The Therapist

So in college, I was forced to see a therapist. Now when I say forced, I literally mean forced to or I would be kicked out of school. I had a run in with the law. Not by law I mean the RA aka Resident Advisor of the dorm. On one fateful night, I had gone out drinking. It’s not what you’re thinking. I was not underage. I was actually 22 at the time so this doesn’t end with me getting written up for drinking in the dorms. You’re also probably thinking why the hell did you still live in the dorms when you were 22. I enjoyed having breakfast, lunch, and dinner accessible to me at any time. So I came back after a night on the town. One of the guys in the dorm kept opening up my door and slamming it. Opening it up and slamming it. He thought it was funny. It was infuriating. I thought in my head, I’m going to catch him the next time he opens this door. Seconds later the door swung open and I lunged to catch it. The tips of my fingers caught the edge of the door…as it slammed shut. Instantaneously blood shot out of my finger tips as my nail had been ripped off. EWWWW right? Yes. That’s right. It was gross. I went into a blind rage. I was seeing red. Literally. I screamed every profanity in the book as I stormed down the dorm room hall. Out gallops the RA. A real cowboy. “Whoa whoa whoa what exactly do you think you’re doing?” he asks. At this point there’s blood all over my hands, on the wall and on the floor. I shout, “what the hell do you think I’m doing!? I’m painting a mural!” He was not amused. He called in reinforcements. Other RA’s showed up to try and corral me. “What you need to do is calm down” they tell me. “We’re going to have to call the police” they tell me. No one acknowledges the fact that I’m injured or the fact that my fingers are bleeding profusely. One RA is just standing there taking notes. I inform her that this will not be on the final exam. All the students are out of their rooms at this point. With every snide remark I make, they laugh. The entire floor laughs as the RA’s tell them to go back in their rooms. All sense of order had gone out the window. We were all uncivilized. As the RA writes down everything, I tell her, “Listen Katy Couric, I will not be answering any questions for your documentary.” My rage was fueled by their illusion of power that they thought they had. They didn’t care I was hurt. They didn’t care about anything I said. All they cared about was the fact that they could write me up and I could do nothing about it. They did not ask how I was or how it happened. They didn’t even ask if I needed a towel to stop the bleeding. They just kept telling me to be quiet and that this was QUIET TIME. “Sir, sir, sir, this is quiet time” was what they told me. As if I was 6 years old and I was breaking the rules of TIME OUT. Flash forward to the next day. I received a letter that said I had been kicked out of the dorms. That’s right folks. KICKED OUT OF THE DORMS. Effective immediately.

I had a meeting with the Dean of Students to discuss my ‘behavior’ and further disciplinary action. I was terrified. It was the scariest letter I had ever received in my life. It looked like a letter you’d get from a lawyer or a bill collector. I don’t know what divorce papers look like, but I imagine they looked just like this. I had gone 4 years without a problem. 4 years without ever being written up. Now, with 4 months left of school, I was on the verge of getting kicked out. It was ludicrous. I waited in the waiting room to see the Dean with terror in my eyes. I dressed for the occasion (I was dressed like I was going to a funeral). I watched as people entered his office with smiles and walked out in tears. When I walked into his office, he didn’t turn at all. His desk was neatly organized with multiple stacks of student files evenly placed. He had his back to me while sitting in his leather chair. “We need to talk about this” he says while looking out the window. My first thought was “you don’t say”, but I kept my mouth shut. He starts to read the things I was saying that night that had been written down. Things like, BRB GONNA GO DIE NOW. THIS AIEN’T A SING ALONG I’M DYING HER and Pardon me WHILE I BLEED TO DEATH. While reading these iconic lines, he starts laughing. Uncontrollably. Slapping his arm chair he screams in hilarity. I told him I was a comedian and a lot of the things I said were taken out of context. He actually understood and said that now some of the things I was saying made sense. He gave me a slap on the wrist. Imagine him saying, “Ryan, give me your wrist” and then slapping it. In reality, he told me he wanted me to stop drinking and to see a therapist for a few months. My immediate reaction was WHAT! A therapist!? Really? I remember it word for word, he replied “A lot of comedians see therapists. This will be good for you. You can see him for a month and then if you want to continue seeing him it’s up to you.” However, I was still asked to leave the dorms. He told me the RA was scared for his life and read what the RA had written down. “I’VE LOST ALL CONTROL” was written on the paper. Apparently the RA could not get control over the floor. Once you got everyone laughing they were all on your side. You could have ensued a riot and everyone would have joined you. We can’t have that” he said. He never turned around. He stayed in his chair staring out the window the entire conversation.

Flash forward to me sitting in the therapists office. He’s staring at me. Not saying a word. His entire desk is disorganized. Stacks of student files spilling over into one another. Post-it notes everywhere. Post-it notes that don’t even say anything sticking to the wall. Every time I shuffle in my seat he writes something down. That was our first meeting. “Come back next week” the receptionist tells me. The next week we finally got to talking. He informs me that this is a secure environment and that nothing I say leaves the room. He stresses that this is a PATIENT/DOCTOR relationship and that the things I tell him are confined to the room that we are in. He tells me to trust him. He asks me questions I never thought about. Things I never even wanted to think about. Questions about my family. Questions about my relationships (specifically the 5 year relationship I was in that had recently ended). I’m not going to lie, the breakup led to an increase in going out and partying. “You tried to drown the pain in alcohol.” He pin pointed the problem. There were laughs. There were tears. He kept telling me not to put any of this in my routine, but if I did that he wanted credit for it. It was ridiculous.  The Dean had been right all along. This was a good experience for me. I felt like I had been carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders and it was suddenly gone. I left everything in that room. Flash forward to a month later where I run into the therapist and his wife at the grocery store. After he stared at me and wrote some things down, he started to say to his wife, “This is Ryan”…but before he could finish his wife interjected with, “So YOU’RE the Ryan he keeps talking about, I’ve heard so much about you.”

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