If there's one thing I've learned from more than two years' worth of cognitive behavior therapy, it's everything you say, your tone of voice, your facial expressions, how you hold yourself, how you're sitting, and probably even how you're breathing give away a lot about what you're repressing, consciously or unconsciously. Kind of makes me want to wear a huge brown bag and disguise my voice, exhibiting emotions the opposite of what I feel.
But then she'd analyze what sort of brown bag it was, how I wore it, and how much crinkling it did while I moved.
That's what a doctor's paid to do, you say? Whatever. But it's irritating as all hell knowing what you're trying to hide is written in ten foot letters, pointing to you in neon with one of those big, flashing arrows. When I say, in what I think is a perfectly casual voice, "Oh, the week went fine," what she hears is "I HATE MY LIFE! I HATE EVERYONE! I'M UGLY!"
TOTAL NUT CASE
I almost wish I'd have chosen a crappy doctor, one who got her degree from some university located on a Caribbean Island, something like, "United Universal University of Unification." Something, anything but an accredited university.
What I want is someone who agrees with me, no matter how irrational I sound. Someone who knows how to at least pretend she believes everything I say. Even someone who spends the hour filing her nails, every now and then throwing out an "Uh huh," "I see," or "And how did that make you feel?"
The doctor I have is the polar opposite. She sees everything, and I mean EVERYTHING. How my mouth moves when I answer questions, in which direction I look, whether my arms are crossed protectively or casually wrapped around a knee while my crossed leg casually swings back and forth. If I fidget, if I don't. If there's a sweater across my lap, or if there isn't. Leaning forward, leaning back, tilting the head right, tilting it left. Wiggling my ears, scratching my head, flipping a stray bit of hair out of my eye.
Every. Damn. Thing.
She doesn't always mention what she sees, but I can see she sees it. Her face has that, "Hmm. How interesting" look. Like, "She says she's not annoyed, but I see her head banging against the wall so hard it's cracking the drywall. She's hiding something; I know it."
It would be cool to be a psychologist, wielding that kind of power, knowing the person paying you to play the role of an objective, usually sympathetic and non-judgmental not-friend is hanging on your every word, shifting uncomfortably worrying what body language signs she's giving off. POWER! If you're the sort who sits taking notes, that must be unbearable. WHAT IS SHE WRITING?! She just bit her pencil, WHY?! What did I say, what did I do, WHAT DID SHE SEE?!
Maddening. I'd love it.
It wouldn't matter what you were scribbling. She'll never see it. For all she knows you're writing HOMICIDAL MANIAC WITH HOMOPHOBIA AND POTENTIAL PSORIASIS, when all you're really doing is scribbling:
All this, and they pay you WHAT?!
Oh, to have my youth back. That degree in Would You Like Fries With That? could have been a B.A. in Merry Maids, an M.S. in Mercedes and a Ph.d. in Make Mine Marble.
My consolation? Compensation. Next session I'll throw her off, behaving opposite of the norm. I'll lie on the floor instead of sitting on the sofa, legs resting on her table – the one put there to hold tissues for self-pitying, sobbing wimps. I'll speak with a heavy accent. German, maybe. Now and then I'll stand up and pace, clapping my hands and shouting ACHTUNG! randomly, whistling tunelessly, then returning to lie on the floor.
Or, I'll bring my own chair, every few minutes moving it two or three inches closer to her. At what point would she start moving backward? How long before she called for backup? I'll hold a legal pad in my lap, scribbling away. Then, I'll "accidentally" drop the pad:
Two can play at that game.