Record 4

Today’s spin is “Try Honesty” by Billy Talent which is off their first album, “Billy Talent.”

I appreciate the simplicity of BT’s album titles.

Here’s the track:

Billy Talent – “Try Honesty”

Here are the lyrics:

Well, I tripped, I fell down naked
Well, I scratched my knees, they bled
Sew up my eyes, need no more
In our game, there is no score

Forgive me father, why should ya bother?
Try honesty, try honesty
Hop in your dump truck, reverse for good luck
Ride over me, ride over me
Take on the whole world, fight with the young girls
Die tragedy, die tragedy
Call me a cheapskate, come on, for Pete’s sake
Cry agony, cry agony

I’m insane, it’s your fault, so sly
Your well of lies ran dry
And I cut the cord, free fall
From so high, we seem so small

Forgive me father, why should ya bother?
Try honesty, try honesty
Hop in your dump truck, reverse for good luck
Ride over me, ride over me
Take on the whole world, fight with the young girls
Die tragedy, die tragedy
Call me a cheap skate, come on for Pete’s sake
Cry agony, cry agony

Ooh, I talk to you
I’m insane, it’s your fault, cry
I’m insane, it’s your fault, cry
I’m insane, it’s your fault, cry

Forgive me father, why should ya bother now?
Forgive me father, why should ya bother now?
Forgive me father, why should ya bother
Try honesty, try honesty
Hop in your dump truck, reverse for good luck
Ride over me, ride over me
Take on the whole world, fight with the young girls
Die tragedy, die tragedy
Call me a cheapskate, come on for Pete’s sake
Cry agony, cry agonyCry agony, cry agony
Try honesty, try honesty
Cry agony, cry agony

Billy Talent – “Try Honesty”
Written by: Aaron Solowoniuk / Ben Kowalewicz / Ian D’sa / Jon Gallant

I remember when I first heard this song when it came out, it was Billy Talent’s breakthrough hit here and it swept radio & music channels (real ones!) fast back in 2003. A friend of mine from Montreal knew about this band before I did and was who turned me over to them. At the time, there wasn’t a lot of music with this level of aggression while still being so melodic on popular radio, so it was insanely refreshing and really got me into more, what I’ll just call, “riff-heavy-bands.”

Once you’ve got a taste for “Try Honesty” check out the rest of the album on Spotify:

Here’s what the song made me think about today:

When I started going to therapy to try and make some sense of my life and get better direction for some of the problems I was struggling with, I didn’t last very long. I think I only saw that first therapist for something like 5 sessions, maybe, which isn’t a lot and I found myself not much further than where I started. This isn’t a reflection on her, of course, because therapy is only as effective as you are willing to be honest. At the time, I wasn’t sure where my first problem began, so coming to terms with how deep I was going to need to dive was it’s own new challenge.

Plus, it was costing my money every time I went because I wasn’t able to get a thorough understanding of what my work benefits allowed me to claim as it pertained to psychotherapy because the language they use is confusing and this caused more stress for me. After several calls and messages with my provider at Sun Life, I had discerned that my work benefits only allowed me to claim a psychological assessment and not the therapy itself, and I wasn’t interested in taking a test I could find freely on the internet, I was interested in talking through the issues and how to correct them. Plus, I’d have to pay for the test upfront with the hopes that what my Sun Life representative was saying was accurate (it wasn’t) and those tests can cost as much as $3000 for a single assessment! Insanity.

I was using a cheaper service though which is how I managed to afford the initial sessions. It was basically a college for therapists-to-be who were still working towards completing their hours for their certification (or however it works in that world). This meant I escaped the standard $200/hour fee in favour of a $50/hour fee. And this company, if any of you are looking, offered this service on a sliding scale, so you could’ve found one for more/less depending on your personal situation. I can’t remember what it was called now unfortunately but the main point in bringing this up is that therapy doesn’t have to be crazy expensive, there are lots of options out there including some free government assistance if you qualify.

As I said, since I was only seeing this therapist for a short time it was difficult to see any progress, which on my worst days I’d chalk up to, “she’s still in training so she doesn’t know what she’s doing,” when really it just hadn’t hit me yet that this was going to be a much lengthier process.

But she did offer me two pieces of advice that I carry with me to this day, and both of these came within the first 2 sessions (so I guess she knew what she was doing after all).

The first was she taught me a simple grounding technique to help if I felt intense anxiety of a panic attack was surfacing. All you have to do for this is hold your hand out in front of you with all your fingers outstretched, then take your other index finger and slowly move up and down through each crevice. As you climb up, breathe in, as you climb down, breath out.

It’s just a simple breathing exercise, but I think the idea behind using your hand is it gives you something else to focus on; not to help push away what brought on the anxiety but just to bring you back to your body; You are here, you are okay, just breathe.

The second was less a piece of advice and more a word of wisdom. In these initial sessions I focused a lot on my upbringing and my relationship with people in my family, which included, broadly speaking, things like them offloading their problems onto me, telling me about their bad days, that rude sales dude at the car dealership – you know, perfectly normal things that most people share with their friends, family or support networks.

The problem was I’d find that this very exchange would be one of the thing that triggered my anxiety, made me feel even more overwhelmed, even more hopeless, even more stressed. But I couldn’t very well just have them stop sharing their lives with me, could I? After all, I was talking about family.

What my therapist explained to me was that, as it pertained to our ability to handle stress or anxiety, we are all like an empty glass. Each time someone comes to us with a problem, even if they’re not outrightly looking for us to fix it for them, they are pouring a little bit of water into our glass.

But if you only have an 8oz glass, you’re not going to be able to hold much water before it starts spilling out the top and onto the table and floor.

My therapist explained, based on our conversations, that it seemed that while I had a willingness to hold to much water, I had no where to disperse my own.

So while their glasses got lighter with every exchange, my entire being got heavier.

This is really important for me to remember and so I’m glad I come back to it often, because it seems these days now more than ever conversations are more likely to surround something sort of negative in nature and that in itself is exhausting, even if it’s not directed at you.

What also helps me is knowing that, after years of being more neglectful of it or making excuses for behaviour, more often than not, I’m as honest as I can be with almost anyone with the time to listen, bearing in mind that they, too, only have so much space in their glass.

I took a break away from therapy for a while after those initial sessions to try and refocus on what I wanted to get out of it. That was an important step. I reached out to a couple different ones then who had more experience in the areas I wanted to discuss, but it was still a couple years before I found one I felt comfortable opening up to.

Resources:

If you think you might benefit from a therapist, and really, I think just about everyone can – I always describe them as simple an impartial third party you can talk to without judgement, because that’s what I’ve come to realize they are – then I’d recommend you first check out The Mindfulness Clinic based here in Toronto. They offer sessions virtually, too, though admittedly I don’t know if they see people from out of the province of anything, you’d have to check with them.

I don’t currently go because I don’t personally believe therapy is something that needs to or should become a weekly staple in your life (and I’d almost suggest, if you’ve been seeing the same therapist for a long time and are not seeing any real benefit or progress from it, find a new one; they’re there to help you get the tools you need to succeed on your own, not hold your hand through your whole life), but it’s absolutely where I’d head to if I felt myself needing that added support again right now.

For a free option, check out MindBeacon (offered through the Ontario government), or if you’re otherwise not sure where to start, try CAMH.

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