How Do You Survive the Holidays? Help!

It’s not that I don’t love Thanksgiving or Christmas. I mean, who doesn’t love Thanksgiving and Christmas? The whole freaking world loves Thanksgiving and Christmas! Because…otherwise… You’re one of these two characters:

And wouldn’t you rather be these?

By the way, I wanted to include a picture of a guy enjoying some Christmas cheer so that my male readers wouldn’t feel left out. Word of advice: don’t Google “male Christmas model.” It’s nearly-naked dudes wearing Santa hats. Sometimes on their heads, sometimes on their…other place.

So.

I’ll take the grinchy hit here: Holidays stress me out. I’m not even sure that I like them. My favorite time to be thankful is when I’m snuggled up on the couch with my husband and dogs, watching our fireplace, and we’re snowed in so no one can bug us. Or when it’s summer, and we’re driving down a dirt road with nothing but trees for miles. That’s when I think, “Wow, I’m profoundly thankful.”

Thanksgiving is the time when I think, “Ack! I have to cook for HOW many people? And my house is supposed to somehow be magically spotless at the same time? Of course I should be able to do this, because Rachel Ray does it and the Pioneer Woman does it and every other freaking housewife on my social media feed does it. So why am I covered in flour with an underbaked casserole, burnt cookies, and a kitchen full of weird gadgets that I didn’t even know I owned? WHY?”

Then there’s dinner itself, where you mingle with the cousins who you haven’t seen all year, and they ask you awkward questions like “Why don’t you have kids yet?” Because it’s inappropriate to ask that to just anyone, but we’re family, after all, and so it’s probably fine even though we never talk except for at these awkward family events (Hint: it’s not fine).

Then there’s what I call the “résumé relatives,” who ask you what you’ve been up to this year, but it’s in this judgy way where you should have definitely accomplished more than you have (because did you hear how much THEY did this year??). It’s like they want you to send them your updated résumé every year, just so they can scoff and say, “HA! Loser. I knew it.”

And then there’s my grandma, who is honestly awesome but also the strangest grandma ever. She looked me up and down last year and said, “Yes, hm. I suppose you don’t need plastic surgery yet.” YET? WHAT? What am I going to need plastic surgery for?? And why did I barely make the cut?? I was feeling all cute, but then I felt like crawling in a corner and apologizing to everyone who had the unfortunate task of looking at me.

Plus, I mean, in-laws. That’s all there is to say about that, amirite?

So holidays stress me out. I ADMIT IT! I AM A SCROOGE!

Mental illness can make normal holiday stress even more difficult. I’m completely off of my routine, I’m under more anxiety than usual, I have to be all social when I hate being social, etc. The holiday season is not kind to the mentally ill. Lots of people kill themselves during this time, did you know that? “The most wonderful time of the year,” and people are killing themselves at alarming rates. I have no jokes about that one, y’all, because it’s not funny.

So. What do you do to decrease your stress during the holiday season? How do you keep your brain functioning like it should? Let’s comment with tips and all help each other out. Thanks in advance for any advice you may have!

How I Ended Up at My Brother’s Soccer Game (Pssst…I Don’t Have a Brother).

You probably haven’t met my parents. If you had, you’d be mystified that I’m the crazy one in the family.

A few weeks ago, I got a call from my dad. “I think we’re getting a kid,” he told me.

My parents are empty-nesters. I moved out over a decade ago, and my sister graduated from college this year. It’s probably logical for parents to miss their children or feel a little lonely during this time of life. It is a big transition.

But um…get a puppy. A parakeet. A goldfish. Not a random kid!

I briefly wondered whether he meant a baby goat. After all, baby goats are freaking adorable. My parents live near neighbors, though, so that might be illegal. And they wouldn’t have anywhere to put a goat house. Wait, house? Pen? Barn? Coop? What do you call the place where a goat lives?

Never mind. It doesn’t matter. They weren’t getting a goat.

He said they were getting a foreign exchange student from Spain, and he was moving in with them in about a week. They had just thought of it, and wasn’t it a great idea?

That is so like my parents. I can just picture it: they’re sitting on their cream-colored wraparound couch watching America’s Got Talent, and this happens:

Dad: I miss our girls. Remember when they used to put on talent shows for us?

Mom: Awww. Yeah, that was fun. Maybe we should have another baby.

Dad: Um, we’re over sixty.

Mom: Let’s adopt one!

Dad: Too expensive.

Mom: Let’s get one of those free ones that you just keep for a while. It’s an exchange something.

Dad: Like a rent-a-kid?

Mom: Yeah!

Dad: Is it free?

Mom: I think so. *quickly Googles a couple things* Look! A free kid!

Dad: Okay. Order on Prime so we don’t have to pay shipping.

In my head, that’s how it happened. In real life, maybe not. Anyway, they randomly decided to “get a kid” (*ahem* host a high school foreign exchange student), and my dad has been all pumped about finally having a boy and isn’t it great that now I have a brother?

My dad can’t even pronounce the poor kid’s name. His name is Jaime (HI-may), but my dad calls him Hiney. Yes, like butt. I told him he was saying it wrong, so now I think he may have graduated to Himey. It’s still not great.

When I met Jaime, I immediately said, “If my parents are crazy, sorry. It’s not my fault.” Except I said it in Spanish, because finally the years of high school and college Spanish have come in handy. He was very excited that I spoke Spanish, because he had some things he wanted me to translate. Question 1: who would be picking him up from school tomorrow? (The next day was his first day of school)

My parents looked at each other and shrugged. “Tell him we haven’t thought that far ahead,” my dad said.

WHO APPROVED MY PARENTS AS EXCHANGE STUDENT HOSTS?!

I gave Jaime my number and told him to call any time. I’m nervous my parents are going to send him to live with us. They go to Florida for six weeks every winter, and uh…home boy is gonna have to go to school. They claim they’re going to “figure out” somewhere for him to go while they’re gone, but they keep joking that he’s going to come live with us. After all, we always take care of their pets while they’re gone, right? To which I laugh nervously like, “Ha ha ha…NO.” He’s nice and all, but…his high school is twenty minutes away, and I don’t want to drive back and forth to practices and stuff. I don’t even own a minivan! I’m too young for this!

Speaking of practices, when they took Jaime to enroll for classes, he saw the soccer team practicing. He got all excited because he loves futbol, and he didn’t know that it was going to be soccer season in the fall. Unfortunately, he missed tryouts due to, you know, living in Spain. My dad asked the coach if Himey could try out. The coach reluctantly agreed to let him practice with the other guys to see if he was any good. Since Jaime didn’t know he was going to be trying out, he was in jeans and didn’t have cleats or anything.

Turns out HE’S REALLY GOOD. So they let him on the team. Yay Jaime!

That’s how I ended up at a high school soccer game this week. Because my dad called and was all, “You have to drive down for Himey’s soccer game. After all, he’s your brother.”

What I wanted to say was, “Dude. He’s not my brother; he’s your weird midlife crisis experiment who will probably end up living with me in December. In which case he’ll be my son. And my brother. And the whole thing is too bizarre, so you have got to stop watching so much TV. It gives you strange ideas.”

What I said instead was, “Okay, see you soon.” It seemed less complicated.

Go Jaime!

Jaime

Stay tuned to find out if he moves in with us.

Anyone want a free kid?

What Did You Do in the Last Hour?

I don’t want to be all, “Oh hi! Me again! I’m sure you’re all wondering why I haven’t been posting in months!” Because let’s be real – none of you were wondering. BUT I was talking to my husband yesterday, and I talked about how it makes me jumpy when people in the mental illness blogging community stop posting. Because…what happened to them? I like to think they suddenly won the lottery and moved to an island in the Caribbean where they’re so busy swinging in hammocks and reading books that they’re no longer bothered with blogging about the trivialities of life.

But as anyone in this blogging community knows…that’s not usually what happens. Best case scenario, the blogger’s life got busy. Worst case scenario…well. No one likes to think of that, but we all worry about it.

So – here I am, just in case anyone wondered. I’m not in the Caribbean, but I’m also not a worst case scenario. I’m still over here navigating life on this side of normal – how have y’all been?

Here’s a nugget from my life for you:

Thursday night, I went to a new book study group. I love books, and I marginally like people. So a book group should be fun, right?

For our icebreaker, the woman leading it asked us to detail what happened in the hour of our lives that immediately preceded book study. I think it was a way to show, “Hey, we’re all busy, frantic women. No need to keep up pretense and pretend that we have it all together.” But I couldn’t tell the full truth. I just couldn’t. Because do you want to know what happened in the hour preceding that question? Check it out:

An hour before she asked that question, I was failing at therapy. Oh, you didn’t know you could fail at therapy? Me neither. And YET I DID.

I was sitting in therapy, about to leave, and my therapist said that we should make an appointment to meet again before our next scheduled one. She said it seemed like I could “benefit from some extra support.” Which, okay, I admit that she was right and that an extra meeting isn’t technically failing therapy. But it felt like, “What?! I’m not capable of doing life without you until our next appointment?? AHHHH! How messed up am I?”

This is obviously a me issue, and I probably need therapy to get over the fact that I have declared I failed at therapy (how very metacognitive of me. Someone somewhere give me a gold star, please).

So I reluctantly agreed to remedial therapy, and then it was time to go. Plot twist: my mom works at the same clinic where I go for therapy, but she doesn’t know I go there. My mom gets all jumpy if she knows I’m seeing a therapist or if I’m not completely 100% stable-to-the-point-of-emotionless. I’m still not positive she believes in mental illness as a real thing…in the past she’s told me to pray my way out of it. SO. I didn’t want to run into my mom. My therapist knows this (and even books my appointments under a pseudonym like I’m a spy or something). She peeked into the hall to make sure my mom wasn’t there…but my mom was in the office. Crap. She was doing paperwork, so it could be any length of time until she was finished.

My therapist offered to sneak me out of the back door. She said I could sneak around to the parking lot through the woods and tell anyone who asked that I was looking for deer. L.O.L. But I took the offer. I tiptoe-sprinted through the back hallway like I was trying to escape the KGB, and I got to the woods undetected. Once I got to the parking lot, I breathed a sigh of relief.

PSYCH! NO RELIEF! Just then, my mom walked out the front door. EEEEEP!

I did the only logical thing to do in the situation. It was time to come clean and be honest with my mom like a mature adult, right?

HA. No. Definitely not. She wasn’t looking in my direction, so I dove into my car like an action movie star and hid under my steering wheel. I didn’t really fit, so I was also sort of curled around my gear shift. I was not breaking the line of sight through the window, though, so that’s all that really mattered.

I heard her car leave the lot, and then I waited a couple of minutes before peeking out. Just in case she was waiting out there to be like, “HA! I CAUGHT YOU BEING CRAZY!”

(Wow…I’m suddenly understanding why I need more therapy – lol!)

Luckily, the coast was clear. I turned on my car and high-tailed it out of there before she could realize she forgot something and decide to come back.

I drove straight to book study, where that lady asked me to detail the last hour of my life. And when a lot of women said things like, “I just got done making a homemade batch of applesauce!” or “I found a great sale on avocados at Aldi!” I decided they weren’t quite ready for my full dose of crazy. I went with, “I had a medical appointment that almost made me late” rather than, “I failed at therapy and then had to escape through the woods to evade my mother, where I then got a neck cramp from hiding under a steering wheel while I waited to see if she was going to bust me.”

Come to think of it, I should have said that. Because how many times do I have something so bizarre to say about the last hour of my life?

Missed you all, blogging peeps. Hope you’re doing awesome.

Hang Up on Your Brain

Someone leaked my phone number to a world of telemarketers. In all honesty it was probably me, because I have the technological capabilities of a dumber-than-average goldfish. I’m sure I put my number on some form somewhere that said in small print, “Yes, I would like everyone who would like to sell anything on earth to contact me.”

But this is OKAY, friends, because I am developing an important skill: hanging up on people.

Not in a rude way, of course. Just something like, “I’m not interested…no, thank you for your time, but I’m still not interested… Actually, this isn’t a great time for me… Well, um, I’d prefer you don’t call back later, because I still won’t be interested then… Okay but really I have to go so I hope you have a great day but please don’t call this number again bye!”

CLICK

Now I’m going to make a metaphor out of telemarketers (never thought you’d see that, did you?). Brace yourself. *cracks my knuckles*

phone

All people, but especially mentally ill people, need to get a lot better at hanging up on our brains. Because I don’t know about you, but my brain tries to sell me an awful lot of crap that I don’t need. Too often, I keep listening way past the part where I should hang up on it.

Example:

Ring ring!

Me: Yes, hello?

Brain: Hi. I’m calling to inform you that you’re basically worthless.

Me: Oh, that’s kind of harsh. Are you sure I’m not worth anything?

Brain: Yep. Definitely sure. You’re a waste of the earth’s oxygen. 

Me: But wait, I thought maybe I was helpful to my family that one time when-

Brain: Nope, not helpful. They’d probably be better off without you.

Me: Now hold on…they say they love me!

Brain: They’re just saying that. They probably feel bad for you because you’re such a frickin nutter.

And then this internal conversation keeps going on, when really it should have gone like this:

Ring ring!

Me: Hello?

Brain: Hi. I’m calling to inform you that you’re basically worthless.

Me: Sorry, not interested.

CLICK

I’ve been trying this recently, and it’s been surprisingly helpful. I know the negative tracks that my brain likes to follow, and when I feel myself getting sucked into one of those familiar spirals, I’ve been literally thinking, “CLICK.” Then I immediately have an alternative track that I start thinking about or busy myself doing something else so that my annoying telemarketer brain can’t keep trying to convince me of things that are unhealthy.

That might be super weird, but hey – my blog, my rules. It’s been working for me, so I thought I’d share it in case it could help any of you.

What negative messages is your brain trying to sell you? You know the ones – the ones that start as a niggling thought in the back of your mind and end with you on the couch eating ice cream straight out of the carton while you binge watch a show you don’t even like. THOSE ones. Start hanging up on them as soon as they start.

CLICK.

It’s Not a Relapse – I’m Leveling Up

Bad news.

I mean, good news?

Well, NEWS.

I’m going back to therapy.

I haven’t been in over a year, and I was irrationally proud of that. Like, “Look at me! I’ve been successfully handling life all by myself for a YEAR! Look, Ma! No hands!” (As I then hide in the corner and hork down a handful of pharmaceuticals).

I’ve been struggling lately, so I decided to go back. I was initially frustrated with the decision and told Andy that it feels like a relapse. “I’ve been off therapy for a year,” I said. “It seems a shame to break my record.” Like therapy is some illicit drug that I went to rehab for and am now one-year clean.

“You’re not relapsing,” Andy said. “You’re leveling up.”

Say what?

He went on to explain that when I first went to therapy, I was extremely suicidal and was literally trying to survive. This time around, when I’m not suicidal, I can work on Level 2 therapy problems, which focus on how to deal with life now that I’m committed to living it.

Look at me! I’m at Level 2! That sounds way better than “relapse.”

Super Mario Brothers is the only video game I’ve ever played, but I think level 2 is the one underground with the blue turtles, right? Yep – this one:

level1-smb1d

I get fireballs, y’all. Who’s gonna hate on Level 2?? I’m a brick-smashing, coin collecting badass.

So I contacted my dealer (oops, I mean therapist) and asked if she would see me again. She said yes. Phewf! So at least I’m not going to have to start over with someone new.

Bring it on, Level 2!

Why I Would Make a Bad Scientist

Based on my current life circumstances, I have concluded that I would be a bad scientist. This would be me:

Real scientist: Hmmm…I believe the gas bubbles in this beaker are because I just mixed baking soda with vinegar.

Hazel: Are you sure?

RS: Excuse me?

H: I’m just saying…it could be that, but it could be any number of things. I think I saw some dust falling from the ceiling when you put that baking soda in. Maybe it was asbestos. Does asbestos cause a reaction with vinegar?

RS: I don’t think so…

H: Ah HA! You don’t think so. So there’s a chance.

RS: No, I’m pretty sure it was because I put baking soda in with the vinegar.

H: Do you know if that beaker was clean? Maybe there was residue in there from the last guy. Was Frank working in the lab earlier? Everyone knows Frank is a slob. He probably left something in there, and it had a delayed reaction with the vinegar. Aw, Frank. At it again. Someone’s really got to talk to him.

RS: I cleaned this beaker myself.

H: Have you been hanging out with Frank? Maybe his slobby ways have rubbed off on you. You have to be careful who you hang out with – you are who your friends are, you know. And here you are, saying that the bubbles are from adding baking soda to vinegar, when really the facts that you’ve been hanging out with Frank and that this building might have asbestos could be causing the whole thing. Then you’re going to have faulty results. Such a shame.

RS: But it’s been proven-

H: *shakes head* Such a shame…

Today I’m having one of those days – an “I probably don’t have bipolar” day. I’m stable right now, you see, and probably all of my past symptoms could be explained by other things. The decisions I made while manic were because really I’m just very stupid sometimes. I could function with no sleep for days on end because, well, who doesn’t do that once in a while? Talk to college students in finals week.

Sometimes I get depressed because, umm…because life sucks sometimes.  I just handle it a little worse than other people. That doesn’t make me bipolar, it makes me…I don’t know. Something else. Bad at handling life.

As for the delusional panic attacks…uhhhh…I’m simply very creative. I think impossible things are happening because my creative mind is not constrained by the dimensions of reality. See? Now, that doesn’t sound so bad. I’m not bipolar, I’m very creative.

Or maybe it’s really the baking soda in vinegar that caused those bubbles.

No matter how much evidence I see pointing to the fact that I prooooobably have bipolar, I still have days where I think maybe I don’t. My husband, in the kindest way possible, will say, “Hazel. I’m 100% sure you have bipolar. You need to come to terms with that.”

And then I’m inevitably all, “Well, that’s awful certain. 100% seems a bit presumptuous. I don’t think we can ever be 100% certain of anything. Are you even 100% sure we exist? Maybe we’re holograms projected by an alien race to test certain sociological and cultural patterns.”

Then he’ll raise his eyebrows and say, “Uh…now I’m 101% certain.”

Haha…that part didn’t actually happen. He does say he’s 100% certain, though. I’ll accuse him of having no evidence, and he’ll give me the following:

  1. I’ve been diagnosed with it by a psychiatrist who’s been practicing for thirty years.
  2. I have experienced every symptom of it.
  3. The medications to target the symptoms have effectively eliminated the majority of the symptoms.
  4. He (my husband) has a doctorate and has taken multiple classes in neuroscience and abnormal psych. My diagnosis matches what he’s learned in school.

To which I inevitably come back with, “Okay yes but what if…” and then come up with some alternate reasoning about as logical as Frank and asbestos.

Does anyone else do this? I think I so badly want to be rid of this disease (what a gross word) that the only choice is to not have it in the first place. If I have it, it’s a lifelong battle. I can’t be “cured.” My only choice is to live with it – forever – or find another explanation for my eight years of symptoms.

Isn’t Occam’s razor the one that says, “The simplest explanation is probably the correct one”? Occam’s probably right, since he’s all philosopher-y and whatever.

BUT IN THIS CASE HE MIGHT BE WRONG.

Maybe.

Possibly?

Oh boy. Help me out, blog friends. How do you get over days like this?

Quick Question…

To my bipolar amigos: does anyone have tips for going through time zones? I’m going to be zipping through quite a few myself in a couple days, and last time I ended up in a manic episode that…wasn’t so great. I mean, it was great, obviously, but then it gets all “wreck your life”ish (as those things tend to do). Trying to avoid it this time.

I tried to spend the last week getting on the time schedule of my destination’s time zone, but…well… #fail.

Any advice?

This is My Brain on Drugs (and Other Useless Things)

My mom is cleaning out her basement, so she’s giving me all kinds of crap I don’t want. Today she gave me the following “gifts:”

  • A reeeeeally ugly square lamp. It’s a clear square with a brass rod through the middle of it, and its shade might have been white in a former lifetime. Now that I think of it, it’s so ugly that it probably goes great with the ugly chair from this post. Then again, how much ugliness can one room handle? I think this would put us over the top from “quirky” to “tasteless”…if we haven’t already migrated into “tasteless.” Tough to tell sometimes.
  • A teddy bear that says “I ❤ Jesus” on the foot (there’s actually a heart, not the symbols for less than three, but I’m not technologically intelligent enough to put that in a post). I read the tag on the bear’s ear, and it was a prayer for salvation. I told my husband, “How many people have read this out loud and then been like, ‘Crap! Did I just accidentally get saved?!'” Ha ha. Sneaky bear.
  • A glass dog. Um…..whyyyy do I need a glass dog? It’s kind of big, too. Probably as big as my open hand. Is it a paperweight? While I’m working, it can stare at me with its creepy clear eyes. Is it a….doorstop? A talisman of some sort? It sounds like a curse…THE CURSE OF THE GLASS DOG. I’d read that. Sounds like a Nancy Drew.

And….

  • Old MRI scans from 2008

Now this one was kind of cool. 2008 is when my brain tumor was first discovered, and these were the scans that discovered it. The scans are big and bulky. I held them up to a window and said, “Hey Andy! Check this out! Look how creepy my eyeballs look!”

For the record, the glass dog’s eyeballs are still creepier.

After these scans were taken, I started on a long trail of drugs and doctors and medical nonsense. 2008 was the last time I was not on any medications. I was getting a little sad about this, but then Andy said, “We have your current scans, and now we have your first scans. You’re one of the very few people who can actually hold up pictures and say, ‘This is my brain, and this is my brain on drugs.” Ha! It’s like the old D.A.R.E. ads, except the pictures aren’t much different from each other and I have to be on drugs, not off them. Life gets weird sometimes.

Anyway, Jesus bear and the glass dog are still looking for placements in my house. I hope the ugly lamp isn’t getting too bonded with the ugly chair. I sense a garage sale in their future…don’t tell my mom.

George Washington and Baby Steps

If you’re reading this right now, you’re alive.

Well, unless literate ghosts are real. What if someone really famous is reading this over my shoulder right now, like George Washington or Tupac?! I hope it’s George. He knows a lot about revolutions. We need a revolution in the way society treats mental health. We’re headed there, we’re baby-stepping, but it’s time for that baby to learn how to run.

As I was saying, if you’re reading this then you’re (probably) alive. For some people, that’s the biggest accomplishment they’ll make today. Staying alive is a lot harder for some people than it is for others. For those of you staying alive today, I salute you (no offense, George).

I recently had a talk about mental illness with my sister (she’s a junior in college majoring in neuroscience). She mentioned that every time she gets to choose a research project, she tries to do something dealing with bipolar disorder. Unfortunately, she said, cutting edge research in mental illness is overwhelmingly on anxiety and depression, and diseases such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia get put on the back burner.

She’s thinking about going to grad school to do research on less common mental illnesses. She also wants to help break stigma when it comes to those. “Everyone wants to break stigma for anxiety and depression,” she said, “because it’s so common now. But you’re bipolar? Well, you’re not just crazy. You’re super crazy. People are still going to be freaked out about you.”

Ah, the things she says. Thanks a lot, baby sister.

Behind the somewhat offensive explanation, she has a point. It’s great that people want to break stigmas for mental illness so that more people will go get the help they need, but how often to we hear testimonies normalizing schizophrenia? Multiple personality disorder? Bipolar disorder? They feel few and far between compared to the ocean of people posting to social media about “This is what it’s like to live with my anxiety disorder.”

It’s true that our diseases are rarer (more rare? rarer?), but I want to be invited to the party! I want my illness to be seen as acceptable too! I want people to research wtf is going on in my brain so that they can fix it!

I’m not sure how to make that happen.

I don’t want people to make jokes about bipolar disorder. I don’t want people to be freaked out by me when they learn I have it. I want to feel like I’m okay as a person even though I have this illness (because if you’re under the delusion that all illnesses are socially acceptable, you’re wrong). We need a revolution (George! Are you reading?! Go haunt some people about this).

I’m encouraged by what I’ve seen in the normalization of certain mental health issues, but we still have a long way to go. You, reader, are in this blog community because you need support and/or because you’re supporting the rest of us. Thanks for that – it’s one step in the right direction.

If My Therapist Won’t See Me Anymore, Is That A Graduation or a Break-Up?

My next session with my therapist will be my last.

We had planned to continue seeing each other through the end of the year, but through an insurance glitch we discovered that I am only covered through one more session.  Next year her insurance changes, and I won’t be able to see her then.

SO.  Here we are – the end of the road.  She says I’m ready to be therapy-free, and she’s maybe right.  Obviously with bipolar disorder there’s no guarantee I won’t end up back in therapy at some point (actually, it’s veritably guaranteed that I will…), but it won’t be with her and it won’t be this year – the year I was diagnosed, the year that my life was blown to pieces and then built up again, and the year that I learned to let go.  It’s been a crazy twelve months, and I have put a lot of my heart and soul into that well-worn therapy couch.  This is a significant ending to me.

I don’t know how to feel about our last session.  Should I be happy?  Sad?  Hmmm…maybe I will talk to my therapist about it. 😉  I told her I’m bringing cake to celebrate, but I don’t know what to have the bakery people write on the cake.  Here are the main contenders:

“Congrats Therapy Class of 2016”

“To Never Coming Here Again”

“I Won’t Get Crumbs on the Couch”

“Feeling All the Feels”

“Sorry For All the Kleenex I Used”

It’s weird to think of life beyond therapy.  I’m glad that my therapist has confidence in my stability, but I feel a little like I did when my parents took away my yellow blankie when I was six years old.  The blanket had become so ragged and dirty that it had long been unable provide any warmth, but it was my blankie.  I was not at all confident that I could survive to see my seventh birthday if I didn’t have that blankie.  But I did turn seven…and seventeen…and twenty-seven, and life went on like they promised it would.  I’m hoping it will be the same here: scary at first, but surprisingly okay.

I don’t know how to say goodbye at the end of next session.  It’s a weird thing, therapy.  This person knows all of your deepest secrets, and then one day it’s simply, “Bye.  Have a great life.”  Does this strike anyone else as incredibly odd?  Who invented therapy?  Did they write a manual on how to say goodbye properly?  Am I supposed to cry?  Am I supposed to hug her?  I’m so not hugging her.  I’m not very huggy.  I want her to know how much she helped me, but I don’t want to get all gushy about it.  Maybe I’ll put it on the cake: “Thanks.  You’re sweet like cake.”  I’ll let the frosting convey my sentiments.

Also, I would like to point out that even though she repeatedly said that there are no grades in therapy, I am taking her approval of my moving on as a tacit passing grade.  If she won’t give me the grade, I’ll give me the grade.  I’m a teacher, so I think I’m authorized to do that: HAZEL THERAPY 2015/16:  PASS.  PROMOTED TO NEXT LEVEL OF INDEPENDENCE.

I don’t know about this, blog world…you’re about to see untherapized Hazel.  Let’s hope she’s as ready for this as my therapist says she is.