Therapy: Sometimes “Talking About It” Is Not The Best Idea

My feelings about therapy are somewhat spoiled by an incident I had with a doctor. I came to his office to get a contraceptive implant fitted into my arm. He saw some cutting scars and questioned me about them. He wasn’t even a psychologist. The scars came from the time when one of my best friends was suicidal and cutting herself. Out of solidarity and grief, I cut myself a little too, although it was not deep or with the intention to seriously harm myself. At the moment of being in the doctor’s office, I was no longer bothered by that friend, and my obsession has mercifully ended. The doctor couldn’t know that however, and took it very seriously. He first asserted he knew more about me than I suspected. With his prying questions, he managed to agitate me and made me cry. Afterwards, he agreed that I was balanced and handling things well, but I left the office in a bad, downtrodden mood.

Is it always necessary to talk with a doctor about bad stuff that happened to us?

Personally, I found that sometimes I need to talk about something, and sometimes I feel better if I let the issue die and be forgotten.

Emotional wounds are like physical wounds. Some need stitches, cleaning and bandages, and won’t go away if you just leave them alone. Those require your attention and care before they can heal.

Others will heal if you just stop picking at the scab. But if you keep picking, of course they will open up again and you’ll be in pain much longer. That is likely what happened with that doctor – I should never have answered him at all, and told him my scarred arm is none of his business. But I thought I would be ok and wouldn’t be bothered by anything he asks. I also made the mistake of trusting a doctor a bit too blindly and saying things I wouldn’t tell another stranger. We trust doctors so much we don’t mind being cut open under anesthesia by them, after all. Unfortunately, just because your back injury “feels” ok, doesn’t mean you should start lifting heavy stuff yet. And it’s even harder to avoid doing damaging things if your doctor is the one who’s giving you the bad advice.

Sometimes it’s good to vent and tell a friend what bothered you today. It can bring relief. And sometimes, I feel MORE stressed by having to tell about my frustrations to a friend, and thus reliving them. The point of venting is to get the frustration out of your system. But if it already moved out of your system, why bring it in again in the name of “talking about it”?

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4 Responses to Therapy: Sometimes “Talking About It” Is Not The Best Idea

  1. The religion of feelings says that everything you believe here is wrong.

    So you’re probably a balanced individual.

  2. Liz says:

    You’re absolutely right, Emma. Think about it this way…people in those ‘talk about your feelings’ professions have higher rates of failure than any else. Psychologists and psychiatrists are the most likely to go nuts, relationship counselors the most likely to have failed relationships and high rates of divorce. I’ll bet even seasoned sex counselors get laid about once a year. I’ve seen marriages fail, I’ve seen people go on anti-depressants, from talking about their problems ad nauseum. Counseling is a racket.

    • emmatheemo says:

      Heheh, I have heard that “all shrinks are crazy”, but always wondered if there was truth in it. And if there is, are their problems caused by listening to all those people, or just having them to begin with. But in any case, I don’t like dealing with arrogant strangers who assume they know everything about me. A piece of paper saying “he probably does” doesn’t make any difference.

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