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10:16 p.m. - 2016-03-03
I think for the first time in my life I can picture not being depressed, crazy and miserable forever.

I have my awesome therapist to blame for this (plus to awesome kids and an awesome wife, although I wouldn't appreciate them as much if it weren't for the awesome therapist). And AA, since after eight years I have decided to actually work the program.

I have always felt so outside of the world -- exiled for being me. I have always believed that if anyone ever really knew me they would hate me, as my dad used to say.

I have used being thin and blonde and seeming to have a perfect family (till Matt left, but I fixed that by remarrying) to keep the world at bay, since it would never accept me if it knew me. I keep people at arms' length.

I have done more connecting on a human-to-human level recently than I have since childhood. I think I might have even made a new friend -- a nurse I used to work with. I am violating all my rules about never letting people know me.

Today I was talking to the T about how much I hate certain AA meetings because people hug you and you have no say in the matter. My sponsor says I am rejecting something people are trying to give me, and I agree that it is a gift -- but I do not like being touched.

The T said that I should tell people I don't want to be hugged -- that I have the right to decide who touches me and when. She said I should tell my sponsor that "your therapist says" you have the absolute right to have physical boundaries.

I liked that. Even though I told her I should just go to a different meeting because they are not all like that.

Am I going to do what she says? Nah. I'll just go to a different meeting.

But I liked it because I felt like a kid whose parent is writing her a note to get out of gym class or something -- like someone was standing up for me. I am not used to being validated and protected.

I have probably seen a dozen therapists in my life and none of them have liked me and I didn't like them either. Certainly none of them made me feel like they actually cared about me.

The T asked me a while ago if I thought she was going to abandon me like other people in my life have.

I said, "No, that's illegal. You'll just refer me."

She laughed (which is one of the things I like about her). She said, "I'm not going anywhere."

I said, "The whole purpose of this relationship is to get me to a point where I never see you again."

She said that she has seen many people for many years -- maybe not as often, but ongoing.

I did not point out that she is 30 years older than me and she is going to die. Since I thought that would be both rude and pathetic.

I have since realized that I don't have to worry about losing her because you can't take away the things she has taught me. Like that the world can be beautiful, if you look for it. And that I am someone a person not dependent on me might like and care about. I know that it is just a technique, but "unconditional positive regard" is somethin I haven't had from anyone since my grandmother died when I was 15.

When I started seeing the T I felt very broken and alone. The main reason I started seeing her is that I had lost the ability to feel emotion of any kind.

I am still a bit lacking on that front (have never, ever cried in her office) but she has made me feel like a human being for the first time in my life.

I have been in charge of myself and my family since I was probably 8 or 9 -- I don't think I have ever realistically had parents since then. Pretty much all I do is take care of other people and try to stay sane enough to do so.

When I go see her I get an hour or so of not being the smartest person in the world. I get to ask for advice. I get to say what I am afaid of and what makes me sad without worrying that my confidante will feel overwhelmed or obligated to fix me, or pity. Or be disgusted.

I think all of the former therapists (going back to when I was 15) were determined to "fix" me on their own timetable and turms. The T does not. Her focus is on providing refuge, acceptance and occasional wisdom, which I can take or leave. Of course I have learned, for the most part, to take. It is nice not to have to figure everything out on my own while trying to keep a family and a career afloat.

That she says I have a right not to be touched means far more to me than if I actually followed her advice on that issue.



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