I walk out of the counseling clinic with hot tears streaming down my cheeks and put my hood up to try and cover my distress. I make it to my car without making eye contact, although I know everyone has been staring.
I get in, shut the door and finally let myself heavy sob. Ugly cry. A release of some of what I had been carrying.
Leading up to this moment, a lot of different things.
But the last straw that week was showing up to my therapist’s office needing support. She said hello and then proceeded to tell me after talking with her supervisor they had decided that since I was not diagnosable or a “billable” person they could not provide me services.
I stop and process what she’s just said, wondering if I heard her wrong, and knowing the mental health field well enough that I know she’s being serious. I am dysregulated as it is and my tears start flowing. The new therapist feels awkward and she keeps offering me water. I am embarrassed and pull it together long enough to be a “good beginning therapist myself” and tell her I understand the protocol. I messily pass on feedback about the lack of a trauma informed approach, the danger in having clients share their story and then declining them services, and to perhaps re-consider their agreement to provide counseling students services… as many of us are “high functioning”. Last I add, it would be nice to have received a phone call versus driving downtown to be told this. She nods. Expresses, she understands.
How is it that ironically, I feel bad for the therapist?
I ask if there is a backdoor so at least I can avoid meeting the eyes of those waiting in the waiting room with my flushed face and tears running down my face. I walk hurriedly towards the Exit.
So, I leave, and here we are again back in my car. I run through who I can call…. Realizing that I am the helper in most of my relationships. My sister and her fiancé just broke up, next on the list my friend who is likely getting out of knee surgery as my brain processes this, my mom… who has been supporting my sister all day, my brother … ( we aren’t talking), my roommate .. she’s been caretaking her sister for the last two months, my friend back in the Midwest.. I text her , big exam to study for, she would totally talk if I needed, I’m too proud. My friend I had plans with for the day.. cancelled also feeling anxious and needing time to herself.
So, I cry a bit longer, stuff it back down enough to drive safely, get home. Take a hot shower, cry some more, journal and cope the best way I know how. Truly, I am fine. Truly, not the end of the world..
But does it need to be this complicated for those of us in helping roles? For anyone who may have challenging days and need support?
Who is to blame? Insurance companies, the government?
Maybe this is the problem with the way we view mental health in America and maybe this is why we are the sickest society in all of history.
but wait, not quite sick enough, right?
Can’t find a label in the DSM so that person will be fine on their own.
Oh society, need us not be on our knees before being allowed to ask for help.