May is Mental Health Awareness Month. It is also, fittingly, our 14th month of what feels like a never-ending pandemic.
With the majority of us feeling like every day is Groundhog’s Day minus Bill Murray, it then begs the question: do we really need a month dedicated to our deteriorating mental states? Personally, I am painfully aware that my mental health is in the shitter! I don’t need a special month to recognize it! But, since it is an official “awareness,” I suppose I could take my mental health out to lunch, or at the very least, get my depression a piece of cake, or maybe give my anxiety a champagne toast to celebrate.
All jokes aside, mental health is a serious issue in America and throughout the world and has been on a steady rise even pre-pandemic. Thankfully, the stigma circulating around mental health is starting to dwindle as its severity is becoming more apparent. And well, not for nothing; who doesn’t have some sort of mental health issue?!
Finding a good therapist is about as hard as finding a good boyfriend. Ironically, part of the reason I needed a therapist is a result of having so many bad boyfriends! In my quest to get my mental health straight, I have encountered a lot of what-the-heck-you-are-a-therapist-what-no, ah-hell-no experiences along the way:
The I Don’t Know Why You Would Be Upset Shrink
Twenty-seven was a rough year for me. I started to understand why so many greats didn’t make it out alive. At the time, I was wrongly accused of grand larceny (it’s been a weird life) and consequently had a breakdown living in NYC, which resulted in me moving back in with my parents, working at the local Macy’s and feeling like a complete failure. Of course, bras smacking me in the face during retail inventory wasn’t helping the matter, so I decided to try out therapy.
I told my sob story to a therapist and her reaction was to look at me deadeye and say, “I don’t know why that would make you upset.”
WHAT?! Is this some sort of reverse psychology? If I wanted to be gaslighted, I would have just gone back on Bumble. Furthermore, do you know how hard it is to get customers to open up a Macy’s card when there are NO customers in the store?! Plus, don’t get me started on inventory checks, complete with bras hitting me in the face! I AM HAVING A BREAKDOWN, WOMAN!!!
The FACE Counselor
You know the face? The one where they scrunch up their noses and their eyes get smaller, perhaps their brows are furrowed and they just sit there, staring at you, slowly nodding. That dumb face on their blockhead slowly knodding, asking, “but how does that make you feel?” Like, hello! I am crying, how do you think I feel? One session, I had completely lost my patience with The Face to the point where I literally said, “Okay, I can’t look at your face anymore. I need to go!” Not my kindest hour but I am proud I at least learned how to be assertive! I guess we can consider that a therapy win!
The Pick Me Up Some Snacks MFT
I had one therapist who would text me en route to see her and would legit put in an order for snacking. After I picked up her groceries, I didn’t even have the luxury to pour my heart out, as she would often cut in and discuss her latest boyfriend, sometimes asking, “Do you think we should break up??”
The I AM NOT LISTENING TO A WORD YOU SAY (TIANLTAWYS) Therapist
I was riding high on life for a bit but bam, I started to deteriorate over the summer. So many tears you would think I was fronting The Cure or something! I begrudgingly started looking for a new therapist. I was so hesitant because, well, you have read about my past experiences, so you can finish the sentence here.
I gave it the good ol’ college try and met with TIANLTAWYS in her office on one rainy, cold evening in January. I was unsure of where to park and pulled in and out of about three spaces. Try as I may, I couldn’t quite shake the feeling that something was going awry. The office was musty and the woman was, well, it was a good thing there are mask mandates if you get my drift.
In the first five minutes of our session, she asked if I was close to my family and where they lived. I went into my spiel; openly talked about my parents, said my brother was a barber and lived an hour away, my sister had cancer and lived an hour and a half away. Can you believe the next statement out of TIANLTAWYS’s mouth was, “Do you have any brothers or sisters?”
I slapped myself in the face so I wouldn’t slap her in the face. This woman is really getting paid for this?! I informed her straight up that this wasn’t going to work out and left her office. Not even in there for ten minutes, and I was already ignored like we had been married for years AND I had to break up with her!
And finally, the GOOD ONE!
Zencare.co is a cool website where you can search for therapists based upon a bunch of criteria. I took a quiz to find “my match” (this really is like dating). I plugged in my answers and was pleasantly surprised to find a therapist who is non-judgemental, actually listens, and is kind of funny too.
Now we meet virtually every Thursday at 4.pm. She has yet to minimize my feelings or ask me for relationship advice! And! She listens to boot!!! Plus, with it being telemedicine and all, I don’t have to worry about stopping to buy her snacks on the way.
The road to finding a good therapist is a rocky one, and I’m not talking about ice cream! But, much like dating, eventually and hopefully you’ll find someone you can tolerate! Happy Mental Health Awareness Month, this month and every month!