Jane didn’t come to the session tonight. Apparently she phoned Robert’s boss during the week to complain, though she hasn’t spoke to him nor Ellie about what happened last week. The group has made it clear that if she doesn’t return, we’ll miss her – however, I think the cohesiveness and support present in tonight’s session made it clear that if she doesn’t, we’ll still do good work without her.
It may simply be that after last week’s nastiness, she simply needs a break, or it may be that she was so offended by things that she can never face any of us ever again. I hope it’s the former, but if the latter, I still believe that this group has, and will continue to have, a positive impact upon my life.
I don’t know if those of you that have only followed my blogging pursuits since I started writing At the Mountains of Madness can grasp the sheer levels of my cynicism and misanthropy. I’m not going to give the link to my previous blog here, because it’s still not something I’m prepared to share with real life folks (no offence), whereas this site is (non real-lifers can feel free to email me for the link if they wish. As many others [Ash particularly! I’m so sorry…I haven’t forgotten] will attest, I am a horrendous correspondent, but I will get back to you eventually.) But suffice to say, I make – or, at least, I have made – Charlie Brooker look like Bambi. I’ve been scathing and volatile, hating and raging and bitching, sardonic and cruel. Words like ‘caustic’ and ‘pessimistic’ are equally Bambi-esque. I’ve despised the human race with such passionate fervour that no amount of narrative here will begin to grasp it.
If you had told me one year ago that I’d even be in group therapy at all, I’d have laughed scornfully in your face. If you had continued by prophesying that tonight, when Ellie* asked the group if we were “in our comfort zone” in these sessions, I’d be the first one to pipe up and say, “yes, definitely,” I’d have laughed even more scornfully in your face and then advised you to seek psychiatric help on the fucking double.
I will never not be a cynic, and I’ll never lose all of my misanthropic streak. Indeed, I don’t want to; I wear these epithets as badges of honour, similar to the much-stereotyped tear-away teenager who is apparently proud of his/her ASBO.
But I’m changing. A bit.
And with that, so are things changing in my life…for the better.
Here is what I have achieved in the last week:
- I have made a concerted effort to lose weight, and have already seen moderate success.
- I tidied a bit (I’ve been on the verge of becoming a compulsive hoarder, and – no joke – have been genuinely petrified of tidying in the past.)
- I wrote to the CMHT to ask just why I haven’t received an appointment with my CPN lately, and to complain that despite my attempts to return the calls of the OT, I had been unable to arrange a meeting with her. Normally my written dealings with the Trust have been smothered in cold, supercilious politeness and scathing mordacity, intentionally arrogantly including letters after my name. This time I was actually nice.
- I’ve actually bothered to fix my beloved Zippo lighter.
- I’ve actually bothered to fix the wing mirror of my beloved car.
- I coped with what happened in therapy last week, despite my terror of confrontation. I didn’t flee, much as I’d have wanted to. I went back this week, despite the small potential for something difficult to re-arise. And as John and Robert observed tonight, I overcame my discomfort, and used the situation appropriately to examine issues. Confrontation is hard to deal with – but I did it. I can do it.
- I have arranged to meet an old school friend on Thursday night for a drink. I haven’t seen this girl in over 10 years, and even though we always got on very well, and have been in contact for a while on Twitter and Facebook, even a few months back I’d have shat myself at the mere thought of meeting anyone I wasn’t intimately familiar with, particularly on my own. I’d stress this is entirely down to my own mental health issues (specifically, but not exclusively, social anxiety), not the person in question, lest she be reading this. As is stands, I’m looking forward to seeing her again.
- After nearly two years of procrastination and excuses, I have finally filled in an application form for a voluntary job I’ve had my eye on. The position involves writing and public speaking about mental illness, as well as manning information stands. The papers are going in the post tomorrow. Really. They are.
- As I checked in for an earlier appointment today, I looked at the receptionist and thought, “I think I could maybe – just maybe – cope with doing her job part-time.”
What has happened to me? Is it, after everything I have done for 15 years to try to improve the dangerous deficiencies in my mental health, this group of people that will finally provide some semblance of salvation?
My levels of astonishment at this possibility are profound, and the following sentences are admittedly simplifications of a more complex truth. The fact remains that I am comfortable with these people, and I am comfortable that I am comfortable with them. Furthermore, I am comfortable with some positivity in my life, and I am comfortable that I am comfortable with that.
Bambi can still fuck off, though.
* Turns out I needed a name for her after all, eh?
Image credits: see outgoing links.