There is no script when you leave your marriage, no right way to do things, no way to measure how you are doing and certainly no pill to make you better. You would walk over hot coals if someone promised it would recover your broken heart. No one promises you a damn thing.
In an attempt to take no prisoners, heal all scars and emerge better than I had been, I thought I should give therapy a whirl. I felt well, positive and strong- but maybe I wasn’t. We had been to a marriage counsellor, best described as trying to patch the Titanic after it hit the iceberg. That doctor was a masculine, dispassionate woman, who for $150 an hour wrote pads of lined paper while intermittently hmmming at us over the top of her spectacles. I half imagined the copious notes were going straight to the recycling or to dinner parties where they would be entertaining her friends.
I needed to find something more effective and economical. I spent an hour a week with a short man with dainty hands and a name that would more suit a teddy bear. He typed my stranger than fiction story onto a computer screen as I cried through kleenex boxes. When I looked up I either found him checking out my legs or vacant behind the computer screen as though he might be on the Home Depot web site. I stayed with him longer than I should have, the way you do with an ill suited lover during a bad time. I had no one else.
My doctor recommended a clinic not far from home, care covered by OHIP. Worth a try. The place was dismal and sad, with smear stains on the wall, mean notes of WHERE NOT TO PARK, and the smell of burnt and stale coffee from a dirty communal pot. The doctor I went to had a name that rhymed with Mastered that suggested he never had a father. I wondered whether he had worked out all the demons from years with a name begging for bullying.
He greeted me nervously (why would he be nervous? He would be sharing zip) with a check list on a clip board that he ran through with me. Are you sleeping? like a baby. Appetite? Like that of teenage boy. Libido? Like that of a teenage boy. Confusion? Actually, my thoughts are as clear as a glass of water. Thoughts of suicide? My goodness, no. He seemed disappointed in all my answers.
He swiveled nervously in his chair, eyes bulging, like I was failing the post separation test. Finally, desperate for something dark, he asked me if I was sad. I said ” have you ever lost a dream?” He said yes. I said “then you know what it is to be terribly sad. But I am also relieved, blissful, thankful, scared, excited and filled with hope.” I thanked him and said I would not be coming back.
Finally, a dear friend, who is a wise girl and a therapist, referred me to a colleague of hers. We connected right away. She remembers all my details, all my troubles and all my stories. I do not go to her because I am broken. I go to her to be better than I am.
In therapy we have a chance to say what might have otherwise gone unsaid, unnoticed. I do not want to miss any precious moments or lessons in this life.