I have been unusually blessed to have had good therapists. Yet, two stick out as crumb buckets.

The first did an unbelievable amount of damage to my family by not disclosing a major trauma committed against my minor sibling until after said sibling tried to commit suicide. I shared this therapist with my sibling, we didn’t go back after that.

The second was my last therapist.

I was on the verge of burnout again and recovering from yet another child induced concussion. My son was six at the time and being the parent of a child with any special needs is difficult under the best of circumstances, it is near suicidal without respite care and support.

My brain was fuzzy and that did not help the first hurdle of locating a therapist. The town was over burdened and under staffed. I made many calls to find someone taking new patients. Only after that question had been answered in the affirmative was I shot down again and again because no one was taking Medicaid patients.

Finally, I called your office. We played telephone tag because my phone went straight to voice mail and you were always with clients when I called.

My memory lapses had been progressively been getting worse so in the two weeks before my appointment I prepared a care journal. It was filled with goals and things I wanted to work on with you, my new therapist. A list of things I needed an accountability partner for dominated one full page.  The family tree was already diagramed across two pages, with bios, brief medical and psychiatric information on each member of my family was ready. I outlined what I had done in therapy before with my previous counselor and my last psychiatric evaluation was in a sleeve; staple removed for ease of photocopying. I looked through my old care journals and made notes in my new one.

The day of my appointment arrived.

I showed up 10 minutes early to a blank room with plastic chairs, no reading materials, no receptionist, and a camera pointing into the waiting room. My anxiety and insecurities mounted, I felt like I was back in the waiting room of the psyche ward I spent a week in as a teenager. Fifteen minutes after my appointment was to have begun I walked outside. I felt abandoned, then I noticed the building had a second part and there appeared to be another entrance.

I walked into the giant Victorian dollhouse, it was warm and welcoming. The receptionist greeted me kindly and called up to your office. A straight backed honey colored chair called my name and I sat to wait. Copies of Home and Garden, Ideal Home, and Country Living graced the post modern table, mocking my dreams and shaming my desire for a life I may never get to have.

You walked down the stairs in an impeccable pantsuit. I was in a pair of camo-pants with huge pockets, a black pilling sweater, and a heavily stained but incredibly warm London Fog. I followed you up the stairs and was hit with an intense sense of Deja-Vu. No doubt the staircase dragging me back into a memory from my teen years. Burn out brings out the flashbacks. I walked into your office and felt at home. You had plants, crystals, and paintings of wakinyan, kokopelli, kachina dolls and heyoka on the wall.

The intake went well. You were excited to work with me because I was prepared with goals. You asked me to redo the family history in a different way so you could understand it better. We parted, me with home work and you feeling pleased if I could guess by your expression.

Take two; the second appointment began the decline. The election was today. I was concerned about healthcare and my son. You invalidated my concerns because, ” In twenty years, there has been bluster but nothing has ever changed.” If that had been true I wouldn’t be in the office because I wouldn’t have health coverage and my son would be dead.

Session Three: You want to discuss the health of my “relationship” with my son’s father and my “choice” to be polyamorous. You ask about my sex life and my number of sexual partners, you tisk-tisk and hem’n’haw. It seems like you don’t care about my answers, just your morbid fascination with the lack of sex I’m having. I left with, “You are a strong woman,” ringing, like a raven whispering epitaphs in my ear.

Sitting four: You asked about my hobbies. I brought Ben and while I chased him around your office, I told you about my writing habit, the mural, swings, dishes, dancing, sword-fighting and social media. You took notes but said nothing except, “I have no clue why you want to be in therapy. You have your life together.” I guess you didn’t notice the deaf autistic child ripping your plants apart or breaking into your coat closet and throwing toys through the window.

Five dollar cakes and junk food: I told you I had an issue with spending money when we were close to broke, usually on stupid things like a five dollar slice of cake. You lectured me on nutrition… you said something stupid and I explained what B12 was and you cut the session short.

Six straws broke the camels back: I had a huge cut on my hand from where I cut myself in sub-zero-weather de-fur-ing a Coyote skin for a ritual drum. I told you the truth when you asked about it. When I told you the hilarious story of my son’s father attempting to be “romantic and sweet,” by tossing a snow ball at me and breaking the windshield on our truck less than thirty minutes after I cut my hand, you took on a predatory gleen. Sure I was frustrated about the money to fix the window but that wasn’t what I actually wanted to talk about. Previous therapists had given me feedback on my dreams and hopes, on projects I wanted to work on and when I said I had something I needed to work on they always listened until I asked a question. I had hit a real block that affected my functionality. I wanted to work through it. I knew it had to do with my sister’s death and it was tied to my writers’ block. You kept interrupting me and dragging the conversation back to my son’s father. I tried to explain how my creative process helps me heal and you finally grew exacerbated with me. I never got to tell you that I knew it had to do with my sister’s death. you said, “Forget about creativity, you need to focus on the leaking roof, you need to leave your husband.” Firstly I never married the man and he isn’t my husband. Secondly, my creativity is the only thing that keeps reasonably sane. Thirdly, why are you accusing my best friend of hurting me when I told you the truth? You made me promise to give my “husband” an ultimatum, “pick up your underwear or I’m leaving.”

Before I walked out the door I asked you a question, “Does the artwork hold any significance to you?”

“Not really, it was popular when I decorated my vacation house.”

Needless to say, I never went back