What a Friend Said to Me About Therapy

I have her permission to post it verbatim — as she wrote it.


When I was 25. Own picture.

A few weeks ago, I applied to get six free sessions on my medical insurance. I was declined on the basis that I needed long term therapy, and they didn’t provide it. As always, the people completely ignored all the assessments that I provided. I think the real issue was my response when asked what gender I was.

Be that as it may, I had some very negative things to say about therapy. I have never had a day’s help from any of them, and none of them have ever said anything to make a change in my life.

My friend responded to my post in this way, and I thought it worth sharing.

I have been through more therapy than I care to mention. I never found talk therapy or behavioural therapy useful and eventually started refusing it when it was offered. Those therapies work on the premise that talking through the issue will make it better (which can be true in some cases) or changing your behaviour will rid you of the issues (put it in a box, fake it ’til you make it).

All the above is fine for neurotypicals going through a tough time, but what makes me unable to cope effectively and efficiently is deep-seated and rooted. It stems from the demand that I pretend to be someone I am not and perform in a specific manner in exchange for food, shelter, and love. Now, we know that is called heavy masking, but we didn’t have that information when I was young; not that it would have mattered to the people in charge of me. They purchased a bright, gifted neurotypical child who would never act up or go against them, and that’s what they demanded I be. When I failed, when I slipped and showed normal child/ teen/ young adult behaviour, when I ‘allowed’ the trauma of my childhood experiences to seep out, and gods forbid I act my natural neurotypical self, there were serious and damaging consequences.

While heavy masking allowed me to be a part of a family, attend school through university, find a suitable husband, pursue a career, raise his children, and be a proper and admired member of society, under the surface, it was causing major damage. I was relying on being able to tap into a reservoir that wasn’t being refilled. That doesn’t mean I didn’t have my



Tessa Schlesinger -Ahead of the curve

Some 200 million reads during the past 15 years. Atheist. Humanist. Apolitical.