Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Reluctant Patient

Many of you already know that my mom was an insane and brutal woman. She didn't really allow us to have a childhood. As a result, my teenage and early adult years were a disaster; numerous clashes with the law, drug and alcohol abuse and fighting.  I’ve gone through a ton of counseling and done the best I could to deal with my issues. I ended up loving therapy and all it did for me, but I didn't feel that way in the beginning…
----------------------------------------------------------
Reluctant Patient

You can shove
That box of tissues
Where even
Freud can’t find it
I won’t need them
I’m only here
Because the court
Said I had to be
And now you want
To try and save
Something
That shouldn’t be
And try to reach
The child within me
Or so you say
As you sit there
Looking at me
Over the top
Of those ridiculous glasses
Almost at the tip
Of your nose
You want me to talk
About it
But all I can do
Is smell the
Pain and anger
Of a thousand people
Soaked up
By the Wallpaper
And feel the humidity
From the weeping
Of the last person
Who sat in this tattered
Second hand store chair
During the previous hour
That of course
Wasn’t an hour
But only 50 minutes


.

78 comments:

KarenG said...

Did you write this??? It is brilliant. And it is reminding me (along with your post) of the book I'm reading now, The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy, a perfectly crafted novel about the anguish of a family ruled by a brutal father and a weak mother. Glad you had so much therapy, Pat, I wondered how you turned out so *normal* after all you went through. I thought it was due to the lovely woman you married, or perhaps the Drill Instructors? Or maybe she married you because of the work done by the DI's and the therapy :)

Naturedigital said...

I know, I understand.
Great poem Pat.
Costas

Oilfield Trash said...

I agree with you about therapy being good stuff. It helped me through some dark ages in my life.

Jeffrey Beesler said...

Excellent piece. I'm glad to hear that therapy worked out for you, though your poem perfectly conveys how the earliest sessions must've gone. Well done.

The Cottage Child said...

I'm so sorry that I love this so much because it's SO SAD! Which means it's brilliantly constructed, which means you really know it, which is SO SAD!

Thank you for sharing - good writing improves the world for all of us, I hope it's part of your real therapy.

tapirgal said...

Very evocative. Do you find that you write your best poems about sad or angry themes? Or maybe wistfu? Anything but happy and contented? I do. I think when I'm contented, I'm happy just to "be." So much beautiful artistic expression comes out of our negative. Or, as Pat says, "Is it just me?"

Salt said...

And with that you pretty much summed up how I felt about my first therapist. I'm fine now, but I wish I had ever been able to get anything out of going. Maybe I did and I just don't realize it.

TS Hendrik said...

That's a great piece. I love how it starts with humor and then shifts gears into some heavier fantastic imagery. Well done again sir.

Brian said...

I am glad you had the patience and determination!

Talli Roland said...

Such a powerful poem, Pat. I can feel the emotions spilling through the words.

Jhon Baker said...

Therapy when forced doesn't work - I know, you know. We have to realize that we can't do it alone or that we are going about it all wrong first - or just be bat shit insane and on medication. No one could hold against you reacting to an insane situation with further insanity. Or at least I can't.

Jenny said...

Pat, this is brutal and beautiful. I feel this pain. I struggle with these issues with my daughter because I wasn't that Mom and she still chose the path to Hell, making sure to take me along with her.

Sending you a hug!

Marlene said...

Wow - that's awesome...and written obviously by someone who understands it only as someone who has been through it could!

Ashley King said...

how about when you walk in and sit down, and the seat is still warm from the bum before you....

passionofthemom said...

That poem is absolutely breathtaking, and in several very different ways. The things you endured as a child are horrifying, and the fact that you became the amazing person you are today is a testament to the fact that a person does NOT have to be a product of their environment!! =) You amaze me, Pat! {{{*hugs*}}}

Arjan said...

I think a lot of patients will share this feeling especially at first.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That was awesome - a lot of anger there. And truth about the whole process.

N. R. Williams said...

Nice to meet you Pat. Writing is to therapy what a chair is to a therapist...well, maybe. I enjoyed your post though I knew nothing about you and hope you'll appreciate the little I can offer.

Thanks for your comment on Clarissa's blog about my post there today. I appreciate it.
Nancy
N. R. Williams, fantasy author

M Pax said...

Wow, thanks for sharing your powerful emotions and story.

Tess Kincaid said...

The Freud and tissue thing is brilliant. I loved this!

Clarissa Draper said...

Oh boy, does this take me back. What you write is so true. I loved the poem. Thanks for sharing your story with us.

Ann Best said...

This is superb, Pat! Said a poet friend of mine, "We need wounds to finger in order to make powerful communications." Through this poem, you communicate powerfully the emotional pain of the walking wounded among us.
Ann Best, Author

becca said...

Brilliant i totally felt the words

Nevine said...

Oh, boy! That was a whammy!!! But it's nice to know that many who start out disliking therapy come to love it... after coming to the realization that it might not fix all the problems, but it sure does help!

Nevine

Kato said...

Oh my god Pat. That was above brilliant, that was poignant.

I imagine you know how much this affected me, as I go on my own journey. Different circumstances, but still a lot of the same emotion.

Wow.

Copyboy said...

Wow! Reading a knowing your blog that poem really, really was an emotional ride with you. Glad you made it to the end. And won!

Pat Tillett said...

KarenG - Yes, I did in fact write it! Thanks so much! I loved the Prince of Tides. I love all his books. The Great Santini and Lords of Discipline are two of my all time favorites! Remember, normal is a relative term...LOL! I wouldn't say the DI helped at all, but my wife sure did... Thanks Karen!

Costas - Thanks Costas! I appreciate it.

Oilfield Trash - I'm right there with you. I'd hate to think where I'd be today without it...

Jeffrey - Thanks so much! I appreciate the comment.

Cottage Child - LOL! That's funny! Thanks for the nice comment.

tapirgal - YES! I totally feel that way! Happy and content does not usually inspire me to write poetry. It's not just you.

Salt - It wasn't much fun at first. And then, once you do buy into it, the pain starts. But that's a good thing.

Tim - Thanks Tim! I appreciate it. There has to be at least a little humor in everything.

Brian - thanks Brian! It took both of those things.

Talli - Thanks so much! I can still remember those emotions like it was yesterday.

Jhon - You're so right! If you don't buy into it, nothing positive happens. Thanks so much for totally getting it.

Jenny - Thanks Jenny! I'm sorry you're going through that. It sucks! I understand, because I have a daughter on that path...it sucks! Here's a hug right back at you.

Marlene - Thanks so much! You are right, and I'd advise anyone to go who gets the chance.

Ashley - Oh yeah! I've felt that exact thing...

Passionofthemom - Thanks so much! How nice of you to say those things. I'm glad I had some help along the way. I wouldn't have made it this far without it. Thanks again!

Arjan - I totally agree! Many folks totally refuse to face the reality of themselves...

Alex - Thanks Alex! It a process that presents some major hurdles, that's for sure.

N.R. - Same to you! I'm sorry to say that almost everything I wrote during that time period was lost. I'm not the same person now, so there is no way to recreate it! You are welcome! I'll be over to see your blog.

M Pax - Thanks! It was my pleasure! (not going through it, but writing about it). Thanks for commenting. I'll be checking out your blog as well.

Tess - Thanks! I was wondering how many people would "get" that connection!

Clarissa - My pleasure Clarissa! It's quite a process, isn't it?

Ann - Thanks Ann! That is so right and we MUST stick that finger in there once in a while, to make sure the pain is still there.

becca - Thanks becca! I'm happy to hear that...

Nevine - Thanks Nevine! You are so right! Many folks won't even admit they have a problem to fix! Mine were pretty obvious.

Kato - Wow! I thank you so much! I certainly do understand. It may be different, but it's still working the process to get where you need to be.

Jesse - Thanks so much Jesse! It took a good portion of my life to get here. "Here" is a great place to be...

altadenahiker said...

Don't know how you found your way out of it, but our gain. And my definition of strength.

Chuck said...

Pat, that was great! I absolutely love how the last 3 lines break the tension. Genius, dude.

Pat Tillett said...

Karin - Thanks so much! It wasn't easy, that's for sure! Thanks again!

Sarah said...

Pat! Great poem! It's got a very distinct voice, and the line breaks are very effective. Thanks also for sharing the story behind it.

Lovkyně said...

fascinating words. glad you eventually wound ways to open up and good people to open up to.

Jimmy said...

Pat, This one says so much and I can relate to how you felt, you have come back from a place most people can't survive, I am proud of you my friend.

faye said...

Terrific poem.
I have always been an advocate
of therapy... but then my childhood
dream was to be THE therapist.

Pat Tillett said...

Chuck - thanks buddy! That 50 minute hour is expensive!

Sarah - Thanks so much! My pleasure...

Lovkyne - Thanks! I really glad also!

Jimmy - I thank you very much my friend! What a long strange trip it's been!

faye - Thanks faye! I think a lot of them have suffered some also. That's what draws them to the job...I think...

Rek said...

Ah, now I understand why you left the comment Some mothers are great on my blog...I did have a fair idea reading your posts...but you came out twice as strong....as far the poem, its so visual and compelling like everything you write....made me think how therapy could have saved my marriage but its a bad word here and my mad hatter hubby would have never agreed...glad I don't have kids ...they may have faced the brunt like you did...

Pat Tillett said...

Rek - I understand what you mean. Therapy is one of the best things a person can do for themself. I'm sorry you had to go through all of that. I know all about mad hatters. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

Lynne H. said...

This would be awesome read as a spoken word piece..and those closing lines have all the sarcasm and wit that I felt from the writer..

your history has made you the creative man you are today.. that is a blessed thing my friend!!

Stickup Artist said...

What I love about this poem is how you also include the oh too many other children who suffer(ed) the same horrible beginnings, only to suffer the same fate. I am so sorry you had to endure all that, glad you got the therapy and came out at the mature end of life with this gift of empathy and insight.

Bossy Betty said...

You capture this beautifully. The pain and the wounded boy come through, cloaked in bravado.

John McElveen said...

Pat-- I'm so glad you found this outlet to share YOU with all of us.
Sounds like you were way ahead of THERAPY!!!!!

Love ya Buddy!

J

Shrinky said...

Ah Pat, you are such a survivor (hugs). I can taste the raw emotion in these words, and feel their bitterness. You have taken the worst of what you were given, and turned it into being creative, wholesome and sane - no mean feat at all. Huge cudos, my friend.

Pat Tillett said...

Lynne - Thanks Lynne! I really appreciate this coming from you! I'm happy to be able to say that the sarcasm has ebbed some since those days. Thanks again...

Stickup Artist - Thanks so much. There is no doubt that the mental health field is booming. I wish it was more easily available and not so darn expensive, so more people could have access to it.

BB - Thanks Betty! Oh yeah! As a young man, I cloaked and hid it under a lot of things. None of them good for me!

John - Thanks so much John! I was amazed to find out that the chaos of my childhood affected my adult life so much. I did't realize just how screwed up I was!

Shrinky - Thanks! It wasn't easy, but here I am today. A moderately sane person! Thanks so much for the nice words!

Margaret Benbow said...

"Creative, wholesome and sane," as Shrinky says---yes. I'm so sorry for the pain you went through. But what a good person you turned out to be! And there is nothing like the strength of someone who's prevailed over extreme hardship.

Pat Tillett said...

Margaret - Thanks Margaret! Those are good words to hear. I was always somewhat creative, but wholesome and sane, were words probably not associated with me by too many folks. Thanks so much for the kind words.

Talei said...

I can feel the emotions, anger, frustration, determination and as for the 50 minute hourly sessions -well said! Great poem Pat, thanks so much for sharing with us.

Pat Tillett said...

Talei - Thanks Talei! I appreciate the nice words.

baygirl32 said...

that's a wonderful piece Pat, truely

Pat Tillett said...

baygirl - Thanks so much! I appreciate it...

Rainey said...

Wow. As a therapist, I really appreciate this poem.

Coincidentally I started showing 'Good Will Hunting' to some of my mandated clients today and many of them vocalized that they could really relate to Will in the fact that he didn't feel that therapy would do anything for them....but ended up liking the process. The hardest part often is finding a therapist that you gel with, and I know from my own personal experience that it can be hellish to slog through the 'bad' therapists to find a diamond in the rough....

Pat Tillett said...

Rainey - Thanks for commenting! It's good to see you here again.

It's interesting that you brought that movie up. When I first saw it, I though it could have been about me. I wasn't anywhere near as brilliant as Will was, but the rest of it was pretty much spot on. My talent was in self medicating, knowing how to keep people at a distance, and never allow myself to be controlled.

Although, I hated therapy in the beginning, I was lucky enough to have a therapist who didn't give up easily. We've all heard that saying, "I learned everything I needed to know in kintergarden." I say "I learned everything needed to know in therapy." I owe that lady everything...
I've been through several others through the years, but she had the most impact on me.

I could go on here for quite a while, but maybe I should turn in into a blog post! Thanks so much!

Dawn said...

A brilliant take on it Pat!
And from what I read on here when you post...looks like it must have paid off somehow!
:)

Francisca said...

Pat, did you write this recently or closer to the time it happened? I may be wrong, but your cynical ending that the hour was only 50 minutes sounds like a softening; you weren't completely unhappy to be with this therapist... somewhere on a deeper level you knew she was good for you. Or you recognized that she was not insane like your mother. As mentioned by others, not all therapists are created equal and the right match is critical to success. Powerful stuff. Glad you care to share.

Pat Tillett said...

Dawn - thanks so much! I'm very happy to report that it really did pay off. No telling where I'd be if it hadn't.

Francisca - I wrote it recently, so you are right. It took me a while, but my sessions with that lady was the high point of my week. She was the first person in my life that I actually spoke with from the heart. People in my life had no idea about my background. Now, I'm an open book. I can talk about without reliving the feelings. Thanks!

Gwen@ChewDigestBooks.com said...

I stumbled over here from Cotton's blog...she has been keeping another wacky nut apart from me. I truly mean that in the best way possible.

This brought back so much, but mostly misguided triumph. I looked at the court sending me there as a game. They said that I had to go to a therapist, but they never said that I had to actually "talk". I didn't say one darn thing other than, "What time next week?" once a week, for 52 weeks. Being that quiet for 50 minutes is really boring.

It was the one place where I knew that I had power and now can admit that I squandered it. No worries, we both made it:)

Pat Tillett said...

Gwen - You know if we all band together it could be worse than a zombie invasion (except for the brain part). I know what you mean, and I'm glad I caved in and cooperated. As long as you made it and your happy then you did good! thanks for coming over and commenting!

Leovi said...

Wonderful poem, you are a very versatile man.

Pat Tillett said...

Leovi - Thank you my friend! I appreciate that.

Megan said...

Whoa, this one got me. I remember that chair. And the dust heavy on the leaves of the plants...

Pam Tucker said...

Oh, Pat...this was awesome. It brought back so many memories of my own time in therapy, which did a world of wonders for me. This was brilliant! :)

Pat Tillett said...

Megan - Oh yeah! Same thing different place. I hope you got something out of it. it took me a while, but I finally took advantage of it. Thanks Megan!

Pam - Thanks! It always makes me happy to hear from, or talk to other folks who have done it. Just about anyone would profit from going...

Steadfast Ahoy! said...

When I read this poem, I see the incredibly perceptive and intuitive person that you are. No wonder you had to keep people from getting close, shutting them out and acting out. It seems like a defense from being over-powered by other people's agendas and influence. You really have come a long way, Baby, to be able to so freely share your darkest and deepest with the blogging world.
Keep on keeping on, Good Buddy!
Rosemary

Pat Tillett said...

Rosemary - Yep! That's it! It was all about protecting myself from being hurt. BUT, it also prevented me from letting anything good in also. Full disclosure at my blog!
(whenever possible). thanks for the nice words Rosemary.

Mike Simmons said...

Pat,
Powerful poem. I have something amazing to remind you about... Jesus loves you, bro.

Pat Tillett said...

Mike - Thanks Mike! I appreciate it.

SquirrelQueen said...

Anger and denial seem to be part of any healing process.
A powerful and very moving piece, thanks for sharing Pat.

Pat Tillett said...

SQ - you are so right, it's a process! thanks so much!

Entre Nous said...

I love this.

I'm with Nance now, as she said "back when I was marrying people."

I'm with her :}

Pearl said...

You knock me out, Pat.

Pearl

Pat Tillett said...

Entre Nous - Thanks! good times, baad times, we've all had our share. Wait, that sounds like a Led Zeppelin song.

Pearl - Thanks Pearl! You won't be pressing charges though, right?

Diana (Di) said...

My goodness Pat! I am overwhelmed. I sit here and read it again and again... don't do that to me anymore! ;)

Pat Tillett said...

Diana - I'll take that as a compliment and then say I'm sorry! thanks so much!

Pam said...

Life isn't fair or easy by a long shot but you have done your best to overcome your past and I for one am extreme prod of you for that, Pat.
All you can do in life is try your best and leave the rest behind.. easier said than done.

be happy,
Pam i am :)

Pat Tillett said...

Pam - thanks so much Pam. Your words mean a lot to me. You are so right, First you have to get yourself on the road to healing and then make the decision to "get over it." I'm happy to say that the process worked for me. It does make for some interesting stories.

DumbFunnery said...

Wow. That is very good. Poetry you can FEEL.

Pat Tillett said...

Brad - thanks! I'm glad you got and felt it...

Nariane said...

Pat,

This is very powerful.

I suppose I'm one of the priveledged people that had a great step of quirky but balanced parents.

Although I have never been in therapy this piece lets me "feel" what it must be like.

Thanks!

Pat Tillett said...

Nariane - thanks so much! Once you get used to it and but in on the process, it all looks much better!