October 6th (I think it was the sixth) was my three-year anniversary with my therapist.
I think it’s safe to say that I’ve made an enormous amount of progress in that time. If you think I’m bitter now, you should have met me three years ago. I was more bitter than Dorothy Zbornak. And I didn’t just have issues. I had … a subscription.
Contrary to what I tell people, therapy is not fun. It’s not easy and most of the time it sucks. It’s hard work. The things I repressed, I repressed for a reason – they’re painful to think about, and even more painful to rehash.
But that’s not my point. My point is that it’s been three years and I still see John every week. There’s no end in sight. Sure, on occasion John will ask me what goals I have, what I want to accomplish from my hour every week. Because I am making progress, and logic dictates that eventually, I’ll work through my problems and not need weekly therapy.
Here’s the problem: in the past three years, I’ve not been living in a bubble. Things continue to happen. And that means that more problems arise.
I was making progress this year. I was doing rather well mid-summer. Then I got dumped. Then I lost my job. Then my dad’s cancer came back, and then he died. Issues galore. For every problem I work through, three more pop up in its place.
I suppose that over the years I’ve learned to deal with my problems better, which means I deal with them more quickly and in a more mentally healthy manner. But the fact remains that problems keep coming, and as long as they do, John’s got job security.
I suppose that a recession is a good time to be a therapist. People realize what utter crap their lives are and seek help. And the longer you’re in therapy, the more problems from your past emerge. No one goes to a therapist for *one* problem. Even if it starts off as one problem, the next thing you know, you’re realizing you had a dysfunctional childhood and that you’re disappointed in your college experience and that you’re been self-medicating with candy … three years pass and you’re still nuts.
But you know that you’re nuts, and so it’s a little easier – which is good, because you’re going to be nuts forever.