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A letter to my future client…

I see you

Pressed for time you are minding your business in the Starbucks line.  A woman ahead of you can’t figure out what to order.  Everyone is waiting on her.  She jokes with the barista this is why she is in therapy.  She annoys you, though you know she isn’t meaning to.  It’s you, not her, as always – you wish you could let this shit go.

That perfect blow out with balayage ‘lites with her monogram coffee tumbler has no idea what it means to be forgotten.  Her costume alone makes it clear she expects to be noticed.  You can smell her privilege from a mile away. 

You would never wish your childhood on another, that would be cruel, but damn it doesn’t feel fair.  She is in therapy because she can’t figure out whether to have the frap or a hot latte?  The phrase ‘must be nice’ goes through your head like an auto email response – you feel so bitter for even thinking it. 

You imagine a garden-variety therapist would say there is nothing wrong with you, ask you to write a gratitude journal and schedule the next appt. You would smile and never come back. Too naive to actually help. 

We both know you have let go of a lot – where you grew up, your old friends, self destructive extracurricular activities, the person you used to be, and the struggle to be understood by the folks who contributed to your DNA. It’s a badge of honor.  

You are good at leaving, forgetting and moving on.  Maybe too good. 

The few who know bits of your sketchy backstory have totally bought into the happy ever after assumption – but that’s the sick joke – you are not.  I mean you have great times, wouldn’t want to trade this new world you curated for the one you left, but you don’t spend too much time unoccupied as the unhappiness goes technicolor.

And what is the unhappiness about – the old flame that left you battered and bruised, the scenarios that make you shudder even now, the parents that took free range parenting way too far when you needed them the most, and the sinking feeling that you aren’t a good person, just someone faking it. A good person would be happy with your life now, and you feel empty. 

You want to be done with all of this – the comparison, the pain, the shame around your inability to let it go.

You actually believe in therapy, encourage and cheer others that use it.  But for yourself?  You feel hesitant – it is a bigger gamble for you.  You know what it feels like to be crazy, out of control, “any hospital would admit me” kind of crazy.  

You really try to keep it on lock.  

Pandora’s box doesn’t cut it – maybe it is Pandora’s vault or airplane hangar – your fear of losing your hard won functionality is legit.

Just an aside here.  I have no interest in taking away the protection offered by the vault.  In fact I hope to strengthen it. 

People think of the homeless folks muttering to themselves when they hear the word crazy but you know the truth – it is the little things that are your proof.  

You obsess over inconsequential things, making small moments extra in ways no one seems to get. Your feelings get hurt so fast.  You feel rubbed raw and then someone bumps into you, not recognizing you are on your last layer of skin. 

Sometimes you hear that song, or get a whiff of that smell you dodge and BAM some kind of ugly is playing in your mind – like a movie but you are locked in the theater no matter how loudly you bang on the emergency exit. 

As for relationships you have been winging it for as long as you can remember – you were provided no road map or even a compass. 

And that man you are with – he doesn’t know  One of the reasons you liked him was he rarely ever asks about your past.  There was no pressure which was beautiful but now you question what he actually loves about you since he knows so little.

He fell in love with your front – that independent streak, your smarts and ability to get things done. You rarely complain and refuse to micromanage him – he brags he hit the jackpot with you.  He doesn’t get it when you wake up in cold sweat struggling to breathe and it’s easier to let it be a mystery.

You imagine losing him if you told him. 

I do agree, there’s nothing wrong with you. I’m not trying to minimize those disruptive movie showings or uninvited bleak prophecies. I am simply trying to inform you that your responses are very sane reactions to what happened. Your body is trying to make sense of pain.  And it was painful.

You need an experience, many in fact, to combat the memories of old ghosts.   

We can do that by showing up each week as there is something sacred about two humans trying to solve a puzzle together in the therapy room.  I offer EMDR, you can learn about it here.  And EMDR is not a requirement, just one of the more effective ways to break free from what holds you back. 

It would be fab if Ms. Balayage didn’t bring back a re-screen of all your worst hits.  Not that the two of you would be friends per se. You just want some peace and wish her the same. 

Oh and I am excited to work with you. 

See you soon, 


PS. Go here to set up your appointment.

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