I got dumped last week, by my therapist.
She got a job at the agency I’ve been badmouthing for two years, assuring me that things have changed now that said agency has changed from a zero-tolerance policy to a harm-reduction model for substance use. That’s why I left. They were going to put me in the drug program because I smoked a little pot. They also yanked my Xanax out from under me and when I had a full-on panic attack in my doctor’s office, he slammed the door in my face. No thanks, I’m out.
Anyway, I found a swell spot after that large Buffalo-based agency that may or may not have a rising sun as their logo and started seeing a woman named Jamie. My prescribers have rotated a little over the past two years there, but that is to be expected anywhere. You don’t need to bond with the person giving you your pills; that’s what your counselor is for.
Jamie was fine. She was very good at her job, and I liked her very much, but I didn’t feel the “click” I have felt with other counselors in the past. These are the people you open your mind to, and it is important that you mesh well on every level. Jamie did a fine job. But she was no Carissa.
I don’t remember when I had Carissa. I know it was at that aforementioned agency I went to for ten years, and I know it was at their Hertel branch and I think it was while I still lived in Kenmore. The thing is, my meds weren’t right at the time, so all of that time period is a mishmash of memory. When Carissa dumped me for a job in the Southern Tier, I was depressed. I was devastated. She was my favorite, and she was gone, and it was over. It was then that I recognized a peculiar thing: these women have no last names.
My first counselor was named Sarah. I saw her at D’Youville College because my friends dragged me there one afternoon. I never knew her last name. When I moved over to what I refer to as the “Fancy Suburban Drug Dealers” agency, I had three other counselors, whose first names I couldn’t even tell you. Of course, they pumped me so full of meds based on a misdiagnosis that I was practically a zombie the whole time. Then, The Rising Sun, where I ended up with Carissa, who left me with no last name and no forwarding information.
Alas! One day, she found me on Myspace. I was very happy but I still don’t know her last name. And now, Myspace is dead and I can’t find her on Facebook without a surname. After Carissa, came Katie.
Katie and I were together for years, and I actually got to know her last name. However., The Rising Sun implemented their zero-tolerance policy, and one day she told me they would be tox screening everyone. “But that’s not a problem for you…” she says.
I tell her, right away, that it is a problem, that not only will I test positive for cannabis but that I believe it is an infringement on my privacy. She becomes shocked that I have never mentioned cannabis use before and our relationship starts to crumble. Now, I have only good things to say about Katie, who from what I understand is running some things over there now, and I am hopeful that her experiences with me and other clients has opened her eyes to other possibilities. The trust between us was broken, though; she felt I had kept something important from our sessions. I felt it was none of her gotdamn business.
An impasse. Fortunately, she was promoted up the ladder and I was thrown over to the Orchard Park location, where I met Ashley.
Ashley was great. She totally agreed that it was nonsense, the whole bit about the cannabis, and did her best to keep me out of the drug program at The Rising Sun, always stating that I wasn’t abusing the substance. Then she moved to Colorado and oh my heart! But…I knew her last name. In fact, we exchanged emails, and after she was settled she got in touch. We still occasionally email, and yes, there are topics I am more comfortable sending in a letter to her than expressing via speech to my therapist.
In many ways, she reminds me of the feeling I had with Carissa.
However, after her departure I was moved to a woman named Liz. She was fine, in the way that Jamie was fine. But she didn’t fight for me.
When I became a number at The Rising Sun, I was furious. They were making me into a statistic…showing me on graphs as someone with mental illness who also had a substance abuse problem. They insisted I start drug counseling. I told them to fuck right off.
Which brings me to now. I found a little place that was like “oh, you smoke pot? Well, let me put you in touch with a medical marijuana doctor,” and I was sold. I feel like my doc actually listens to me, which is new in general, and I never feel like a number because it’s a small place. AND, I’ve had two good counselors so far. I mean, not great…but good.
Anyway, I’m seeing a new woman named Rachel next week, and I am hopeful. I hope we “click.” Jamie thinks we will. I’m actually going into the office to meet her too, which is something I haven’t done in a year, so that’s kind of exciting.
I wonder, will I know her last name some day? Will I be gifted that knowledge after a year or two of counseling, when the bond is formed? Will I look back ten years from now and remember her fondly?
Or will I not remember her at all?