There has been a part of me, in the back of my mind, that has been trying to make itself known for a while. Since I arrived at Menninger, I think I have been seeing myself as different from the people around me. I thought I was just more accepting of the treatment, that somehow I was approaching it all from a different place, a more positive one.
All of that was wrong. It wasn’t that I was approaching things from a different, better place; I think it was just that I felt relieved to be somewhere that I felt like I belonged. The life I left behind in St. Louis was not a very fulfilling one. I had no close friends, I had no meaningful role to perform because I didn’t have the motivation to find one. While I lived there for over ten years, I never felt like I was home. Only school and my parents kept me there, and neither of them made me feel attached. Here, in treatment, I do.
But my friends here did leave lives behind. They have friends, homes, jobs, roles, and lives to return to. They want to be done with therapy because those things are important to them and they want to return to them. They have attachments and a sense of belonging waiting for them. They aren’t rushing through therapy – I am taking therapy very slowly because I don’t feel like I have anything to go back to.
One of the dangers of therapy is that we can get too wrapped up in our own issues and stop considering those of others. That is what I have been doing. I sit and watch my friends here get frustrated in therapy, and have problems attending groups, and wonder why. But it’s because I don’t have anything I look forward to going back to, and they do. I can take everything at a snail’s pace, because I don’t look forward to leaving. I have been feeling superior to other people here in therapy with me because I seem to be so much calmer, but the reality is the opposite.
For my friends here who are tired of therapy and just want to get back to your lives, I am sorry for not empathizing. I just haven’t been seeing things the same way you have. You have lives and people to go home to, and you have been separated from them for a long time, and that is awful. If there is anything I can do to help you move on, I will do it. You deserve to be able to go home, make use of your skills, feel better, and live your lives. I’ve been looking at your situation through my eyes, and being frustrated by your frustration. I selfishly want to keep you here with me, when what you want – and need – is to be back in your lives.
I have been offering to help you in therapy, when what you need is to get out of it.