Sometimes, real life sucks.

(Tirade warning.  No, really.)

During the last few months, I’ve been told several times that I’m not expressing myself enough.  And yes, I’m aware that the first sentence contains the evil, avoid-it-at-all-costs passive voice, because I could add the phrase by zombies after been told.  Whatever.  Somehow, those words wouldn’t seem all that out of place.

Apparently, the strongest “proof” that I’m not expressing myself is that I don’t wear intense colors.  I wear muted green — variations on olive, mostly — and lots and lots of grey.  I like grey.  It may be my favorite color, as far as I have a favorite color.  For me, wearing grey isn’t hiding who I am; it’s declaring my identity quite loudly.  Not my fault some people don’t listen.

Also, I don’t have tattoos.  My therapist has tattoos.  I have nothing against them, but I cannot think of anything I’d want permanently marked onto my skin (I have been slightly interested in those white-ink ones — but if I mentioned that, and Therapist ever found out why I would even momentarily consider a white-ink tattoo, there’d be hell to pay), so I don’t have this kind of personal expression, either.  And I don’t wear t-shirts with pictures or text on them (sorry, but I think wearing my “‘Trust me’ shirt” to a session would be unspeakably inappropriate), and I don’t even wear a watch, much less any jewelry…

(There has also been mention of my tendency “not to make eye contact enough” while talking with people.  Um… yeah.  Mildly autistic, remember?  And you can’t “cure” autism by forcing someone to make eye contact all the time — which causes its own problems, since so many people interpret that as aggression — and besides, maybe the fact that I’m seeing a therapist because I have PTSD means that, y’know, that’s what ought to take priority.  But what the hell do I know?)

As you may have guessed, one of my primary ways of expressing myself is through writing.  Writing is, and has always been, how I deal with things that I cannot deal with otherwise.  I’m not saying that any of my stories are autobiographical (beyond what any writer’s stories are — we all put something of ourselves into our fiction), but I do find myself subconsciously integrating ideas that I need to deal with.  For example, I realized last year that I do understand this whole PTSD thing a little bit when I compared two characters from my fiction.  (RS and JG, in case you’re wondering, O Loyal Reader… but I figured you’d guess about JG, at least.)

Here’s the real catch, though:  I’ve also been told that I should stop writing.  And reading.  And making my ridiculously tiny pseudo-mosaic art things.  And looking at photographs of cool architecture online.  These things, says Therapist, are coping mechanisms, my way of not spending all my time sitting around just thinking about the reasons why I have PTSD, and despite the fact that I am well able to think dark and depressing thoughts while also making ridiculously tiny pseudo-mosaics (and often do), Therapist says that I must stop doing the things I enjoy until such time as I no longer have this mental illness.

WTF???

My clone says that once upon a time, people said that coping mechanisms were a good thing, as long as the coping mechanism itself wasn’t harmful.  (Example:  Coping with whatever by drinking too much alcohol = bad.  Coping with whatever by taking up jogging or listening to music = good.)  Now, though, Therapist is telling me that doing anything I enjoy — y’know, taking my mind off an unpleasant memory for a little while so I can recover and maybe deal with it later — is bad for me.  And that makes no sense whatsoever.

Why do I suspect that if I did drink too much, or engaged in risky/dangerous behavior, or otherwise did “manly” things so I could pretend that I don’t have this problem, Therapist would be more okay with that?  Hitting a punching bag is an absolutely acceptable way of dealing with stress; writing fight scenes for a novel is not.  But Therapist says that writing fiction is a bad habit — an “addiction,” for crying out loud!  If I was addicted to writing, would I not get more of it done?

 

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About Thomas Weaver

I’m a writer and editor who got into professional editing almost by accident years ago when a friend from university needed someone to copyedit his screenplay about giant stompy robots (mecha). Having discovered that I greatly enjoy this kind of work, I’ve been putting my uncanny knack for grammar and punctuation, along with an eclectic mental collection of facts, to good use ever since as a Wielder of the Red Pen of Doom. I'm physically disabled, and for the past several years, I’ve lived with my smugly good-looking twin Paul, who writes military science fiction and refuses to talk about his military service because he can’t. Sometimes Paul and I collaborate on stories, and sometimes I just edit whatever he writes. It's worked out rather well so far. My list of non-writing-related jobs from the past includes librarian, art model, high school teacher, science lab gofer… Although I have no spouse or offspring to tell you about, I do have six cats. (The preferred term is "Insane Cat Gentleman.") I currently spend my time blogging, reading, editing, and fending off cats who like my desk better than my twin’s.
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5 Responses to Sometimes, real life sucks.

  1. svrtnsse says:

    That does sound rather shitty. Is there an option to see another therapist? I’m thinking since it’s not an exact science there may be someone else who may have other suggestions for how to deal with things?

    Like

  2. As long as all that reading and writing isn’t in that dangerous “science fiction and fantasy” genre you should be fine. 😉

    Like

  3. I’m no therapist, and I do believe writing can be therapeutic. That said, there are times when writing about things that bother us is more painful than ignoring it. Personally, I’d have the conversation with your therapist and make a more educated decision, about whether or not this is the best therapist for you.

    Like

    • I agree; people should not force themselves to confront things that are still too raw and painful. Better to back off for a while, circle around and come at it from another angle later. However, I don’t write about my own life in my fiction, and THAT is what Therapist wants me to give up, because supposedly writing fiction is preventing me from doing stuff like having a “real” job (damnit, I’m physically disabled, which explains why I don’t work at Wal-Mart or in an office, but that in no way prevents me from having a job — I do get paid, and paid fairly well, for editing others’ manuscripts), or socializing as much as Therapist thinks I ought to, or whatever. The trouble is, this therapist is the only one in the area who doesn’t just go for ‘medicate and ignore’ or think that all problems can be solved by telling the patient to attend church regularly. The ironic thing is that I sought treatment for my PTSD because it was starting to interfere with my ability to write…

      Liked by 1 person

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