only blogger around who’s having trouble writing today. It’s a strange place to be, as I am rarely at a loss for words. Of course, that’s not really the problem. I do not lack for words so much as motivation.

I’m working on several things at once, the least of which is a project I started that is far more time consuming than I had originally presumed it would be. I don’t regret this, but, really, I should have known better. I think I may have fooled myself into thinking otherwise just so I wouldn’t give up before I began. Which reminds me…

My therapist gave me homework that I haven’t done yet. It’s a questionnaire designed to measure the extent to which one regularly dissociates. I think I’m a little afraid of the insights it might provide (even if I was the one to bring the subject up). The fact that I’m afraid, I think, is already quite telling.

Therapy in and of itself is a little unsettling to me. I’m not sure exactly what’s going on. I suppose it would be fair to say that I harbor a certain level of paranoia about the whole thing.

I want therapy. I know I need therapy. It’s just that there’s this nagging little voice in the back of my mind. I wonder if the interaction is authentic or if I am being subjected to some sort of benevolent mindfuck. Or maybe I’m just seeing the wrong therapist? I don’t know.

An example:

Every time I go to see my therapist I end up babbling for almost a full hour with little or no direct guidance from her. It’s just one big, long stream-of-consciousness monologue interrupted occasionally by a request for clarification. It’s weird sometimes, by which I mean that I feel weird: awkward, uncomfortable, not myself.

At least once a session I am asked to define a word I used in the course of my monologue. Last time, the word was “guile”. Now, I know that I sometimes use words that other people find odd. I say (not just write) words and phrases like “whilst” and “for the nonce”. When people ask me how I’m doing, I say, “I’m well. How are you?” rather than “Good.” I have a good vocabulary and grasp of grammar, and I use it. When I don’t, it’s because I’m going for effect (an “effectation”?) But… “guile”?

My therapist is a person with multiple advanced degrees. I’m having a hard time believing that she needs me to define “guile” for her. It flusters me. I feel self-conscious. I got so flustered that I couldn’t find the words necessary to define it. My head knew that guile referred to craftiness, slyness, but the words refused to travel from my brain to my lips. She looked it up on the computer and then nodded in satisfaction once she’d read the definition.

In my head I wondered, “What is she trying to achieve by putting me on the spot about my choice of words?” Sometimes I feel a little defensive, as if the implication is that someone like me (a person who holds no degree) shouldn’t be using such high-falutin’ words and that I probably don’t even know what they mean. At other times, I feel like she’s trying to get at something with me, but I don’t know what, and I wish she would just stop the mindfuck and ask. Is there some reason the mindfuck is necessary? Is she talking to someone who isn’t ME? And if she is, then why was I the one to bring up my feelings of weirdness, of feeling like I’m not myself in certain situations? Was she waiting for me to do so? What exactly is going on here?

Or maybe she really was unfamiliar with the word, and there is no mindfuckery involved.

I don’t know. Sounds fishy to me.

I think it would be unreasonable to suggest that I suffer from Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). I’ve never experienced anything like lost time or blackouts. There are, however, times when I feel the way I sometimes do during a session: I feel weird, uncomfortable, slightly foggy, not myself. Perhaps there is a continuum, and I fall somewhere in the middle. (If this was a session she would ask me to define continuum.)

There are times when I jump to conclusions or feel paranoid or whatever, and then I have to tread very carefully lest I say or do something I know I will later regret. When I have one too many instances of nearly crossing the line, I disappear. I am afraid, and I am unable to explain to people who wonder what the hell is going on with me. I am unfit for human companionship.

And then there are days like today. Days when I feel like I just don’t want to talk to anyone. I just want to hide in my metaphorical cave, busying myself with my projects. It’s like I swing between my usual gregarious self and an introvert who would rather be alone with her computer. I’m not sure what it all means, but I would like to find out. I would like to do so in a manner that makes me feel like I’m a partner with my therapist rather than a… funny… I’m not sure what word to use here. The ones that come to mind sound so melodramatic: victim, plaything, lab rat

I’m going to let this stand as the “explanation” I alluded to previously, the one I feel I’ve been owing any number of people. It’s not much of one, I know. If and when I have more answers, I will share them with you, but for now, this is all I have.

And if you don’t see me around much, well, it’s because right now I am a self-centered, selfish person. I am grappling with something–I don’t even really know what it is–that takes up an awful lot of my mental energy. Whatever I have left over I give to my family, ’cause, you know, they actually have to LIVE with me. But that other me will come along any day now: the gregarious, happy, commenting me who loves company. Whichever me I am on any given day, I do hope you know this: I wouldn’t be here trying to explain the unexplainable if I didn’t care about you.

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32 thoughts on “The good news, the bad news, and the music.

  1. If I was your therapist, I’d have been asking about “guile” just to assure that you and I had the same definition in mind. There are many people who don’t use the widely accepted definition of a less common word like guile. But I can certainly understand why that sort of behavior on her part would make you uneasy.

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    • It really weirds me out. It happens at least once a session. And since I do most of the talking, it really sticks out. It makes me feel like I may be even crazier than I thought I was. It’s actually quite distressing.

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  2. Bipolar maybe? Or borderline… explaining the different “yous.” Not sure. It’s been 10 years since I was immersed in that world, but, I too doubt that you have DID, or are even on that spectrum.
    With the internet at our fingertips and the contents of the DSM-IV just a few clicks away, it is amazing what we can self-diagnosis…
    I know therapy does a lot of good for a lot of people, and I wouldn’t take that away from them, but I walked away from pursuing psychology as a career because there were too many unknowns in the practice of it. Too reliant on drugs that worked (sometimes) but without really understanding the why or what it would mean in the long run. Too many people abusing the system: patients scamming for drugs, and doctor’s phoning it in…
    Or, maybe I just couldn’t hack it and had to create these ideas to explain walking away to myself so it wouldn’t be a failure.
    If your hour talking helps, then keep doing it and don’t worry about why they ask you to define certain words or clarify some aspects of your stories over others. Don’t analyze their motives or techniques. Just be glad to have that time to talk, to unburden your cares and worries since the last session… Right?

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    • I’ve been evaluated for bi-polar and borderline by the head honcho psychiatrist–a woman I have a great deal of confidence in–and I do not fit the profile for either.

      I understand what you’re saying about not worrying or obsessing, but then I think that’s really part of why I’m there, you know? It’s not something I do on purpose. It’s more like a reflex.

      It kind of sounds like I am being paranoid in this case, though. Perhaps knowing that will help me to relax a bit more next time. I also wonder if my feelings of weirdness have more to do with my awful experiences with therapy in the past than anything else.

      *sigh* I guess I know what I’m going to monologue about next time…

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      • Oh, definitely. If you’ve had bad experiences with therapy in the past, that would definitely be impacting how you view each new therapeutic relationship going forward. How could it not?
        And, yeah, I figured you would say the worrying was a reflex and probably part of why you are there in the first place, but, it bore repeating anyway.
        I wonder if the therapist sees herself as a superhero and you as the super villain they’ve tricked into monologueing? 😉

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          • “I’ll give them heroics. I’ll give them the most spectacular heroics the world has ever seen! And when I’m old and I’ve had my fun, I’ll sell my inventions so that *everyone* can have powers. *Everyone* can be super! And when everyone’s super…
            [chuckles evilly]
            Syndrome: *no one* will be.

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          • A great movie, and a great line. We would all be normal in a superness, we would all be equals. Except, what he failed to see, is that being super has less to do with the amazing things you are able to do than your willingness to do the right thing no matter the consequences. A lesson we could all learn a bit more from.

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          • I hope you find yourself a bit calmer in the next session and are able to just talk without worrying about any of the things beyond your control. Enjoy the monologue. Enjoy the stream of consciousness, the connection of ideas, the retelling of the stories of your life. And trust the process. You are there for a reason. You will get the help, the understanding, the peace you want.

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          • Man, I hope so. ‘Cause, seriously, I am so sick of this shit, yo.

            Also, I started working on your story prompt. By what day do I have to submit?

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          • By Friday, if you can. Or, by next Tuesday when the next one will go up so I can link your submission to it. Or, by whenever, really. There is no actual deadline.
            I’m excited to see what you write for it!!

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  3. I’m about to start therapy again, this time with a new therapist, and I am totally dreading it. I feel like I waste my own time because I’m cracking jokes and trying to act like I generally try to act in public instead of letting the broken out so it can be fixed. Ugh. I am so lazy – I don’t want to do any of this bullshit, I just want to be fine. Not great, not ecstatic all the time, just fine. (Your therapist would probably make me define ecstatic.) Good luck to you.

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  4. I relate to a lot of what you just wrote. I can be very paranoid, especially in social situations. I can be having fun but then go home and analyze and over scrutinize. I don’t know much about therapy, I’ve only been going for a year now, but what you’re experiencing would bother me too. I wouldn’t like feeling put on the spot to define something (because I would come up blank). That just seems strange to me. I will say, in my therapy sessions, she offers a lot of input based on what I’m saying. I always leave kind of like “Aha! That makes so much sense!” If I didn’t get some clear feedback each time I don’t know if I could keep going. It’s hard enough as it is…

    *By the way, my daughter did start a blog and followed Morrigan’s. Her blog is Dragonsketcher…Thanks for the tips and the inspiration!

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    • Yeah, I think I’m going to give it a couple more tries so that at least I feel like I gave it the ol’ college try. If I’m still feeling dissatisfied, then I’ll switch therapists.

      I saw your daughter’s blog. Morrigan followed back. She really liked your daughter’s sketches. Then we looked at her Instagram, and WOW! Your daughter is a very talented young lady. She’s lucky to have a mom who encourages her the way you do. 🙂

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      • She was very pleased (and not a little smug) when I told her what you said about her art. She thought it was so cool that you play Minecraft with Morrigan. And proceeded to tell me that I was a less than awesome mom because I don’t play it with her. Maybe I will re-read your comment to her with more emphasis on the last sentence… Also, I meant to say earlier, I love the title of this post! This could have been the name of my blog, seriously!!!

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        • The day will come when she looks back and realizes just how good she had it! And she does, you know. She’s just suffering from that malady known as pre-teen-itis. It eventually gives way to a secondary infection called teen-jerk-onitis followed by twenties-smuggery.

          As for the video game thing… yeah, I’m a bit of an oddity. I’m 44 years old and I play pokemon on my kid’s DS ferpetessake. I play Minecraft, Dragon Age, Skyrim… stuff like that. I don’t do it terribly often, though, and I can’t watch other people play at all: I get motion sickness. Weird, huh?

          For the most part I make Morrigan figure out how to do stuff in Minecraft on her own with as little interference from me as possible. I will help with big projects like the roller coaster because she’s six. By the time she’s your daughter’s age she’ll be on her own, too.

          I love that title, too. She said it, and I thought, “Damn. That’s good. Why didn’t I think of that? It’s WAY better than ‘Bleached Bone Valley’.” 🙂

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  5. I have a psychologist I see, and she’ll occasionally ask me to clarify a word or two here and there. I think it may be because she wants to make sure she’s on the same page as me. I tend to ramble a bit see, and especially when I’m distressed which I usually am during my sessions. I like therapy, but I hate it too, if that makes sense.

    (“Effectation”. I see what you did there! Heh heh…) 😉

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