I told them today. What I’ve been needing to say for months now. It sent everyone in to panic mode and it didn’t exactly yield the results I was hoping for. But … at least I finally spoke up on my own behalf.
“I need an exit strategy.” I said. “A plan.”
“A plan for what?” my therapist asked half-heartedly.
“I need to start doing whatever it is I need to do, so that I can go home.”
He sat up straight. “Well I don’t know if you’re ready …”
“I’m ready. The only thing holding me back is you.”
My group members shifted in their chairs and tried to focus their stoned eyes on me, but no one spoke up. Lifeless like the room we joined in week after week. They likely felt the same as me but hadn’t yet had an epiphany like mine. They were medicated in to mush. Riding a ride they were never going to get off.
I was immediately chastised by the expert on what’s right and what’s wrong with me: Dr Andrew Dunn. “That’s not very nice to say and also quite inaccurate.” he said as he scribbled copious notes on the yellow pad on his lap. A gesture that usually increased my anxiety and sent me in to panic mode. But not today. No, not today. I’m not going to hyper focus on the flicks of his wrist. I’m not going to bathe in paranoia or try and peek at what he wrote down. I’m going to accomplish something in group today goddammit.
So I continued to speak:
“But it’s true. I think I’ve learned all I’m going to learn from you. And I want to go home. It’s not healthy to wallow for this amount of time. The disconnect has gone on long enough.”
“You feel ‘disconnected?'” he asked.
“Jesus Christ.” I sighed. “Of course I feel ‘disconnected!’ I am disconnected. I want to RE-CONNECT! And I can’t do that here. Not anymore.”
“You sound very angry.”
“I’m not angry. I just have a new clarity. And I’d like to know when I can go home.”
“You can leave whenever you want.” he added quite nonchalantly.
“Yes. Of course you can.”
“I thought I … I thought I had to stay … until, you know, you said I was better.”
“It would be against my advice, as a medical professional. But this is a free country. You are welcome to leave at any time.”
“You’re patronizing me! Stop patronizing me!” I stood up.
“Relax. Take a deep breath.”
“I am fucking relaxed. I am.” Tears started falling from my eyes involuntarily. I didn’t feel strong anymore. I sat back down.
All of the emotions I was fighting hard against rose to the surface, I felt weak and pathetic and needy and this talk was most definitely not going according to plan. I was supposed to be assertive and confident. Not confrontational and flighty. I looked around the room, surely someone else would agree with me. Point out my successes, how far I’ve come since we started here. Someone had to be an ally. Someone? Anyone?
No one spoke up. And I wanted to crawl under my chair and burrow my way out of here. I couldn’t look my therapist in the eye. Too afraid of what I might see. I couldn’t look at my fellow group members, too betrayed by their silence.
What was I thinking? I’m never going home. I’ll never be labeled “well” as long as that dipshit is in charge. I am stuck here. Stuck here for good.
“Does anyone else have anything they would like to share this afternoon?”