Saturday, August 1, 2009

Private Lessons

Sometimes I like to think of therapy as private lessons in life. It seems more forward-focused and proactive than the reality: I go to therapy because of pain. I am resentful of being depressed and needing help. I feel like the church has done it to me, and I am sporadically disappointed in myself for not being able to muscle through.

I am self-conscious about the lessons; it’s like talking to a mirror. It is by turns reassuring and disturbing to find out that this person who is outside my head sees the world the way I do. Other times, my own thoughts and feelings are interpreted and reflected back to me in startling, painful ways.

Sometimes I have been so overwhelmingly sad that I want to take a blanket along to hide under and just sit in the corner and cry. Before this year that would have sounded stupid to me. What use would it possibly be to sit in a room with someone else and cry? But then I found out what it’s like to hurt so much, and not even know what to say about it, and having a sympathetic witness seemed like it would be as helpful as anything else.

I never did that.

Now I don’t cry so much as I laugh uncertainly and fidget. Ring-twisting, leg bouncing. For some reason, I look forward to these lessons. I usually leave feeling worse than I did going in, and I am usually tearful and thoughtful for a few days afterward. I suppose my heart understands that this unpleasant process is how I learn.

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Thanks for using this space to share your encouraging words.