That Time I Quit Therapy

For a personal blog, I’m remarkably good at not writing about anything too terribly personal. In the early days of a blog, you bare your soul, but the more people read your words, the harder it is to be completely honest about things.

Which is probably why I didn’t mention the social worker before this.

Louie doing Zen Calligraphy (yes, it looks a lot like smearing paint with a brush)

Louie doing Zen Calligraphy (yes, it looks a lot like smearing paint with a brush)

About two months ago–give or take, I’ve lost track of these things–when they decided to ramp up therapy for both twins, they also suggested that I get my very own social worker. Somebody for me to talk to about the stress that makes up a big chunk of my day to day life. I wasn’t really enthused about the idea, but when people offer you help, I think it’s smart to take them up on it–Mothers make terrible martyrs and all that.

The social worker came and sat on my couch and asked me questions about my life. I felt a little teary–three kids in therapy sounds really bad when you start saying it out loud. And then I felt like crap the rest of the day.

So I quit.

rexie ribbon

I mentioned this to a few people and they both said something along the lines of “don’t you ever get depressed?” or “doesn’t it all get to you sometimes?” And the answer is a simple one: of course it does. OF COURSE IT DOES. I mean, I live in a house with four people who wear diapers, can’t talk, and who all, ALL have an opinion. And my husband works a lot.

My secret, though, is that I’ve been crazy a lot longer than I’ve had kids.

That’s putting it simply, so here’s a slightly longer explanation: I have struggled with darkness as long as I can remember. Well, since I was twelve anyway. And long before I had kids, I had to learn how to work through it. I have a pretty significant bag of tricks when it comes to dealing with depression or dark moods or whatever it is that my mind may try to throw at me.

I don’t talk about this stuff very much. One, because it makes me look weak and I’m not weak. Two, because I don’t want people to think that my life makes me feel this way–it doesn’t. I’ve felt this way a lot longer than this stage in my life. I actually think my life is pretty great most of the time and even a great life doesn’t keep depression at bay all the time. And the third reason is because managing my moods is just something I do. Twenty-two years makes it more like second nature.

So I quit therapy. If I need to talk to someone I will (or I’ll blog about it here). If I need something else, I’ll take care of that too.

Besides, her visits were cutting into my nap time.

No, mom, I will not paint, but I do like to have my picture taken--let's just do that.

No, mom, I will not paint, but I do like to have my picture taken–let’s just do that.

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  1. Paulette says:

    I’ve had a social worker who does weekly visits for 2 years now. ECI sent her the month before my daughter was diagnosed and then just rolled her over to my son’s caseload when he started services. I’ve been lucky in that we clicked really easily (I think it is so important to find the right therapist for your personality). On days that I’m too busy or stressed to sit and talk for an hour, I just text her and we cancel or reschedule. She’s my lifeline. But my situation is probably a little different, being so far from away my family. There have been days (weeks, months) when it felt like she was the only person there to listen to me. She’s even been able to attend a few doctor’s appointments and events with me when I was desperate for help.

    • I honestly don’t know how you handle things without family like you do. I mean, it’s tough as it is–can’t imagine how tough it is without that net.

      I think the clicking is pretty important–and honestly, she was fine, and I didn’t dislike her, but I didn’t like the idea of someone coming over and probing me for problems.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this. I know shame about my mental illness has kept me alone in the dark far longer than I needed to be and the more voices there are talking about their experience, the easier it is to see that many people struggle with these things. Needing help to deal with the darkness doesn’t make you weak–if anything it makes you stronger because it is giving you the support you need to deal with shit and come out on the other side. Firing one’s therapist is a valid treatment choice (hey, I’ve done it too). You are the best judge of what works for you and you are in charge of your choices (as much as the parent of four small children can ever be) and your choices are ok. Talking about it doesn’t make you look weak. It’s a very real component of life and those who have experienced it know that you’re actually incredibly strong for dealing with depression on top of juggling everything that you do write about.

    • Thank you, Moose. These are some lovely comments. I just do what I have to and in this case that meant letting go of one more appointment that I didn’t want on my plate.

  3. I appreciate this post so much. I am blown away by all that you do with your children and all that you accomplish with your writing (and your art and your children’s stories and your meeting Neil Patrick Harris and your getting invited to fashion shows), but it’s your honesty that keeps me reading. Keep on fighting the good fight and making your naptime a priority. You’re awesome.

  4. “I was crazy before I had kids.” Yep, that about sums me up as well.

  5. You do what you think is best for you. That’s the road that we should take. I believe in trusting our “gut instincts” even when we don’t have proof, so if you know this is the best thing for you to quit therapy, then it’s the best thing for you.

    “I was crazy before I had kids.” – that line though – priceless.

    • That’s kind of my philosophy–if it isn’t right, then it isn’t right and you don’t need to wait for a big flashing sign to tell you that. Just go with your gut.

  6. Thank you for sharing this Katy. You are amazing!

  7. I think more of us deal with the darkness than anyone imagines. My internal reaction is, “You too?”

    Do you any especially effective strategies from your bag of tricks that you’d be comfortable sharing?

    When needed, I am a big fan of dance/disco music (“I Will Survive” and “It’s Raining Men” are my favorites) and funny movies. I also like to create process not product art. And look at Pinterest. Love Pinterest!

    Thanks for sharing.

    • A long time ago i did a bunch of exercises in a book called “The Depression Handbook” that I found very helpful–it’s especially good for the stuff that causes anxiety, but that isn’t actually important.

      I am also a big fan of loud music that forces you to dance. Exercise, the bane of my existence, is excellent. So is doing things when you don’t feel like it. I find that depression is a vicious cycle where you don’t feel like doing anything, so you don’t, and then you feel even crappier because you just spend a whole weekend at home by yourself.

      And happy movies and TV for sure. I have every season of Friends on DVD and I’ll bust them out whenever–like old friends who just come over and sit on your couch and talk.

  8. Get that social worker back. Make the social worker responsible for four kids, so you can get that much needed nap – undisturbed, also bathroom time alone!

  9. ((hugs)) sigh

  10. Good for you Katy! Help is only help when it’s not another thing you’ve got to do.

  11. I think sometimes we know ourselves pretty well- for me, writing things out has been what helps me when things get tough, so I know blogging is an outlet for you. And sleep- well, I feel a lot less stressed after a nap. Do what you need to do. If you ever do feel like therapy would help, I hope you do it. But if it’s not feeling like what you need, that’s okay too. Either way- props to you for admitting what you’ve dealt with. It’s not easy to do- but I’ve been there and so have many other people, and when someone’s willing to put themselves out there, it makes it easier for the rest of us, so thank you.