I will Not Call Her

Today’s session was strange. In the past I probably would have referred to it as a wasted throwaway session since I didn’t talk about anything important.

I spent much of the session just jumping from topic to topic, not committing to any single emotion or thought. When I brought up something that felt like it needed talking about, we’d start to delve deeper and as I could feel us getting closer and closer to something painful or real, I’d suddenly pull us out of it and skip to something new. Or spend a few minutes in a pseudo-dissociated state just to stay away from the emotions. It was really jarring, for both of us.

I’m not sure why I did this. Probably to protect myself.

Last session (on Thursday) was more intense. Not in the traditional sense of how I experience intense sessions, but still…intense. I spoke very frankly about my biological parents in a way that was extremely activating to the system. I actually didn’t talk about any graphic abuse at all, but the nature of my upbringing is such that even the seemingly innocuous stuff turns out to be horrible.

The session before that was less intense, but in the very end, something was triggered and I walked out feeling much less grounded and contained than I wanted to be. The therapist sensed this and said, “You can call to check in later if this feels like too much to hold onto until next session.”

And a week ago, it was. It was so much. So I did call her that night and she called back. It was an important bonding experience between the two of us. I’m glad I called, but I sincerely do not want to make a habit out of reaching out to her between sessions. That’s too painful for me. I need to learn how to contain myself. Somehow.

Today, as I was leaving, she said almost the same thing. She reminded me that I am welcome to call and check in if I need to. I just yelled, “Oh Jesus Christ!” and then quickly apologized for my outburst. She said, “No, it’s okay. I get the underlying emotion.”

We didn’t talk about it (since I was on my way out the door), so I don’t know if that’s true, but I definitely think she sensed my frustration. Not with her but with myself. I get irrationally upset when I feel like I fail to contain my shit during session. Like, I just lose it. I start talking really, really poorly about myself and she usually jumps in to interrupt the negative self-talk before I completely spiral out of control.

I don’t know what’s going on with me right now. I’m exhausted. I’m hormonal. My bones and muscles ache all over. I have finals coming up, so I’m totally stressed. My psychiatrist is weaning me off of Klonopin, so now my sleep is going to shit, which is never good. But my sleep was kinda shit before the wean, so now I can’t tell if the brain fog is from too MUCH medicine or too LITTLE. All the more reason I hate being on meds at all.

I feel like I am on the brink of unraveling. I feel so close to the edge of…something.

But tonight, I will not call her. Not because I don’t think I can. And not because I don’t want to. But because I’m okay. I can do this. I can figure this out without calling a fucking therapist. I like things where they are right now with us. I don’t want to let her get any closer. I can’t let her become any more of my life.

I haven’t even finished unthreading the pieces of Zooey that are still stuck to me. It would be stupid to allow someone else to weave their way through my life in that way. It would be stupid to get attached to the idea of her being there when I’m alone and scared and feeling completely overwhelmed. It’s irresponsible to get more invested. Not now. Not yet. Maybe not ever.

Right?

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20 thoughts on “I will Not Call Her

  1. Rachel says:

    Hi Andi, sorry you’re feeling so triggered right now. I really empathize and know how hard it is to feel so scared and overwhelmed and alone, and conflicted about reaching out to your therapist, even though it might offer comfort in this time of pain. Your therapist has terrific boundaries and would not offer a phone check in if she didn’t feel that it was a) therapeutic b) okay c) appropriate d) safe e) normal f) helpful.. You get my gist. I know that only you can decide how much to trust and open up, and when you’re ready or not. But just offering a caring outsiders point of view. Thinking of you. xx

    Liked by 2 people

    • Andi says:

      Yeah, you make a really good point, Rachel. I do believe that she would only offer out-of-session contact if she truly felt it was therapeutic and in my best interest. But…I still worry. And I do sorta feel the need to prove to myself that I can get through these hard moments without needing to call her. Maybe this is something I should talk about in session? Lol.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. kat says:

    i feel your fear and frustration. and i get wanting to handle it yourself. just be careful not to spite your face for cutting off your nose. be sure you ask for the help when you need it. please. sending virtual hugs your way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andi says:

      Fair point, Kat. I think that if I really felt I was in trouble, I would call. I’m just trying to keep myself from getting into a routine that involves becoming dependent on her during moments of crisis. Thanks for the hugs ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Anxious Mom says:

    I’m sorry this has been a rough week for you ((hugs)) and even sorrier that the ripples from the Zooey wave make you not want to reach out to your therapist if things get really bad. I’ll be thinking of you ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Cat's Meow says:

    Andi, I hear where you are coming from and I have struggled over the years about whether to call or not. I hope that you don’t mind if I tell you what was helpful to me, thinking that the more ideas that you have to choose from, the more comfortable you will be making plans. Actually, I still can’t actually call her directly (I have her main cell phone number), but I do text her, ask to talk and give her an idea of how urgent it is. She then gives me an idea of when she will call back or gives me a window of opportunity as to when I can call her. We’ve also determined that if all I can do is text or say a single word, I’m not to feel melodramatic for just sending a message that says, “Help” to her and she will understand that I’m not saying that I’m about to jump off a bridge, but I am saying that I am stuck in a dark place and can’t find words and need help getting out of it. I’ve never needed to send the one word “help” message, but I’ve sent something really short and desperate a couple of times.

    We recently talked a bit about my needing to talk to her when I’m dealing with something really difficult. She told me that she knows that I already know everything that she suggests, but I might need to be reminded that I know it and how to help myself in that moment because my brain isn’t working as efficiently as it normally does. She also thinks that I call because I simply need to experience myself being mirrored when I am in that much distress, because no one saw or acknowledged the distress when the abuse happened. She also thinks that my mother simply didn’t mirror me enough when I was an infant and very young, which simply increases my need to have my distress heard and responded to. Since it’s a developmental need that wasn’t satisfied, telling myself that I’m a grown adult and should be able to take care of myself helped not a bit. Accepting and satisfying that need and learning on the inside that I am not alone, but that others really are there and will respond to my needs in caring ways through experience is helping.

    But, yes, it involves becoming very attached to my therapist, so I can develop the secure base to finish the developmental tasks that I need to and in the process finally develop enough of a sense of safety that I can begin to process and let go the worst of the trauma. A protector part was absolutely determined that I wouldn’t let her this close because it hurts so much to desperately need to be helped and be failed, but we worked through it. She remained consistent in who she was and also kept an open mind for ways that she might be better able to help me. I learned to live with the fact that she is human and so she can make mistakes, but I also learned that she will be there to work things through every single time, even if I am angry with her. Most importantly, she hasn’t ever abandoned me, even if there have been times when I have felt ver, very alone. She can’t change how I feel, but she can remain consistent in her connection with me. Even when she was out of town because her father was dying, she did what she could to maintain the connection.

    The reason I am going into so much detail is because your therapist reminds me very much of my own. She may not handle things exactly the same way as mine, but I sense the same sort of underlying commitment and understanding of what it is that she is committing to from how you describe her.

    It will take whatever time that it takes for you to develop the trust that you can rely on her, because your experiences have taught you to be very, very cautious. When you learn to not trust people in situations that are perceived to be (or are- I don’t know which in your situation) to be life and death, learning that you can trust someone isn’t as much a cognitive matter as it is something that has to be experienced over time. There is no rushing it, but I have found that you can either lean into and go with the process or fight it.

    Sorry to go on so long! Sending supportive thoughts your way.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Tina says:

    I can relate to the struggle between accepting help & comfort vs. trying to learn to handle things without help & the fear of feeling attached to & needy with the therapist.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. manyofus1980 says:

    Hugs. I think it is ok to call her, but it is also ok to try and tough it out. As long as you know when your in to deep and need the extra support…<3 hugs more hugs and more hugs. XX

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Zoe says:

    I understand that need to want to contain some of it yourself. So much of our well being is dependent on things beyond us — doctors, therapists, medication. Sometimes I’d also like to be in control even if just a little bit and do this myself.

    And I think this all comes from the scary realization that you have crossed a line — that is, you now trust this person and are entering the space where Zooey left you hanging. Your feelings are valid.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. alicewithptsd says:

    I’m sorry you feel like you are unraveling right now. Its not a good feeling, and i hope it passes soon. think its okay to try to work through and contain this on your own (as long as you really will reach out of things start to feel worse) and i think its okay if you were to call your therapist. It’s really about whatever works for you. Bea said something to me recently about why she feels it is okay for me to always email or call her if i need to: “sometimes we humans just need to connect with somebody and share our pain. I think its pretty inhumane if the person who most knows the darkness of your world isnt available to you.” I don’t know why, but knowing her point of view kind of helps me feel more comfortable reaching out.
    I hope that whatever you decide to do, you feel better soon. Sending lots of support your way. Xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andi says:

      Hmm. Good points, Alice. Maybe I could ask this therapist why she makes that offer and we could talk about it more…that could help. Or at least give me a new perspective? Thanks xo

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Cat says:

    I can appreciate your fear of getting any closer, Andi. I’m sure you will allow her in when you feel ready. Try not to feel annoyed with yourself for feeling the fear, you have every reason to be cautious, it is part of your journey and I’m confident you’re moving nearer with this Therapist.

    Liked by 1 person

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