Thursday, January 24, 2013

Employee Assistance Program

Before therapy, it started with a call to the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) at work, a free service that helps employees with “problems.” And I had a problem. I called and they asked me what was wrong:

“I’m angry and I feel like someone is going to hurt me,” I said, knowing that I was anything but articulate. What I meant was my mouth was gonna get me in trouble. I had no censor on the street, and had the amazing ability of turning the most innocuous incident into a full blown problem.

After a long pause, the counselor said, “Hold Please.” Followed by another long pause, a new person with an empathetic, professional tone popped on the line and blurted, “So you want to hurt yourself?”

Knowing that I could be in some deep shit, and that they might be calling HR at this very moment, I backtracked: “No, no, no!! I meant that my mouth was gonna get me in trouble. I’m not gonna hurt myself, but I feel someone is gonna hurt me.” I fucked it up again!

“Who’s gonna hurt you? Is someone gonna hurt you? At work?”

“Aw Jesus,” I said, my voice showing considerable regret, “no one is gonna hurt me. Listen, my mouth is gonna get me in trouble in the Tenderloin. I’m gonna tell the wrong person to fuck off. I’m burned out.”

“Oh, burned out.” she said with some relief. “Ok, let me transfer you back. Hold please.”

I knew “burned out” would be language they could understand. They referred Ronald and the rest was 14 months of therapy, the first 6 sessions on the EAP.

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