I fired the Nice Lady Therapist today. It wasn’t me, it was her.
I don’t like opaque situations. I don’t like therapeutic sessions where asking “why?” is either deflected or discouraged, and she did both. I asked “Why is short-term, goal-oriented therapy the policy here?” I asked “Why do I have to have a goal before we look at modalities?” Answers, in order: Because it is, and because that’s how it works.
I’m a pragmatist. I don’t have the kind of time or resources that allow me to set goals with no idea of how to accomplish them. I examine my options and proceed according to the most sensible path, and if I don’t want to be shoved into something that’ll take up energy and fail spectacularly at the same time, that’s my business. You work for me, you work with me, within my boundaries. I’m risk-averse for good reason, which I did explain in multiple contexts. Noooope. Didn’t register.
I don’t like abled people who tell disabled people a) “You’re not disabled. I don’t think you are.” or b) “Think of how many abilities you still have! Be grateful for that: you can still walk, you can still talk…” And I thought of my variously disabled friends, who don’t walk or who aren’t verbal, and I said, “They’re happy.” Which in the cases I’ve encountered has been true, but it turns out that disabled people and neurodivergents who talk amongst ourselves, we don’t actually have the right answers to our lives. She said, “There are plenty of people who aren’t happy,” and I said, “They ain’t my inspiration porn.”
She trotted out the old “I worked for years with mentally ill people, people with lots of psychiatric disorders, who still worked,” and I thought but did not say that I’d frankly rather hear from them. Also, of all people, she ought to know no two presentations are the same. She ought to know by now that one man’s limitation is another woman’s freedom. I told her if anything, I needed help grieving what I had lost, and she said I could grieve by looking at the positives instead of focusing on the disability. No. I repeated, “The political is personal. This identity empowers me. I have a reason to fight. Grief is different. What, when I lost my grandmother, would you have told me to focus on the positive memories?” Suspect the answer would’ve been yes in that case. But the loss was traumatic: I missed the last nine years of her life. So too the losses of ability over the years. Further, not all losses hit the same. Take a leg, I’ll get over it. Take my eyes, my hands, my ears, I’ll plead for a mercy death.
I don’t like people who interpret my multicultural family system through an American lens. She insisted I would never accomplish anything until I — oh yes — “individuated”, which meant (explicitly) my parents throwing me out. Because running through my savings in half a year is totally the way to go, right? They want me here as long as I want to be. The day I say “I’m okay to move out” is the day they help me move! So I told her, “You’re being very American about this,” because that is a very American idea, that in order to become a Person, you have to leave your parents’ home. In my family, no. It’s a choice that doesn’t mean one thing or another. My uncle moved out; my aunt stayed. (When my mother was a child, my great-grandmother moved in, and by God my mother sprang at the chance to live with her. Posher digs.)
I said, “You come at this like you’ve never lived abroad in your life.” And she asked, “How do you know?” And I told her, “Because you’re reacting like an American [to the ideas I’m presenting].” Judging by the number of Buddhas littering her office, she did an Eat Pray Love tour and called it good.
I told her that I and my family had problems stemming from my dad’s botched demob, that we had no support. That I was still adapting twenty-two years down the line.
I caught her in as many contradictions as there were topics of conversation and I don’t mind saying that angers me. But I will say I was as polite about it as I could be through that anger. She is a Nice Lady Therapist and cannot help it. I must extend her pity. She was so busy putting me through her desired paces that she couldn’t bend her paradigm to see who I was. I must lend her a little grace. She doesn’t know any better.
I do. And, as I said to the receptionist on the way out, “I’m flying the coop.” So long, SBH. If she needs you she’ll call, but I don’t think that’s likely somehow.