(I used an excerpt of this in GCM.)
I am pro-therapy, too.
The thing is this – friends all have agendas and prejudices. Therapists, of course, do too, but they are able, generally, to be more objective. It was so weird for me to talk to a therapist at first, I always wanted to say, “And what about you? How are you today?” but that’s not what I was there for. It’s a time just to really focus on myself and my little world. It’s a time to sort things out.
One example is this woman I know. She’s funny, smart, ambitious and has kids about the same age as Small. She is really, really bad about trashing people behind their back. I said to the psychologist, “Well, if she starts talking about me…” “No, when.” He interrupted. And he was right. It was less of a blow, because he was able to help me out of this fog.
I think that is one of the most important part of seeing a psychologist – the fog gets lifted. Once I was ranting about my husband and his words and behavior. Then I told Dr. G, “I accept him.” He said, “It doesn’t sound like you do.” He was right. Maybe six months ago I accepted the way he was at that time, but there was no forgiveness or acceptance happening in our world now.
Fog only lifts if you find a good therapist. If you don’t, try again. Don’t worry about their feelings – you’re not there for them, it’s their job. It took me three tries to find my first therapist and two to find this one. I’ve said it before – I do not think I will ever go without therapy. A psychiatrist once told me that talk therapy was 1/2 of bipolar treatment and 1/2 was meds. I don’t know if it’s that extreme, but it is worth a try.
Therapy has made me into a more forgiving, emotionally generous, less harsh person. It was very hard work, and continues to be, but it’s one of those things I have a choice on. I have no choice about being mentally ill. I will always be bipolar. I will always have OCD, and ADHD just like I will always have freckles. They’re a part of me that won’t burn out.