Another Depression log
Yet another in a long series of attempts to both chronicle my therapy and write down those things that I both learn and come to realize are important about myself and my depression.
Most of the stuff about me and my depression that I talk about here I have known for quite some time. A lot of it I couldn't vocalize or describe without the help of a therapist. Much of this I learn to put to words while trying to explain it to the therapist, in fact. Whether this is useful in the therapy process, well, jury's still out.
But I've switched therapists many times before. Maybe I will again. Maybe if I write some of this stuff down, the learning curve (which, let me tell you, is fucking expensive and painful for even the good therapists here in New York City) will be shorter for both of us.
Today, I realized something that I'd known about my therapist and his approach to his work (read: me) that I'd known for a while but apparently hadn't been ready to tell him. I don't know why. But it has been clear to me for quite some time that his approach seemed all wrong to me. After much explanation and questioning, we had managed to come up with a sort of model of me that had some explanatory power as to why I'm so fucked up, or more accurately, how. Today, we reached a point where we both thought (I think) that our notion of the model was roughly congruent.
There are two parts to this model (well, there are lots, but two that matter for the purposes of this story). The first part is what I'll call the kinetic part - the part where all the action happens. That part comprises those bits of me that think and act, really. The second part is my self-image, which isn't really kinetic - it changes over time, but slowly, and (so far) always for the worse.
The first part, though - the first part is a bunch of behaviors and processes which I think I've evolved since childhood in order to let me function with a self-image which is poisonously negative. It's a set of filters and autonomic behaviors which let me interact with other people without this deep-seated belief in my own uselessness bringing me to a full stop or worse.
One of the biggest problems is that those sets of behaviors, while they may have allowed me to function, are also fucking me over worse and worse. They're doing damage to the second part in turn. But I couldn't have really gotten along without them. I think, maybe, that if something (or more things) had gone right for me over the past ten or fifteen years, I might have been able to step out from behind that shield of dysfunction; migth have been able to convince myself that in fact I wasn't so very useless (note: useless is a code word for pretty much every negative attribute you can tag someone with).
Anyway. The thing that happened today that's noteworthy is that the moment we came to some sort of agreement on the model, he immediately started in on explaining to me how we were going to change my behavior for the better. How we were going to approach tweaking and changing my habits through the equivalent of 'exposure therapy' - by consciously placing me in those situations I had evolved these behaviors to cope with.
I finally was able to tell him "What the fuck are you thinking?"
He said "What do you mean?"
I said "I've been sitting here for months and the two of us have been going on about how I've evolved these very tight and very well-defended behavior systems, and how my entire makeup seems put together in a way to defend this fucked up image I have of myself, and your approach is to run and butt your head against the part that I have specifically constructed over all these years to prevent the outside world from making a difference? Why the fuck don't you look at the part of me that these behaviors were evolved to protect, the part of me that spawned and supports them? Why on earth wouldn't you start there?"
He thought about that for a second and then admitted that it's because his training has prepared him to cope with dysfunctional behaviors much more than it has to cope with the underlying causes.
Think about that.
What the fuck is therapy for, then?
I mean, epic fucking fail.
At least he understood what I was saying, and agreed, and visibly started down a line of investigation which was clearly less familiar to him, if more relevant from my point of view.
I'm not sure whether this therapist (who is as good a therapist as any I've had) is doing more to convince me that this process will help, or to convince me that therapy as a concept is entirely fucking pointless. Jury's still out.