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Should I Break Up With My Shrink?


So, as I'm writing this, it's Monday night, July 6, 10:15 P.M. ... and I have not had ONE SINGLE interaction with another human being all day. (Unless you count the reception who smiled at me when I zapped myself in at the gym. Which I don't.) This isn't totally unusual--I sometimes hole up for days and days, to try and get some writing done--but it's almost always makes me feel slightly bonkers and completely stir-crazy.

I was going to go out to the coffee shop just for the sake of some human interaction, but then I realized it was closed. I considered taking myself out to dinner, but seeing as I won't be making much more than the cost of my rent this month--and I have to pay for my health insurance and a plane ticket so I can see a friend get married in Wisconsin in a few weeks--I decided to cook for myself instead. So I made a little dinner*, chowed and was washing the dishes when a song from one of my new favorite bands, EDWARD SHARPE AND THE MAGNETIC ZEROS, came on, and I started rocking out: swinging my head, my butt, my hips, my shoulders. And I felt hot!

And I thought: I'm just like that chick from the movie FLASHDANCE! I dance like nobody's business and my shirt is falling off my shoulder and ... well ... I just rock!

(Never mind that the Flashdance chick was, like, a iron welder who lived in Detroit in the 80's and I'm a writer who lives in Brooklyn in the now's. You get my point.)

And then I thought, Why the EFF isn't somewhere here to see how sexy I can be?

And from there it went to: Why am I still alone after all these years?

To: What the hell am I doing wrong?

Which, of course, brought me to thoughts of my shrink.

Whom I started seeing EIGHT YEARS AGO NOW, because ... I'd never been in love before, not even close, and I felt like there was something seriously messed up about that. And I wanted her to help me figure myself out, work on whatever mysterious "issues" were preventing me from having a relationship; and to move closer to happiness and fulfillment.

And here it is now, EIGHT YEARS LATER! ... and I'm still wondering why I'm not functioning like a normal human being yet.

Guys, I don't know what to tell you to help me evaluate whether I should break up with my shrink or not. I wish I knew myself how to judge the situation, but it seems there is little to no advice out there in the world about how to know when you've gone as far you're going to go with a particular therapist. I've heard you get about as much as you're going to get in the first six months, and there's not much help to be derived after that. And really, I don't feel like I've felt any real benefit from our sessions in a long time. I mean, sure, it's always nice to vent, but less so when it costs $120 an hour to do it.

At the same time, I've known this woman for EIGHT YEARS NOW--have I mentioned that?--and it won't be so easy just to say sayanora, babe. Have a nice life.

So I asked my internet friend, Dr. Carl Hindy, author of IF THIS IS LOVE, THEN WHY DO I FEEL SO INSECURE? -- a bestseller which has been in print since it was first published in 1989 -- what he thought. He said:

"Of course you don't want to stay for a long time with someone if you're not finding her helpful. All the same, it could be a painful step to start over again with someone new. What's more, you might learn more about yourself by addressing with the therapist your very unhappiness with her and the therapy. See, we learn from our struggles in relationships, and this is one where you can struggle and process the struggle, without fearing it will cause a break-up."

Hmm, I guess. But how can I learn from a struggle that's more or less "false"? That's so "safe" it's not going to resemble anything I might encounter in real-life?

I'm very tempted to throw in the towel at this point--I mean, eight years! It's not like I'm quitting without having given it a good shot! And I'm also thinking maybe it's time to explore the whole Buddhism thing a bit more.

If any of you guys have thoughts about this--or have had similar experiences--or have suggestions about alternatives to "the talking cure"--please let me know.



DEAR COMMENTERS, AND EVERYONE ELSE WHO WROTE IN! Thank you all so much for cheering me on to wear the flirt shirt! You seem to be overwhelmingly in favor of me wearing it (speak up now, or forever hold your peace if that's not true) so I hereby vow to get that puppy on before this week is out. I'll let you know how it goes. ... Also, welcome Maddy! And Angela. I'm glad you're reading. And welcome to KCRW (via Twitter), along with Evon in Malyasia and Cecilie in Oslo, Norway and everybody else in all your exotic locales!



thawed+grilled some scallops from Trader Joe's, threw in some tarragon from my window-sill plant, added a little tomato sauce, had the whole biz over wilted baby spinach

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