Wednesday, May 06, 2009


A lot of my clients are angry. There's a reason a substance abuse treatment program offers anger management, although I'm starting to think it's cosmic irony that I facilitate one of them. And today I had to deal with my own anger in supervision.

Clarice could not have been nicer. Even when I react in anger, she finds a way to respond constructively and kindly. She showers me with praise and understands when I screw up. I told her I was annoyed that various clients were blowing off their appointments, and I let them know I was annoyed.

"Don't be annoyed," Clarice said. "Clients make their own decisions. They'll have to stay in the program longer, that's all. Don't get upset."

But my final client of the day -- whom I had to stay late to see, not that I was getting any overtime -- was angry. And he spewed anger all over me. I don't think I snapped at him, but I did tell him I didn't appreciate being on the receiving end of all that anger. Which shut him down very effectively. So I felt bad about the way I responded, and left the office feeling like a colossal jackass.

Why am I so angry? Is it menstrual hormones? The way Adam Hashakran wasted my time and dashed my hopes? No. It all goes back to... where the hell is that check Shimona said she'd send me, to pay for the chocolates I shlepped over from England, which apparently are her only reason to live?

I realize this is unreasonable. Extremely. But I couldn't let go of the rage. I even got off the subway three stops early so I could get my daily 10 minutes of exercise. It wasn't enough to soothe me.

I came home and ate smoked turkey -- tryptophan boosts mood, right? I drank a mixed berry smoothie -- berries are also supposed to be good for mood. I started diffusing rose and geranium oils. Supposed to ease and calm troubled spirits. And I started watching "House MD," one of my favorite shows.

Until they started talking about how he can't practice medicine if he's taking antipsychotics.

What the -- ? I don't necessarily believe a doctor on antipsychotics can't be a doctor. My friend Joey is a psychiatrist. I have to ask him if that's true. Nobody says I can't practice therapy on lithium, and the newer antipsychotics aren't as disabling as the older ones. Or so I thought.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"


  1. That was a rough episode of House. My biggest fear is that I won't be able to do my work due to mental illness.

    Chin up about meeting the right man. I've always equated such searches with the following:

    Ever lose the TV remote, and really tear apart the house looking for it? And then, once you stop really looking it just appears? Sometimes things are like that, I suppose. Someone will gravitate towards you.


  2. Thanks, "Andrew." And thanks for reading.

  3. Hon... I have been working on dealing with my rage for about... fifteen years. I'm closer to okay but you know... sometimes you have to acknowledge that there are real reasons for your rage. Not the reasons of the moment. But the terrible hurts you've suffered over the years. What helped me most is trying to think, bit by bit, about each thing that happened to me, and trying to understand what caused them. Trying to let it be. Trying to understand that in most cases, I didn't have control over the situation. And the people who hurt me weren't really in control either. When you figure out there's no real place to lay the blame, at first it's frustrating but then it's liberating. It lets you stop hating so hard.

    And when I say closer to okay... there's no real set stopping point. There's no "Hey, here I am, 100% perfect, whoopee, lookie at me, I fixed myself!" There's just slowly realizing it's easier to get through the day. Bit by bit, hearing from friends and mentors that you're doing a good job, that it's time to relax and appreciate your own hard work.

    I wish you blessings and peace and the fruits of your labors of the heart.