But I don’t know how…
I do know how. But that doesn’t make it any easier. So I’m going to get straight to the point:
I broke up with my counselor yesterday.
I’d forgotten what that was like – to break up with someone. To tell another person you’re pretty certain he or she no longer has a role in your life. It feels pretty shitty. But also pretty good. Because, while I don’t want to hurt her personally, I know – in my guts – that this was the right move for me.
Of course I took the typical chicken route and did it via awkward voicemail.
I figured since we hadn’t slept together, I was still following acceptable breakup protocol.
And I might have called during a typical appointment time, so I knew she probably would not be able to answer the phone. I know. You’re thinking my cojones are like the size of bb pellets right now. And you’re probably right. Because instead of confessing the truth – confronting her with the real reason I wanted to break up – I left a rambling message something akin to, Umm. I need to cancel my appointment for tomorrow. I’m sorry for the short notice, but I think you said you need 24 hours, so hopefully this works. Umm. I think I’ve decided counseling just isn’t something I want to do right now. Soo yeah. Call me at this number if you have any questions.
Counseling just isn’t something I want to do right now? That’s the reason I gave her? I’ll admit that part of that excuse rings true, but that’s not even close to the real reason I’m certain our relationship won’t work. And it’s not me – it’s most definitely her.
I knew it by the end of our second appointment.
I hadn’t really felt a “click” from the beginning, but considering I’d never seen a counselor before and wasn’t even sure if there was supposed to be a “click,” I wanted to stick it out and give her a chance.
But, like I said, by the end of date #2, I just knew.
At the risk of potentially alienating some of you lovely readers, I’m just going to go ahead and tell you something about me in case you haven’t already figured it out: I’m not a particularly religious person. I wasn’t raised that way, and no one since has been able to convince me that any particular religion is right for me. Or just “right,” period.
I’m sorry if this upsets any of you, but trust me – people have tried to convince me to “join up” with certain religions. Sometimes it feels like I’m being heavily recruited by several competing sororities and some are telling me, “Sign with us because we have the BEST social events,” or “Our philanthropy is TOP notch – we’ll spend your money wisely” or “WE have the nicest church, so you know God loves us best.”
And I’m sitting there thinking, really? I consider myself a spiritual person. And personally, I don’t feel the need to sign up for any particular dogma that (I feel) might keep me from growing and learning on my own. And I love to learn from everybody.
I don’t think I’m better than anyone else based on my fluid, loose-leaf belief system.
I mean, that’s kind of the point.
So. My intention here is not to open a discussion on religion. It’s to give you a little background information so I can properly explain why I felt the need to break up with my counselor.
To my second appointment, I wore my distinctively gaudy and very noticeable Ganesh necklace, which represents a Hindu deity known for his ability to remove obstacles. And I’m not gonna lie – I could use some obstacle removal in my life. I mean – remember the old lady and the kittens?
Long story short, I expressed to her my interest in trying out some mind expansion exercises (aka. “meditation”), and she all but flipped her lid.
I’ll expand on this little pet project of mine at a later date, but all you need to know for right now is that I did not bring up the subject of religion, but had simply told her how elated I felt when I started reading this book about meditation that my friend in India sent me because, after reading only the first chapter, it finally – finally – felt like someone “got” me.
Someone understood my particular brand of “depression.”
Which is more than I could say for this counselor.
I could tell she was trying to remain professional, but she spent the next 20 minutes (cutting 10 minutes into her next appointment) delicately dancing around the subject of how meditation practices could be extremely dangerous because they could take me further away from THE God and let demons into my life and did I know that people in India worship cows, for crying out loud?
I looked down at my necklace and contemplated this predicament. My counselor, whose job, I thought, it was to help guide me to my own conclusions about what’s best for me in life without giving any true opinions of her own, was flat-out telling me that a drug-free mind exercise I wanted to try was essentially evil and, even worse, she was essentially laughing at another culture – another belief system that while I certainly don’t practice, I definitely respect.
Like I said – I’m here to learn. Not judge.
And clearly, she thought she was qualified to judge. Either she noticed my necklace and is extremely insensitive, didn’t notice it and is extremely unobservant, or noticed it and didn’t know what it was, which pretty much makes her completely unqualified to comment at all.
So that’s that.
I don’t judge her for her beliefs, but I certainly judge her for judging mine.
Or something like that.
I realize I probably should have told her the real reason I don’t want to see her again. But honestly? I think she knows.
She took it really well. In fact, she called me back shortly after and left me a very kind, professional voicemail. (I didn’t answer the phone because I was in the bathroom – not because I was avoiding her calls. I think.) To her credit, I’m pretty sure she knew this was coming. Even though I hadn’t implied that the problem was her, she did leave me the names and numbers of 2 other women in her office with whom I might be more comfortable working.
Those were her words – more comfortable.
But the thing is, I’m not sure I’ll ever be “comfortable” spilling my guts in the office of a complete stranger. If she doesn’t make the mistake of spewing her own religious beliefs on me, I might be sitting there wondering – Is she judging me? Does she think I’m an idiot? Am I a lost cause and she just gets me to come back every 2 weeks so she can bank off my insurance?
No. I think, for the time being, I’d rather spill my guts here in my own office to a whole bunch of complete strangers. Because “listening” and giving feedback is your choice – not your obligation.
This doesn’t mean I’m done with counseling for good. But right now, I have one other avenue I’d like to pursue, just to see if it’s a better fit.
My sister’s roommate (hey, Teagan!) gave me a quote from Lady Gaga who, surprisingly, describes my current sentiments based on this last experience exactly:
“I’m terrified of therapy because I don’t want it to mess with my creativity.”
What she said.