Notes from a Walkman Junkie: That which does not kill you, may land you in therapy.
I was on the horn with my dad yesterday discussing our upcoming holiday plans and obligations. The holidays have always been a bit of a mixed bag for me. There are the fond memories of experiences and past gifts received, like when I was given a stuffed gorilla in a tutu and my first album, Air Supply. There are also, as to be expected, the less favorable holiday associations. One year my sister smashed a glass (very thick glass) x-mas tree full of chocolate candy over my head because I mistakenly thought she was bluffing when she said, “If you take one more step closer, I will smash this glass (very sturdy glass) x-mas tree (full of delicious candy) on your head.” I recall another disappointing year when I was unable to properly use and enjoy my awesome new magic set as a result of an unfortunate allergic reaction to a needlessly prescribed medication I was taking at the time for my nonexistent seizures (long story, just note that if a child writes an entire story backwards, it is most likely due to dyslexia and not a brain tumor).
Throughout the years certain elements have always consistently accompanied the holidays. There is always an abundance of the following: Stress, guilt, cheese balls, crying, milk punch, laughing, anxiety, dread, and sweaters. It should, consequently, be of no surprise that the topic of therapy seems to arise frequently during this joyous season as well. Incidentally, there was a brief time in my life that I contemplated becoming a therapist – after realizing that my original aspiration of becoming a tap-dancing hair dresser might not necessary pan out. I realized, however, that my inevitable disinterest and/or dislike in some of the clients combined with my overall sleepiness would surely hinder my counseling abilities. For a while, I considered my father’s suggestion of wearing the glasses with the ‘wide eyes’ painted on them to feign my interest and/or consciousness.
A further deterrent from this career choice was my own handful of run-ins with therapy. I once was encouraged (forced) to see a therapist every day for one week as sort of a crash-course therapy thing. It was horrible. I had zero rapport with the therapist, as he was not of my choosing; but the real kicker was when ‘Dr. Clever-Pants’ made one particularly brilliant observation during one of our sessions. He looked at me with squinting lit eyes and remarked, “I notice that you wear that tee-shirt of David Cassidy often. Is that possibly because you subconsciously wish your own family was more like the the Partridge Family?” To which I replied bluntly, “Do I wish my family was a traveling band on a bus? Not particularly.. also, this is Shaun Cassidy, not David.”
I decided to give therapy one more go years later when I was, yet again, presented (in a manner of nearly gun-point-level insistence) with the opportunity. I had a slightly better rapport with this therapist, but our sessions mostly seemed to solely consist of me paying her to compete in a staring contest with me that lasted for about an hour. The meetings seemed to be more of a time-suck than anything productive. I once again revisited the notion of the glasses with the ’wide eyes’ painted on so I could at least get in a nice nap. After a few months of this ‘going nowhere fast’ therapy, I decided to bail. Fortunately, as I am terrible at ending things, my therapist beat me to the punch. I returned home one day to find a mysterious message from her claiming that she had suffered from some sort of emotional breakdown and was not longer able to council (quietly stare at) her clients for an indefinite period of time.
So yes, I broke-up with one therapist and was dumped by another… it appeared that my work was complete. I do take comfort in the fact that though my stints in therapy were unproductive, at least they were short. This is a far better alternative to what may have transpired into a “yeah, I have been seeing my therapist for twenty years now… I think we are really starting to make some progress” scenario. I just don’t think therapy is the answer for everyone and I am inclined to agree with Hunter S. Thompson’s theory in the following statement, “I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they’ve always worked for me.” My only addition to that list would be music and I shall now leave you with a bit of ‘music therapy’ from Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson.