so, i was getting ready to leave my therapist’s office, when she unknowingly sprung, an upsetting surprise on me. again, i don’t think that a “normal” person would’ve have had the same reaction to having to fill out and sign, an innocuous, white sheet of paper, but it bothered me. as my eyes scanned it’s contents, the tears ran down my face. that, “agree to live contract,” was the trigger that made me very unsettled for days.
my therapist watched as i carelessly scribbled my name and all of the information that she wanted, onto the sheet…and then, signed the thing illegibly. she kept trying to ask me what was wrong, but the more she asked, the worse it became…because the point was, that i didn’t have a fucking clue, as to why i was so upset. she was trying to calm me down, make a copy of the contract, and give it to me…and, i just kept trying to leave.
once the contract finally came out of the printer, my therapist handed it to me. i had it in my hand for a moment, but then dropped it onto the ground. when i reached forward to pick it up, i dropped the pen on the ground. i looked my therapist in the eyes and threw the car keys, that i had been holding, onto the ground…just to round out the absurd juggling routine….and, make the routine into a “3”…three disproportionate acts.
she looked at me like, i was green and had one eye, and a tail. she asked me, “why are you so angry?” i said, “first of all, i’m not angry. i was just trying to be silly and was paying homage to my other two clumsy acts. i was making a statement…look i’ve got fumble fingers, but, i’ve also got a killer throwing arm…but, you did notice that i tossed them onto the ground, right? i didn’t throw them at anything or anyone…”
she said, “yes, you did just toss them. i’m glad you’re not angry and were just trying to be silly.” i said, “well, when i was in iowa…m****a made this stuff that one of her daughters called, “unicorn poop,” and we were up at three am eating it at the counter. i spilled mine on the counter two times, each time she cleaned it up. when she was done the second time, i looked at her, took a scoop and dripped it onto the counter. i was being silly.”
she knew that i was just trying to be silly and alleviate the tension that i felt. she knew that i was very upset and she knew that, i had no idea why. she knew that i would eventually figure it out, but we didn’t have time for that, then. i still had tears running indiscriminately down my face and it was ten minutes after twelve, but, she was very kind and wouldn’t let me leave until, she knew that i was okay and stopped crying.
at fifteen minutes after twelve, i stopped crying and was “allowed” to leave. i walked out to the crv, got in, cranked the radio, and “you are a tourist,” by death cab for cutie was playing. as i listened to the song, the tears began to flow again, as that song described exactly how i was and have been feeling, for the last few weeks. when the song was over, they gave away tickets to the ninth caller. i was the ninth caller and nine is my number.
i sat there in the car for a minute and thought. i picked up the innocuous sheet of white paper and began to inspect and re-read it. the first thing that i noticed, was that i really made no attempt whatsoever to make anything legible. it was barely readable to me, so, i have no idea if my therapist could even read it, in the case of a “contractual dispute,” (i just find the whole thing so absurd and ridiculous.) or actual emergency.
what did the paper say? what information did it ask me for? why did it upset me? the paper was entitled, “agree to live contract.” the first line says, “i, k****** w****** (client), agree to live.” which in and of itself, is kind of obtuse to me….each day is a crap shoot. how can i agree to something that i really have no control over? then, i read on further. i thought to myself, “oh, okay…i see now. it’s an agree not to kill myself contract.”
“i agree to not kill myself, attempt to kill myself, or cause any harm to myself at any time. i agree to get rid of anything that i could use to harm myself, including, but not limited to , guns, knives, other weapons, pills, etc. in the event of an emergency, such that i am in serious danger of harming or killing myself, i agree to dial 911, or go to the nearest hospital emergency room, for immediate assistance.”
“i understand that if, my therapist, determines that i am in serious danger of harming or killing myself, my right to confidentiality is waived, and she will take any measures necessary for my protection. i authorize, my therapist, to contact the following people, in regard to myself, in case of emergency.” the contract wanted me to list three people, their names, phone numbers, and their relationship to me.
“i agree that if i have a bad time and feel that i might harm or kill myself, i will immediately call: ___________(name) who is my___________(relationship to me). i agree to also call one of the suicide hotlines listed below: national suicide prevention lifeline 1.800.273.2855 or go to the emergency room, or call 911. i agree that these conditions are part of my counseling contract with my therapist and are effective immediately and indefinitely. client signature__________therapist signature_______.”
when i re-read the contract, i began to understand some of the reasons for my upset. first of all, this is not an easily solved mystery, it’s not an “open and shut case.” it’s very complex and complicated. i’ll tell you that i’m not mad now and wasn’t mad then, at my therapist. i totally understand that she is just doing her job and covering her ass, for insurance issues. i also understand that she really cares about each of her clients and is committed to giving each of us, the very best care.
i’m just going to list some of the issues that i’ve come up with for this upset, now. tomorrow, i will actually attempt to discuss those issues, in an attempt to better understand myself. Some of the issues: childhood memories about death and dying, fundamentalist christian upbringing/rhetoric, my mom’s death, being sick, my advance directive, my family, my friends, the people in my life, the hospital in general, having to make this kind of a promise or risk losing the help from my therapist, trust issues, and just the fact that since there is really no possible way to enforce the contract…why even bother in the first place (yes, i understand…insurance issues, billing, obama care…).
***please know, that when i say that there is no possible way to enforce this contract, i’m not talking about me killing or wanting to kill myself, because i don’t want to and i’m not going to!! just so that we are clear and are all on the same page…sync-ed…sympatico. what i’m talking about, is that just because someone signs the contract, it doesn’t mean that they will honor it. also, i can’t possibly get rid of the guns, knives, and other weapons that are in my living space, because they’re not mine…they belong to my roommates and they’re not going to get rid of them. and the last thing, i can’t possibly get rid of all of my pills, because i need to continue to take them…like it or not, i will always have access to pills and medication…that doesn’t mean that i will use them incorrectly, it just means that i can’t remove them from my living space, or my life.***
so, until tomorrow then…there you have it…