Posts Tagged ‘therapy’

I Don’t Need Anger Management; He Needs to Stop Pissing Me Off

August 5, 2010

Three years ago, I had a heart attack in the middle of the night. I asked IO to call the hospital, explain my symptoms, and see what they said. He is basically illiterate, so he couldn’t find the hospital’s number in the book. I asked him to call 911, and get me an ambulance. He wouldn’t do it. He either didn’t think I was really sick, or he didn’t want to spend the money (I have excellent insurance, which is why I keep the job that doesn’t pay enough to live on). He insisted on driving me there himself. When I asked him to get my purse, and he looked right at it but couldn’t find it, I yelled at him. It made him mad, so he let me crawl on my hands and knees all the way through the house, across the porch, down the sidewalk, and down the driveway, to throw myself into the back of his pickup. He did not visit me in the hospital. He said one of us needed to work. And yet, I stayed with him. When I tried to talk to him about it later on, he said I told him not to touch me.

About a year later, I thought I was having another attack a work. As soon as the doctor’s office opened the next morning, I went. I’d been depressed for quite some time, not only about the condition of my marriage and failing at everything I tried to accomplish in life, but as a lingering symptom of the first attack. I asked my doctor to prescribe antidepressants. He did, but he also told me, “strictly off the record,” that I need to go to church, and recommended a few I might like.

God is good. Organized religion is not for me.

Frankly, I was a little disturbed by his prescription. Was he implying that I was depressed because I wasn’t close enough to God? Or that if I would just attend church that all my troubles, and the depression with it, would disappear? He knew absolutely nothing about my spiritual beliefs, and I felt not only judged and found wanting, but a little put off.

I had already decided to see a therapist, and told him so. I mentioned a name that he thought was one person, and I thought was another. He said I’d made an excellent choice, a good Christian man who had been a pastor at one point. I’d actually had no idea. My other insurance-covered choices were psychologists from India, who I didn’t feel could relate to me or my problems the way I would need them to, therefore, the Christian-based therapist won by default. It didn’t bother me that he was Christian. I didn’t think it was any of my business, really. I didn’t see why his religion should have any bearing on my therapy.

Then I found a new HMO. I’m colorful that way.

I went to the therapist a few times. I never felt like we really clicked. I would have preferred a woman, one who would have a better idea of what I was going through, and hopefully, more empathy. I took the drugs, and at first, I felt better. Then they stopped working. I switched to another kind, and same story. All was well for a month or two, then nothing. It seemed to mask my depression, but it didn’t change the very real problems that were causing it.  So I stopped taking them.

I also stopped going to the therapist. I knew what to expect. I knew nothing was going to be resolved overnight.  But it wasn’t working for me. I left each session feeling as if nothing had been said, nothing heard.

Over the course of the next year, things with IO began to get completely out of hand. That’s when the end really began, I think, with his loss of two jobs within a short time. And then the rest: the minimum wage job where he met the Penitentiary Pals, the Mexican food, the weekends away, the nights of not coming home, the hookers in hotel rooms, and his selfish hoarding of a windfall that legally is half mine. I could sue for divorce and half the assets, but the only people who would benefit would be the lawyers. They would get it all, and IO and I would be right back where we started. And suddenly, I couldn’t contain my anger anymore.

Every little thing set me off, from having to work beside a twenty-year-old twit whose job I have to do for her, to the cat running out the door at an inconvenient moment. I raged against all the things that make life seem unfair, particularly when it was me getting the short end of the stick. And it got so bad that I knew I had to do something about it, or it would get me in serious trouble. I didn’t care who the person was that was currently enraging me; they were going to hear back about it on no uncertain terms. I felt like a two-year old who needed to lie on the floor, wailing with her fists and feet, screaming at the top of her lungs until she got her way. I could no longer control the monster I had become. So I went back to the therapist. I told him what had transpired in the months since I had seen him, and how I felt about it.

And do you know what he said to me?

He said that in light of all the troubles in the world: the Haiti earthquake, the Gulf oil spill, the grief of the patients who had lost their child to leukemia that summer, that my problems amounted to nothing.

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