Maybe you remember the college radio hit “Frontier Psychiatrist” by the Avalanches, or maybe you don’t. Regardless, it’s a bizarre, repetitive song, that is still somewhat addicting and satisfying if you’re in that kind of a mood. You know, the kind of mood in which blending modern psychiatry with the neighing horsey sounds of the Old West Frontier really hits the spot.
So anyway, after a long hiatus (read: near the end of the last century) I’ve decided to seek counseling again. And like practically everyone else out there, I’ve got lots of material to work with, plenty to keep us busy for a while.
1) I’m still grieving over Katie, the 17-year-old calico feline roommate and foster fur-kid that infused joy into our lives from 2000 until her sudden death in mid-2002. At first I thought that my level of grieving might be abnormal, but I’m learning that grief is a form of love, and as long as I still love her (which I always will), I will always grieve. Now, we just have to transform that into a healthy grieving and not something debilitating.
2) I’ve got massive health issues. I’ve tried not to turn this blog into a periodic chronicle of my health ups and downs, because I think that one of the unhealthiest things to do is to focus on your problems and allow them to become too large and too comfortable a part of your life. This isn’t to say they should be stuffed down, ignored, and attempted to be forgotten, but it does mean that they should not bring you any satisfaction that you’d hesitate to give up should you get better.
That being said, I have confirmed Celiac Disease, Leaky Gut, chronic iron-deficiency anemia, adrenal dysregulation, hypothyroidism of unknown nature (we do know it’s not secondary or tertiary), heavy Th-2 immune dominance, massive food intolerances and cross reactions, and nerve-damage hearing loss. We also suspect that I’m making antibodies to my cerebellum and God(dess) knows what else. And we strongly suspect that the hearing loss is autoimmune in nature, too. Not to mention minor bouts of depression, anxiety, and irritability, and a completely neuroplastic loop that prevents me from taking sleep for granted. And the brain fog and fibroids refuse to be ignored.
3) Stress, and the precursor boundary issues/guilt/service mentality, etc that plague myself and my side of the practice every day. Not to mention financial issues, the dietary and social deprivation that comes from following such a strict diet, etc.
4) Self-confidence issues, no doubt rooted long ago as a very small child. The Alcoholism and Co-dependency duo was alive and well in my family and its effects persisted and lingered longer than I care to imagine.
5) Lack of consistent affection in my marriage. Don’t get me wrong, my spouse is wonderful and shows love in alternate ways. I just wish that some of those ways included the easiest and most obvious – a little verbal action with some non-sexual hugs and whatnot.
6) Total lack of sex – imagine an ecosystem in which sex is the plant and animal life and activity. Now imagine a desert, completely devoid of any sign of life except maybe a brave scorpion or two. Yep, that’s us. I’ve long been a take-it-or-leave-it kind of person, but I’m increasingly realizing that I’m probably missing something.
7) General distrust in my marriage. I know for a fact that my spouse will not run away with the office staff or anything like that. But I’ve lived out that scenario that nobody wants to face in which my spouse finally came to me and told me that we were now 5 figures in credit card debt. My spouse had been hiding all debt from me up until then. There were several other scenarios like that – smaller ones in which additional student loans were taken out to cover bills and whatnot.
8) Ultra-sensitivity when it comes to suffering, especially of the innocent, especially of the animal variety, and especially of cats or dogs.
To the point where the deep pain it causes me can be either a minor nuisance in my daily life or a debilitating, potentially-fatal weight.
Now the good news:
1) I’ve been in therapy before, so I know what to expect and what not to expect. I’ve also gained some tools already from that previous therapy, which means I have something to start with.
2) I’m decent at verbalizing my emotions and thoughts, being candid and honest, and examining myself.
3) Neither of us are chemically dependent, terminally ill, wanted by law enforcement, mentally incapacitated, adulterous, unemployed, or abusive.
4) We don’t have children, jobs we hate, a stressful commute, or a dangerous neighborhood.
5) We’re not totally broke anymore.
6) We have good heads on our shoulders and above-average intelligence (I think I can safely say that these days without coming off as elitist).
7) We have each other.
I have (realistically) high hopes for this. We shall see!