In therapy, we spend a lot of time (a lot of time) talking about my relationship with anger. Yesterday, my therapist suggested I may have found a particular situation frustrating, and I went quiet for a bit, staring into space, then laughed, and said: “I know this will make you chuckle, but do you know what’s popped into mind just now? That someone’s cleaned the door!”
I thought he’d find it amusing because instead of choosing to think about frustration – something like anger, which my mind tends to ‘slide off’ – my mind had chosen to latch onto something in its line of sight, a tiny detail. I mean, what had been cleaned wasn’t anything dramatic, just a mark below the door handle where fingerprints had accumulated into a smudge.
Of course, being a therapist, he had to find something even deeper in that tiny moment.
He made the connection between the smudge – something “messy”, “out of place”, “unfinished” – and the frustration we’d been talking about. He wondered whether it was that connection which was why my mind had focused on that detail instead of any of the myriad others my eye could have rested upon.
I think he may have had a point, however, I don’t think my desire to see things all neatly tied up and tucked away is pathological, nor deeply related to my depression and anxiety. It’s there, but it’s not pathological. Still, it’s nice to be reminded that it is a part of my mental make-up, and that it might unconsciously feed into my decision-making process, in matters small and large.
This is why I absolutely adore therapy, and why I’ll continue with it, even after I’m “better”! I just love living an “examined life”. I may not go quite so far as Socrates*, but once the worst of my depression and anxiety are behind me (and I have faith that that day will come) I’ll continue with therapy, because it makes life richer.
I wonder – do you engage in therapy? Do you think you’ll continue, even after you’re “better”?
* “The unexamined life is not worth living”