Today’s Therapy Session: Circle Jerk Waste of My Time

“I’m so sorry!  It’s been such a hectic day!”

Christ.  When your out of breath therapist greets you like that, you know it’s going to be a crap session.

A depressed Tom on the railroad tracks awaitin...
A depressed Tom on the railroad tracks awaiting a train to run him over. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve just come from telling my therapist for the last 50 minutes how I’m no better from when she saw me last week and I just don’t care about anything anymore.  I’m not doing much housework. My husband and I are living off of microwave meals at night because I can’t bear to cook. I was even too apathetic to cry this session.  Usually, I leave there without a trace of mascara.

She agreed I am depressed.

After going through all the required figures and further describing my own depressive hell, the conversation took an unexpected turn.

“So, what do you want us to do for you?”

“Us” being the care team I see at the facility I go to – Psychiatrist, Nurse’s Assistant, Therapist.

Uh, OK…this is a fair question, albeit a weird one.  “Do for me?”

“Yes, what do you want us to do for you?”

Ah, OK.  I get it.  Her tone and some further explanation made it clear. She was at a loss for what kind of therapeutic intervention I require going forward and she wanted me to dictate.

I explained to her that on the planet I come from (The United States), the Gentry (care providers)  do not ask their subordinates (patients) for input about a ‘team approach’ and I was totally out of my element.  In my world, it’s the doctors who are the experts and the almost non-functioning depressed patients were at their mercy.  People who are as far gone as I am – those who almost phone in their session because they’re not motivated enough to drive and who find it hard to shower every day – are in trouble and require someone else to dictate the treatment to them.

Well, she wasn’t having it.

I have no follow-up appointment with her.  I will see my Nurse Practitioner next Friday and then…

Everyone has bad, hectic days.  I take pity on my therapist because clearly she wasn’t feeling the love by our 4PM session.

All compassion aside, I’m still in a freaking horrible situation.  On the way home I got to thinking, with all of this ‘patients take charge of their own treatment’ attitude, what’s going to happen when I’m really out of it and manic?  Will my ‘team’ listen to ‘reason’ and buy me a plane ticket to Hollywood so I can keep that date with Bradley Cooper?  You’ve got to laugh.

Yeah, today’s session was a circle jerk waste of my time.  Tomorrow I will see how I feel.  If it’s as bad as today, the NP just might get a call for an emergency appointment.


I’m so sorry. That feeling of. . . I don’t even know what to call it, when the only reason you have made the herculean effort of even showing up is because you are holding on to a shred of belief that somehow these people have some answers, something to point you in the direction of well, only to be left with nothing. . . I’ve been there, and it’s almost impossible to process, even.

Sending you (((hugs))) and wishing you better.

Hey, Ruby – thanks. I don’t like to whine on my blog too much, but I figured this is something a lot of people can identify with. And thanks for the tweet-out from the Canvas twitter account!

It isn’t whining. I look at it more as venting, which I think is a perfectly acceptable thing to do on a mental health focused blog (or even one that isn’t). In fact, I think it’s healthy, because sometimes you just need to holler about this stuff to a whole lot of people who can understand and identify (as you said). And I know you have your hubby, and I know that he is very supportive, but I don’t know that he’s been through mental illness and the rigamarole personal (not asking).

As far as the Canvas Twitter, you’re very welcome! I’ve been trying to get all of the authors’ posts out through there now, instead of just RT, and now I’m working on tagging them, too. Hopefully some new people may discover us or you or all of Team Canvas that way! 😉

(P.S. As for the whining versus venting and the appropriateness of it: I say it has to be alright to do on any kind of personal blog, and more so on a mental health blog, because Lord knows that I have done a ton! And you know what? It has kept me from shouting at and saying a lot of angry, ugly, frustrated, unkind things to people I love very much.)

I so get you, girl. This actually happens to me most of the time. That’s why I know pretty much what I want out of the session before I go. I want a cheerleader and a person to vent to. That’s it. And my therapist is happy to comply.

Yeah. All I want is someone to validate feeling blue is normal for all of the stress I’m under, and to help me recognize if/when I’ve crossed the line into depression.


That’s one of the reasons I am sooo frustrated. I’ve told her this the last three sessions. I’ve been thinking that maybe I’m off base because of the culture difference thing. In the US they don’t care if you just keep showing up as long as the bill gets paid. I could be wrong, but I’m beginning to think here it’s more results driven for the therapist’s review. Heck, the bill gets paid, of course, so I can’t imagine why checking in every two weeks with the goal of seeing whether I’ve crossed the lie is such a big deal. Dunno. Today I’m just resigned about feeling like crap for as long as it takes to get over it. I’m sure you can relate. Waiting-it-out must be in your Bad Ass toolbox somewhere 🙂

Oh, sweetie. Yes, it will shift. But it feels like it never will when you’re in it. You deserve to have a therapist who will give you what you need. Dammit.

If you removed the cause of your stress, how would your life be different? Therapy treatment is very different than a therapist that will allow a client to sit in a chair week after week, for years and just VENT. We (all with depression or SMI) must participate in our recovery. After my recent bout with depression, i realized through meditation that I had lost my JOY in life. It feels like it was stolen. My therapist can’t shake a magic wand over me to get it back. I have to do the work by re-identifying what i define as JOY. Or Peace. Or Happiness. I must put into practice breathing techniques, i must journal, and I must be gentle with my self on the days i really can’t get out of bed and fit into the “normal” world. I just can’t let that go on too long, or I am really screwed. The brain can become accustomed to feeling depressed, because that is the message it receives as soon as we open our eyes. How do I really know, if i don’t give it a fair shake and try suggestions, or get outside and try to walk, before i declare that I am just too depressed today to do so. It is all so tough and complicated. But, rattled or stressed out therapists are of no help to any patient.

Hi, Bee Love, thanks for commenting. I agree with what you said, and you ask a very good question. CBT can be a wonderful thing…I’ve benefited greatly from it in the past. What is happening now is kind of forcing a reset on all of my therapy. There is a breakdown between the patient (me) being able to define what the stressors are and getting an adequate measure if the reaction to what cannot be changed is appropriate or distorted (from the therapist). In all fairness to the therapist, that’s what I need before I can even think about what the behaviors are that need retuning. Sigh.

I am glad to hear that things like breathing techniques and journaling are so effective for you. Being gentle with yourself is so important, too. That’s one of the hardest things of all to learn. Thanks for reading!

Do you know that for the seconds while you are laughing, you aren’t depressed? Find more laughs and smiles–they do more for you then therapy sessions ever will. I always left feeling more sorry for myself then when I start. So I find something funny to smile about, hard hard hard as it is. And life is very funny if you look around a bit.

You’re right. One thing I really get a kick out of is watching people’s faces when I try to speak Dutch. It takes them a few seconds to figure out what I’m trying to say with my thick American accent. 🙂 I’m taking your advice. I’m off to watch The Daily Show.


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