How to See a Shrink


Experience a kind of depression you’ve never felt before. Live in the bell jar, cry during commercials in the middle of the afternoon when the sun is still shining and people are outside living their lives. Or just have lots of money and like to talk about yourself. Decide to call a therapist.

Whatever you do, don”t contact an attractive therapist. In order for someone to talk honestly about the ugly feelings they’ve been having, they must discuss it with an ugly person. Always choose a homely therapist with an office in your neighborhood that takes your insurance. There’s no other kind of therapist to have. A shrink could have a paper napkin as their diploma and as long they take your insurance and they’re hideous looking, be ready and willing to take the plunge.

Go to your therapist’s office. Sit down on their couch and be equally thrilled and terrified about talking to them. This particular one will have a raspy voice and an office that reeks of cigarettes but be into her witchy Stevie Nicks vibe and give her a chance. She asks about your upbringing and you oblige. She wants to know what brings you to therapy and you tell her. When the hour is over, agree to come back mostly because you feel like it would be rude not to.

Start to doubt your decision to see a therapist. Wonder if your sour mood actually warrants paying someone to give you positive affirmations. After much debate, decide to go back.

During the second session, talk a lot about yourself and then ask your therapist questions about her life. Say something like, “So I’m glad we’ve established that keeping a strand of my ex’s hair is unhealthy, but have you ever done something like that before?” She’ll redirect these inquiries back to you in a way that makes it seem like she hasn’t averted the question and you’ll move on. You’ll leave the session feeling accomplished, but somehow even more insane. Welcome to therapy.

A month goes by, maybe two. You can’t tell whether or not you’re feeling better and some days you feel like quitting, but you don’t want to offend your therapist. She’s invested so much of her time into you and to leave now would just not be very nice.

On an occasion, your therapy session lands on a day when you feel truly happy, when the last thing you want to do is bring up sad times in order to make “progress.” These are the days you come and feel tempted to make something up. You figure since you’re paying her $30.00 an hour (after insurance) you better come a little depressed.

Become bored. Start to lie. Not big lies because that would be creepy but little ones like exaggerating a feeling you had about something. This is when therapy starts to make you uncomfortable. This is when it stops working.

Run into an old friend on the street and mention you’ve been going to therapy to get out of a depression. She’ll say, “I go to therapy too! I’m OBSESSED with my therapist. She’s like my drug.  And she gives me red Starbursts when I have breakthroughs! What’s yours like?” Leave the conversation feeling disgusted and take a long hot bath.

Realize going to see a shrink has scared you out of your grief. Stop crying during commercials. Read a helpful book. Talk to some friends who get it. It’s hard to say whether or not you’ll feel completely happy because that would be GENERALIZING. Understand that maybe with the right person, therapy could work, but wonder how many frogs you would have to kiss before you found the right MFT.

Leave therapy without informing her and ignore her phone calls. She’ll leave you voicemails that say, “Hi. I was just calling to check in. Are you in a dark place? Call me. Oh, and you also owe me $200.00.”   Feel like you just went through an intense break-up. Know that being sad is hard, but sometimes talking about that sadness for an hour each week at 2 P.M. on a Tuesday can give your depression more power than it deserves. Feel relieved to be out of therapy’s seductive and suffocating grip. Get a dog.

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