Once upon a time, I was a vocational rehab counselor at a substance abuse treatment facility. I had a caseload and 50 clients and worked in a substance-abuse treatment facility.
I loved working with people who have mental health issues and comorbid diagnoses of substance abuse. However, it was emotionally exhausting, and it was difficult for me (being an empathetic person) to set boundaries so that I didn’t burn out. I love my clients. I love seeing adolescence get sober. I love seeing adults turn from heroin addicts to sober individuals who can function and go on to achieve great things. I was sad when my clients relapse. That’s always a hard thing whether relapse is related to mental health issues or substance-abuse seeing people that you’re working with to get better relapse is painful.
In addition to working with clients, I also saw my counselor.
Well not really a counselor, a therapist. At the time that I was working in vocational rehabilitation in a residential treatment facility, I was in cognitive behavior therapy. I went to the while Cornell Institute in New York City. My therapist was a graduate student, but she was trained in CBT and showed me how to do thought records so that I could fight against my negative thinking. I learned about cognitive distortions, and it was beautiful.
The thing about CBT is that it’s a short-term kind of treatment. Between 3 to 6 months but you can’t do refresher courses. I like the idea of not being reliant on therapy. Like the concept of learning techniques and then going on to use them. I sometimes wonder if I could get away with living my life and not seeing a therapist. I don’t want to rely on somebody to help me at all times. But I do find Therapy to be extraordinarily helpful. Right now my therapist is doing exposure therapy with me for my OCD. It’s scary, and I’m not always excited about confronting my deepest fears. I’m not one of those people who have OCD who is afraid of germs. I was telling my psychiatric NP today about my lack of germaphobia. She was about to take my blood pressure (since Effexor raises your blood pressure sometimes) and she said: “don’t worry, I sanitized this before I used it on you.” It didn’t even occur to me to ask that nor did I care. So I said “oh I don’t care about that. I’m so glad I’m not one of the OCD people who is afraid of germs. I eat things off the floor. If I were a baby, I’d have RSV.” I’m such a smart ass. I do feel bad for people who have a fear of germs, like my friend Evan. He used to be afraid of hurting babies because of germs leaving his hands and infecting them. I can’t imagine what it’s like to live this way.
My fear of death is real. I am consistently afraid of something terrible happening to my brain and even typing this makes my OCD flare up. I don’t want to tell you the things I’m scared of because they make them feel more “real,” which is part of the reason that therapy is helpful to me. However, I don’t want to be dependent on going to see a therapist for the rest of my life.
I think therapy is valuable, but I want to believe that there will be a time that I don’t need to go weekly. I don’t know why I feel like maybe I don’t want to rely on somebody to “fix me. “Anybody understand this? Does anyone see a therapist that wishes that they didn’t have to see a therapist? I know that sounds circular. I want to know what your experiences are. Am I the only one who wishes they didn’t have to go to therapy?