I went to therapy today

Funny. Today someone said that they used to read my blog and they were happy I was in a good place professionally. And that made me remember I actually have a blog

I went to therapy today after over a year of not doing so. The last several years were…hard, and I often did not have the money to pay for the co-pay. I do now. I have Kaiser insurance, which is great for routine stuff but not so good for mental health. They are doing better, by trying to have folks on site that can meet with people every other week. I’ll take it.

The last time I saw this therapist, which was also the first time I saw this therapist, I was in a crisis of my own making. I was completely burned out from the semester of teaching, and I was holding on barely. I took a cross-country trip and forgot to bring my medication. I now think I also caught a nasty stomach bug, but I went from depressed to hypomanic to throwing up in the course of 73 hours.

When I got home, I requested of Kaiser that I needed to see someone. They asked me — a doctor? or a therapist? At that point, I didn’t care. Someone who would keep me out of the “hospital.”

My fear of the “hospital” — the quotes are intentional — is my fear that I’m so out of control I can’t help myself. I’ve been hospitalized only once (I say that because I know many folks with bipolar disorder have been hospitalized more than once) but I keenly remember my guilt at leaving my children and my shame at being so broken that I never want to experience it again. The time in the hospital itself was not traumatic — it was lifesaving — but my feelings about it are all associated with shame.

I was ashamed to have left my children. I remember so vividly my daughter, then about 18 months old, running to me as she stepped off the escalator at the hospital calling “mommy!” She’s now 11, and I cannot imagine a similar scene. Today, I embarrass her without doing anything.

But the therapist helped me to understand that I wasn’t in hospital territory. I was afraid of what I might do to myself, but I didn’t want to die. I wanted to live, I just wasn’t sure how to help myself live.

She helped me. I needed to get back on my meds. I needed to give myself a day or two to rebalance. So I decided to continue with her.

And I saw her today.

I won’t go into the things we talked about. Mostly because she touched on something I’m not quite ready yet to share, except to say that I have a strong sense of shame about this. My shame stops me from revealing the source right now, but I’ll be ready soon. Shame is about hating oneself, feeling that I am bad. Which is different from guilt, which is I did something bad.

I am not bad. I am not bad.

I know that in my brain, but I do not know it in my heart, and it is from my heart that I live my life. I am hopeful that this new therapy will help me. I really have very little to lose. I’m tired of being *this close* to depression even thought most folks won’t know because I work SO HARD at not being a burden, at being happy, at hanging out. I want people to like LaToya. And being close to depression all the time does not make me likable.

Damn, which is a problem in and of itself. Why do I need people to like me? TBD.

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