As an ambitious millennial woman, I manage to juggle a fast-paced job, boy troubles and the vague concept of maybe going to grad school. Clearly, I have a ton of stressors in my life that are unique to me, so I decided to see a therapist for some guidance. However, in our first session, my new therapist Linda told me the things I’m dealing with are “very common” for a woman my age. Did my therapist really just tell me other women deal with the same things I’m dealing with? Does she really think my problems aren’t as special and unique as they absolutely are?
I have always been cautious to try therapy because I was worried my therapist just wouldn’t understand me. I knew all my fears were justified when Linda said, “You’re at an age where big life changes start happening to people.” Sorry, but did you not hear me when I said I signed up to take the GRE in six months? She said that while it feels overwhelming to navigate these anxieties, what I’m experiencing is absolutely normal. Normal? She called my situation normal. Never have I met someone who lacked even an ounce of empathy. Not until that moment with Linda, that is.
It didn’t stop there. Linda recommended I try journaling more, or put my phone away for an hour before bed. Apparently those are “scientifically proven to quell such natural anxieties.” It would have been nice for her to at least acknowledge that I am more stressed out that any other person and that I’m handling it better than anyone else ever could. Is that too much to ask?
It’s not Linda’s fault she massively misread how hard my life is. Linda lives in her own cushy bubble: all she does is sit in her comfy chair and listen to trauma after trauma every day. I bet she never has to figure out what to do with her parents when they come into town for the weekend.
After I left our session, I got to thinking about the purpose of therapy. I needed to unpack Linda’s hurtful actions, so I booked an appointment with another therapist, Ruth, who will be sure to acknowledge my rich internal life and not lump me into a demographic that I absolutely fit into.