Op-eds · May 1, 2016

What Im really thinking: the person in therapy

There is no suggestion that every thought I have can be traced back to my mother or my father or phallic analogies

There are certain topics of conversation that will stop anyone in their tracks. Admitting to having aweekly therapy habit is, in my experience, the pinnacle of ending small talk. Brits tend to frown upon therapy as aweekly expenditure 40 an hour, if you must know. I get that. However, Idont understand people who spend 40 on their nails once aweek, so lets call it even.

Therapy is, to most, the Freudian movie version. A bespectacled, bearded, German-accented oldman in a wing-backed chair, pipe in mouth, asking me (lying on asofa, like a damsel) how that makes me feel. However, mytherapist is young, with a beard (in a hipster way, not a Gandalf way), and I can assure you I have never lain down on a sofa, although I do sit on one.

There is no suggestion that every thought I have can be traced back to my mother or my father, or phallic analogies. We talk about the things that keep me awake at night, the flashbacks to my past that happen inthe middle of my day-to-day life. Freud has never been mentioned. Ihave seen nine therapists and psychiatrists to get to this point, andit hasnt been easy. What we talk about now isnt easy, either. Itsnot meant to be.

I dont know that it matters why Ispend 12% of my monthly income paying a stranger to listen to my dark confessions. I find huge relief in talking to someone who has no stake in my life and who can help me work out why some days are harder than others. So, if I mention therapy to you, please dont balk. Just smile and nod while you admire your 40 manicure.

Tell us what youre really thinking email mind@theguardian.com

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/apr/30/what-im-really-thinking-person-in-therapy