“……i was free from the horror of being deformed by another person’s needs and desires.” -J.D. Daniels, The Correspondence
My testicles are in pain. It feels like someone is squeezing them with their fingers to the point where it hurts. I have had my testicles squeezed many times before, but it was purely for fun and usually with someone’s mouth. This is different. There is now the presence of this swollen ache, which feels like it could be signaling illness.
Currently, as I write this, I am soaking my testicles in a cup filled with warm water and sea salt. The cup is seated on a small table just beneath my dick and desk chair. I am not wearing any pants (or underwear) and it feels surprisingly comfortable to be writing with my testicles soaking in warm sea water.
I have taken the entire week off. I canceled all my thirty-six clients (I hate this word, the ugliest and most mediocre word in the English language) and decided to retreat from the world of work. After seven years of spending seven or eight hours a day, four days a week, sitting in a fake leather chair, with my underwear and pants squeezing my balls, I suppose the testicle issue I am now having was inevitable. I have felt my testicles aching for years. I had to take this week off and let my oppressed testicles hang lose.
Being a psychotherapist is a dangerous job. I suppose testicular issues are just one hazard of this profession. We all know that sitting for long periods of time is not healthy (it is better for us to smoke) but we all do it anyways. Psychotherapists just do it for longer periods of time and must tunefully listen to negative talk while doing it.
I don’t care how much you know; one thing I know for certain is that human beings did not evolve to sit in a chair for hours a day (with their sexual organs being squeezed to death by their expensive pants and underwear) while listening to other people talk about themselves for an hour at a time. Being a psychotherapist is as unnatural as drinking diet coke.
I mean all you need to do is look to the guy who invented this profession, Sigmund Freud, and see how fucked up he was. It is never a good idea to go into a profession (or take someone’s advice) which was invented by a neurotic, unhealthy, introverted, hypochondriac, drug addicted, perverted, narcissistic but highly intelligent madman. This gives new meaning to that cliché idea- you are who your friends are. You are who the founders of your profession are (or were). Know what I mean?
I almost think it would be better to work as a prostitute. Prostitutes are free from the obligation to apprehend and interpret. They understand what their clients want from them. It is all usually very upfront. I am sure that if someone did a study they would find that professions which create the most happiness and health in its practitioners are the ones where everything is upfront. No bullshit. The practitioners of the profession know exactly what is wanted from them and this makes life easier for everyone.
Psychotherapists have no fucking idea. The profession requires that we spend our days apprehending and interpreting what other people are doing and needing (we usually end up doing this in our personal lives as well because our profession tends to erase the line between personal and professional life). Normally, psychotherapists have no idea what their clients want from them because their clients don’t know what they want for themselves. This is usually the therapist’s job. To help clients make decisions for themselves. To spend so much time apprehending and interpreting that hopefully, eventually, the client will know what they want and what they should do. What hell it is.
But this is not the worst part of being a psychotherapist. If what I have talked about above was all I had to deal with, the swollen testicles, the sitting and all the interpreting and apprehending, then maybe I would not be a reluctant psychotherapist. I realize that life is suffering. We all need to choose our poison. I can handle a swollen testicle, sitting all the time and people who pay me to apprehend and interpret for them. But if happiness means being able to choose the problems that you have and then being able to enjoy the process of solving these problems, I may be in trouble.
As a psychotherapist, I have to spend more than half of my life/time with other people’s problems. I am paid to solve their problems. If the problems are interesting and engaging the time goes by quick. Just when I realize my testicles are aching the session is almost over. Problems such as dying, being addicted to public masturbation, nymphomania, wanting to kill your parents, addiction to heroin, continual alien abductions, wanting to go on a shooting rampages and stalking issues keep me engaged. But the problem is that I do not often come across these sort of problems. Most people’s problems tend to be as conventional as an afternoon soap opera. Mediocrity has turned most of us into victimized door mats. And victimized door mats have the same old stuff in them whenever you shake them out.
And then there is: having to talk with parents, schedule sessions with clients, respond to client emails, call back physicians and social workers who want to consult about a client we both share, respond to client texts on weekends and at night, write notes about clients, deal with clients who don’t show up, pay money to private insurance companies in case clients try to sue me, submit payments and paperwork and take professional development classes mandated by the licensing boards and government agencies so that they can make money off of what we do (I don’t mind licensing regulations since most people attracted to this profession are nuts and should be regulated- I just think things pertaining to licensing should be free).
I could go on and on but I won’t. You get the idea here. I am often asking myself: “Are these problems that I want to have in my life and are they problems that I enjoy solving?” Right away the answer is always “Hell no.” Darn it.
But I keep working as a psychotherapist anyways. I am doing some good in the world even though doing good involves me suffering from swollen testicles, a body that is growing weaker because of all the sitting and the inner deformation of my spirit that is the result having to solve problems that I do not want to be having. But a man like me needs to get paid. I need to afford my quality of life, so I keep doing what I do. I try and take things day by day and not care too much about what may happen tomorrow.
Make sure that what you are good at doing (which in America means what people are willing to pay you to do) is something that you enjoy doing. If you don’t not like doing the thing you are good at- you are fucked.
I dream about living other kinds of lives, lives unfilled with other people’s problems, lives filled with problems I want to have (because I know this is what happiness is). But my ability to dream seems to be declining with age. I don’t have the energy to move very far anymore. My testicles are now sitting in a cup. How far could I go?
A good day for me used to be one filled with creative productivity, aimless wandering, beer, books and women. This was before the house, the cars, the boat, the wife, the dogs, the status, the suburbs, the television addiction, the smartphone addiction, the bills and the paranoia that I can have my entire career destroyed by writing honest things like this. Now my idea of a good day is a day free of all obligation. A day withdrawn from the outside world. A day in complete solitude where I can become a sibling to myself, and like J.D. Daniels writes, “gnaw at myself for nourishment in the red cavern of the womb, relaxing into my own death.”
Then, eventually, I have to return to having my testicles squeezed.