How To Even…Talk Therapy

By Michael Gushue & CL Bledsoe

First off, let’s get this out of the way. We don’t go to therapy — never have and never will! Therapy is for crazy people, and we’re not crazy, no matter what our therapists say. WAIT. Ignore that last bit.

We kid; a therapist would never say that — especially not the ‘c’ word (“credit”). They would just furiously scribble things down while you talk about your clearly unhealthy behaviors, and then go talk to their own therapist about what supreme fuck ups we are. In this way, we are stimulating the economy, creating jobs for therapists’ therapists, and generally saving democracy in some poorly defined but totally real way. YOU’RE WELCOME.

Maybe we go to therapy for an emotional tune up, or maybe we go because people, amirite? Regardless, there are a lot of misconceptions about therapists. For example, there’s the idea that going to a therapist is like paying for a friend. This is not true. Paying for a friend is much more rewarding — in the short term. (We’re talking about sex.) Also, a therapist will call you on your bullshit and probably remember your name. Also also, there’s this idea that therapy is only for deeply damaged people. We challenge you to find someone in the world who isn’t deeply damaged. That guy? No, he’s fucked up. You? Come on. Look, we’re not judging, we’re just saying. Come on.

Personal Anecdote Intended To Fool the Rubes Into Thinking We’re One of You (True Story)

I started going to therapy when I was in college. My therapist was a grad student in the psychology department — it was like going to a barber college for a cheap haircut, but instead of hair, it was my ability to feel joy. Or something. I started going because I filled out a questionnaire at the student health center, where I went to have a cyst lanced (sorry). Apparently, whatever I wrote freaked them out, because they wouldn’t let me leave until I’d scheduled therapy. They even called me when I got home to make sure I’d scheduled it. So, apparently I was fucked up.

My therapist looked like a young Elvis. We met right after lunch time. He had intestinal issues, and would quietly fart as we spoke. He tried to hide this by crossing his legs — every time he crossed, he farted, I began to notice. He’d ask something, like, “Describe your relationship with your father” (no therapist has ever actually asked this question) and then the smell would hit me. I would struggle to answer without passing out or gagging. Eventually, he asked if he could film the sessions. I’m sure he watched it with his buddies — ”Okay, here’s where I farted. Then I asked him about his addiction to masturbation. Now…BAM, it hit him. See how wide his eyes got? You can see the tears.”

I eventually stopped going because of this weirdness and because nothing magically happened to transform my life without me having to do any real effort.

What did I learn from this? Be careful when you schedule therapy. And, you know, probably some other stuff I’ve forgotten when all my brain cells died due to alcohol and drug use.

That Whole Progress Thing, Though

So how can I make progress magically happen without doing any real work?

With magic, of course! Listen, changing your behaviors is hard work. You have to focus and really pay attention and probably think about it afterward and OMG we already fell asleep. Normally, we’d just stay the way we were, dysfunctional and slowly killing ourselves with our Chocodile addiction. But sometimes you need to make a big change, like when you have a high school reunion coming up or want to impress someone you want to bang.

But they’re never going to bang you/be impressed with you the way you are now. So, yeah. Magic.

Lie To Your Therapist

The main thing about therapy is not embarrassing yourself in front of your therapist. They’re the only ones holding you accountable, because you sure as hell aren’t holding yourself accountable. That’s where the magic comes in. But maybe you don’t have time to buy some black candles or whatever. That’s when lying comes in handy. (Lying is always the best way to deal with any situation, other than maybe bribery, which is usually just an extension of lying.) You can tell your therapist you’ve stopped licking Dumpsters, or whatever it is you do to kill the pain. They’ll totally buy that and think you’re cured. Totally. Really, they will. Okay, we’re lying. See how easy it is?

But why stop with lying to your therapist? The real person you should be lying to is yourself. Tell yourself the fact that you didn’t eat a 16th donut today or that you stopped crying in the employee bathroom after the store closed means progress. Because it totally does!

Fake Your Death

Long time readers of How To Even may be thinking, “That’s your solution to everything!” Well, if it works, it works. Faking one’s death is a versatile solution to many different problems. Not doing a good job of parallel parking and people are staring? Fake your own death. Stuck in an awkward conversation in an elevator, bus, or some other public place? Fake your own death. Honestly, we should just put a disclaimer at the beginning of each post, “Note: Faking your own death solves almost any problem.”

So, yeah. Fake your own death. If you don’t want to admit to your therapist that you haven’t done whatever homework you were supposed to do; if you have to show up to a reunion but haven’t lost 150 pounds, gotten married to an amazing person, and become rich; if you’ve ruined your life with your negative coping habits and general self destruction: fake your own death.

We should note: We’re talking about FAKING. If you’re feeling the urge for real 1. That sucks and we get it, believe us. 2. Get legitimate help. Things can get better. They can. They really can. For real. Trust us. They can. Your brain is lying to you. Don’t believe it. THIS ONE THING WE’RE NOT LYING ABOUT. But the rest of this is all bullshit.

Or You Could Try To Make Real Progress

Yeah, you know, like we said, real progress is hard. It happens slower than molasses flowing at a pig banjo party. Or something. It’s incremental. There are starts and stops, backtracking and re-starts. Nobody is going to give you an award for coping or doing things that are considered normal, no matter how hard those things might be. Maybe, when you get to a certain point and it’s obvious that real progress has happened, someone will notice. Hopefully that person is you. Or maybe you’ll realize the real healthy lifestyle, or whatever, was the process of healing, the journey itself. But probably not that because it’s way too neat and tidy and doesn’t allow enough room for self-loathing. So, yeah. That’s why we tend to choose magic/faking our own deaths/lying. Or chocolate. Chocolate’s always good.

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