Sunday, March 07, 2010

A Friend In Need

So I've come to an odd realization about myself. And that realization is, there are certain things I don't talk to anyone about. This may not seem like a strange realization, but one has to consider the following things: 1) that I come from an extremely verbal family, in which everyone is more or less accustomed to saying pretty much whatever is on their mind, as loudly and verbosely as they can, usually everyone at once. 2)that I am and have always been an intensely introspective person, hyper-self-analytical and self-aware 3)that there is a predominant impression in American culture (especially among girls) that friends are there for you to talk to, people to whom you can go with your problems for advice.

I did not realize this about myself until a few things pointed it out to me recently. The first was when my therapist asked me if there is anyone I talk to about my depression. And I realized, not really. Which is to say I have told several people of my issues and had discussions about it, but more in the "hey, you're a close friend of mine and we keep each other posted on stuff, so this is maybe something you should know - just a head's-up" kind of way. Not like we have regular discussions on the topic but more importantly what my therapist was asking me was this: when you are having an episode is there anyone you can go to to help talk you through it? And the answer to that was a decided no. Not ever. At all. Well, when it got really bad at home I would go cry on my parents' shoulders, and that was extremely comforting and helpful. But described in avid detail, told them exactly what was going on in my head? Not ever. At all. Until recently, when I started to realize I should maybe talk to someone. And then I went to a therapist. So.

The second circumstance happened with a gentleman friend of mine. I mentioned something about seeing a therapist and he said "Huh. I always thought that was what friends were for, and why pay someone for that?" He also offered to listen if I wanted to talk about it, which was sweet but no, for a number of reasons, I absolutely did not.

I do remember a time, before and during high school I guess, when I believed in that theory of things. And I got to wondering how that changed and why. I don't know. But I do know that I don't believe in it anymore. Friends are busy. They are also not trained psychologists (anyway most of them aren't) which means that they can't actually give you clinically useful advice. Why would you burden them for hours on end with problems they can't do anything to solve? I know that in theory sometimes just getting things off your chest is useful, but that has never seemed to be the case with me. After I talk about things that upset me, I am upset. And now I have made someone else worried about me, and senselessly since they can't do anything about it. So essentially, talking about it just seemed to make everything worse.

So then I thought, well, maybe I should blog about it. Not that many people read this anyway (really almost no one I think) so I wouldn't be burdening anyone and it's a good forum for getting things off my chest. But I do run into some of the same issues here, namely writing about it makes me deal with it. Which of course I don't necessarily want to do. It's easier to ignore it, distract myself with something else, and hope it goes away in the meantime. But that hasn't proven an especially effective tool thus far. Also.... really it's not bloggable stuff. Stuff for a horror film, yes. Stuff for a blog, not so much. (I have also come to the realization that I might be able to exorcise some of this by putting it in a horror movie. Which is ironic and disturbing because I hate horror films and always have.)

Ok that's enough for now. To be continued. Maybe.

20 Comments:

Blogger Rabbi Lars Shalom said...

hello

4:42 AM  
Blogger Rogue Unicorn said...

Hi darling,
First of all, I read.
Second of all, you know you can always talk to me if you need to, or not talk to me if you don't want to.
Third of all, don't let anyone browbeat you into thinking that you don't need/want/should have a therapist because you have friends. Therapists play a very different role in your life than friends do and I think it is actually important to keep that boundary straight. Friends are friends and therapists are therapists. The end.
I do think however, it would be a good idea to have a safe space for you to get things off your chest whether it is your blog, your therapist's office, or a diary. I think you will find that once you start to talk about it, it gets less scary.
Love you, babe. Always.

11:51 AM  
Blogger Miri said...

RLS-
Hi?

RU-
Thanks, I appreciate that. And I think you're right about the friend-therapist distinction. Definitely. I don't know that it necessarily gets less scary, but I do find that my general level of tension and anxiety on these matters tends to go down when I'm talking to a therapist about it. But I'm still not sure that some of the stuff that goes through my head at times is appropriate for even semi-public consumption. It can get pretty bad.
Thanks for reading though. :)

3:34 PM  
Blogger Rogue Unicorn said...

I'm glad that talking to your therapist is helpful.
I understand what you mean when you say that you don't think that the stuff you're dealing with is inappropriate even in a theraputic context. To quote Robin McKinley's "Sunshine". "Sometimes the inside of our own minds is the scariest place there is". I can tell you that there are times I feel that way myself.
One thing that I have come to understand though is that sometimes saying it out loud, even to myself,helps me to understand it and accept it and then it isn't so bad. Even if you believe that the world is going to end, even if you think that there is a horror movie going on in your head-that's ok. Really.
I hope I haven't been overly patronizing, or older-sisterish.
Mwah.

8:16 AM  
Blogger Miri said...

RU-
never. I appreciate the word of wisdom. :) mwaah.

10:23 AM  
Blogger Baal Habos said...

Not that I can help, but just dropping a line that I do read; and care. I hope it all works out. :)

3:19 PM  
Blogger הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

Yeah, I admit, part of the reason I or anyone else blogs is to get out the stuff that we wouldn't be telling anyone else..

10:18 PM  
Blogger Miri said...

BHB-
I'm glad you do! it's been awhile. how've you been?

Dude with long name in hebrew that i still can't read-
(Shlomo?)
That isn't necessarily true in my case, but I'm glad I'm not alone in considering the endeavour....

1:01 PM  
Blogger הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

I thought you knew me! Anyway, what's so hard about the name? You're in Israel for G-d's sake!

So yeah, even if it's not necessarily private things you're writing about, it's still better to use writing as an outlet. I mean, people've been keeping diaries for millenia. And in real life, who says people want to hear everything?

...which is what I'm starting to like about "Srugim", they all listen to each other's problems no matter how big their own are. And now it's not available in America anymore!

1:28 PM  
Blogger Miri said...

Aha, yes I think i do know you. it's been awhile. the text is too long, so it gets cut off, thats why I can't read it. why can't you get srugim in america anymore?

9:39 AM  
Blogger הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

I'm not sure about the srugim situation myself. I was just strating to get into it, watching it on Walla, but then it stopped playing, and I heard that now the player only works in Israel...

5:35 PM  
Blogger Miri said...

serves you right. you know how much tv we can't get here because the player refuses to work outside the states? well now you know how it feels...stupid American monopolies.

10:17 PM  
Blogger הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

Ahaha. Sorry then! I feel for you guys!

11:46 PM  
Blogger e-kvetcher said...

Do you find the therapist is helping? How long have you been going?

5:22 PM  
Blogger Miri said...

Sigh. Well, there were six or seven evaluative meetings with two separate therapists, and a meeting or two with a psychiatrist who wanted to give me drugs. Now they're trying to find an appropriate time in their weekly schedules to start my therapy sessions. This is what you get for going to therapy at the student counseling center at an Israeli university. But it's extremely cheap and that, as my roommate would say, is the bunny. in theory it's once a week, but as I say I haven't officially started yet. And I've been working with these people since the beginning of the school year. Every time this country takes a step away from beauracracy, it takes a step towards being a better place. But those steps are few and far between, and frequently accompanied by a few steps back. So.

5:20 PM  
Blogger e-kvetcher said...

I have to admit, cannot picture an Israeli therapist - I'd think they would just be yelling at you all the time.

So, is this depression caused by a particular event, or is this a chronic condition? If chronic, the drugs may not be a bad idea...

I have to say, your web personality has always struck me as reasonably happy.

7:53 PM  
Blogger Miri said...

These are Israelis who've been trained not to yell. :) It's a chronic thing, but I don't like the idea of being dependent on a pill. I've managed without them till now, why start?
Do I really seem that happy? I feel like the blogger-me is pretty grumpy and cynical mostly. I am happy a reasonable amount of the time, except when I'm infuriated and ranting. But... a lot less of the time these days I guess.

2:16 PM  
Blogger e-kvetcher said...

>I don't like the idea of being dependent on a pill. I've managed without them till now, why start?

I too have a fear of mood altering drugs. But then I am a product of Russian stoicism... "I am what I am, take it or leave it". My wife on the other hand believes that anyone can change and being happy in life is very important...

I found that buying yourself gifts works well. Now I just need to find a way to pay for that Maserati Quattroporte :)

10:32 PM  
Blogger Tobie said...

Wow, several things:

1. I, too, have a tendency to think of a blog as a useful alternative to a diary or to talking things over with real people, but I don't think it is. People read it and you write it knowing that's the case. So if you want to blog things, I would set up another blog, that won't be linked to in your profile and will really be completely anonymous catharsis.

2. You know that I love you and you can talk to me whenever it may help you, yes? Also, I'm pretty hard to freak out.

3. Like the above said, that's not a replacement for therapy and hopefully eventually the bureaucracy will straighten out. If you want me to browbeat people, I can try to do that.

1:17 AM  
Blogger Miri said...

aww, thank you Tobie. But I think not even you can always beat the bureaucrats in a browbeating contest. :(

E-Kvetcher-
I am very into retail therapy, but sadly I cannot afford to buy everything my heart desires, so I limit it to the things I find most necessary. Like drugs and alcohol ;)

1:54 PM  

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