After not talking to my counselor for way too long, I decided to give her a call. Although I think she’s great at what she does, I just don’t know how to use any of her advice to my advantage. Not in the way I imagine she intends, anyway. That said, I felt like it was the adult thing to do at the time – if you need advice, why not ask someone who’s not motivated in any way to lie to you?
As much as I love my loved ones, I feel they might spare me some hard truths out of the kindness of their hearts, without knowing that I’d rather deal with an inconvenient truth than a comfortable lie. Also, you can’t really get too mad at a counselor if they give you feedback that might be a bit harsh – it’s not like you have matching friendship bracelets and family friends in common (if you do, then maaaaybe that’s rather unprofessional…?). So I went ahead and called, because I felt the alternative would’ve hurt way more than any momentary weirdness.
She told me that I should remind myself that other people have it way worse than I do.
As much as that is true, I don’t feel like any mental health professional should say that kind of thing. Doesn’t she know that we all know this (to varying degrees)? Doesn’t she know how platitudinous that stuff really is? Doesn’t she know how subjective everybody’s suffering is?
[insert shitty metaphor here – probably something about how it takes a harpoon to destroy some animals, whereas some die from shock after an arrow narrowly missed them, and how they’re both dead at the end of the day and there’s no point in comparing them because both instances are sad in their own way]
The above is pretty much what I said in reply. I was annoyed, I’ll admit it, but not in the usual way. I told her that I was too tired to get properly outraged about anything lately, and that I was just contextualising why I don’t take her advice in the way she’d probably like. I added that I was simply too sad to care, and apologised for wasting her time.
She then seemed to change her tone, and she sounded kinda fed up. She told me that of course she didn’t feel too great about telling me to “toughen up”, more or less, but that she was so frustrated and uninspired that she felt it was all she could do at the time. I wasn’t really buying it, so I said that she should try a little harder, because that’s what I expect of her as a professional, that kind of thing.
And then she said, “Don’t you feel the need to fight for your own happiness? Please, I assure you, it’s worth it. You deserve to feel better. We can deal with what has hurt you in the past, but please try and stop blaming yourself so much, because it’s already hurt you more than enough.”
I booked an appointment for next week. Even though we disagree on a few things, at least I finally agree with her that bullying myself is a total waste of time and that I should give this whole “happiness” thing another shot. I’ll see if she’s got anything else for me. What have I got to lose? My sanity? Ha, good one.