The joy (and sadness, anger, disgust and fear) of being a therapy child

This was the second month in which I sat down with this blog open during the entirely of the last day just saying "YOU PROMISED YOU'D POST ON RAINDROP ONCE A MONTH!" to myself until I felt like crying. But hey! It worked this time!! Sort of!! I'm back, hello!
So August and September were weird months and I have absolutely no ideia how October will go but it will probably be worse if we're being honest. The thing is: I HAVE A WHOLE BOOK OUT SOON! That's right!! Though I have completely neglected my English reading readers I've been amazing to my Portuguese reading readers (See, I suck. You should know that by now.). My book is called A Linha de Rumo (which translates to "The Rhumb Line". Yeah, like the Ra Ra Riot album) and it's only available in Portuguese for now because it's being independently published for our Kindle Awards (something like that). I promise the idea of a English version it's on the works but I can't really do anything about it until the results for the awards come out so please bear with me! For now, if you can read Portuguese, you can buy the book clicking here (And I'm begging you to do it because it's really important that this book sells well so I can win the award and get a publishing deal and get money so I can live off my writing for my first year after college).
If you don't read in Portuguese, THAT'S PART OF THE REASON WHY I'M WRITING THIS POST. I've been meaning to write about being a therapy child for a while now. As you probably already know, if you've read my miniautobiography in the last post, I've been in and out of therapy since I was 14 years old and as someone who has had four therapists and different approaches around my mental illness, I have A LOT of Opinions™ about psychology. And what better place to talk about that than on my blog? So sit back, grab some hot cocoa, and let me get Real:

Here's the short version of my story with therapy: First therapist, identified my depression, took care of me for about 6 months, let me go way too soon. Second therapist, took care of me for 3 years, but did it for free because she's friends with my crazy ass aunt, so when she needed more money she slowly let go of me until she let go of me completely to the point where I just couldn't reach out to her and we only went back to speaking terms after I got back to therapy regularly, with my fourth therapist. While my second therapist did help me through most of my way out of the Big Depression, she also had a big impact in how shitty I felt last year and also sort of traumatized me for good. She led me to my third therapist, that we will refer to as That Woman. That Woman took care of me for about three months, during one of the most complicated years of my life, and then told me I was good enough to only see her when I needed. I needed her every week but her approach was SO BAD I decided to not come back. But before that, she caused my second trauma: Really early on the treatment, I decided to tell her I was bisexual (which my previous therapist didn't know - she is friends with my crazy aunt!! I couldn't risk it - and my psychatrist still doesn't know) which she reacted to by asking if I was sure of it and then refusing to adress it for the rest of our relationship. She actually said I should really be with the boy I liked - who wasn't a boy, she just didn't make me comfortable enough to use any pronouns. I left that therapist like she was a boring boyfriend and spent the rest of 2017 pretty much therapying myself out.
I decided 2018 was going to be The Year of Self Care, so right when the year started I texted one of the psychologists my psychatrist suggested to me and scheduled the first session. I was decided to give my all or simply give up on finding therapy in my hometown. I don't think I would have survived until next year if it didn't work this time because MAN, what a year. My new therapist is great. She drives me insane, she gets me fucked up like every session and I am pretty sure she feels the same way about me because she really wants me to be open and talk about feelings and trauma, and one of the things I've realized this year is that I have a really hard time opening up to people - and that includes the one person that I am literally paying to listen to me.
We did start to navigate my trauma is year and it is doing me a lot of good but most of therapy still consistes on these two questions: "Why are you so mean to yourself?" and "Why is it so hard to talk about this?" Honestly the second question gets me Feeling It the worst, so I'll give you guys one example for the first. A few sessions ago I was talking non-stop after an ugly ass week and I mentioned a dream, which led my therapist to ask me about dreams since I never really mention dreams. So I told her one thing that I have been believing it be true for a really long time: "I hate dreaming. I hate dreams because when they are bad, they get me fucked up all day and sometimes they change my perspective over something I was experiencing. And when they are good, I wake up and realize they're not true so I get angry because they aren't real." And she just turned to me and went: "Wait, so when you have bad dreams you accept them as real and let them fuck you up but when you have good dreams you decide they're not true and let them go with anger? Why are you so mean to yourself?" and I was like BRUUUUUUHHHHH BITCHHHHHHHH DUDEEEEEEEEE. SHE JUST ANALYZED THE CRAP OUT OF ME!! PSYCHOLOGY IS INSANE!! She told me to think about that and to be honest, I have been and now I take my good dreams with more appreciation and it's been doing me wonders. Earlier this month I dreamt about hang out with two people who live far away and later that same day I had a call on Facetime with them and it was the best thing ever ever ever.
Now, if you're in therapy for as long as I am you might be surprised that breakthroughs like this one only happened with my fourth therapist but that says everything about my early experiences with therapy. They were far from good. The first one didn't really care, second one was too close to my family and abandoned me, third one was a dick, fourth one actually listened to me when I talked about one of my female crushes using the right pronouns and it didn't make me feel like I was going to throw up. We don't have each other on social media (I thought she read my other blog for a while, but I'm not really updating it with personal posts either), we actually keep a more distant relationship and she is firm to me when she needs to be. When I got to her I had some serious fear of abandonment from my past therapists and like 10 sessions into the treatment she said something that made me feel like she was going to let me go before I was ready and I HAD A LEGIT PANIC ATTACK OVER IT. But then it was good, I done some thinking, brought up other shit and a few sessions later we talked about how I need to stop seeing therapy as my "emergency resource" and start seeing the things I learn in therapy as it. So instead of going "I'm going crazy but at least there's therapy tomorrow to tell me I'm not crazy", I am supposed to sit down and make write down something like You Are Not Crazy and Here's Why. It's bonkers. She is so good at this.
Finally, I know that there's a lot of people who would DEFINITELY not make through four therapists before finding one that is the perfect fit. And specially if you can't afford it or you're stuck with insurances therapists, I know it can be easy to give up. It's okay to leave therapy if it isn't working but know that there are several resources out there to help you and I can help you find it if you need!
I see therapy the same way as I see toilets. We, as humans, created toilets so our shit is disposed the right way. And we, as humans, created therapy so we could dispose our emotional shit the right way. So I do believe that therapy should be a basic right and everyone should have access to therapy, and everyone should have therapy. Not because everyone is crazy, but because if there's a way to face this ugly world in a less gross way, everyone should get to do that. (I am fully aware that not everyone has access to toilets, but imagining someone who doesn't have a toilet makes everyone immediately horrified. Think about it for a second). And staying in the toilet annalogy: Some toilets are fine, some toilets are unconfortable, some toilets are gross, some toilets are clean, some toilets are public, some toilets are private, some toilets are simply too far away when we need it. But if you can, you shouldn't stop looking for the toilet that will grab your ass just the right way and make it easier for you to dump your shit. Who knows? Maybe it will even play some music as you flush!
Okay, I just said the word "toilet" too much, so I'm gonna go now. I see you guys as soon as I can get back! I'll do my best not to be a way for so many weeks again!!

Giulia Santana is a Brazilian author, journalist, fangirl and activist — but not necessarily on that order.

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