I spoke to my therapist for my allotted fifty minutes today. Because I did not feel like driving to the office I spoke with my therapist on the phone. I was sitting in my garage staring off into space for most of my conversation with her. I did not have much to say and it was one of those conversations where what I did say did not seem to accurately mirror the feelings that floated around inside of me. As time floated forward I tried to speak of things that I knew I needed to talk about- but no matter how hard I tried I just was not in the mood to talk about myself. I had spent most of the morning and afternoon alone in my garage- the silence had over taken me and I just could not get into the psychotherapy flow. However, once I got off the phone and a few hours passed, I realized there were several things that I forgot to tell my therapist.
I forgot to tell my therapist that I have been spending a lot of time, too much time, calling myself names like “idiot,” “stupid,” “jerk,” “fool” and “asshole” (to name a few). Accusing myself of doing the wrong thing or of being in the position that I am in life and punishing myself for it. I know of no greater psychological pain than to chronically punish ones own self. When I engage in this kind of internal torture I fall into a kind of depressive limbo where getting things done feels as difficult as solving that rubik’s cube thing that was popular in the 80’s. I spend my days hovering around like a hawk with its wings spread in the sky- but going nowhere. It looks effortless up there but in here it is requiring a lot of energy, so much so that when it comes time for bed I am asleep before I am able to turn out the lights.
I forgot to tell my therapist that I spent all day yesterday counseling one of my old students who was on the verge of committing suicide. She is 18 years old and ran away from home over a year ago. Her father was abusive and her mother enabling. She refuses to return to the homestead and has been left living on couches, struggling for cash (can not get a job because she does not have a green card even though she was born in America) and a few months back managed to almost take her life. She is suffering from a terrible affliction- hopelessness. She feels alone and like there is only one exit. I could relate with her- it was frightening how much I could relate. I made her and myself write down this passage from a Langston Hughes poem:
Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And boards torn up,
…And places with no carpet on the floor —
But all the time
I’se been a-climbin’ on,
And reachin’ landin’s,
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t been no light.
So boy, don’t you turn back.
Don’t you set down on the steps
‘Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now —
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
Talking about my problems today after hearing about hers felt futile. I have a roof over my head, people who love me, a couple of dollars in my bank account, a dog, a cat, a phenomenal therapist and a lover who takes care of me, really who am I to engage in self-absorbed narratives? A part of me thinks this way at least. The other part of me agrees with the Buddha. Life is suffering= rwe all suffer (some are better than others at hiding or repressing their suffering) and even though my life situation may be better than many others my emotional pain is still very real and deep. Even though I have much to be grateful for there is still this uncomfortable emotional pain. There are still splinters.
I forgot to tell my therapist that I have not shaved in over a week because I do not care what look like. Where once I took a great deal of concern and care with regards to my image- I now give it maybe twenty minutes of thought a week. Shaving is often the first beauty practice to go when one loses interest with their image. The next thing to usually go (for a man at least) is the flat stomach and my tummy is beginning to take the shape of a round ball.
I forgot to tell my therapist that I have started to talk with birds that skip around and sing in the branches of the tree that sits just outside my bedroom window (more about this large oak tree later). It is only fair- they sing to me and I talk to them, thank them. I have also started reading them poetry at night. This is an exercise that I have been doing the past week. I will drink a bottle of organic white wine, smoke one of my fathers cigars and then rather than turn on the television I will go outside and read poetry to the birds whom I can not see sitting in the trees but I know they are there. Some of them start to sing as I am reading to them.
I forgot to tell my therapist that I have been drinking alcohol everyday. Alcohol seems to create just the right kind of alchemical reaction within that thing that is often refereed to as a soul. I like and need its temporary effects. I have also been doing Yoga almost everyday- just to assuage my guilt. However I am no fool. Drinking wine and beer on a daily basis is a Faustian bargain- short term gain for long term pain.
I forgot to tell my therapist that most of my socks have holes in them and my underwear is becoming tattered as well. I know that I should care about these things– but I do not put much importance in things anymore. I have learned that things come and they go, why try and get rid of the holes?
I forgot to tell my therapist that I cry everyday.
I forgot to tell my therapist that I have resorted to hugging trees for consolation.
I forgot to tell my therapist that I would rather spend my time with a dog than a human being.
I forgot to tell my therapist that I am spending a lot more time now just being present and having little concern for the future.
I forgot to tell my therapist that I am neglecting many things that should get done.
I forgot to tell my therapist that my lover is feeding me well, caring for me and that I enjoy the time that I am spending with her. Life does feel much easier now.
I forgot to tell my therapist that I feel claustrophobic in the shower.
I forgot to tell my therapist that I have this strange compulsion to dress in a black suit and walk around the country club in which I am currently staying.
I forgot to tell my therapist that I now know what was meant by “dark night of the soul.”
Oh, and finally I forgot to tell my therapist about this large oak tree. The one that sits just outside my bedroom window and is making this deep, long, languorous, yawning sound every time even the slightest breeze blows. The tree sways from side to side and has started to rub up against the house. I can see where it is putting pressure on the wall besides my bed. The sounds it is making are hunting, melancholic- so beautiful to my ears. It is as if the tree is trying to tell me something and I just keep carefully listening hoping that one day soon I will find out.