A Letter To My Former Therapist
I can be the person I want to be
Elyssa D. Durant, Ed.M.
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It's nice to hear from you, I had just been thinking of you. Is there a reason why you sent me two copies?
Talk to you soon
—Elyssa Durant's Former Therapist
Now how can you call yourself a qualified therapist and ask me such a stupid question? I have at least two of everything!
So my alter-ego as a "cyberwhore" is no longer a secret! I always send duplicate copies of every outgoing e-mail to myself to a number of free-mail accounts. Most have probably expired and I can't even remember most of the passwords to access them, which leads me to wonder what happens to my written works that I have so carefully created? Do they just float around in cyberspace forever? Are my words now immortal? Does that make me grandiose or paranoid?
I had my first appointment with my new psychiatrist on Wednesday and he seems very "eager" to help. He is a very young resident, and I think he is kind of psyched that he got placed at Vanderbilt in Nashville rather than some community mental health center in rural Tennessee. For his training, he needs a number of hours conducting therapy—so I graciously agreed to be one of his guinea pigs. I negotiated a one-hour session every other week.
I hate therapy. It seems so staged and rehearsed. I actually spend hours before a session trying to think of what I should say.
That never seemed to work with you. That kind of annoyed me, because I wanted you to play the game with me. This is the way it is supposed to work: I'll tell you what happened as a child, and you tell me the source of my insanity.
I would try to remember the random things that happen each day and let you know that I was telling you the truth about my life, my world, and my family. On many occasions, I would forget my zinger, my "punch-line" if you will, and I would be so disappointed in myself. I would drop these little tidbits of information hoping you would recognize that I was not completely beyond help, and you might understand the method to my madness. Would that make it okay to be so fucked up? Loony. Crazy. Nuts.
You never once said, "Aha!" Instead, you would listen impatiently as I reflected on childhood traumas. Even the most elaborate reports of my childhood experience did not make you flinch—well, maybe a few times! At what point did you realize that there was some truth in what I was telling you? I would say the same thing over and over because I knew it to be true, to be fact, to be far more cruel and evil than anything I could I make believe as a child. I want to stop playing those games. I am ready to be a person. I am ready to love. I am ready to be "normal."
As I grow, I would like to become more direct, more assertive, and more sure of what I am saying and how it is being received. In the past, I would sit with silence and ambivalence and just fall into situations by default. I don't want complacency to guide me through life. I am not incapable of protecting myself anymore. I hated being such a passive participant in my own life not knowing where I would be living, with whom, and for how long. Learned helplessness. I wonder how things might have been different...if only.
I will never know how events shaped my life and broke my mind. What caused my mind to break? Was I too weak? Was there some point where I should have thrown in the towel and taken my own life? Was there anything, anything I could have done differently to survive? Is there a "normal" breaking point? Did I put up a good fight? Did I do okay?
I want to act with purpose, speak with conviction, and be confident in my decisions. I want to choose action rather than inaction and feel comfortable with the choices I have made. No more ruminating over what I should have, might have, or almost done.
How did you manage to put my mind back together again without knowing what went wrong? Is my head okay? Can I have children?
You were a good therapist, you are a great therapist. The Best!