Therapy in the 310 Beverly Hills Zip Code – How Writing is MY THERAPY
Therapy, that time of the week when you get to unload all of your feelings, your anger, your hurt and your pain of the past seven days; or time to deal with the trauma that has built up from a lifetime of chaos having lived—and survived—in a city like Los Angeles. I never thought that I would find myself sitting on a sofa, spilling my guts out and divulging my best-kept secrets to a highly-paid virtual-random-stranger. However, in the past two years, after having endured—what could only be called—a rough patch of grass from hell, I have found myself getting quite cozy on my therapist’s sofa and unleashing all of my thoughts and feelings to my very own highly-paid virtual-random-stranger who I affectionately call Gayle: affectionately, because, duh, that is her name.
I cannot begin to tell you what a tremendous relief it is to be able to speak freely and openly to someone who can give you unbiased advice, whose job it is to listen to whatever you want to say—while at the same time managing to reassure you that you are not crazy, or that you have not completely lost your fucking mind—as you make huge life transitions and changes. My friends who are reading this are likely thinking: ‘Damn Janell, we thought you should have checked therapy out 15 years ago. At least now we are no longer forced to listen to you whine and complain about the same crap over and over again. Finally, you are paying a professional to help you navigate the rough waters of LA life instead of driving us crazy with your litany of shit.’
Therapy is Confessional Time
Therapy is like a confessional; in a confessional, you unload all of your sins to a Priest, who—even though he may not like what he hears, or what you have done—has to forgive your sins, wiping your sin-slate clean, leaving your soul and your spirit ‘un-bogged’ from your own demons or crap. As I am not Roman Catholic and therefore have no right to sit in a confessional baring my soul, I chose the route of a therapist to help me navigate the choppy waters of my Hollywood life.
So, you might be asking, what prompted you now, after all this time of living life in the Bubble of Beverly Hills, to finally ‘girl-up’ and try therapy, allowing someone—other than your well-meaning friends—to help guide you when you hit, ONCE AGAIN, another rough patch on your Hollywood road of adventure.
My route to the Therapy Sofa
Well, it was all because of my writing. I have been writing for the past 17 years—ironically, not long after my feet landed in LALA Land; as the crazy shit that was happening to me, or my dates from hell, were so outlandish that writing them down not only clarified things for me, but the process of writing a story became a tremendous release. I soon realized that I was able to humorize the bizarre events of my life, and telling my stories in words, became entertainment for my friends, and therapy for me. I literally healed myself by writing the tales of my life, allowing myself to let go of the pain, or to laugh and poke fun at the insanity of what had become my life in Los Angeles.
Then, three years ago, I decided to broaden my audience and share my witty takes on life—and the drama of it all—with all of you out there. I started a storytelling blog called WheatFieldsToWonderland: A Canadian Girl’s Tips to Remaining Sane in The Upside-Down World of Hollywood. I guess, you likely know that because… umm… you are reading this story, which is on my blog.
Well let’s just say that writing my blog forced me to be very honest with myself, because when you are writing your true-life adventures or sharing vulnerable moments of your life, you not only heal yourself—and hopefully others in the process—but you become far more courageous. Why courageous you ask?
Courage can create Chaos
Well, because any time you do something that is outside of your comfort zone—like sharing YOU in a public forum—it builds courage. Courage to see the error of your ways, the courage to make changes to become a better you, and the courage to accept that it’s okay to let go of the soul-sucking people in your life who are weighing you down. Sometimes the courage-building process becomes daunting and, when you can’t always sift through your own problems by writing them down, you realize that, shit, you just might need the opinion of someone else who may actually have a fresh perspective on the courageous drama known as you. So, even though my writing is my therapy, I realized that enlisting the help of a therapy expert to assist you through difficult times, can bring a fresh perspective to your life. Having a therapist is kind of like a writer having a thesaurus handy – the thesaurus gives you plenty of ways to express your words, and the therapist gives you a fresh perspective on your thoughts that are momentarily mind-fucking you.
Writing my first novel, Where the Dogs Go, was the first time I really noticed that writing was healing therapy for me. The story idea came to me after I lost my father, that coupled with the love I had for my little dog Canoli, and realizing that someday I would lose him too, gave me the idea to write a story about love and loss. The process of writing Where the Dogs Go became a ten-year therapy healing project that helped me deal with loss of my dad. I managed to finish my rough draft just a few months before Canoli passed. Two years later, I pulled my draft out of a drawer and began the process of polishing it up, eventually publishing it for all to read. I won’t lie to you, the process of having to publish that story, with Canoli’s loss so fresh in my heart, was painful. I cried a lot, and it hurt to reread and proof it, but guess what? It helped me to heal. It helped me to deal with his loss. Now, my little Canoli has a tribute out there that was written for him, and I have a book that I am proud of, proving once again that writing is my therapy.
100 posts and PROUD!
Anyway, this blog post is a rather momentous one for me. You see, this post marks my 100th story on my blog. I have written 100 stories over the past three years! Hundreds of thousands of words where I have healed my heart and my head, and hopefully inspired some of my readers out there along the way. I hope I have made you laugh, made you think, or provoked you to challenge yourself. This writing adventure I have been on has made me a stronger me as, when the shit is hitting the fan, and the tears are flowing from my eyes, the one thing I do, the one thing that makes me feel better and gives me solace, is writing these little posts and sharing them with you. So, to all my friends out there who read my stories or listen to my blog podcast… thank you for your support.
And… while I am not giving up my occasional sessions with my girl Gayle, writing will always be my first line of my therapy defense and my way to heal me.
So, with writing coming in number one for my personal therapy list of ways to self-heal, I thought I should mention that writing is closely followed by:
- Working out, or taking a walk coming in a strong second, as endorphin rushes rule…
- Dinner with friends coming in third, as laughter and friendship are gifts that always cheer me up…
- A glass of Cabernet taking a strong fourth place, I mean it just does, it just does…
- And some retail therapy, otherwise known as ‘Happiness in a Bag Syndrome’, aka Shopping finishing in fifth place, on my little list of healing me…
So, the moral of this therapy story is….
- Find something that enriches you, whatever that is, and make that YOUR own therapy.
- Paying a professional now and then to help you navigate the fucked-up waters of life, is worth every penny. It’s kind of like, hmm… you wouldn’t defend yourself in a murder trial, would you? I hope you would hire a defense attorney or at least Dr. Jason Bull!
- And speaking of paying a professional, do you think there is a difference between paying for a prostitute or paying your girl on the side $130,000 to keep her mouth shut? Any thoughts??Donald Trump, care to weigh in?
Please get a copy of my book, Where the Dogs Go, link below to reviews on Amazon! 😀