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“Therapy is a Dance, and I’m Off to Meet My New Dance Partner”

Like most adults with attention deficit disorder, I do not welcome change. Especially when it involves my therapist.

My personality has completely changed as I’ve aged — I’m not sure exactly when it happened. I used to be bright, open, and adventurous. I liked to go to parties. Not anymore.

I’ve thought that maybe my personality changed at age 49 when I had a breakdown that led to my ADHD and hypomania diagnoses. Then I think my personality changed eight years ago when I got sober. Other times I think it changed in the last year.

Sometimes I think my personality hasn’t changed at all — that I’ve always been this way. That I’ve only recently begun to see that I’ve actually spent most of my life inside a slippery clown suit in order to make it through each terrifying day. If that’s the truth, the clown suit is permanently off and is stuffed in the garbage can at the curb. So, who am I really?

My core ADHD and hypomanic self hasn’t really changed. It’s just more exposed. I’m still easily led by a distracting thought… that’s triggered by a random sight, sound, or smell… that turns into a shadow of an idea… that winds down into a tiny notion inside a detail about whatever caught me… that’s tucked away in an even tinier wrinkle in my brain. If I could just get in there with a toothpick to dig it out.

I’m not a big-picture guy. I can’t stand brain-storming meetings. I cannot bat ideas around with other people. You can keep your bat. I’ll keep my idea and go somewhere else.

You cannot put me in the same room with people who are getting a feel for the larger landscape, finding common ground, and developing big sweeping changes. I refuse to participate in this evil treatment of human thought.

Okay, “evil” is a little much. But I’m not a fan of change — especially big changes made by other people. Stay the same and leave me alone. That’s all I ask these days. So when my therapist of eight years – the only therapist that I could really talk to – decided to close his practice, I was not happy.

Good therapy, I’d recently discovered, is a communication dance. It involves rhythm and steps to build trust, until you trip over unexpected discoveries together.

Now my dance partner is closing shop, going into teaching, and passing me off to some young guy.

I’m too old for this kind of change. But I need my medication, so I have to go meet my new dance partner tomorrow at 1pm. I’ve never met him and I hate him. This will never work.

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