Actual Therapy

Today was the 6th appointment with the therapist. I’m starting to really like her, which sucks. I still have this very guarded way of going through sessions. My walls are sky high and rock solid. But I am able to talk to her about what’s currently going on, even if without the emotional attachment. And that is helpful because at least I’m processing stuff in some way.

We talked a lot about my appointment with Dr. Bird and how I sorta have mixed feelings about it after spending the weekend reflecting on Friday’s consultation. We agreed that she’d probably be beneficial to my treatment, given her extensive knowledge and experience with DID, but that I’d need more time to “feel her out” and see if the chaos and scattered energy I felt was just part of the experience of an initial psychiatric consultation, or if it’s the genuine vibe she gives off consistently. Even if she does, I might be able to talk to her about it and work with it. I also brought up the idea of utilizing Dr. Bird as both psychiatrist and part-time therapist. I mentioned how some of my friends with DID do weekly sessions with a regular therapist and less frequent sessions with a DID specialist. She thought that was an interesting idea and seemed open to it. This is all going to have to wait until we have insurance again in April, but it’s nice to know she’s on board with trying different things.

I also talked about how I’ve been really doubting myself and the decisions I’ve made about my treatment. Dr. Bird asked if either Zooey or this current therapist have experiencing working with parts. When I said they didn’t, she asked me what the point of that was? I mean…I don’t really know. When I began seeing Zooey, I didn’t even fully understand that I HAD parts. Now that I do, I can appreciate the importance of working with them, but I also don’t believe it needs to be the focal point of my treatment. The therapist agreed with me and said that she felt I was actually making very informed and well thought-out decisions about my care.

Then I brought up the whole one-year-since-Zooey thing and talked about how embarrassed I feel about it. I also told her that I’ve been wondering when the next time is that I’ll be searching for a new therapist again. She said, “As in, you’re thinking that this won’t work out, either?” And I said, “Right.” So we talked about that. About how this ultimately traumatic experience with Zooey has left me feeling very skeptical and unwilling to trust, especially to trust a new therapist. I explained that I’m very focused on being a calm, functional, normal, low-maintenance patient because I am so scared of becoming “too much” again.

I also shared that I don’t want to trust her because once I do and the walls start to come down, she will see the real me and the real system and all of that ugliness. And then all the power is in her hands. She asked me what, specifically, I meant by that and said it was very important. So I explained that once I trust her, that means I care and that I’m invested. And that also means that she has all the power to take the relationship away from me, just like Zooey did. Nothing trumps the clinical card.  All she’d have to say is, “In my professional opinion, this isn’t working/this is not a good fit/you need something more/different, etc” and BAM! I’d be without a therapist once again. There would be nothing left for me to do. I would be completely helpless. Again.

And I just don’t know if I can set myself up for that kind of loss again. I don’t know if I will be able to trust like that again. I trust multiple friends and family members in my life, but the unique thing about the therapeutic relationship is that it allows you to re-enact some of the most destructive and painful relationships in your past. And through that transference, you’re supposed to have corrective experiences and heal from them. Zooey did provide wonderful support and nurturance and love and empathy….but then she pulled it all out from underneath me in one fell swoop. I will not be so naïve as to give someone that kind of power again.

Luckily, however, this therapist reflected on what I said and then suggested that we talk about it a lot more. She said that she doesn’t necessarily want me to trust her too quickly and to lay it all out in the beginning of the relationship. She’d prefer that we use this time – where I am raw and guarded and mourning – to really process what happened with Zooey and identify ways to prevent that from happening again. She wants to discuss the implications of what happened and help me frame it in a context that shifts some of the blame off of myself.

I’ll admit, I was intrigued.

The most fascinating thing about this therapist is that when I’m with her, I feel like I’m doing ACTUAL therapy. She doesn’t just sit and listen, offering minimal encouragers and asking generic questions. She’s really in it with me and I can tell that she’s working very hard to make connections and figure out how my thought patterns are causing me pain and suffering. I’ve never had a clinician like this before and it’s a very interesting experience. But I like it. I know she wants to work with me. And I know she wants to be able to see this through with me. But like she said, she cannot guarantee that will be true.

Either way, we accomplish more in one session than Zooey and I did in eight. It’s nice.