This marks my final week of group therapy.
No, I am not miraculously nut-free. I'm not getting sprung from the looney bin.
In fact, I am graduating because no one else is crazy enough to keep coming week after week. Call me the lucky winner.
My therapy is a 24-week program. When I began last spring, there were about 15 participants packed into a room barely bigger than my guest bathroom. As the sessions progressed, and we delved deeper into our neuroses, they started dropping like fireflies from a bug zapper. As of three weeks ago, the crowd had dwindled to two of us. She's a 21-year-old, manic, self-centered snob; I'm a 34-year-old shallow-breather under a blanket of depression. I've never missed a session, and I refuse to start now. She needs an audience to hear her talk about herself. So we're in for the duration.
Because it makes little financial sense for the hospital to continue the course for three more weeks -- with two facilitators babysitting the two of us squirrelly wackos -- we're officially calling it quits on Thursday.
We've been told to bring treats, our completed homework and ideas for how to improve the next group. I can handle the treats -- asiago cheese bagels -- and the homework -- analyzing my behaviors and thoughts, and looking for a method to the madness. But how to keep the patients coming back for more? Short of enticing them with a free lifetime supply of crazy pills, it's tough to say.
Therapy hurts. We talk about not wanting to get out of bed in the morning. And about how people we love don't love us back or don't trust us anymore. And about how life doesn't seem worth living sometimes. Most of the time. We're learning to manage our illnesses by examining what we think, how we feel and what we do, then proactively working on making positive adjustments.
It's a helluva lot of work.
Too much for some. About 13, actually.
I don't blame them for ditching. Several times I thought about joining them. When my boss bitched me out for missing work to go to "that medical obligation," I could've quit. When a revelation during one session led to my admittance to the psych ward, I could've sworn them off altogether. When I had to sit through a bunch of other wacky people whining about how they've got it worse than anyone else, I could've wasted my time elsewhere.
But I didn't quit. I stuck with it. I kept going. Why?
Because I need help. I've tried managing mental illness on my own and it doesn't work. Own means alone, and alone is no place for a depressed person. Through my therapy, I've learned how to distance and distract from upsetting situations, to challenge negative thoughts, to communicate with those around me in an effort to better handle my emotions.
I'll always need help. Admitting...isn't that the first step?
The second step must be "Finding."
Finding closure. Finding a new group. Finding myself.