Therapeutic Bullying.

Tuesday April 22, 2014

There are some problems with knowing your doctor or therapist socially. Generally I rather like the fact that they know me when I am well so they can tell when I'm not. They also know that they're not dealing with a hypochondriac or attention-seeker.

The downside is that, in the case of my eagle-eyed therapist, she is likely to fix me with an intense stare and say "You're not well; you need to come and see me. When would you like your appointment?"

Like many of us, I'm sure; I fight against acknowledging my illness. In fact, I refer to it as a "condition" which I "manage." And, yes, sometimes that management means giving in and admitting that I'm not well (again) and that I need to go back on the pills.

So there I am, in the small white room, with the peaceful pictures on the walls, arguing once more with the woman who knows me far too well to argue with.

"So, let us just go over your symptoms again, shall we? You are constantly fatigued, you are experiencing frequent feelings of nausea, and often have headaches; you burst into tears for no reason, you feel overwhelmed to the point where you have been having suicidal thoughts. You cannot even summon enthusiasm for your job which I know you adore? At what point exactly do you admit that you are ill and that you need to take steps to recover?"
Well, when you put it like that...

Then she starts the war of attrition. "So, what are you going to give up so that you have that time and space to recover?"

This bit is painful, because we all hate letting people down. It's also awkward, because other people in one's life very often have strong views on what should and should not help: e.g. lots of time "having fun" with the family: good; lots of time shut away by yourself writing or reading: bad. Sadly, those strong views are not always (or even often) helpful.

So I come away from her office having promised to have some awkward conversations and to write some emails resigning from various activities. And I know I need to have those conversations and write those emails because she will be checking up.

I tell her she's a bully and she laughs. "You are paying me to throw my weight around on your behalf."

She's right. She most often is.

So, yes, she's a bully. I need her to be.

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