I broke down in my time with a few therapists, more often than ever before with a boyfriend. Fortunately at the man's front, they helped me by taking the occasional initiative, but therapists are addictive and about as difficult to shake off as heroin.
Okay, you don't lose your house or your heart, but you have to give up the confidant who keeps your common sense together. Or not. Because sometimes that is not entirely how things occur.
I have had an on-off relationship with psychological problems that were eventually helped by pharmaceutical products and some very good professionals who supported me in the worst times. However, it has not always been easy and sometimes the people who are supposed to help hinder. A relationship with a therapist is a bit like marriage – except that you pay weekly and don't always have a friendly divorce.
Marion McGilvary (photo) visited a therapist in Hampstead for five years, of which she says she felt abused and abused
The first time I had the Samaritans on speeddial (they were often engaged), the NHS sent me to a basement in West London for something that was designated as & # 39; group therapy & # 39 ;. I was 35 years old and suffered from postnatal depression after the birth of my daughter. The group consisted of myself, two psychiatrists and a group of other dissimilar individuals who had one thing in common: ovaries.
For mothers, it was as if that was an important unifying concept, despite the fact that we all had very different problems ranging from social anxiety to alcoholism and worse, such nasty things that I can't even mention them in a family newspaper – so much worse trauma & # 39; s than mine.
Every week I trot along like a little donkey to relieve myself and come back like a pack horse laden with the misery of other people.
After attending a month, I was not only depressed, but worried that I would have a drinking problem, and I had suppressed a number of previously unknown trauma in my past.
It was not a success. I tried to leave. And that's when my problems really started. One of the team leaders was a respected child psychotherapist, who had trained at a reputable institution and who stated that I was not good enough to give up the therapy, but instead had to work with her individually.
You need help, she said, in the sepulchal tones that I would get used to.
Me too. I struggled. I had four small children and could barely get through the day. I was afraid that I would release grief and despair as a foul odor, which would pollute everyone around me. I was in crisis.
& # 39; Someone like you has to come three times a week, & # 39; she said. Then I really started to worry. Someone like me? Three times a week? That's not therapy, it's a job.
Marion (photo) decided to hire a tenant to cover the costs of seeing her therapist three times a week
Was I that crazy? I just have to make a leap, a leap and a leap by being divided, I thought, and sank farther into the swamp of fear and fear. Not in the least because I could no longer afford three slots of private therapy per week than a private jet. I had no income.
I was a housewife (no wonder I was loopy) and I couldn't afford a haircut, let alone therapy. But she insisted and gave me a special price, a price that I paid by taking a rental soldier (of which every cent went to her) and started the long slog in full decline.
The theory of all this yawning was, she said, for me to internalize a good parent, which I suspected. I had a perfectly good set of parents and did not necessarily need more, especially because the real babies did babysitting and chores and the therapy back did nothing. Really. Nothing. She didn't even speak unless poked.
I once asked her what kind of therapist she was and she didn't answer, but told me it wasn't important. I immediately felt insulted, as if I had gotten out of step and then predictably, as I would soon discover, she asked me why I thought this was important. That seems obvious for any sensible person who gives money to someone else to guide them, but I was not very stable back then and she was the & # 39; expert & # 39 ;.
Marion reduced the number of times that she followed therapy treatments to one after she had visited her therapist for three years (file image)
There was a couch. I lay on it. I lost my guts. My shame. My uncertainties. My lack of self-respect and the problems I had as an essentially uneducated young woman with four children, married to an intellectual man, who had a & # 39; large & # 39; had a job with enormous responsibilities, which I never felt I could match.
I wore inferiority and inadequacy as a big flappy dress.
So you'd think a therapist would help with this. Mmm, not that much. Each question provoked a different question. Nothing was clear. When I complained that my husband was never there, she told me what good work my husband was doing and only made me feel like the thankless maid who didn't pull her.
percent of the British have consulted a therapist or counselor
And sometimes I fell asleep when I was talking. I heard her breathing softly, but there I was afraid to say something.
I turned around once and saw her eyes closed, and then lost my self-control both with her and with myself because she was so weak. But she only told me that I was boring.
So I should have left, yes? Damn well, I should have left. But I didn't. I was caught like a butterfly in a net, scared to leave and actively discouraged. When I said it, she told me she didn't think it would work without her. I believed her.
Three years passed and I managed to free myself from three sessions to one, although I still argued the same amount. I got a great job as a restaurant critic for the Financial Times and my life flourished, but I still went to Hampstead, the spiritual home of psychotherapists, and still addicted to attempts at & # 39; good & # 39; to be pronounced. Instead of lying on the couch, I was in her bedroom now.
Marion (photo) says her therapist who suffered from a neurological disease started asking her to hold the sessions in her bedroom
What I did not mention is that my therapist fell ill at the start of our meetings. She had a neurological illness that made her slowly invalid, and after she couldn't get out of bed, she asked if I would mind seeing her in her bedroom. I did. I thought it was terrible, but I didn't know how to say no.
You probably think I'm a wimp. And I was. But you have to remember that when you had a bad collapse, your world collapsed, along with parts of your identity, and I had handed myself over to this woman I met at an NHS clinic and I thought I could trust . I only found out years later that she was completely out of line and exceeded all rules.
She should not have seen me because her health failed. Maybe she thought she was taking care of me, but in the end I felt that I was taking care of her. I was desperate to leave, but didn't want to upset her. She became a different person for whom I felt responsible. And she still told me that I wasn't strong enough to leave, even when she asked me to move her leg for her because it was painful. So I took care of her.
To this day, I don't know how I could finally free myself. It is now a haze. But in the end, five years later and very much against her advice, I stopped working. I had to notice.
Marion (in the photo) felt as if she had been abused by someone who would take care of her
I wanted a month, she wanted a year. Every time I took my leave, I had to pay her. But in the end it took two months to be in the United States with my family to have money well spent and eventually I wriggled away and left.
And I was fine. I felt liberated. As if a weight had been taken off my shoulders. Without all that searching for the soul, I no longer had to keep picking on crusts.
Yes, I felt bruises, as if I had been abused by someone who should take care of me. But I was happy. I had a great job. A nice life with spending some money to burn and the kids were older and easier to take care of.
I wrote off that period of my life as something to be marginally ashamed of – not because I had mental health problems, but because I had those problems weakened and exploited.
The time passed, perhaps about a year and a half, and I would leave her firmly behind when a letter came from the sky. It was from my therapist who asked me to visit. Not once, but regularly.
It was like quicksand. I felt claustrophobia descending.
I wanted to emigrate. Run. Dig a hole. Bury myself. And yet I felt obliged. She was sick. It seemed the least I could do.
The result was unbearable, almost worse even than listening to a snoring therapist, worse than hours of crying, worse than confessing to horrible truths.
Marion (photo) has recently started visiting a new therapist in West London who has become very dear to her
She asked me to keep visiting, to make a schedule. I could not and I finally said that I could not visit her again. And yes, terrible person, although it is me, I almost did it cheerfully, ran to my car and buzzed in the distance like a cowboy at the end of a western.
I then learned that she had died. I should feel guilty, but I don't. Sad, yes, but my memories of that time are not good, so I can't regret that I didn't go back to see her.
Since then, although many decades later, I have unfortunately returned to the mental health institutions of West London with a therapist recommended by a friend.
This therapist has been nothing but healing and nurturing. She has become very dear to me – finally the internalized good mother, whom I thought I didn't need, but for which I found space.
I have left her several times, always on good terms and going back when the need arises. She will be retiring soon, so the end is near. However, we have already agreed that we will meet for a glass of wine after the therapy has stopped and the relationship changes.
I'm sure we're breaking another therapy rule, but we both agree, as equals, so I'll definitely have a happy ending this time.
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