Creepy, creepy and sighing deeply…

Who ever came up with that bizarro Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer special they show every year? The one where Burl Ives is an animated Hostess SnowBall? That show gives me the willies, big time. Seriously, I turn the TV on, that’s there and I get scared. The hackles on the back of my neck stand up and I click the remote fast. Then, I flip back for one more peek to see if it’s as weird as I thought. It is. That is the stuff of nightmares and I would have thought someone would have killed it- the whole program- before this. But what do I know?
Dolphin1_2This can be a rough time of year, mental health-wise. Hoss uses his bah-humbug neck pillow for relief. How about you? My new neighbor, Jay, pointed out this article, indicating you’re better off seeing a dolphin than a therapist. I think that’s about right. We share a limbic system in common with dolphins that allows us to form
relationships and bond with other species and it’s also tied to our
strong drive to communicate through physical contact. Wouldn’t you feel better frolicking in warm ocean waves next to a dolphin than hanging out with an aloof therapist who is cranky over managed care?
For years, I dressed very professionally. I always kept the cats out of the home office. I made sure clients didn’t get a glimpse or a peep of my private life. It was all about them. Now that I’ve been at this for 28 years I’m getting a bit more lax. (Yesterday, a day when I was mostly seeing kids, I actually wore my Mighty Ducks sweatshirt. It was a big hit.)

Nowadays the cats sleep on the sofa next to my clients, I dress casually and this week, I’m taking a client poll on whether or not they think my fake tree looks remotely real. The general consensus is no. Newer clients are timid about being honest and negative but a few people I’ve been seeing for awhile have been more blunt. One of them exclaimed, "What the Hell? I always look forward to your tree! It’s the best one I’ve ever seen- and now this??"

Another person I see noted that it didn’t look particularly life-like since it has 1/2 white pine boughs and 1/2 spruce needles. I had thought that myself but wasn’t sure anyone else would notice since it looks like one big giant green bottle brush anyway. This  person is very perceptive though. He’s also certain that life is pointless because there’s a big comet coming in 2071.

I’m hoping that once I get the ornaments on there will be some improvement in the comments. McCloud likes it; he’s always sleeping under it on the pointless tree skirt (there’s no water, no needles, no mess- not even much of a stand, really).

Where I started going with this is that these days I’m more of a real person to the people I see. I’m sure they have some idea that my kids can annoy me, my garage is cluttered and I’m conflicted about my new faux tree. They know the cats run the show because I’ll actually get up and let them in or out if they’re poking at the door. 

Fact is, I think they appreciate it. It doesn’t feel so much like the healthy versus the unhealthy- it’s more like we’re all in this together. At this time of year that’s important. One of the worst things about depression is that people isolate themselves and tend to feel more and more alone. In general, depression is closely tied to disappointment and unrealized expectations and at Christmas time it’s very easy to feel disappointed. And the holidays rarely live up to expectations. It can be lonely with a lot of bah humbug. Definitely not a good time to feel as though it’s just you.
206081691Here’s a bit of news that helped me feel more at one with the creatures of the Earth: A baby gorilla has been born at Busch Gardens in Tampa (named Bolingo, meaning "love" ) and today they had the new mother and son on view for the first time. The poor mother had to have a C-Section, her baby has those scrawny baby arms and legs and she’s stone cold flat in the mammary gland department. This is her second baby and she had a pretty severe postpartum depression after the first baby. (Where’s Tom Cruise when you need him?)  I can relate to all of this. Nevertheless, everything appears to be in working order and the baby is nursing well and thriving under her close watch. That happened with me, too.
Sometimes, argument rages over whether we were descended from the apes or dropped, as is, in the Garden. I’m no scientist but the little bit I know about evolution suggests that we- the apes and you and me- evolved from banana slugs or some similar creature, side by side. I love being part of the Greater Scheme of Things. You?

8 responses to “Creepy, creepy and sighing deeply…

  1. Well, you already know that I am positively MENTAL in my animal love. I have known many animals that I liked better than some people. So, yes, I love being part of a Grand Scheme, a Big Picture, a Marvelous Plan. If this all really is God’s plan, do you suppose God ever wonders just where it was that the plan went awry? And now I will take my blasphemous self back to work.

  2. i was thrilled to begin with when i managed to sign up for a visit with the dolphins in january. now i am SUPER thrilled and can’t wait to see if it will be better than my therapist!

  3. What you say makes perfect sense, and I applaude you for taking the aloofness out of your practice. In my humble opinion, it should be like that ALL the time, not just during the holidays. We, indeed, are all in this together. Even the dolphins 😉

  4. LOL I taped that now-primitive-looking Rudolph show for my son last night when he was at his dad’s house. Hey, I watched it when I was a kid and my son should, too. ;^) Plus…he likes hearing about the “olden days,” when folks didn’t have VCRs and had to watch things when they were aired…or miss them altogether. Shocking! Needless to say, we will be watching the other animated Christmas features — over and over, thanks to our VCR. 🙂

    On psychotherapists showing more of their personalities, I loved a therapist I had several years ago because she was genuine and occasionally shared things about herself, such as the fact that she used to be a teacher before she became a psychotherapist. Also, she used to bring her bigole Husky to sessions sometimes when working late, and I liked that, although he was standoffish and I would’ve preferred that she bring a friendlier dog. ;^) I think my mild cat allergies would have gotten in the way if she’d had cats, though. But I digress. I like when psychotherapists share a bit of themselves because there are several psychotherapists in my family and I’m accustomed to having them around. I guess some people would prefer that psychotherapists remain more anonymous, and there are certainly many around who do just that.

  5. My two favorite, no my three favorite Christmas programs are: (drum roll)..At #3 is “It’s A Wonderful Life”. I just love Jimmy Stewart. (My answering machine is Jimmy)…Coming in at #2 is “A Christmas Story”..(you’ll shoot your eye out). The kid with his tongue stuck to the flagpole is classic. And my all time favorite that never fails to end without my tears going strong is….”A Charlie Brown Christmas”. It gets me every time.

    Before Adam and Eve messed everything up, I believe man had a relationship with animals of mutual respect and no fear. I think it is entirely possible that we could have talked to and understood animals. Genesis says that God “spoke” the world and all the animals into existence. But God “formed man with His own hands” out of the dust. The concept of being “formed by God” is so special. You know the feeling you get when a sweater you knit comes out just right or that dress I smocked turns out to perfection; that’s the kind of pleasure God felt creating man.

    And Vicki, I think it’s great that you have a “homey”, down to earth practice. The cats can do nothing but calm your clients; and I’m sure they relax you too. Frankly, most of the Psychiatrists I’ve ever known are (to put it as kindly as I know how) off their collective rockers. But I have been a patient of a wonderful psychologist through a horrible divorce, a neighbor of another wonderful psychologist (friend, clown, purple-aholic, teddy bear collecting, all around great lady), and now a blog friend of a third (who reminds me a whole lot of #2); and I can whole heartedly endorse this group of professionals as helpful, understanding, insightful and remarkable. You’ve managed to stay sane while listening to the tragedies and twisted thinking of the rest of us day in and day out.

    Wow. I’m exhausted. That was a three soapbox comment. 🙂

  6. Sorry Vic, I love Rudolph!! And eventhough we have it on tape, there’s something about watching it on tv. Same with Wizard of OZ. So, you’re saying you have a “Charlie Brown Christmas Tree”? ;0) LOL! I’m sure it’s lovely!! Just like that baby gorrilla..all my kids can remember about he gorrilla is that he picked his nose and ate it. Greeeaaat… ;0) Hope you had a good Thanksgiving!

  7. Sorry Vic, I love Rudolph!! And eventhough we have it on tape, there’s something about watching it on tv. Same with Wizard of OZ. So, you’re saying you have a “Charlie Brown Christmas Tree”? ;0) LOL! I’m sure it’s lovely!! Just like that baby gorrilla..all my kids can remember about he gorrilla is that he picked his nose and ate it. Greeeaaat… ;0) Hope you had a good Thanksgiving!

  8. I love that cheesy Burl Ives production, mainly because of the story line with the Island of Mis-fit toys. My kids love it too. I can’t look at primates and their babies without believing in some kind of evolution. My word. I think that the most important thing is to make people feel comfortable and you appear to do that. I could never talk to a therapist who intimidated me with her elegant clothes or manner. You would be just perfect for me, it sounds like.

  9. Lilly adores Rudolph – not the cartoon (though she loves that, too) but the concept of a reindeer with a glowing, red nose. Maybe because Rudolph’s nose reminds her of her dad’s nose.

    In my own practice, I try to remain objective and my objectivity comes from not setting myself up as “superior” to my clients; each and every one is unique in their talents and gifts (and yes, problems) but no better or worse than me. However, I’m cautious about what details of my own life I disclose, probably because I was trained with BPD clients.

    Yes, I like being part of the greater scheme of things and tend to view animals with same kind of objectivity – no better or worse, just different.

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