On further reflection and the rest of the story

Today in the light of day, I still had the kick in the nuts feeling about it. But I made an appointment to go back…and just chill out. And explain why I feel so fucking betrayed. I did realize that part of it is just like what my father used to do to me. He would, for example, be fine one minute and then you trust him and open up, but then what you say comes around to bite you in the ass, which is probably why I am so fucking closed off to begin with.

Example: one time, right in junior year or so when people start getting college catalogs I ordered a bunch from all kinds of good art schools. So I sat with my father (sorry, hard to call him Dad or something, as I always call him by his rather distinctive first name) looking at them, one time, when he was nice and not crazy. A nice father-daughter moment.

Then, two nights later, he was beating the shit out of me because I had considered going to art school and not medical school. If that cannot make you crazy, then what can?

In short, it felt like the shrink did the exact same thing. I was honest, and it landed me a manic-depression diagnosis. More honesty – borderline.

After he said that, there was just no way I could even focus on anything else. I went home feeling horrible (managed to score 30 valium off him at least because he felt guilty).

But then I thought – say I quit therapy. What would happen? I’d have a lot more money, and stop thinking about how miserable and fucked up I am all the time. And guess what? That felt damn good. I told myself that that was it. I went to look at some travel magazines for the first time since I started going to the shrink. I looked at some aviation catalogs (another hobby).  And then my partner came home, and I had a nice evening where we enjoyed each other’s company, also for the first time since I’ve been to the shrink because I stopped thinking about how many bad things there are in our relationship. I had a good day at work even. Enjoyed just being with colleagues, patients. In short, I went back to feeling and functioning the way I did before therapy and the med horror.

So once again, why the fuck am I going to therapy? It is without doubt making me worse. First the manic depression thing, then this all.

I just don’t really believe in therapy. He once again wrangled me into going by sort of suggesting he could get me to stop sabotaging my writing career. Well, nothing like that came out of anything. He made the manic depression diagnosis which caused me an unending amount of grief to try to come to terms with…and now throws another, worse one at me, just as I get my feet back on the ground.

The thing is, personally, when not in shrink mode, I like the guy, so when he says, “You need therapy,” I really believe him. Even though the last time, four years ago, it was the exact same thing. And last time I absolutely promised, swore to myself not to fall for “therapy” again.

And it isn’t even the borderline thing. I am not stupid, I’m sure I have some borderline tendencies, maybe even a lot, and probably with how I’ve been medicated lately, you could make a good case for schizoid as well. The thing that bothers me is that, if he decided/knew I wasn’t manic depressive, and that the thought that I was was causing me great grief, why not, oh, say something about it? It’s the dishonesty that bothers me more than anything.

Another reason I have trouble opening up to him is that, god help me, I feel sorry for the guy, and it’s hard to throw my shit on him. He’s one of those depressive types too…and not always, but a lot of the time, he’s barely going through the motions. He has that stench of the misery of someone who went into a psychoanalytic institute and actually took all that shit seriously. I get the feeling that I want to just stop everything and say, “Oh honey, tell me what’s wrong.” Which is not surprising, given my job / personality / overdeveloped sense of empathy. But I can’t tell him that because he’d just blame transference or projection or some other bullshit. So I’ve been closing myself off to pretty much any of his wavelengths, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to dump all my shit on him.  And that can’t be a good relationship for a therapist.

And for my usual dose of irony: I went into his office totally suicidal that day, miserable, restless, thinking there is NO WAY I could come out feeling worse…

The whole reason I bothered to write this here is that, though this blog isn’t widely read, sometimes I write something and then get emails from a lot of people who, say, are diagnosed borderline who want to comment. Once, I wrote something about shrink troubles, and surprisingly, I got a deluge of emails from psychiatrists, telling me to speak up. So I’m putting this out there, asking for advice. Worth trying to salvage something here, or not? Should I say that his burnout has made me hold back, or is that just going to kick me in the ass? Anyone? Comments or email – either would be appreciated. I go back Thursday, but can move that if I’m still undecided. I wasn’t going to go back at all yesterday, now, not sure. Thought there might be something worth saving or at least trying to close out politely.



  1. It doesn’t appear that therapy is helping you much. I don’t know if it’s your shrink particularly, or if it’s therapy in general. But in any case, why not just stop? At least for a period of time and see what happens. You can always go back at a later time.

  2. That is probably what is going to happen. I did that four years ago. The thing is, this guy turns into a jerk when you quit. And my med situation is not worked out and I don’t want to find anyone else for meds. I started making calls around last night to shrinks out of the phone book, and, oh my god, what a circus. Basically, if someone can’t even answer the phone politely, why on earth would I go to them as a shrink?

    Last night when I thought of quitting, honestly, my inner self got so much happier. I just returned to living my life like before…and suddenly I enjoyed patients, enjoyed my partner, enjoyed my life instead of thinking endlessly about how fucked up I am.

  3. Hi My Sad Alter Ego,
    I have seen so many BAD therapists and psychiatrists in my life. Some of them, by labeling, belittling, taking a “I know best approach”, or by labelling you after a few meetings do more harm than good.

    However, There is nothing as intense and thought provoking, as special and life changing, as a pdoc or therapist who is good at what they do, AND is a good match for you. My pdoc is loathe to label me with anything but my being on a “quest for freedom”. He says labels are for insurance companies…that’s it, period. Every patient needs help finding their meaning, their purpose, and working through there difficulties.

    I have a great pdoc and the experience of therapy with him has been extraordinary. If you need help, please don’t give up because you have met the wrong therapist for you.
    Take care,

  4. How can someone go through that and NOT be hurt? I would distrust any part of me that said I was ‘okay’ and didnt need therapy afterwards.
    if the diagnosis bothers you, dont take it. Work on yourself and concentrate on that.
    Think about how hurtful those experiences were and let out the emotions that must be bottled up. If you have an abcess under the skin, what do you do with it? You need to drain it.
    There is definitely a lot of hurt bottled up in there which needs to be dealt with. If youre afraid to cry in front of the shrink, heres something that helped me immensely:
    cathartic release. Seems to work better when one is emotionally labile, mood reactive.
    Find a book, a film, something that makes you very sad or angry and instead of shutting the emotion off, go with it. BE angry. BE sad. Feel what it was like for this character to be in XYZ situation. release all of that pain and then once its drained youll feel numb (but not hurt inside) for awhile. Then you can begin analyzing the character and the situation in the book or film and think of how it applies to you. because if you had such a strong reaction there must be a connection. There must be a similar hurt.
    analyzing a work of fiction as a mirror to your experience is 10x less threatening than analyzing your own. Using these ‘mirrors’ and reality-testing your theories with the shrink can give you some good insight into what hurts and how to fix it.
    I could give you a wonderful example, BUT since each persons hurts are unique to their personalities and the nature of the trauma, you need to find these things yourself.
    Good luck.. but if you can be a med student while bipolar you can do this easily.

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