Written by Lou Conran

Voices

A Brew With Lou: Therapy

In her latest dispatch from the frontline of chitchat, our columnist Lou Conran gets her bonce checked over.

Illustration by Claire Jones.

Illustration by Claire Jones.

A couple of years ago I decided to book in with a ‘head lady’ because I thought it would be beneficial for my noggin.

I didn’t really know what to expect but I had a few friends that had seen a therapist on a regular basis and they raved about it. I’m all for self-help, so I booked in to see a local lady and off I went.

I had a certain expectation. I thought it was going to be like the films: me lying on a couch, while someone nods and writes notes about me and I waffle on about my rabbit dying when I was six and the awful time I saw my dad, unusually pissed, being sick, cartwheeling naked down the stairs, like a vomiting Catherine wheel. (It wasn’t so much the vomiting that bothered me but the clapping of my dad’s plums on every rotation that I couldn’t get out of my mind.)

You obviously have an idea in your mind of the things you want to talk about in therapy but you’ve never met this person before and it’s all very well wanting to discuss your inner darkest deepest turmoil but if you don’t like the person that you’re talking to then you’re a bit stuck, really.

The first lady I went to see I found really intimidating. She had an air of ‘I know everything there is to know about the human psyche and let me tell you this, it’s all your mother’s fault’ about her.

But I stuck with her for a while and did what I always do – my internal monologue going like the clappers – “It’s me it’s not her I’ll have to give her a chance I always give up too easily on things just because I don’t like her doesn’t mean she’s wrong for me.” (It does actually. It really does.)

“Just try sitting around a table at Christmas with your entire family; that’s enough to tell you everything you need to know and have you grabbing for the sherry and self-harming with mince pies and a pound of stilton.”

I was going to say here that you wouldn’t go for a drink with someone you didn’t like but actually I do, frequently, because I don’t like hurting people’s feelings. I have a real problem with the word ‘No’. I can’t say it.

This is why I’m having therapy and which is why I got stuck with a therapist I didn’t like for so long because I couldn’t say no when it came to the end of the sessions. “So, do you want to book in for next week?” (No. Not with you.) “OK, see you next Thursday.” (Bugger.)

This woman spent several sessions telling me how awful parents (in general) are and how they inflict their inner shit onto their kids. I know! It doesn’t take therapy to tell you that; just try sitting around a table at Christmas with your entire family; that’s enough to tell you everything you need to know and have you grabbing for the sherry and self-harming with mince pies and a pound of stilton.

I eventually managed to quit this lady by doing what I always do when I don’t know how to quit something, I ignored it, made up an excuse for why I couldn’t go one week and never went back. (Who needs therapy eh…?)

I found another lady about a year later. She was lovely. Really gentle. More approachable and really emotionally connected. Like, really emotionally connected. So connected that she would cry when I was telling her my woes. I wasn’t crying. I didn’t need to. The poor woman, week after week, would end up really upset and invariably I would end up offering her the tissues and asking her if she was alright.

So I cancelled my next sessions (and by cancelled I mean I made up an excuse and never went back).

I can still hear her crying.

“It’s all very well wanting to discuss your inner darkest deepest turmoil but if you don’t like the person that you’re talking to then you’re a bit stuck, really.”

More recently, I thought a change of tack might be beneficial and so I booked in with a man. It went against my inner core. Sitting with a bloke, telling him my shit was alien to begin with but after a short while, this bloke – in an hour and a half – pretty much told me to sort myself out, stop dwelling on stuff that wasn’t worth dwelling on and just get on with my life.

Right. OK then. Thanks very much.

That’s the difference between men and women isn’t it? No, I’m asking, isn’t it? Women are more emotional, men are more practical. Maybe I’m done with the emotion. Maybe I do need the practical. Maybe I don’t need therapy at all and maybe I should just shut up and get on with my life instead of looking for solutions to problems that aren’t there.

Just read that paragraph back.

I do need therapy don’t I?

But trying to find someone I like – well, like is the wrong word, really – is hard. Maybe I’m looking for someone that feels like a friend. And if that’s the case, then I might as well pay my mates £40 to just sit and listen to me. Right, who wants £40? I’ll bring the wine, you bring the tissues.

@louconran

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Written by Lou Conran

Lou is a comedian, writer, actor, lover of curry and cheese, and is also a giant simple child.