several years ago when i lived in chicago, i started seeing a therapist based off the recommendation of a co-worker who knew i was going through a lot.
my head was all messed up. a month earlier my dad had attempted suicide, but thankfully survived. the week i returned to chicago after almost a month in south carolina with my family, i started seeing dr. polonus to try to help me cope with what just happened.
he asked me the usual shrink stuff. how was your childhood, tell me about your friends, your family, your past relationships? this went on for months. i enjoyed our weekly visits. thru them, i had come to terms with my dad’s suicide attempt and realized it was time to move on.
towards the end i found myself not having much to talk about. the next few sessions just felt like they dragged on. he would ask me if i was seeing any girls - i’d say no, he’d ask me what i did at night - i told him i thought netflix was awful nifty. i started to feel like i wasn’t getting much out of this and those freakin’ sessions were expensive.
so on the last visit, almost as if he could sense it, dr. polonus asked me if i thought i should continue coming to therapy. i said no. before i left, he said, “josh have you ever heard of counter dependence?” i said “nope.”
he began to explain to me that counter dependency is this state of refusing attachment with others. a way of acting strong to push other people away. a feeling that you don’t need others to help you, you got this. most people who are counter dependent lash out at others or use negativity as a way of humor to keep people at a distance but still maintain a friendship. and that by asking for help a counter dependent person sees shame in that, almost like people who ask for help are pathetic losers. it’s found in people who find themselves in very successful work situations and who take on roles of leadership quite often. it ultimately leads to depression and isolation if you don’t make steps to correct it.
i should have continued going to therapy after he told me that, because he basically described me, but i didn’t.
over the next couple of years, i felt this sense of guilt of not being there for the people i cared about enough - especially my family. i was the only person in my extended family that lived out of state - i had spent touring & working in a profession that puts a lot of emphasis on being selfish in order to obtain ones dreams. when i’d fly home for holidays, i started skipping out on seeing my friends or make my trips so short when i saw them that they wouldn’t notice i was feeling weird. i’d just stay home and hangout w/ my family, because honestly i didn’t want what happened to my dad to ever happen again. my dad got better…because he went to therapy. my dad’s happier today than at anytime i ever remember in my life. he’s moved on & is doing everythiing he can to enjoy life.
i remember one time i was visiting my college friends, and my best friend blake was just being annoying and bugging me about why i didn’t want to party and asking “what’s wrong with you.” i told him that i just felt like i was in a funk but then just kinda pushed it off as if it was no big deal. i started gaining weight, not caring about my personal appearance that much, being openly rude to people i normally wouldn’t be rude to, and honestly just didn’t care about anything. i stopped trying to gain new relationships with people or grow the existing relationships i had. this kept going on.
then i went home for christmas a few weeks ago.
most of you know my friend chuck. he’s been in my life for almost 12 years now. he loves evanescence, has ugly teeth, is going bald…oh and NOW he’s in prison. yep. my friend chuck went to prison on january 2 for stuff i’d rather not talk about. a few days before he was sent to prison in georgia, me and my buddies from college got together to take chuck out to lunch & get some drinks. it might be the last time we’re all together for another 3.5 years when chuck gets out of prison. i still wouldn’t stay the night in columbia and instead just decided i’d go in just for this and go back to my parents house afterwards. my friend blake got mad at me again, he couldn’t understand why i wouldn’t just stay the night and go out to 5 points with them like i used to do. seeing chuck was tough. when one of your best friends is going to prison for something you don’t really agree with but you still love them anyway, that’s a really tough thing to deal with. for months i had been beating myself up asking if i could have done more to be a better friend to chuck so something like this wouldnt’ have happened to him. should i have been around more, should i have called him more often, why was i so mean to him in college, was there anything i could have done besides be a selfish ass that would have helped? and as we said our goodbyes chuck started crying and that messed me up even more. the entire car ride back to blake’s house, neither of us said much to each other. i went back to my parents house that night where i was going to stay for the next week. i was going to watch the bowl game with my dad.
when i got home my dad reminded me of something i had forgotten. he was going to orangeburg for his annual racoon hunt with his buddies so he wouldn’t be home for the bowl game.
it made me so happy to see my dad like that. he had stuff to do, places to go, and man was he happy. he had a purpose. for the first time in a long time i no longer worried about him.
for years now, i haven’t felt like i truly have made an effort with anything other than my work. my work was the only thing i found enjoyment out of, but because i wasn’t enjoying any other aspect of what was going on around me, i wasn’t even enjoying work as much as i should have. all i was doing was worrying about all these other people around me, and what i wasn’t realizing was their lives were moving forward, because well that’s what you have to do. you have to move on and just try.
my dad going to orangeburg on january 1st changed my perspective. my friend chuck going to prison woke me up. you only have a certain period of time to truly make yourself happy and do good things with people you care about, and if you spend all that time focused on guilt or negativity or just throwing in the towel, then you’re not really living any kinda of valuable life. and you’re honestly no good to any of the people you want to be good to.
since i’ve been back in nashville, i’ve been making an effort to get together with more of my friends. doing stuff during the week & the weekends. doing stuff i enjoy - hell i even saw travis tritt this week & ate chicken wings with a bunch of my favorite people. i mean i’m not going crazy, i’m not 21 anymore so you won’t see me on broadway at noon getting plastered, but everytime i’ve been out seeing everyone i come home feeling fulfilled. tonight i drove to the olive garden in antioch. why? because i was hungry and those freakin’ bread sticks are delicious. i’m starting to feel a lot more fulfilled even if it’s just for a little while.
i don’t tell you all this stuff to feel sorry for me. there’s nothing i hate worse than people showing sympathy for me. because i’m definitely not someone that needs it. instead i tell you this stuff because well i haven’t told anyone this stuff and i’d rather just be open. i have a great life, i want to start enjoying this great life i have with all of these great people who let me be apart of their lives too. i’m going to start seeing a therapist again and try to get to the bottom of what counter dependency really is and not let it control my outlook on life.
i’m sorry i haven’t written many blogs lately - i’ll try to do more of that. and i’m sorry this blog wasn’t that funny at all. i promise the next one will be about squirrels blowing up firecrackers around crackheads who are eating peanut butter out of yo yo’s while they poop on themselves.
but that’s all i’m sorry for. instead i’m just happy for the first time in a long time and i’m pretty ok with that. but don’t tell me you wouldn’t laugh about a blog about squirrels doing that shit to crackheads. you would.