Breaking up with a therapist


My wife finds this blog sort of puzzling. She’s a wonderful person, but significantly more private than her husband. She keeps things close to the vest; doesn’t relish the idea of letting strangers into our business.

I, on the other hand, have never been bothered by jabbering. It feels good to get a load off; to open up, babble and have a dialogue. I was a wee-bit nervous back in June, when I ran this post along with a link to my old virgin video. But, come day’s end, it provided a really good laugh. even when Deadspin chimed in. Blah, blah, blah.

This is a long way of saying that, a few days ago, I broke up with my therapist. Which means I was seeing a therapist.

The reason? A couple of months ago, I started to grapple long and hard with my death obsession. Literally, I would wake up every morning thinking about death. Then, come night, I’d plop down in bed and think about it again. I suppose pondering death is, in many ways, a good thing. It keeps the fragility of life in perspective; helps one live for the day. But, in my case, death was an obsession. A really, really, really, really, really, really, really dark obsession. It’s one thing to write about death, as I do here. But to wake up in the middle of the night, getting up, pacing, gasping—eh, no good.

Hence, I decided to see a therapist and hope he could help me handle things. The man came recommended by someone I trust. I visited him four times, hoping for some sort of enlightenment that never came. It was boring, expensive, far (a 40-minute drive) and unproductive. I arrived anxious and left annoyed. The final straw came last week, when he cut my session short by 15 minutes because he accidentally scheduled another appointment.

So I decided to stop.

I can’t imagine it’s ever fun breaking up with a therapist. This actually reminded me of breaking up with a girlfriend: Awkward. Confusing. Weird. I kept thinking about what I should say, then felt incredibly relieved when I got his answering machine (I know—wuss). I left a short-yet-kind message, then never looked back.

I can definitely envision seeing a therapist against, because death doesn’t become me. But until then, feel free to call me whenever. I’ll be up pacing …

5 thoughts on “Breaking up with a therapist”

  1. finding a good therapeutic fit may be more difficult than finding a mate. I mean, lots of people are smart, kind and attractive, but how many can really understand the inner workings of our soul?

    OK I exaggerate, a little. my point tho is that you shouldn’t necessarily give up after one try. not that you need to try again, but maybe you will, at some point. and maybe it will be a fit and maybe it won’t. and maybe you’ll have to try again.

    just sayin’. been there. a lot of not so great fits. or good in the wrong ways. (there’s that too.)

  2. i agree with queen hum. i tried therapy a few years ago and didnt like my therapist. ive started back up recently with a different one (one that is culturally similar to my background) and seems so far, to be a perfect fit.

    good luck in the future, with the therapist search.

    and btw, did you hear how glenn beck was going off about how obama shouldnt be so eager to get the olympics, because vancouver lost nearly a billion dollars when they had their olympics… too bad the vancouver olympics is THIS COMING WINTER lol. just thought id share.

  3. Jeff, after my diagnosis I too became obsessed with death; not necessarily my own, but death in general and where I go from here.

    I had a lot of unresolved issues. I was angry. My wife, friends and family didn’t have the answer.

    When I explained to them how I was feeling, they told me to think positive. I couldn’t possibly beat this thing if I had negative thoughts.

    I spoke to a therapist once…and really, that’s all it took.

    I needed to unload…and boy did I.

    My one goal for the session–especially considering this man’s office was in a women’s clinic and I was surrounded by pregnant women–was to make it to the office before I broke down in tears.

    I didn’t make it.

    One thing I learned, not just from that visit, but from my entire episode is that talking about what bothers me helps moreso than any treatment I’ve received…well, maybe not all of it.

    Here’s my blog entry from that day:

    Initially, I wanted to turn and run. Dr. X’s office is part of the Women’s Center and the sight of pregnant women nearly broke me down in the waiting area. The birth of new life scares me when I have witnessed firsthand the evil side of nature.

    We waited about 15 minutes until Dr. X, an older man, probably in his 50’s, with a slender build approached me. My first reaction–this is the kind of guy you WANT to talk to. His gentle appearance–thin rimmed glasses and thin, gray hair–made me think of a former baseball coach I had in high school. He didn’t know squat about baseball, but he taught me many things about myself and about life. In fact, he might have been the best coach I’ve ever had.

    Know that even before we arrived at the facility I knew I’d break down and cry. I hoped I wouldn’t, but the odds were against it. My already weakened mind and the confusion of the past few days was working against me.

    I had hoped to at least outline to Dr. X my reasons for wanting, no needing, to see him.

    That didn’t happen.

    Almost immediately after I shook hands with him I felt a burning sensation in my eyes and my throat had enlarged like it contained a small grapefruit. My mouth was dry and all I could think was, “get to the office, get to the office.”

    Dr. X let me lead the way, softly guiding me through the long hallway.

    Had there been one less turn, I might have made it. But now, the sobs couldn’t be contained. Finally, I made it through the door and quickly found a place on his couch and slung my head between my knees.

    “I didn’t want to cry,” I said.

    Dr. X simply handed me a box of tissues and told me to take my time.

    After collecting myself, for a moment at least, we discussed the events of the past month. At various times throughout that discussion, I found myself again staring at the floor, wiping away tears.

    Overall, I thought the discussion with Dr. X was beneficial. There wasn’t a lot of order to what we talked about, but I know I felt better upon leaving his office.

    I think his question near the end of the visit might have helped my mood.

    “Do you find yourself crying more often?” he asked.

    I thought to myself, “did the hallway episode not give that away?!”

    It was a funny moment, at least for me.

    I’ll see Dr. X again (I never did–as this appointment was canceled due to a change in my chemotheraphy) on Friday. We thought it was best to meet again to help with the treatment decision making process.

    I do believe I’ll continue to see him on a regular basis.

    On the way to X Hospital from Dr. X’s office, it was (my wife’s) turn. She cried, and really didn’t have much to say about it. You’ll have to ask her what brought out the tears. I know she’s carrying a big burden, and that’s bound to happen. Take if from me, it happens to me all the time.

    Opening up to that doctor, and writing in my blog, really has helped me get through a difficult time.

    Jeff, don’t be ashamed or embarrassed about seeing a “shrink.” I think you learned something from the visit–even if it only taught you that your blog is a perfectly good outlet for your thoughts.

    We’re listening.

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