I have decided to go back to therapy after really taking stock of the last three years. The previous three years led me to take stock of the previous twenty-five years. While I have prided myself on being reliable, I have also been prone to some wacky and unpredictable behavior. This did not start three years ago, but it certainly came to the forefront. I’m going back to therapy because, to be blunt, I’m sick and tired of feeling unstable. Some of these patterns go back to kidhood, others were trauma responses from my previous work. The things that triggered me the last three years have always activated me, however, I was unaware I was activated at all.
For background, I was a therapist for 15 years. I worked with convicted sex offenders of various ages for twelve years. Then I worked in a walk-in crisis clinic for three or so years. After that, I had a tasty hot case of burnout, the likes of which can only come from working in the mental health field. My point here is I have seen some things and I had a certain heavily armored demeanor I chose to maintain. Underneath all that armor is what turned me back to therapy. Armor is used to cover vulnerable areas. No matter your demeanor or background, whatever kind of hard guy you are, you still need therapy. Go to therapy.
My particular area of crisis was unmanaged ADHD and a gross underestimation of how it impacted my behavioral patterns both as a child and an adult. Not having any specific strategies to manage it influenced both my internal and external worlds. I experience a nearly non-stop inner dialogue that exists for the sole purpose of releasing strong endorphins for my underfed, dopamine-craving brain. This means I spent a lot of time in my own head thinking angry thoughts and being emotionally aroused for nothing at all. I am in a state of constant emotional readiness…for things that almost never happen.
I have a constant barrage of imaginary scenarios going through my head. Unless I am actively talking with someone, my head may be elsewhere. This can be very frustrating because this lapse in attention is rarely deliberate. Typically, these imaginary scenarios involve me getting angry, arguing, or getting the last word. Quite often it is all three. Another reason I am explaining this is I start therapy on Monday and I need practice explaining my batshit inner dialogue to my new therapist. Bats in the belfry, rats in the cellar, use whichever analogy you like, my inner process is cumbersome, circuitous, and taxing. My default is underground angry.
I start therapy on Monday and I need practice explaining my batshit inner dialogue to my new therapist…Ted Morris
During this period I also experienced what is known in astrology circles as a Chiron return. I have more than a passing interest in astrology and this was a very difficult transition. Those of you interested in the details of this aspect can google a more detailed explanation than I will give here, but here is how I experienced parts of this: Chiron return happens around age 50 and deals with any large-scale unaddressed, unhealed, patterns you may have. We all have them. It is highly likely you are blind to them. These unaddressed areas will cut the legs right out from under you. You will deal with these patterns or they will deal with you.
There is a scene in the movie Goodfellas (the second-best gangster movie of all time, The Godfather being the best, IMHO) wherein Ray Liotta’s character, through a series of questionable decisions, has become a liability to his cronies. He goes into detail how he knows they will come at him, with smiles and outstretched arms. They are his best friends after all. This scene is reminiscent of my experience with Chiron return.
These are the underground patterns we don’t realize we have and so we don’t recognize them when they are in play. I freely admit I need extra help making sense of some of mine. This also a point-blank endorsement for all men to go to therapy. I am both a provider and consumer of these goods. That is my endorsement. I will be posting more of my experiences and discoveries regarding therapy. I am, after all, my own favorite test subject. Ultimately all of this was worth it despite the difficulty.
This shit is hard. I’ve been doing it for almost 52 years. I want new ways of doing things because it is not workable to continue this way. Again, I post this as an example to other men to go to therapy. If you wonder if you need therapy, you likely do. We reach a certain age and we realize we need a different way of doing things. We seek change because we realize how we have impacted others and we realize we could have done better.
Stay tuned, having me on the client side of the therapy couch should be illuminating for both you and me…