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[Althea] Why I am not in therapy
I seem to never completely quit thinking about our situation and everything that went horribly wrong. I was like this about your brother when I lost him, too, except he was still so young that the ways I thought about things were structured differently. I suppose it’s all part of the grieving process, though.
I feel like I probably disappointed you a lot when you told me to go into therapy and I basically told you (though not in so many words) to fuck off. Such a simple thing for you to ask for. Such a reasonable thing for you to ask for, depending on why you were asking. Such a little thing that would have kept us in contact all this time and I wouldn’t even do this one simple, reasonable little thing.
And I have the nerve to call myself your mother, and to claim that I love you.
I know. It’s terribly confusing.
I’m getting sarcastic. Not quite the tone I want. Let’s move on.
I owe you an explanation, and maybe by now (or whenever/if you ever read this) you will be open to listening.
First off, I have a personal history with therapy that dates back at least to when I was… oh, maybe seven or eight? It wasn’t all that long after my mother came back into my life, a story I never really told you either. So… I was still in single-digit ages, anyway. That far back. In the years since, I’ve done personal counseling; I’ve participated in family counseling for my paternal half-brother; I’ve witnessed both my stepmother and my paternal half-brother (your Uncle Doug) spend time in a mental health hospital (I once had the bizarre experience of watching an ex-boyfriend of mine greet my stepmother in the hospital cafeteria one day, because he was an inpatient there too!); I’ve had a military discharge interview with another therapist because they wanted to see if I had mental health issues they might have been responsible for (nope… I enlisted broken, sorry about that); I visited my stepmother’s old therapist after the breakup with my ex-husband; I sat in a group session with your dad and his wife and his other girlfriend and his wife’s boyfriend and their housemate(? I think she was still living with them?) while we all aired our grievances to church clergy; I went through five different therapists in probably as many months during my pregnancy and your infancy because I couldn’t fucking deal with your dad… Have I left anything out? Oh yes. That last family therapist. The one who wouldn’t listen to me, and who wouldn’t call your dad on it when Matt all but admitted I was nothing but the hired help anyway.
My favorite bits were when the second therapist I had during my pregnancy informed me that God’s plan (she was being paid by the State of Ohio, by the way) is for parents to raise their own children and therefore I should go somehow reverse your brother’s legal adoption and take him back; when I went through three therapists in as many months because one quit the practice to work with the Deaf, one quit the practice suddenly and with no warning, and one couldn’t bear to watch me nurse you and physically looked away in distress; and when I pointed out that it makes no sense that a girl can know she feels like a boy when she’s never been a boy, that final family therapist voiced understanding, and then twenty minutes later he asked you if you’d ever felt like a boy.
Nowadays you are not allowed to have anything but affirming beliefs about people who believe they are transgender if you work in psychotherapy or social work at all. In order to get therapy, I must force myself to work with someone who believes I am a man’s social role and not a real person in my own right. If you were still a minor and still lived with me, I’d have to live terrified of them reporting me to the authorities as “unsafe” for you and taking you out of my home just because I know you’re female and wouldn’t permit you, were you still a minor, to mutilate your own body with a binder or anything else. Therapists are mandated reporters, just like teachers are. The holy state has decided that gender identity is its official religion. Alleluia, amen.
This is quite aside from the expense, though even that is not such an issue at this point because I finally landed a job with decent health benefits. It’s the one I told you about before which began in early May. Yep. Still got it. I can even do telehealth mental health visits for
$10 a pop$30 a visit.
[EDIT: I misread something someplace. Mental health visits by telehealth on my plan are still $30, apparently. I concede this is still not the $150 a week and up that they charge on lesser plans or without insurance.]
But no therapist is safe for me anymore. So I won’t be doing any of that.
Even so. I could literally find the perfect TERFy therapist tomorrow and it’s not like it would be an instant cure. You never were clear on this point: when does “go to therapy” equal “get to see my daughter again”? Immediately? When I’ve gone regularly for six months? When I show great improvement? Would the TERFy therapist be a dealbreaker? Do you get to pick my therapist too?
I don’t suppose I can ask for credit for time served, can I? I got therapy. This is how I turned out. I don’t know how you think more of the same could make me… somehow better? …even if I did go. It’s almost like therapy or the lack thereof isn’t really making or breaking my mental or emotional condition. It’s almost like there might be some sort of external cause.
It’s almost like the young woman whose first question upon being told I was moving out was, “Are you taking the cats?” and who mocked me for saying “a serial killer wouldn’t be treated like this” when she found out I was homeless probably shouldn’t be lecturing anyone else about their approach to their own mental health.
I love you so fucking much. Honey, you’ve got lots of work to do.
I’ll write again. Sooner next time.