Usually, when you book in to see a counsellor, you expect some form of help. Or at least someone who will listen, because, you know, it’s their job. But apparently that is a bit too much to ask these days.
Firstly, The counsellor was late. I was left in an empty waiting room ten minutes after the session was due to start, which isn’t that long, but when they don’t have a receptionist, its not particularly reassuring. Remember this is a place people go for counselling.
When I eventually walk into the room, I make some sort of joke about being so high up in a building (or something just as inconsequential), and sit down. She asked me what brought me there, and of course I hesitated. She did not take this as an opportunity to ask a more specific question, or to say something like “take your time”, but instead just stared at me awkwardly. Yeah, because that’s what people who are distressed need; to feel uncomfortable.
After mentioning a few things that had been bothering me, she did not ask which I would like to start with, or which was bothering me the most, but instead dismissed everything I had said and asked “ok, so has anything happened in the past four weeks that you want to talk about?” … Um. Maybe one of the things I mentioned? Perhaps?
I tried to steer her in a more productive direction by mentioning my current struggle with personal relationships and how I’ve been pushing everyone away and avoiding interaction, because my brain is telling me it’s better that way since they don’t like me anyway (blah blah blah). She decided that the examples I gave her of this ‘evidence’ that people don’t like me totally justified my distance from them and that I should find some new friends. When I mentioned that it’s all of my friends, so the problem is probably with me, she just said “no I don’t think so”. Again, way to be supportive. Ten fucking gold stars for you.
I asked her about what her speciality was, in an effort to gauge her skill level (which was becoming clear to me anyway but I figured I’d give her the benefit of the doubt in case she had a really specific speciality that did not apply to me). She responded with a vague answer about people with work problems or mental health issues. Awesome, faith restored…
I then mentioned that I was concerned about my mental health. She said “oh! really?” …NO HAHA JK JUST SAID IT FOR FUN LOL dumb bitch. And then. She said. “You don’t look like a mentally ill” … um. what. So I had to say it; “well what does a mentally ill person look like exactly?” I started laughing because honestly, it was ridiculous. She starts telling me that depressed people (because apparently depression is the only mental illness in existence) would look sad all the time, probably crying. Oh ok so I should just walk around in my day to day life in tears. Because that’s totally appropriate. For fucks sake.
Perhaps having noticed that I was getting irritated, she offered to give me a questionnaire to get some indication of whether I might be depressed (again, apparently the only mental illness in existence), so I say ok. The asks me which one I would like to do, and gives me no other details to help me make the choice. I am becoming increasingly irritated at this point. It’s quite clear I came here for no reason. So I fill out the questionnaire, and she marks it. It came up with a high score, indicating likelihood of depression. She asked me if I was surprised, I said no. She then put the questionnaire down and said “I don’t think you have depression”. Yeah, cool neither do I but I know something’s fucked up, wanna help? No?
I then tried to talk about the massive great fuck off wall that I have built around myself and has existed my whole life. I talk about how it stops me from saying pretty much anything that crosses my mind. Basically I over-filter. She says “oh ok, maybe try just opening up a bit more” HOLY SHIT CALL THE NEWS SHE’S A FUCKING GENIUS. I take a deep breath, tell her it’s not that simple for me (or for anyone else, but I didn’t want to make her feel any more incompetent than she probably already makes herself feel). She then says “well I definitely don’t think you’re depressed, because depressed people wouldn’t be able to guard themselves like that. They wouldn’t be thinking about it, they would just be thinking that they are sad”. Well if depressed people have a range of thought that small, then you’ve taught me something today, lady.
She then starts telling me how I need to be more assertive- and explains that I should be more firm and speak up for myself, but still be respectful about it. (what? where did this come from?) At this point there is about ten minutes left so I let her ramble, take the leaflet she gives me, and smile and nod because what is the fucking point. I then leave the office of what I believe to be possibly the worst counsellor on the planet, and never return.