Monday, 18 April 2011

Analyze This

I’ve been thinking about the whole therapy thing

I remember when I started. It really felt like the right thing to do. Something I needed in my life and at the start, the whole talking thing was something I found really valuable. Especially as it isn’t something I do easily. People think I talk a lot and don’t get me wrong, I do. In fact, I can talk and talk and talk …..but it's never about anything of worth, nothing consequential. It's all just amusing anecdotes, or where I have been or what I've been doing. All in a bid to entertain others and make them want to be around me but nothing that gives anything real away.

In the end, during those sessions, I talked around problems and OK, maybe a better therapist would have guided me more carefully into the troubled areas, but actually just talking, filled a void for that time in my life.

Now I’ve come to the conclusion that even with the best counsellor in the world, therapy really isn’t for me.

We all suffer from feelings of inadequacy no matter how shiny and bright we appear on the outside. I know that lots of friends my age are anxious and stressed about a whole load of things ranging from balancing home and work life through fretting about how they look and what shape they are, all the way to pure despair at how fast life seems to be passing them by and the mistakes that leads them to make.

All those things have bothered me at some point, and I definitely keep making stupid mistakes, but those same problems haven’t been made better by talking them through with the therapist. That may have offered temporary relief but no solution. Effectively, it was like constantly picking at a scab and so not allowing it to heal. I found I was analysing and thinking about my life in a rather pointless manner. Who am I? What do I want? I don’t bloody know - what do any of us want? To be happy I guess, it’s not rocket science. If anything is truly depressing it’s that I have probably lived over half my life now and I still don’t have any real answers to anything of worth.

If I’ve realised anything over the last few weeks, it’s that actually, do you know what, it’s OK to be angry with myself and with others. It’s OK not to feel particularly worthy or to feel vulnerable or to mess up from time to tome. But it’s not OK to dwell on any of it. I need to feel the emotion, live through it and then put it away but not allow it to dictate or colour what I do from then on.

There are other things too that I know I need to do. Such as learning to minimise the negatives in my life, because focusing on things that annoy me definitely tends to make me miserable and dissatisfied

All this seems to be what normal people do. DON’T analyse who you are and what you do or why you do it. Just forgive yourself and have the courage to like who you are.

That’s what matters at the end of the day. It’s not whether others like me, but that I do.

It may not sound much but that is a huge revelation to me and one that I may have to keep discovering before it finally makes an impact


  1. i like your summary in the bold there...and some just need help getting there...i think therapy has its place but perhaps it is time to fly from the nest...

  2. Guilt truly is a waste of energy and a wasted emotion.

  3. I remember when you started therapy too. I'd just discovered your blog and I was in therapy myself, believe it or not. I think it definitely has its place and I've found it wonderful and life-changing infact, but you also know when you've reached the point where you need to stop analysing yourself, take the skills you have learnt and get on with life. And you are absolutely right - forgiving ourselves and having the courage to like who you are has to be the way forward.

  4. This ranks amongst the best blog posts I have ever read.

  5. My own therapist used a slightly awkward metaphor about driving a car and not needing lessons because you could clearly drive but the instructor (who's role was basically to sit there labelled 'instructor' was always available if needed at some future point.

    The actual nature of her instruction was turned out to be (in retrospect) her incredible zest for life in all its forms and her capacity for passing that on. But that's another story.

  6. "All this seems to be what normal people do. DON’T analyse who you are and what you do or why you do it. Just forgive yourself and have the courage to like who you are."

    Normal people? I would argue that most of us have no idea how to do this, and most 'normal' people could do with a bit of therapy to help them figure it out. Having said that, I think once you figure it out, and can manage actually accepting and liking who you are, you probably don't need therapy anymore. Maybe a refresher once in awhile, if you get off course.

    We've been to a therapist this last year or so, and her job has been to cheer us on, tell us how we're succeeding in our battles, and guide us towards even more success. It's been pretty helpful, actually, but yeah, we just graduated, I think.

  7. The trick is to stop looking at yourself, to stop figuring out how you're doing. Stop analysing and just be.

    When you're lost in the moment you're who you really are.

    Move the focus off you and focus on what matters to you outside you.

  8. Good wisdom and I thoroughly agree. We are an over-analytical society. Believe you are as wonderful as a lot of other people, judging by the comments you get, believe you to be. i'm one of them. I love your honesty, candor and courage.

  9. Very well said and you are right on time. Forty is the age a normal sensitive person looks around, picks out the shits that bother them, looks them in the eye and says 'fuck 'em!'

  10. Well, Selina, I don't begrudge anyone their shrink, but I too came to the conclusion that they were a waste of time for me. If I were to ever go back, it would be to a shrink who focuses on actions rather than omphaloskepsis.

  11. Fabulous discovery, I'll drink to that! Bottoms up, kid.

  12. I've gone through this internal debate with regard to therapy. My problem is that my mood swings so wildly; on some days I feel happy and confident, but then on others I'm just overwhelmed with despair.

    The confident days make therapy feel superfluous but then the desolate ones, like today, show me that I still have things I genuinely need to work on.

    I'd say that therapy is most useful when some form of mental illness, be it anxiety or compulsion or whatever, is interfering with one's ability to lead a normal life. That has definitely been the case for me, so I think continuing is the right thing to do for now.

  13. Some times focusing on others helps me to deal with stress :-)

  14. I'm agreeing with The Old Geezer. The quickest way to feel better in any situation is to do a little service. I think it just helps to refocus on someone else rather than on me. That's pretty easy at my house since I have all these kids. But sometimes I do feel a little lost like there is no me anymore...I think that's why I write this blog. Writing lets me be myself.

  15. So, in a nutshell: "Life sucks, if you think about it. So don't think about it".

    That's what gets me through some days! :)

  16. Hey, Selina, you're keeping kinda quiet nowadays, and I miss you.

  17. Something that really REALLY helped me was to practice mindfulness and to learn what it really means to live in the moment. Ok, before I sound too out there and new agey, I promise, thats not me. But those things really do work. Quotes and things do help with the logic of dealing with life, but to actually get to a point where you can breathe easily takes a change from inside. It sounds like you're ready to do your own thing! xox