Tuesday, February 3, 2009

My Status & My History

Just an FYI - I know you're all awaiting another paragraph or two about the story I've been writing. I have some stuff to post and will post this week. But I am also out of town for a conference, so I honestly don't know how much time I'll have to write. So please be patient with me, I promise to get more back on track next week. Also, I appreciate all the comments and feedback I have gotten from you, thank you.

My History
For pretty much my entire life, I’ve had some connection to the mental health professions. After years of drinking and finally quitting, my grandmother became a counselor for alcoholics. This rubbed off on my mother who after partying hearty during the 80s decided that she too was an alcoholic, attended rehab a couple of times and the earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees in Social Work. My brother and I attended school sponsored group session when we were kids for children of divorced parents. I don’t remember that it helped much, at the time divorce just seemed like what people did sometimes – most everyone in my family had been divorced and remarried at least one – and no big deal. But we went and talked about our feelings I guess.

From about the age of 10 or so, I had wanted to be a psychologist. The thought of being a psychiatrist crossed my mind, being called a doctor sounded cool, but even at that age I knew that medical school probably wasn’t for me, so clinical psychologist would do just fine. However, around my teen years, we started seeing a therapist for family and individual sessions and I remember being very unimpressed about him. At the time I had a strong inner fantasy life going – as I suspect, but have never confirmed, a lot of children do. I held conversations with myself. I imaged myself growing up, falling in love with whatever famous movie star I had a crush on at the moment and having lots of kids. I asked the therapist if this was normal. And instead of just answering yes, it’s pretty normal, he asked me if I believed the fantasies I had were real. I didn’t really believe they were real, but sometimes, lying in bed at night, I could become quite involved, like reading a good book and forgetting where you are, so in a way, to me, they were real. Now, instead of reassuring me, he only made me a little more afraid that I was indeed crazy. That I’d end of schizophrenic, homeless at 20, walking down the streets talking to myself while people looked at me with pity or looked away from me so as not to be faced with their own craziness.

I never brought up this topic with him again, and instead we focused on my relationship with my mother, brother and step-father. A few years later, once I wasn’t living inside my head so much, I realized that I couldn’t possibly be actually crazy because people who think they might be crazy never are. Only those who think their behavior is totally the norm, those are the crazy one. My dream of becoming a psychologist, along with my fantasies, died around the same time.

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