Yesterday’s session was kind of weird. I wanted to reschedule Friday sessions for reasons I’ll describe in a bit. I’ve had to change sessions before and each time, it somehow managed to be super awkward and trigger some sort of therapeutic impasse. Despite how much effort I put into not being weird yesterday, I somehow managed to do just that. Yet again.
The reason I wanted to reschedule is because our laboratory supervisor was not impressed when I strolled in 90 minutes late for open lab last Friday. I’ve already mentioned this on here before: it’s supposed to be voluntary extra time to practice lab skills, but for some reason, the lab guy takes it incredibly personal if you don’t spend all 7.5 hours there every single Friday.
When I walked in late last week, he said, “Busy morning, Andi?” I replied, “No. I have an appointment every Friday morning, as I’ve mentioned before.” Which clearly did not appease him and instead prompted him to go on a rant about “priorities” and “time management”, embarrassing me in front of the entire class. No bueno.
Honestly, I don’t need the lab time (as is pretty obvious from my academic performance), but I also definitely don’t need public humiliation on a weekly basis. There are only four open labs left in the semester, so I decided I’d rather just reschedule therapy than potentially go to battle with this dude every time I’m “late”.
I told the therapist this story as a preface to requesting that we change our Friday sessions. She started to look at her calendar for other possible session times when I added in that if we couldn’t reschedule, perhaps we could just “let it go for now.”
She stopped mid-movement and asked, “Well what do you want to do?”
Ugh. No. I got so frustrated with this question and I told her so. She asked me to talk more about feeling frustrated and I said that by asking me that question, I felt she was putting me on the spot and also putting me in a position where I had to be vulnerable. Either way I answered (that I wanted to reschedule or that I wanted to just go back to once weekly sessions for May) would give away more of how I’m feeling about therapy than I was willing to reveal at that moment.
She said she asked me that because we have had these weird impasse moments revolving around changes in session, so she was attempting to be mindful of how making a change might impact me.
I said, “I see what you’re saying, but I wasn’t talking about the impact. I just wanted to explain what was going on and then for us to have a conversation about how to move forward given what the situation is. If we’d been having a conversation specifically about session frequency or rescheduling, I would be okay with talking about that in more detail. But that’s not what I wanted to do. I just wanted to talk about how this guy embarrassed me in front of my peers and now I don’t want to be late so I have to either change the time I see you or not see you twice a week for now.”
She thought about it and then said, “You’re right – I did put you on the spot. And I can see how that would make you uncomfortable.”
I got very quiet and was just sitting there, thinking. She asked “where I went” and what I was thinking about. I said, “I’m just thinking of how utterly annoyed I am with myself.” She seemed surprised by that and asked why I find myself annoying. I explained that I feel I am literally terrible at initiating or carrying-on any conversation with any human being and that no matter how much I try to be normal and clear and not weird, I always end up being confusing. I always end up being overwhelming. I’m always weird.
She responded, “I enthusiastically disagree with you, but tell me more about that – do you feel that way in most of your interactions with people?”
I really do. The social interactions I had this past weekend only served to reinforce how ridiculous I am. On top of that, I felt approximately one million miles away from all of the people I was interacting with.
Over the last couple of months (or so), I have felt incredibly disconnected from everyone. So uninvested. Everyone feels disposable. Every relationship feels transient. Nothing feels safe or sure or even real.
I really wish that this somehow didn’t relate to Zooey, but I know it does. I can just feel it. I know it’s not just about her, but I think that what she did was far more damaging than I’ve had the energy to process thus far. I think I’ve been trying to contain it to the therapeutic space, but it’s too big. It’s too powerful. She represented something so important and so crucial to my healing journey. She was a symbol of safety, security, trust, care, comfort, etc etc…
By abandoning me, she triggered a massive trauma response that has rippled across the system and into every single relationship in my life. It’s been six months and I’m just now beginning to understand some of the longer-term impacts of her actions. I don’t know how to shake it off. I don’t know how to not let this permeate so much of me and so much of my life.
I don’t know how not to be completely terrified that every single person I trust will betray me.