The big question. Possibly too big for a Friday but I think Friday can handle it.
Therapy? To shrink or not to shrink?
According to a BBC website, one in four of us will suffer from a form of mental illness at some point in our lives. Well, seeing as I decided to stop eating at age 11 I think I got that milestone licked quite early, so onwards and upwards from there!
It makes sense though, because the brain is an organ just like the eyes or the liver, and if you don't look after your organs they can still function at below optimum, but they will be damaged over time until they reach a critical point at which they just break down.
The problem is that the brain is so frigging mysterious and nobody really knows how it all works. It is pretty straightforward to look after your liver or your eyes well, but there is so much misconception, myth and prejudice about brain illnesses that very few people actually know how to take care of their brains properly.
I figure our brains suffer from a mixture of attacks from nature and nurture. If you think about it, all parents will make mistakes, right, no matter how much they love you. They are only human. And our tiny selves develop coping mechanisms and possibly slightly faulty thought patterns from their mistakes.
Some of us will form faulty thought patterns from misinterpreting parental actions even if they don't make mistakes. It is not their fault, but it happens. Different people cope in different ways, and sometimes people's coping mechanisms are not constructive.
And sometimes you just have a physiology that is more susceptible to types of mental illness.
I reckon most people could benefit from having an outsider point out their faulty thought processes. For some people it might take only a few sessions to sort things out, but it is still beneficial, like eating carrots for your eyes. Obviously some people need years and years of intensive therapy to heal their brains enough to get by.
I have never been to a therapist in my life. My family is of the old school keep it in variety, and I followed suit. I did spend years analysing myself and trying to understand the crazy things I did, and years hating the parents for ruining my life.
Then I spent years feeling horrified at how much I had ruined their lives - I was a little monster. For some reason I had to challenge everything, but EVERYTHING. It was like I was pissed off to find out that they were only human and determined to point out their every inconsistency.
Now I am totally at peace with it all. They made many mistakes, I made many mistakes, but we love each other and that is all that is important. But I do think I have some issues that are definitely holding me back in life, and I want a therapist to wave his magic wand and make them go away.
Ok, I want a therapist to peruse through my deepest fears and angers and rip them out of me and put them under a microscope and show me their squirming wretchedness and tell me what it wrong and what I need to do to make it right. Cos I am not able to see it all on my own. Nobody can.
Like, how do I escape a legacy of generation upon generation of negative thinking? How do I convince myself that I am not totally useless at everything I do? How do I take over the world? Pinky??
Back in school I wrote an essay about craving freedom from people's expectations and wanting happiness. What I wrote was:
"I cannot tell what my future will be like but I know that I would like to be happy no matter how it turns out, and that I would like to be as free and as independent as possible."
Now my teacher went and ripped this apart, saying there is no such thing as freedom or happily ever after, and we can only learn to live intensely in the present. She wrote "there is really no future".
Um. While I understand her philosophical position and even agree with it, I still find each morning that I have lived another day and am now in a future. I think it might be constructive to try and change if the present if it is not so good, to improve a possible future. No?
Sigh. Talk about teenagers being misunderstood. If she had known me she would have known that at age 17 I was already far too cynical to believe in happily ever after. And the only way I know how to live is in the present.
What I was trying and clearly failing to say, was that I want my life to have more good days than bad. I am not saying I want happiness all the time, I just want more contentedness than misery. Is that not what we all want? I think that is something worth working towards. Like I realised last year, happiness is essentially a choice.
I know that I am not living as intensely as I could because I have these stupid issues holding me back, and as I approach 30 I may just find the guts for the first time in my life to try and face them and take them on, no matter how terrifying and painful that may be. EEEEEEEEEEEK! This is much more intimidating than driving!
Has anyone out there been to therapy, either for something really serious, or just to sort out some shit? Was it useful, damaging, scary, awful, wonderful? What did they do to you? Prod you with spikes? Sing to you? Make you relive playschool?
If you don't want to write it on my blog you could mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am asking because I am considering it for real, but knowing my track record it may just be too scary for me to actually do.
Ciaobye, and I promise to not be so intense next week
xxx Girl no longer Interrupted