I Used to Lie to My Therapist

I Used to Lie to My Therapist

I don’t want him to know how bad the depression got this time. I don’t want him to think I’m not growing. I don’t want him to see how badly I sometimes talk to myself. I want him to like me. I want him to see me as “good.”

Me: Yesterday was really hard for me. Really, really hard.

Him: Tell me what was hard.

Me: I couldn’t get out of bed. I couldn’t bring myself to shower. I could barely get up to pee.

Him: What was that like? Drop in.

Me: (he’s asking me to feel it as I share about it instead of recounting a memory).

Hmmm I don’t know.

Him: See if you can know. See if you can know what it was like.

Me: Did you ever check out the book I mentioned two weeks ago.

Him: I want to talk about the book later, right now I want to stay with you in this… in what it was like to not be able to get out of bed or shower.

Me: Well, I could shower if I really wanted to and I actually did go pee when it got bad.

Him: silence.

Me: silence.

Me: I’m having a hard time telling you something.

Him: What’s making it hard?

I’ve been seeing my therapist for about 5 years. In the beginning I had an appointment every Thursday. Every single Thursday after work I took the C train from Jay Street to Spring Street and walked 4 blocks to his office building that was about 16 stories high. His office was on the 5th floor.

I sat in the brown accent chair across from him. It seemed to embrace my body as I plopped down. It knew me.

Every session seemed to start with silence. With Andrew sitting less than 4 feet across from me in his black rolley chair that made squeaking sounds when he moved…. just looking at me.


I’d usually begin with slight overwhelm.

Him (with a grin): Just taking a moment. Taking you in. How are you?

Yo. This is exactly why I pay him over $100 a week, out of network. For this moment.

For someone to take me in. For someone to sit with me. For the focus to be on me and my world for 60–90 minutes. I need this. I love that I have him.

His “How are you?” is an actual question not a passing greeting. He wants to know how I am. He’s invested in my response…genuinely curious.

But it is because of this moment that I sometimes withhold the full truth. What if next time he isn’t happy to see me? Or worse, doesn’t want to be my therapist anymore?

Me: I’m having a hard time telling you something.

Him: What’s making it hard?

Me: I sometimes lie to you.

Him: Sometimes we lie because we’re afraid. Is there something you’re afraid of?

Me: You not wanting me if I told you everything

Him: Where else have you felt like if you told the truth you’d be left?

That question took me back to all the ways I had to pretend to be someone I wasn’t in order to make it through the hood… through poverty… through life. I had to pretend in order to survive.

I don’t have to pretend anyone. I’ve already survived.