* The following post is part of a series of fictitious pieces meant to help people who are seeing a therapist (or who aren’t). Each essay expands on a concept, theory or activity that a therapist may (or may not) have suggested in the course of a therapy session. Though the therapists and clients are invented characters, the concepts, theories and activities are readily accepted as helpful and even necessary by psychotherapists and other mental health professionals in the real world. If you feel triggered by anything in these paragraphs, please discuss them with your mental health care professional.
My therapist says I should start a journal. I don’t want to write about my problems in a journal, I want my therapist to solve them for me. That’s why I pay her. I have a hard enough time writing an email for work, how can writing help me? I just want my therapist to make me feel better. And I don’t think getting writer’s cramp is going to do it for me! I’m not going to feel less depressed just because I put my feelings down in black (no, blue) and white.
She told me to buy something lovely and meaningful to me (or not). She said I could just use printer paper but a nice journal would be encouraging (or I would feel guilty about the money I paid for an expensive journal and the guilt would force me to use it). I’m not sure guilt as motivator is the goal here. Whatever. NO journal is lovely and meaningful to me, haha. She also suggested I decorate it. To make it feel more personal. Shouldn’t the deep, emotional truths I write in it make it feel more personal? She thinks I’m a toddler. In kindergarten. Decorating things with stickers.
At the bookstore, there were more than twenty-seven shelves of journals. That’s twenty-seven shelves of books, most of which have NOTHING written in them! Crazy. Shelves and shelves of books with empty pages. Absurd. Some of the books have grids on the pages. Does that make the stuff written on them more scientific? Probably. And some are covered in leather and look like a prop from Game of Thrones. Quill not included. Some of them have short prompts to “inspire” the writer. Bah. I’m not inspired, I’m……
I bought a blue journal. A little inside joke. My depression….no, wait, I mean, the depression (therapist says I don’t own depression -everybody gets to have some) leaks out sometimes as a sick sense of humour. Blue, haha. It came with stickers. My favourite says “Keep Out!!!” As if the journal wants to stay blank forever. I wrote my name on the first page. Therapist said to start with what I know. I’m a smart-ass even to myself. But then again, this journal should be anonymous. So I put a line through my name. Now I look like I don’t even know my own name! Now I really don’t know what to write. So then I wrote “This is stupid.” And “I don’t know what to write.” And “My therapist’s mean.” But then I crossed that one out. Ten minutes passed. “My journal hates me. I wish I could write something cool. Why doesn’t anything interesting happen to me? I just want my life to be interesting and wish something would come up and make me feel like this is worth it and I could stop just feeling sorry for myself and get going on my life. It feels like my life is paused while I figure stuff out but somehow it got unpaused without me knowing it and…..” I stopped after twenty-seven pages.