Friday, August 31, 2012

Can't Peyton Manning Be My Shrink?

I scrolled down the list of names on the Aetna website. I thought to myself, how exactly does one choose a psychiatrist over the Internet? 

It has crossed my mind before that it might be in my best interest to find a professional to talk to. It’s also advice that has been given to me by others, both solicited and unsolicited. I’m not really opposed to seeing a therapist. I mean, the group experiential training I went through a few years ago was remarkably helpful, at first. The sharing, the unbiased responses, the feeling of freeing the mind... I became addicted to that. And then of course, it got a little muddy and then began to fade away. Now all these years later, while I definitely feel like I am more responsible and aware than ever before, I’m still angry, lonely and frustrated more often than I’d like to be. 

Hence that last blog. Which, as you probably imagine, didn’t go over well with my mother. She became the latest person to recommend speaking to someone. Sometimes, I think that unless I commit to lifetime therapy, though, seeing a head doctor would just be another type of band aid for my pain. I just feel like, eventually, I’ll come right back to this feeling. But when your mom tells you to talk to someone, it feels a little more like maybe you should. 

I found a name on the website that I could pronounce. I also chose a female. I don’t know why, I’ve always been more comfortable talking to men. Maybe that’s why I thought it would be better. I wrote the name and address on a napkin and put it on my To Do list. 

It’s really not something I want to do. So I haven’t done it yet. 

But something kind of cool happened since then. I took a few days off of work. As a distraction (and because my bills won’t quit showing up), I have been working a lot. It keeps my mind off of things. California, Brendan, pre-season football... If I’m not careful, I can over think myself into a frenzy about any number of things. So, I’ve been trying to make work fill my time. 

I forgot how important it is to take a couple days off. 

I had lunch with my friend, Rudy. It’s difficult to define our relationship. We went out a few times before my recent trip to California. When I came back, I wasn’t sure how to proceed because of my mixed emotions with Brendan. Turns out I didn’t really have to try and define anything with Rudy. We enjoy each other’s time and positive energy. It’s not one bit more complicated than that. 

He told me something I had not really considered but actually makes really good sense. He said that the darkness and sadness that I let consume me at times is almost like my own, personal comforter. It’s a place I can escape to quickly, live in comfortably for long periods of time and where I can completely protect myself from the outside world. The depression itself is my escape. 

However, unlike a clinical definition of “depression”, I go here as a source of comfort. It’s not my disease. When I feel better, I come back out. He didn’t say this to me... it’s what I immediately saw happening in my mind when he presented his feedback. 

He said something else that doesn’t seem profound because I’ve heard it so many times before... he told me that I’m not broken and that nothing’s wrong with me. I remember believing this so strongly after that group therapy but eventually, I allowed that darkness to come back in and make me think differently. I felt broken. It’s not that I didn’t know how to choose happiness, I didn’t want to. It’s just easier to stay in the dark. 

But, it’s lonely in the dark. 

I don’t think I could ever be serious about suicide. But I know a lot of people are and I’m certainly not making any kind of joke out of it. I just really understand how it’s easier to stay in the dark. It is comforting and for me, familiar. 

I hate the advice that I need to expect less out of myself and others and then I won’t get disappointed so often. I hate it not because I disagree, but because I don’t know how to alter my mind to expect less out of myself and the world. I really wish I embodied this trait. I think it would eliminate so much of the anger and sadness. 

I do think that I worry way too much about what people think of me. I might find more pleasure in life if I didn’t worry so much about my image and just did what I felt was right. Maybe that’s why I feel like my gut has been wrong. Because it’s not my gut I’ve been listening to, it’s everyone else’s. 

I hate to think I’m that impressionable, but I don’t like to disappoint others. This kind of dishonesty with myself has gotten me into trouble before. I see a lot of similar patterns to what I’m experiencing now. 

I’m getting a variety of responses to my California move. Some think it’s a great idea while others think I’m running away. Rudy thinks it might be a way for me to go back to that familiar darkness I choose to wear as a cloak so frequently. He says, “by all means, try something new. But don’t go back to where things weren’t good.”

I see it differently. I see it as returning to a place where I was no good... and then being good instead. It’s hard to explain... even for me. 

If nothing else, it gives me something to look forward to. And at a time where I don’t feel like I’m working for anything in particular, it’s nice to have a light like that. Well, that and football. Like my dad said, “How are you going to off yourself when it’s Peyton Manning’s first season with the Broncos?” 

He makes a really good point. 

I’m not sure if I’ll go through with the shrink thing. But it is an option if I continue to choose not to be grateful for who I am, what I have and what I’m doing. I started this blog as a way to spew my thoughts, but unfortunately, I can’t be 100% candid and honest on here either. Too many soft hearts out there... including mine. 

One day at a time. Another not so profound statement that I should probably embrace. I’m better than how I’ve been. I like who I am and I like the chances I take. Sadness is my escape from being daring and living big. And for me, big doesn’t have to mean rich, famous and powerful. Big means doing what makes ME happy and fulfilled instead of wasting time doing what I think people want me to be doing. 

Because people love me for me. I’m not sure I always fully accept that. I always think I need to be more. 

I don’t know the answers, I just know I have to keep on, keeping on. 

After all, it’s Peyton Manning, for Christ's sake.


  1. Hey, hey! Found your blog! I haven't read through all your posts yet, but just concerning this one...the only advice I'll give is just my own personal experience with therapists (which is funny, because I am one. LOL) I had to go through a LOT of bad apples before I found my awesome angel. So if you aren't committed to this thing, you may not want to try yet. I'm all for getting professional help (ESPECIALLY if there's thoughts of suicide or overwhelming depression), but it really can be a tedious process. I think that is the reason I became a counselor. I wanted to be a good one, ya know? Which I stay at home now and am my husband and children's counselor, but still.... I wish you luck!

    1. Thanks, that is good advice. I know that I'm not committed to it and throwing darts at a bunch of names definitely doesn't seem like the right direction. I feel better every day and know that I just need to continue focusing on the positive things in my life. Which there are many positives. :)

      Happy to have found each other. I look forward to catching up on your past posts as well. Take care!

  2. Tina,

    you said "I hate the advice that I need to expect less out of myself and others and then I won’t get disappointed so often. I hate it not because I disagree, but because I don’t know how to alter my mind to expect less out of myself and the world."
    The best way to alter your mind is to look for ways to put everyone else first. In every action you take, how are you helping someone else? I realize this is counter intuitive to how we as americans operate and behave, but that is how you stop expecting so much from other people. Practice the 100/0 rule....100% of the relationship is your responsibility, and you expect nothing in return. This is not easy. but when you set out to please other people, you win as well. you ending creating a mutually beneficial, long lasting relationship that way.