Can I just take a moment to talk about how absurd it is to find a therapist?
Not to be mistaken for going to therapy, because that’s one of the bravest, smartest things anyone can do. But the act of actually finding a therapist.
This is, of course, skimming past the insane courage it takes to accept you might be dealing with The Thing, as well as the courage to actually go TALK to someone about The Thing. Especially when society tells you to ignore or be ashamed of it. That The Thing is something you can out-think, ignore, or beat on your own like, you know, diabetes and asthma and cancer!
Ok, ranty blog about that mentality (as well a blog regarding the courage it takes to seek therapy) will happen some other time. Right now, background info: I moved across the country a few months ago. Back in my home state, after a few bad eggs (oh wow, that’s another great blog post... therapy is good, I swear!), I found this spunky god-send of a therapist. She was respectful, understanding, smart and funny as hell. And cool shit can happen when you find a therapist like her. I’m like, almost a fully-functioning adult now!
In all seriousness, she probably saved my life. And I think therapy often needs to be ongoing – especially if you’re someone like me who has The Thing (#1 – 4). There’s nothing wrong with that, that’s just how I was made. Yes, some days it’s harder for me to accept them, but I’m doing pretty damn well for where I am and I’m proud of that. Regardless, I think the brain needs a check-up just (if not, especially) like other parts of the body. Afterall, the brain *is* another part of the body, an organ like the heart, yeah? So, sometimes I needed to see my therapist once a week for a while and other times I was in a good spot and spent years without seeing her at all.
Anyway, I moved. And my therapist wouldn’t move with me (le sigh), so I figured I would have to find a new one eventually. And since past therapy has helped me learn a lot about my own mind, eventually has become now.
Thus, the absurdity of finding a therapist. Because, if you’re not lucky to have recommendations (which can still be a "let's wing it" deal) then, really, your only other option seems to be where I am right now.
Yep. I am looking for a person with whom I can entrust the deepest most uncomfortable parts of myself in the land of cat memes and Kim Kardashian’s ass. It's sort of counter-intuitive if not downright scary. But I put my blinders on and threw a couple operative words in the search bar like: not-sucky psychologist/therapist, in (my area of the world), The Thing (#1 – 4).
That’s really kind of it. And, by the power of Google, all these names pop up and, essentially, you’re looking for a god damned brain surgeon on the internets.
Which, if you're me, looks something like this:
Dr. Emelle Shauvhausen! That's a fun name! How do I even pronounce that? Em-EEL? Em-me-LEE?
Fitszy MacBaggins? Okay, either a hobbit or a stripper. Got it.
Dr. Skiddlywink Fartsypoops. I… I don’t even…
Some of them have little blurbs or websites, which definitely helps you get the sense of them a bit – what they might focus their work on, how they approach therapy, the types of therapy they use. But, if you’re like me, that can just make you even more obsess-y about it:
ok, Dr. Shauvhausen uses CBT, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – that's like, all the rage these days, right? But Miss MacBaggins uses a psychodynamic approach. That sounds fun, but it doesn’t have an acronym. WHAT IF I NEED ACRONYM LEVEL HELP?!
Speaking of acronyms, they always have two or three after their names and I rarely know what they stand for. I mean, M.S. Yes, Masters of Science. But in what? My friend has a Masters of Science in Engineering, I'm not so sure how much that will help when I'm blubbering about my dog or something, you know? Psy.D, ok... I recognize that one. LMFTWTF... how is that different from an M.S. or a Psy.D? What if I'm at Ph.D. level neuroses? Damnit, why don't I speak the Rotakas language? They only have like, 12 letters in their entire alphabet!
Eventually, I'm not going to lie, you resort to pictures. I’m not proud of it, but honestly – what else is there to do? Miss MacBaggins has a kind smile but large, hairy hobbit feet – no judgment here, but good to know I guess. Dr. Fartsypoops has kind eyes but a fancy haircut. I am not a fancy hair cut kind of person. What if our approach to haircuts clash and things don’t work out?
In summary, finding a therapist is kind of ridiculous. I’ve been thinking there has to be a better way to do it, but I haven’t been able come up with anything. I imagine calling to chat to get the sense of who he/she is might be helpful – assuming you aren't like me and avoid phonecalls at all costs. I also know some therapists have a ‘first session is free’ type deal since that’s usually you both getting comfortable with each other and seeing if it works out anyway. But, honestly, even if we came up with some other way of finding a therapist, it’s going to be scary no matter what, isn’t it? I mean, hell, I’m scared and I know – first hand – how much therapy can actually help.
So, short story long, I’ve had these three therapists on my phone for a week. I’ve looked through their pictures and read their blurbs over and over. And really, what it comes down to is I’m going to have to choose one and then I’m going to have to get in my car, drive to an office, meet a stranger, talk about The Things, and see if I even like the person. And that sucks, because therapy is hard enough as it is. It is hard and uncomfortable and exhausting. But so is fighting demons. And, frankly, I have too much awesome life to live to keep putting this off.
SO, I am sending an email to Dr. Fartsypoops (shockingly, not her real name) because she looks very kind and I like what her blurbs had to say.
And, also, because her office is in “a brick house”, which immediately led to singing/imagining a montage of me walking to therapy in a 70’s velour track suit belting The Commodores song.
Whatever is a deciding factor right?!