Tear-apy

Ah, bless me faddah, and please ask God to send me a better shirt

Ah, bless me faddah, and please ask God to send me a better shirt

Since when did going to see a therapist require such preparation? Like what I did when I was a kid, thinking up my sins to confess before seeing the priest. What is plausible, what is the right number of lies and Lord’s name in vains? But the therapist is there to help, right, so just let it all out, the truth. But examining that truth beforehand, thinking about what is happening and how I feel, it just stirs up even more angst than I realized I had inside me.

Yesterday I was supposed to have a chat with one of my therapists (one for me, one for “we”), and I tried to recall everything that had gone on since our last talk. One of the events was seeing the “we” therapist, and as I remembered that visit I felt all over the anger generated when I tried, again (endlessly), to come to grips with the Move and all the other events connected to it. But after the session, after the anger dissipated, things seemed to be pretty smooth on the home front, at least outwardly. Outwardly. But inside, inside the dark recesses and plunging depths of this self-absorbed writer’s mind – it’s not a pretty sight.

What can I say: It’s happening again. That daily struggle to get out of bed, to face the job I like less and less but feel more compelled than ever to keep (and for which I take on more assignments, and maybe even ones I don’t want, so that there is some semblance of steady income in the turbulent months ahead). Things are usually better after the morning meditation and exercise, but the enthusiasm (ha! – more like sighful resignation) wanes pretty quickly after lunch, and as I slide into the evening I know the whole process will start over again after sleep, the only true solace in my day besides cooking and eating (and aren’t the results of all that eating constantly staring me in the face, even if my clothes strategically hide it from the world). The ongoing erosion of my sense of satisfaction with life is compounded by this: As each day passes, I know I am coming ever close to so many things I don’t want – moving, being alone, facing economic insecurity, abandoning the urban lifestyle I love, owning a home.

Even weekends, which once rejuvenated me during that years-ago time when I had a corporate job I really hated and the panic attacks were a constant threat and I had no rewarding love life, even that break does not bring comfort. Saturday – just another day falling off that countdown calendar. And Sunday – another day, and now I’m hours closer to the workweek hell.

Through this time, I find drugs of various stripes a mixed blessing. One beer tastes good, it relaxes. A second is ok as well. But too often I reach for a third I don’t really want or need and regret having it as soon as it is gone. Especially if it comes later at night, because I know I won’t sleep as well, and I’m likely to feel the effects in the morning. Which, in a way, could be good, because then I would have an excuse for bagging the work, more than “I just don’t feel like it.” Yet even with the post-booze fog, there would be the guilt pushing me out of bed and toward the computer. Deadlines to be met, money to be made. After all, there is the move, and the loss of income and the house…

Trusty ol’ Lorazepam also comes into play. Now it’s not just for the days when I really feel anxious. Some days I just want to feel – rounded. Yes, some thoughts are too sharp, too persistent, and the drug softens it. I am sensitive, though, to the risk of addiction. I take only a half-tablet and spread it out. Never two days in a row. Now I have Lyrica in my arsenal too, if I choose to use it. It was prescribed for chronic nerve pain, but the list of possible side effects put me off. Though I was intrigued to read that in some people, it has the same results as Valium. Well, won’t hurt to try one. So the night of T.C. Boyle I took it. Not as pleasant a feeling as Valium or Xanax. Visually, familiar spaces seemed warped somehow, even as my brain remained basically sharp. The next day, I was still feeling weird in my body. Could not see taking it twice a day for long stretches, as prescribed, so the nerve pain will remain. But the Lyrica does too, because you never know when you might want some spatial warping.

I worry about many things, as some of you might know. Death, of course, is number one. Financial uncertainty, I’m now learning is near the top. Basically, anything I can’t control or choose not to for whatever reason. I worry about staying sane in the months ahead, especially when I’m alone. Or at least staying calm enough to function, as anger builds inside. I worry about saying all of this the next time I see my therapist. I’m tired of therapy, wary of spending the money, and not convinced it will get me through this crisis, or the big Crisis. Of course, neither will food nor drugs nor sleep. It will just have to unfold and I will have to adapt. Or not.

I look for the small positives. I saw a play last night that featured my theatre buddy Bries Vannon. A very powerful, stylized work that I enjoyed. I walked to it. When I came home, I was alone. I poured myself a tall Jameson’s. Then, thinking about the show, the small positive became a negative. In CT, I will not have friends in theatre who appear in political plays that feature full nudity and attacks on the Catholic Church and touches of human tenderness amidst the exploration of oppressive regimes. And if I did, I surely would not be able to walk to see them. No, no, back to the positives. Well, tomorrow is the first meeting for The Real Thing (chronicled a bit here). I’m making vegan pizza, and I will be part, if only tangentially, of a theatre community. And I can perhaps find that kind of community in CT. Should have been doing more here to find that during the last 5 years too…oh well. Another positive: There are events and small trips coming up, and that’s all fine.

Maybe if they would just one let me stretch out on the couch...

Maybe if they would just once let me stretch out on the couch...

But, the reality is that the daily grind of counting the days and feeling that a part of what makes me happy – as much as that is possible – is slipping away for good, well that’s hard to reconcile with the little pleasantries. Maybe I shouldn’t give up on the therapy yet. And tone down the drugs, I know. (Or maybe just try different ones…) Get back into that Buddhist spirit – “live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.” And just try not to worry so much about all these things I can’t control. Right.

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~ by mburgan on February 21, 2009.

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