Writing is an outlet for me. I write here, I journal to The Man, I have a few hundred short stories some finished, some not.
At last count I had 60 black&white composition notebooks with journals and thoughts and the other things that run through my head. My mind is always running always racing always ready to move along to the big bang and the newest creation.
I’ve asked various doctors though the years if I have ADD. No Nicole you are just wired differently. My usual response to that is I knew that and didn’t rack up 100 grand in student loans to figure it out.
Writing has kept me sane through many a crisis. I think that when people hold on to stagnant emotions it does things like make your gall bladder say no mas and force your ex to cohabitate with you again.
Basically, I tried to not write and it injured me, so fuck all of that.
I am almost half way through my degree program, and at some point in the next 100 years I will have a PHD in psychology. You think I am a pain in the ass now? Wait until I make you call me DOCTOR Burton.
Before those letters end up behind my name though, I have some work to do. I see a therapist of my own, a good one – he went to med school and can give me drugs 🙂
As a child, then again as a teen, I was sent to therapy. Not a first choice for my mother, but it was suggested by the school system. She is not unlike most women of color of her generation, there was nothing wrong with her daughter that a good ass kicking would not cure.
I kind of agree with that concept, but I am of a different generation that understands, an ass kicking is fine, but there is also the possibility that a child has a mental misfire that could use a little therapy.
My first visit to the kid shrink came after – ahem – I set my bedroom on fire. I could go into all of what led up to that fateful day, but then you won’t buy my book, and I need you to buy my book, I have a shoe habit to support.
I remember 5 or 6 sessions with my mother, one with my mother AND father, and then Bonnie said enough of this shit I’m going back to ass kicking.
My next visit with the kid shrink came in my junior year of high school. The thing about teenagers is that you can not convince most of them that high school is not all there is to the world. You can’t really convey to them, that when you are the social outcast in high school chances are you are going to be a pretty big deal afterwards. Life rewards the misfits for all the bullshit they have to endure for the first 17 years of their life – ask Bill Gates.
In 2002, after a trip to LA, I came home and sought out a therapist. The trip was disturbing to me on multiple levels, and it was clear to me despite the failed attempts in my youth, that I needed someone to poke around in my head. I only went to one session though.
I spent an hour telling the woman that I was not an alcoholic. She spent the hour asking me how long I’ve been an alcoholic.
* for the record I do not have an issue with alcohol *
2008 found me in my very first sustained course of therapy. The stress and strain of a bad break up and my mother’s poor health, and my son’s Autism, and George Bush as President was just took much for me to bear and no amount of writing relieved the pressure.
I went weekly for 6 months and made good progress until the state said I made too much money for medical coverage and my health plan at my new job said they would only pay for 19 visits in a calendar year.
I returned to what will eventually be my profession in 2010. It was a different set of stress triggers that had me make the call this time, but I made it.
And I stuck with it.
It was a challenge when I met the first doctor. I was so pleasantly surprised that she was a Black woman! She looks like me! She will understand me! not so much.
Our year together was full of challenges. Honestly I think I was just not a good fit for her. What I want to say is that I was too strong of a personality, but that would be foolish right? She’d gone through all of that training to be able to handle people like me! I think that at any time she could have pulled the trigger on what I needed to get in therapy but she was content not to – just as I was content to watch her not do it. I did make progress, but not as much as I could have.
Then a funny thing happened on the way to quitting smoking.
Black woman doctor left the practice, Nicole got a new therapist, and Nicole’s primary physician prescribed Welbutrin. It is a drug that was designed to fight depression in the human brain, and it didn’t appear to work all that well BUT in depressed folk who smoked it calmed the urges. Studies were done and it can now be prescribed as a smoking cessation aid.
I still have the urge to smoke and I still smoke, but some of what ailed me and what I was attempting to handle in therapy was not distracting me any longer.
Then I got a new shrink, a man shrink, and this guy will not let ANYTHING slip past him. NOTHING.
In the past few weeks we’ve hit some topics that I simply have been unwilling to face and honestly needed to face.
I am on the way to being the healthiest that I’ve been in many many moons. It feels pretty good too. I comment with extra snark that certain folk, like my stalker, need medication. I happen to know for a fact that she does, but I think I will be a little more compassionate towards my peeps in need of pills.
It is not an excuse for some of the shit that people do, but I can look at it slightly different today being at the place I am.
Now psychotic folk? I’ve got no answer for you, but for those less than psychotic, well I empathize.
I like myself better undergoing this course of therapy. I hope that you constant reader find a way to like and love yourself as well.