Mental Maintenance

I had my one-year follow-up session with my psychologist a couple of weeks ago. It had been a whole year since I saw her last, sat on her couch, cried about my first world problems. Last April, she felt we were done, done-ish anyway. Done enough. Time for me to tiptoe back out into the world on my own for a while and see how it’d go.

I felt good after that last session a year ago, I really did. I was ready. I could handle things, I thought. I was more in control. It’d been over three years at the time since they split me open like a melon and re-routed the arteries to my heart. Time heals all wounds, or something like that? Besides, we’d run out of stuff to talk about really, run out of issues for her to solve for me.

I kept a list during my time away of things I wanted to tell her, descriptions of events that happened to me, accomplishments, milestones. I wrote them down in the notebook I carry around with post-it upon post-it of achievements. I saved them like a kid with a cigar box, collecting marbles and pennies and movie ticket stubs that reminded me of happy times. I was all set to go over them with her, pulling them out one by one: “Look what I did. Look! Aren’t you proud of me?”

I brought the notebook with me to the session but never even opened it. Maybe because, despite some high points, everything wasn’t okay. As we talked, she could sense everything wasn’t hunky dory. And I could feel it, too. I had slipped or I still needed some tweaking. Or more like I had fallen back into old habits, old thinking patterns, the rut I’m oh so fond of. It wasn’t failure, really. It’s more like it all didn’t “take.”GGbridge 2

As corny as it sounds: maybe happiness is like the Golden Gate Bridge… I’d always heard that painting crews start on one end of the bridge and paint their way to the other. By the time they get there, they have to go back to the beginning and start the whole process over. This is sort of true. Apparently, the structure is so big and the environment around it so corrosive, that maintenance, including painting, is an on-going job.

So, I’ve got a little more work to do to scrape off my rusty spots and slap on a new coat of brightly colored paint. My doctor thinks I need three more sessions. The first of them is at the end of this month.

Let the tweaking begin!

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