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Open thread for personal stuff: Autumn of our discontent edition

Literal bear hug!
Literal bear hug!

Hey! It’s a long-overdue open thread for personal stuff! Post away. No trolls, Trump fans, MRAs. Email me if things get weird.

99 replies on “Open thread for personal stuff: Autumn of our discontent edition”

I’d like to give virtual hugs to people who need/want them right now as well.

Please nobody feel guilty for sharing your issues, big or small. You are valued and people want to know what’s going on with you. So vent and rant all you want. You may not think anybody listens or cares, but we do. During these dark winter months, especially now with all the political awfulness around, we need solidarity more than ever.

I rarely comment on any specific posts on these open threads because of my own issues, but I read every single comment and feel for each and every one of you. I cry when I read about the bad things you’re forced to go through. At the same time, reading your posts help me as well. They remind me that I’m not alone, even if I often feel like it.

I truly wish none of you amazing people had to go through all the shit you’re going through right now. But you do. So please, don’t hesitate to open up when you need to. Whatever the rest of the world is telling you, hearing from you isn’t suddenly undesirable just because you’re talking about the bad things that are happening in your life.

I’m shit at expressing myself, but the point is, don’t feel bad about opening up about your personal problems. It’s what the thread is here for.

[I’ve posted here a couple of times before under the name Cavallucio Marino, but I’m going with the Sea Wolf account because I suck at Gravatar]

I want to add to the pile of hugs for anyone who wants them. It’s ok to not be ok. Your struggles matter. Seconding what Anarchonist said.

My twin sister is struggling at the moment. She has bipolar mood disorder, and she’s going through a rough high period. 🙁 She keeps feeling inadequate about her life, and because of her mental illness. I worry sometimes if internalized ableism is in play, but of course I don’t want to “neurotypical-splain” to her.

My anxiety levels have been high lately because I need to manage revising for a supplementary paper at varsity, vacation work, and being on the Tai Chi Club committee (I haven’t told my mom about it because she thought I wouldn’t manage to fit it in).

PS Hi Claire, fellow South African here. 🙂 *waves*

Hello everyone. I’ve been reading this blog since Isla Vista killings and have been considering delurking in one of these open threads for quite a while now to see what you thought about this, but now after the election it’s become even worse.

Anyways, I’ve been suspecting for a while that my therapist is an MRA sympathizer. For example, on his bookshelf he has a copy of The Myth of Male Power. Even though I’m a woman, he usually specializes in doing therapy for men, and I keep telling myself there’s nothing wrong with that, men need therapy too, and maybe he has that Warren Farrell book because some of his clients are MRA’s and he was trying to see their point of view. But he sometimes says these carelessly sexist or stereotypical things like “We need to separate the men from the women.” I don’t even remember the context for that comment, but it was that thing that implies women are weak.

OK, so I had been biting my tongue on stuff like that, because he had been helping me with some of my issues, but the election made things way worse because it turns out he’s a Bernie or Buster. During the primary I learned real quick not to bring up politics in sessions, because he said “if you vote for Hillary, you might as well be voting for a Republican.”

Then after the election happened, out of curiosity I looked at his personal Facebook page, which is public, and it had a bunch of stuff about how Clinton and Trump are equally bad. He called Clinton “screaming pantsuit lady,” which I wonder if he realizes how sexist that is, and he kept saying that if Bernie had won the primary, instead of it being stolen from him from superdelegates, he would have beaten Trump, and true progressives should be happy that the DNC has finally been defeated, and that “our country was screwed no matter who won the election,” and that liberals freaking out about Trump now look just like how conservatives acted after Obama was elected.

I had been getting better with my depression, so I had cut my therapy down from once a week to once a month, but I just cancelled my next appointment with him, which would have been the first session since the election. And it’s mainly because I’m sure that if I talk about the election, he will try to convince me that everything is fine and there’s no good reason to be upset about Trump. You know, basically the stuff on his FB page.

When I cancelled my appointment, I just left him a message, and wasn’t definite about whether I would reschedule for some time in the future. I’m just not sure if I’m doing the right thing. Maybe I should just keep going and not talk about the election, which would be leaving out one of the main things that’s bothering me right now. Maybe I should try to find a new therapist and start all over again (those of you who have been in therapy know how difficult that can be), or maybe I should just go a few months without therapy and see how I do.

I know therapists are human and I shouldn’t expect to agree with any therapist about everything, and I’m just being too sensitive, and I should set politics aside, but I just keep thinking of the “screaming pantsuit lady” comment. I happen to wear pantsuits to work and might not have the smoothest voice either (if what I sound like on voicemail is any indication), so yeah I’m taking that kinda personally. I think that shows that it’s not just about Clinton’s policies, but there’s some just plain old sexism there.

Well, thanks for reading. I posted this comment because I’m not sure if anyone else would really understand my concerns.

Steampunked, your cat story made me cry at work.

‘Hard Times’ is such a beautiful song–it’s been probably at least 15 years since I last heard it. Thanks for this version.

Just sent some money to Veterans for Standing Rock.

So I’m finally taking steps to get into therapy for anxiety issues.

I have a nasty habit of stress-based procrastination. If something is uncomfortable or upsetting, I’ll put it off. Doing so just increases the funk of anxiety surrounding the thing, until I can’t get back to it, and I can’t ignore it without it interfering with my other thoughts.

There used to be periods where I’d break through it, but the past three years have zipped by without any significant improvement. Worse, it’s starting to interfere with my work.

Never wanted to mention it before, but… yeah.

In this era, there’s so much that’s fine in my life that I need to stop beating myself up over self-inflicted bullshit so I can be in a position to help others.

When one of my children is crying, the other one rushes right over and gives them a great big hug.

I wish my kids could hug everyone who’s laid their hurts out in this thread.

My health insurance plan is no longer being offered on the exchange, so I have to select another one when I re-up this year. I don’t know how long I’ll have it, because there’s a chance that insurance companies are going to abandon the market early next year, if Congress repeals Obamacare without an immediate replacement.

I’d be laughing myself silly over this election — the Monday morning, armchair quarterback thrust into a position where he’s expected to make good on his bloviating — if it weren’t for everyone who’s going to be hurting now.

When I’m through worrying about my healthcare, I’ve got nuclear anxiety next on my list.

So, yeah.


More hugs in the barrel from me for everyone who needs ’em. Or, hell, anyone who just wants them.

Worried Hobbit – I guess I have the opposite problem; I lost my dad three weeks after we got his leukemia diagnosis. I wish I could have been his carer longer, but it *was* hard work and I know that it would have been very difficult to keep it up by myself for very long, especially since I had to move in with him and was two hours away from my husband and home.

I don’t know if you’ve talked to anyone on your dad’s medical team about palliative/hospice care? I hope you can get some kind of help. I’m not religious at all, but my thoughts are with you.


There are other therapists out there who can also help you. Dump this guy and tell him nothing about why. You are in a business relationship with him and you owe him no explanations.

A therapist should never bring up their personal opinions with you. Sharing his political opinions with you is so far beyond appropriate I don’t even have a term for it. You are in therapy to be helped, not to be a sounding board for his politics.

He’s crossed some lines already. Dump him, with no further word to him, and find a new, more appropriate therapist.

Policy of Madness, thanks for your reply.

Yeah, that’s where my instincts are leading me, that it’s time for me to break up with this therapist. I’m reluctant because I’ve been going to him for a long time, like maybe three years or so. I’ve got a little feeling at the back of my mind like, “Oh crap, am I going to be OK without him?”

But yes, it’s been a while now that I’ve been thinking it was time for me to move on and either quit therapy for a while and see how I do, or try out a different therapist.

To be fair, I was the one who brought up politics to begin with, during the primaries, when that was stressing me out. Maybe I shouldn’t have done that. I thought we were on the same page politically so I would feel comfortable with discussing it with him, but then it turned out he’s one of those Bernie Bros who hates Hillary Clinton. So then I tried not to bring up politics ever again, but after this disastrous election, I just feel weird about not being able to talk about something like that in therapy when it’s really bothering me a lot.

(I’m also thinking it’s maybe not such a good idea for him to have his personal Facebook page public where he can post his political opinions where his clients can see them, but I guess he must not be too worried about losing clients over stuff like this!)

To be fair, I was the one who brought up politics to begin with, during the primaries, when that was stressing me out.

Nope. You are allowed to bring up stuff like that, but he’s not allowed to use that as a opening to politic at you. You did nothing wrong and all the wrong actions were committed by him.

You don’t need to give up therapy if it helps you. There are other therapists out there, like, millions to choose from. It’s like you found a pair of shoes you thought you liked, but then after a while it turned out they pinched your toes. That’s a reason to get a new pair of shoes, not a reason to give up on shoes.

First off, welcome, from one lurker to another!
Secondly, your comment reminded me of a wonderful post at Brute Reason: Should Therapists Decline to Work With Clients They’re Bigoted Against? While a lot of it’s from the perspective of the therapist, not the therapee (that’s totally a word, by the way), a lot of the post covers things from the “What’s best for the client” perspective. I’d recommend reading the whole thing, but if you don’t, here are two relevant quotes:

The idea that a bad therapist is still better than none at all is rather bizarre: we don’t think that way about any other vital profession or service.


Clients should feel comfortable “firing” a therapist who doesn’t seem to be able to work with them effectively. As I’ve written here before plenty of times, therapists work for you, not the other way around. You don’t owe them anything besides the payment you have agreed to render, and you can stop seeing them at any time, with or without explanation. Don’t feel like you have to out yourself (if you haven’t already). Your safety and mental health come first.

As you’re explicitly asking what we think about this, here are my two cents:
There’s a couple of red flags in what you wrote – among other things, the contents of his public personal Facebook page, and “During the primary I learned real quick not to bring up politics in sessions” – but you’re already aware of that. While it’s true that therapists are human, you’re not paying yours to be human – you’re paying him to be a therapist. That’s not to say that he’s not allowed to make mistakes, but that he’s spent a lot of time and money in learning how to be a good therapist. Teaching your client not to bring up topics in therapy is the sort of thing they’re trained NOT to do.

You can ‘fire’ a therapist for whatever reason you like, and ‘not feeling comfortable’ and ‘unable to talk about things that trouble you’ are two great reasons to do so. I know you don’t need my (or anybody else’s) permission for this, but I know that validation from random strangers helps me sometimes, so: You officially have permission to fire your therapist.

As for finding a new therapist versus stopping therapy, only you know yourself well enough to make that decision. That said, if you want to find a new therapist, this is a great time for it – it sounds like you’ve got your major concerns under control (as you’re considering stopping therapy entirely). If nothing else, nothing prevents you from continuing to see your current therapist (as he is helping with some stuff) while you try to find another therapist.

Welcome! Everyone has this covered pretty well, but this:

and I’m just being too sensitive, and I should set politics aside

…is absolutely not true. You are not being sensitive and any topic that is bothering you should be one you can talk about safely with your therapist. I had to dump a therapist when he started saying some misogynistic crap, so I understand how much that sucks, though I’d only been seeing mine for a few months at that point. Good luck whatever you decide.

@ Sea Wolf

Howzit! *waves back* Nice to meet you!

Where are you based? I’m sort of in Cape Town (in that I like to pretend that Somerset West is still part of the Boland).

Hey EJ! How’s England-land treating you?

Summer in CT is full of the never-ending south-easter, as per usual. Plus we’re all on super-strict water restrictions because drought. Other than that, Zuma’s term is almost over say yay for that, at least.

Hugs to all. I’m so sorry for your shit. And so grateful for all of you.

I was going to say that I had this horrific asshole at work write a long letter about stupid shit once that got me investigated and totally fucked me up, and I could empathize. And then you brought up the even worse horrible shit, and now, just, I’m so sorry.

Holy fucking hell. Dump that therapist. Do it! I know starting over is shitty. Every new therapist feels a little bit like going back to square one (or at least 5), but it doesn’t matter if he’s really an MRA sympathizer or not, or a misogynist or not, he has made you feel uncomfortable and like you can’t share with him. This is not the right therapist for you!

And I hope no one will mind if I share, too, but I’ve been really struggling too since the election. I’ve been managing my depression without therapy or medication for almost a decade now. And after having been hospitalized a couple of times, it was wonderful that it was going better, and I’ve been really grateful that I’ve seemed to finally find a healthier place. Sometimes I’ve started to spiral again, but I’ve managed to pull out.

And, actually, I’m not spiraling now. This is something different, yet not different. I don’t know. I’ve always been sort of obsessive. Like, when I read a book, I can’t just read an hour a day or something. I pick up a book, and short of falling asleep at 5 in the morning and picking it back up when I awaken, I read it until I’m done. And even though I hate myself for skipping responsibilities, it’s like I just can’t help it. And that’s just one example. I can’t stop myself from whatever.

And since the election, I’m both terrified and obsessed. Like, I’m not going to armchair diagnose Trump and say he has NPD, but even if he’s not pathological, he has horrible narcissistic tendencies, and his only real theme is that you’re either a winner or a loser (and it doesn’t even really matter much what you win, as long as you win), and this is not my America. And I can’t stop reading shit. Normally, I’m at least pretty functional at work, but right now, I can’t do work or school, because I can’t stop reading articles about Trump. And comment sections. I get up and start reading and can’t stop. All day long and well into the wee hours. And I can’t stop hoping some miracle will happen and this horrible, repulsive person will not become my president. And Steve Bannon will not be in my country’s government. And Sessions will not become attorney general. Anyway, maybe I need to see a therapist again. I don’t know what this stuff is a symptom of. But I want to stop. I want to do something else with my time, and I just don’t seem to be able to.

Anyway, I’m sorry for freaking out all over this page. I’ll just finish.

Thank you for sharing Emmylou Harris’s lovely rendition of one of my favorite songs. In honor of Leonard Cohen’s passing, and in the spirit of love, I’ll leave you with Sisters of Mercy.

Aw, thanks! That is a beautiful song. ♥

I’ve got obsessive tendencies myself; I know more about Kellyanne Conway than I should. I think that the entire world is trying to come to terms with the fact of this president-elect. All best wishes in dealing with this election and the great big Dumpster fire that is Donald Trump.

Hi Claire. England is cold right now. It’s Napoleon-defeating levels of cold. I keep expecting white walkers to come past riding giant spiders as big as houses. So far I haven’t seen any, but that may just be the urban heat island effect warding them off.

It’s also dark. I go to work in the dark and come home in the dark. Daylight is something I see out of my office window. This is playing havoc with my Seasonal Affective Disorder.

The Cape is lovely at Christmastime. My grandparents used to live in Stellenbosch and I recall many fond summers with them.

Hi EJ. That whole almost constantly dark thing is not something I remember fondly from when I did my two year diensplig in London. My sincere sympathies.

What’s the opposite of White Walkers? Cos they’d love it here. Sunday was 35 in the shade but today the wind is blowing again so it’s down to a balmy 27.

But you are right, it is beautiful here and I forget to be grateful for that. There are much worse places to live.

On the bright side, East Tennessee is much less on fire now than it was before it rained all day Wednesday.

I’m still sad. Those trees took decades to grow, and Gatlinburg is going to be years recovering.

I’m sad about that too.

And the fire may well be connected to climate change, the biggest issue to face humanity ever.

So much love and hugs to all of you; it’s tough out there for a lot of us right now. I’m glad you’re all able to speak up and let it out here. I hope that putting the words to the page make you feel a little better, and I hope that you all start getting better, too. You’ve got friends here. And to all the people just reading – don’t feel bad if you can’t bring yourself to put words on the page to express the hurts you feel, too! You still have friends here just the same. That includes those of you who just read and don’t comment. <3

@Falconer, I'm glad to see the fires down there are settling a little. Reminds me of the Fort McMurray fires from half a year ago, those were very close to home, so I think I have a bit of understanding for how scary that can be. The trees will regrow in time. It'll work out okay. I hope everyone managed to get out alright, at least.

OK everyone, I dumped my therapist!

I cancelled my appointment and told him I think I’m doing well enough to go without therapy for a while. He said he agrees, but I can always call him again if I relapse or something.

I do think I am good enough right now to take a break from therapy, but if I do relapse, I’m going to try out a different therapist instead.

And yes, I did comment here to sort of ask for permission to do that. The election had me so upset and angry I was afraid I was jumping to conclusions. But yeah, now I’m sure that the best thing for me to do is quit seeing that guy. I got some benefit from seeing him, but now I don’t think I’m going to get any more.

Thanks for your nice replies, because I was really nervous about actually commenting here.

Good for you!

I should have dumped a few of my therapists, so you’re an inspiration to me.

@Claire, I’m in Hout Bay (hope that’s not too specific on a website that gets anti-feminist trolls). It’s mostly a great place to live, apart from being rather segregated.

@EJ: What Claire said earlier. Also, the summer heat hasn’t yet reached “sit-still-inside-and-sweat-buckets” levels yet.

Sorry to hear so many people are having a shitty time. Hugs to all.

I’m holding on here in the UK, where we’re coping with post-Brexit crap and other fun games you can play with a Tory government. Oh yeah, and EJ’s right, it’s bloody freezing, especially up here where I am in darkest Norfolk. But it’s probably still marginally better than being in the US right now. Know that a lot of us elsewhere hate this situation as well, and we’re doing what we can to fight back (although from this side of the pond, it doesn’t feel like we can do very much…)


I just got around to reading that article you linked. The irony is that the whole reason I went to this particular therapist in the first place, even though his website said he specialized in working with men, is that he’s not a Christian. I had a few Christian therapists before him, and I am not a Christian (nor have I ever been a Christian, so I don’t even “speak the language” as it were). And what that article is mostly about are non-Christian clients having trouble with Christian therapists. I wanted to try out someone who wasn’t a Christian for a change, so that’s how I got the Hillary-hating Bernie Bro therapist.

But that article had good advice about how you need to be upfront about some of these things and if the therapist has a problem with part of your identity, you need to keep shopping. Thanks!

Thanks for the hugs TeamMammoth xxx

In all honesty today was a crappy day. My hospital appointment went so bad today. Basically, to paraphrase “we can see the damage the rape had caused. And I can see that it’s bleeding still and causing pain after 3 months. But it’s not that serious so we’ll discharge you. You just have to live with it”

So I spent 20 minutes standing on a bridge contemplating whether or not I can deal with “just living with” this daily reminder of what happened. But I chose to live and I’m home and safe, albeit sad and angry.


From this evening, i will be on holidays till December the 29th. So i wish a merry christmas in advance to those who celebrate it !

Have a nice day.

@ Sea Wolf

Segregated communities: one of the delightful (not) leftovers of Apartheid South Africa. The only place I’ve lived in SA where I didn’t feel like I was staying in some particularly white section of Europe was Durban. Hout Bay is beautiful, though! You been there long?

I’m so sorry that you have a lingering, painful reminder of a terrible experience. And it sounds as though there will be a trial too.

Hang in there. Spring will come. And in time there will be periods in which you don’t even think about this experience.

Stay strong.

All the best, NicolaLuna. You’re an awesome person and have been an inspiration to me. Nothing anyone can do to you can make you a not-awesome person.

That said, fuck those doctors. That’s a pretty fucking unacceptable way to treat anyone.

Massive hugs and please let me know if you need someone to talk to – I’m a fellow London-dweller and can be there at short notice.

@Claire, Sea Wolf:
I really miss the Johannesburg summers of my childhood. The afternoon rains take the edge off the heat, and make it very pleasant.

Now I’m all homesick.

Well… my best (and at this point, pretty much only) friend is leaving for NZ next week. For a whole year.

I’ve known him forever and for the past 8 years or so he’s been extremely supportive of me in situations where it was definitely not a good idea for him to do so (he’s real close to those people who don’t want to see my face around here anymore) and he’s made a lot of sacrifices for us to remain friends, so I’d rather keep my mouth shut about the whole thing, but I dunno what I’m gonna do without him around.

He’s the definition of a heart of gold. Actually, scratch that, whole dude is made of gold, ‘cept for the brain which is made of weird.

The french state is placing hurdles on his way though. His visa might get cancelled because of legal delays, because they decided to start harassing him NOW because of a DUI a year and a half ago… and he’s already been punished for that. Revoked license (which he’s got back by now) and stuff (that’s how bad it gets here when your DUI is cannabis instead of alcohol…). And apparently, with the kind of visa he’s got, if it gets cancelled he can’t get another one.

Right now I’m fixing the english version of his resume for him, so technically I’m helping with his trip, but I’m afraid I might secretly be hoping his visa gets cancelled. Not exactly a big fan of this selfish side of meself.

To Mammotheers living in NZ : yeah, so, we’re sending you our very best. Don’t thank us, to be honest we’d rather keep him.

@Kat and @EJ (The Orphic Lizard)
Thank you so much. I’m a little better today.
I’m going to go back to my GP and try to get referred to a different surgeon at a different hospital. If that doesn’t work then I’m going to have to save up and go to a private clinic. I can’t just do nothing about this, it’s affecting me too badly.


I hope you get another, more rational doctor, because that determination is just so unacceptable. You don’t deserve what they’re telling you.

How much does it cost to go to a private clinic? If you set a gofundme I would contribute.

From what I can see it’s around £3000.
That’s such a kind offer. I’ll definitely think about it. But will see if the NHS route is still possible first.

Oh gosh, NicolaLuna. All the love and hugs <3 I would contribute too. I hope the NHS gets you some other options soon.


I promise to donate if you set up a gofundme. I can’t give a lot, but I can give some.

That’s awful. I know how hard it is to even set up another appointment knowing how much is at steak for you if they brush you off again. Please consider the gofundme if the usual route doesn’t work out.

@NicolaLuna I wish you all the best in finding a much more competent doctor.

Also, for other commenters: does GoFundMe take paypal?


Yes, try for another surgeon first. But keep gofundme in mind if you can’t get anywhere with that. You deserve so much better.

@Fishy Goat
Gofundme doesn’t take PayPal to my knowledge. I just donated to someone on it and was looking for that option so I wouldn’t have to go get my wallet but no luck.

That’s utterly unacceptable behaviour from that surgeon. I’m sorry you had to deal with such an asshole. All my hopes on a better one t hrough the NHS.

@Fishy Goat
They do not. They’ve an agreement with a similar service called WePay.

Wow everyone, feeling a bit overwhelmed. You’re amazing.

I’m going to wait a few days to get myself together and then call my GP and try again. I’ll keep you updated

Polar bears!

I’m headed up to see my sweetheart in the frozen North in a couple weeks. I gather the bears are sleeping by now.

Packing is kind of daunting. I have a giant shopping list.

We’ll have to work out how to handle the next year or two. The phone service is either hilariously or maddeningly bad, depending on our mood, and internet sucks, so it’s hard to keep in touch. Going pretty well so far though.

NicolaLuna: just got caught up on the thread. I can offer virtual hugs, or a virtual fist-bump for strength, or a virtual head-scritch (they’re not just for cats!) depending on your mood.

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