More Space?

Finals are over. They went…okay. Not good, not bad, but I prefer to walk out of an exam feeling a little more confident than I did on Thursday. Grades are due on Tuesday, so I’ll find out how I did soon enough. I won’t lie – I really wanted to hold onto my 4.0. But I’m also reassuring myself that (1) this shit is HARD, and (2) I literally worked as hard as I could have. I did my best.

Class doesn’t start again until the 18th. I’ve been doing almost nothing except watching something on Hulu, HBONow, or Netflix (including season 3 of “Orange is the New Black”!). It’s been glorious.

I did, however, also get to the gym both days this weekend, which hasn’t happened since …February? My body already feels better. I need to prioritize actual gym days. I never miss yoga class, but I find that cardio and strength can be just as calming and centering for the system. It allows certain parts to get out a lot of their energy/rage/aggression/whatever.

In Friday’s session with the therapist, she (again) mentioned the idea of having “more space” (i.e. more time). I recoiled at the idea (again). But we talked about it. She asked what emotional reaction I was having to her suggestion for more time. I explained that it just feels risky. What if I end up STILL not being able to ground myself or get back into adult brain by the required end-of-session point? What if the system is still uncooperative? What if it’s still not enough and she grows ever more resentful because I’m not reaching the outcome she hoped for in a reasonable time frame?

Also, the very fact the she thinks I need more time than two one-hour sessions per week sorta supports Zooey’s whole termination thesis that I “need more intensive treatment”. Which, I won’t lie, pisses me off.

The therapist responded that she fundamentally disagrees with almost every point Zooey made about my treatment (win!). She further explained that sometimes people appear or feel “needy” until their needs are, you know, met. She wants to be able to help do that. Her proposal is for the same two sessions per week but for 75 minutes, instead of 60. That would be an extra 30 minutes per week.

She feels this extra time would allow the Others to come out and speak more freely. She said, “There’s a lot of you! With a lot to say! I think that maybe if we could create some more space for people to talk and share, it might really help all of you.”

I can’t argue with that. But still, it makes me nervous. I think I’m just afraid that all of this trauma and darkness is ultimately uncontainable. What happens when she realizes that?

Then again, what if I don’t accept the extra time and then whenever there’s a crisis (or whatever) she holds it over my head that this is why we need more time?

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46 thoughts on “More Space?

    • Andi says:

      Yeah, me too. She’s very different from Zooey. Which I find quite comforting.

      Loving OITNB! Can be super triggering sometimes. Being inpatient seems to be alarmingly similar to being in a women’s min security prison….I have 5 eps left, I think. Trying to finish before classes begin again. What do you and Sam think so far?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Anxious Mom says:

        We finished it (nope, we didn’t pace ourselves at all), loved it! I liked how it went into the other characters a lot more than pst seasons (seemed like). Now Sam wants to rewatch the first two seasons in the coming weeks.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Andi says:

        LOL, my kinda guy. I think because they had less conflict within the prison itself, they were able to do much more character development. And I really enjoy learning the backstories!

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Rachel says:

    Your coursework most certainly is HARD. And your best is absolutely good enough; just reinforcing that.
    I was touched, reading that your therapist suggested more time. Regardless of whether you take her up on it, I think her suggestion demonstrates care and commitment to your well-being. xx

    Liked by 2 people

    • Andi says:

      Aw. Thank you for sharing your emotional reaction to my post regarding what the therapist said. That makes me really step back and think about it in a different way. You’re right – it really DOES demonstrate care and commitment. And that’s a pretty big deal.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. luverley says:

    Oh my god take the time or I will! Proud of you. I know how fuckn hard this is. Exam tomorrow and I’m so guna fail after a day of dissociated shit. Hugs glad you got the gym. I want to run. Run run run away

    Liked by 1 person

      • luverley says:

        You told your t or the part that doesn’t know if they want extra. I think it will be good for you all. It will give some more chance to talk to t. It sounds like she is good and understanding. I’m glad river got to talk to your t.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Andi says:

        I told her. I was recapping the blog post and she asked how people responded. We both kinda laughed together. It was a strange, but good acknowledgement that we both know the extra time would be good for us.

        I’m glad River got to talk to her, too. I keep hoping she will talk more. A lot more…

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Willow says:

    My thought is that an extra 30 mins a week isn’t much and certainly doesn’t mean you’re needy/in need of more intensive treatment! I saw my T three times a week at one point, two of those were double sessions too. Now I only see her once, sometimes twice, but the frequent visits got me through all the trauma healing well. I hope you can give yourself the gift of extra time to encourage further healing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andi says:

      Hi Willow, thank you for this kind comment and vote of encouragement. It is always so empowering to hear others stories of healing and recovery 🙂

      Like

  4. Cat says:

    I think you have done brilliantly, Andi, and considering everything you’ve been through in recent months, I have nothing but admiration for the fact you attended, let alone sat the exams!

    The extra time sounds as though it might be helpful and having it added onto the end of sessions might give you the time to ‘ground’ yourself before leaving the therapy room. It is certainly worth a try.

    I understand the fear of facing the ‘trauma and darkness’, but I wondered if it’s possible that you also fear the extra time because it requires a bigger investment in trust and commitment.

    Kick back and relax for a few days, all of you deserve every second of it 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Andi says:

      “I wondered if it’s possible that you also fear the extra time because it requires a bigger investment in trust and commitment.”

      OMG yes. Absolutely. I’m terrified. For so many reasons. But you’re right – the added time to ground myself might be just what I need to feel less tense and anxious when talking about more intense things.

      Thank you ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  5. silentlistener2510 says:

    Hi Andy,

    There are no right or wrong answers. No one is too fucked up to treat let alone all of you.
    Trust and vulnerability is utterly terror-inducing.
    What if you tried extra time and then decided from there? If you don’t like it, you can always make changes.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Tina says:

    My fear as well as that I’m not progressing in therapy at a pace he’s hoping & he’s going to feel frustrated. It’s bad enough we judge ourselves for our perceived failure in life but in therapy also. Her willingness strikes me. Those 50 therapeutic minutes are NEVER enough for me. I guess that why I still email at least once a week:(

    Liked by 1 person

  7. J says:

    I work with some PTs and I never stop being impressed at how hard their job is and how knowledgeable they are. I have a lot of respect for anyone in that field.

    Also just wanted to throw in — I work in special education, with kids with a range of abilities, from entirely non-verbal and very physically impaired to “highly functioning” social, verbal kiddos. My background is in behavior analysis and special education. When I was in grad school the whole formulation of my program (and what all of education should be, if you ask me) was that if a child is engaging in challenging behavior, or not making progress it was because we, the educators, are not meeting his or her needs. I constantly am reminded how true that is…when I get frustrated with a particularly challenging child I have to remind myself, and if I can shift to being more attuned to what s/he needs, the challenges inevitable fade out and s/he makes progress.

    I had a complicated horrible termination with a terrible therapist who did so much damage it’s barely quantifiable. After 4 years of working with an amazing therapist (for a while twice a week while I needed that extra time and support, very occasionally even three times a week), I still am not 100% positive that she isn’t going to decide she can’t work with me, or that I’m unfixable, or that the old therapist was right in what she did — that there’s something inherently with ME that stalls and breaks treatment. I sometimes ask her (less often now, 4 years in) why she kept me, even though for a while there was lots of turmoil, lots of chaos, lots of suicidality, lots of fear — on both our parts, discussed well after the fact — and she told me, “I kept you because I knew you could get better if you had a treater more attuned to you.”

    It sounds like this therapist is really more attuned to you — to your needs — and your needs are never, ever wrong. It’s hard to believe – I still don’t always – but it’s true. Your needs aren’t wrong. You deserve a treater attuned to you. Zooey wasn’t. It sounds like this therapist is.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andi says:

      ” if a child is engaging in challenging behavior, or not making progress it was because we, the educators, are not meeting his or her needs.”

      Wow. Thank you so much for sharing this story. The quote above particularly resonated with me. It really helps me see things from a different angle – something closer to what (I think) the therapist was helping me to see.

      I’m also very sorry for what you went through. No one deserves that. And as much as I wish it wasn’t true, it’s comforting to know that the fear of trusting or of being “too much” is not something I alone struggle with. That remark about being better attuned to you – oh man. All the feels.

      And I think she IS more attuned to me. We’re more attuned to each other than I’ve ever experienced in a previous clinical relationship. Thank you for helping me see that. xo

      Like

  8. manyofus1980 says:

    I get 90 mins a week. Almost at the start we decided that an hour was too short. 90 minutes is doable because its smack bang in the middle. I hope you do get to have more time. And I want to watch orange is the new black because I heard its good but have never seen it! X

    Like

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