What Is Enough?

I had class from 10-4 today. During my break, I checked my phone to see that I had a missed call and subsequent voicemail from the therapist. I panicked as a thousand things went through my mind:

Is she moving my sessions? Is she canceling my sessions? Is she moving or canceling one session? Will she reschedule it? Is she going to be out of the office unexpectedly? Is she going to be out of the office indefinitely?! Has she decided that she doesn’t want to do three sessions a week? Did she change her mind about everything and now she doesn’t want to see me at all? Is she sick? Is she dying? Did she already die and now someone is calling me from her phone to tell me that???

Seriously. What the fuck is wrong with me?! First of all, why did I assume death? And secondly, I hardly think someone would notify me that quickly if she did die. But I hope someone would notify me…Anyway. The point is, my brain immediately went to the worst-case scenarios. Before I could even finish unlocking my phone to LISTEN to the damn voicemail, I was assuming that she was calling to give me some terrible news.

She wasn’t. She just wanted to know if I could do an earlier session time tomorrow. But I can’t, so I called her back and I told her as much. I added that if the time we agreed on didn’t work, she could call again and we could try to figure something else out. But then I felt really stupid for saying that because it makes me seem so needy. We JUST changed sessions to three times a week. What would be the big deal if we only had two this week? That’s what the plan had been 24 hours ago anyway.

She called back (again, while I was in class) and said that she was able to figure something out so the time we’d originally agreed on would work after all. Well, okay. That’s good, right?

Sure. But I still feel like shit. And I’m still panicking. Because if it’s not this phone call then it will be another call or another voicemail or another conversation at another time. I know it. And I’m just waiting for it to all come crashing down. I’m waiting for her to realize that this is all so much more than she bargained for.

She said to me once that perhaps the issue is not that I am “too much”, but that the individuals helping me were not enough. She said that people tend to stop being “needy” when their needs are actually met. I suppose her argument is that if someone hears you screaming for help and then actually HELPS you, you can finally stop screaming for help.

But what is enough? How can I know what that is? And what if she’s wrong? What if there is not a finite amount of time or space or support that will be able to contain all of this chaos and intensity? What if I add this time and ask her to sit with all of this shit for an entire extra hour per week and it is still not enough?

What will I do then? Or perhaps more importantly: what will she do then?

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24 thoughts on “What Is Enough?

  1. dianetharp70 says:

    Through no fault of my parents, I’m the same that you describe yourself above. That part “too much”/not enough (eerily why?) reminded me of a casual generalized discussion (years ago) my Mom & I were having about parents taking care of their babies,,, we were both like ~ if you tend to their (baby’s) needs: feed, love, diaper, etc – they tend to cry way less. Just made me think. Wow!? Looking forward to reading more of your posts! 🙂
    *BTW, WELCOME TO VOLATILE FEMMES CHICKA!! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Rachel says:

    That is exactly how my mind would have responded!! Death, ha! I would have completely assumed she was done with me.
    How much is enough? I don’t know, but I think what you’re getting from her has been enough until now and will continue to be. You’ll continue to work together to meet your needs. It’s hard to have faith when you haven’t had a reason before, but she is a reason to have faith.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andi says:

      Lol so I’m not alone in the death or abandonment thoughts then.

      I agree. You’re right. It has been enough. We’ve figured it out. And yes – you said it so beautifully. She IS reason to have faith.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Anxious Mom says:

    Bless your heart, I can totally relate to that panic mode. Whenever the hubby is out and I get a random call, I always go straight to “OMG it’s the police or the hospital and he’s dead or injured.”

    I know it has to be a scary situation to be in, not wanting to lose such a damn good therapist, but I think if she thought you were too much, she’d be pulling away, not adding more space. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Cat's Meow says:

    I remember a point 3 years back when I was really getting back into therapy again and I realized that I felt like I had a “mother sized hole in my heart that created a bottomless pit of neediness that felt like it could never be filled.” My therapist and I recently talked about my saying this, so I know that she remembers it too. She wasn’t worried about being worn out by me, no matter how needy I was. She just needed to know how to take care of herself, so she wouldn’t get worn out.

    She did get to the point of being pretty worn out last summer. But it wasn’t because of me. She Was working with too many clients. That’s easily solved by not taking on new ones. She also said no to new referrals for trauma clients who needed to do attachment work. It’s work that she loves to do, but can only do it with a few clients at a time, because she makes herself so available. She also stopped checking her email after 10pm. She has made sure that she gets some more breaks from work, even if just for long weekends. I’m sure that there are other things in her personal life that changed, but these are the changes that I know about. Some of them had an effect on me- I learned not to expect as quick of an acknowledgement of my emails if they were sent after a certain time. But over all, there was no change in her availability. I can still call or text whenever I need- she trusts me not to abuse that. She consistently shows that she is there for me. And if she has an off day and misses important things one session (she is human and gets tired, distracted, etc), she on the ball again the next time and apologizes when she neglected something important.

    So, therapists who know how to do it Can deal with that intense neediness and even make adjustments to better care for themselves, And still provide the consistent support and care that they have committed to.

    As for my neediness, it’s a lot less intense. It isn’t gone, but it’s much more tolerable after having my needs met consistently. One of the things that helped me was going from one to two sessions a week.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Andi says:

      Omg I just posted about this!!! How crazy! I hope my therapist engages in proper self-care (and I have a feeling she does). I’m glad increasing frequency helped you get your needs met. That is so much of what I’m hoping for.

      Like

  5. luverley says:

    That’s so me i was laughing at the scenerios we put our heads into. Everything will work out. I think the extra sessions will be good and that over time it will even out. You are enough and she is by the sounds of it a great t.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sirena says:

    I think the fact that she wants to give you 3 sessions per week is awesome, I’ll be interested to see how that goes for you. It is sad that we are just waiting for the abandonment and one missed call from a therapist sends us into the stratosphere. I completely understand your worries of being too much. Hopefully this will lessen with the 3 sessions per week, perhaps that containment will help settle those fears.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andi says:

      Yes, that’s what I’m hoping for; that spending less energy worried about how to contain everything between sessions will allow me to do more work IN sessions. Thanks, Sirena.

      Like

  7. littlevoicetalks says:

    The time is ‘now.’ There is a whole heap of scenarios that you are making up in your head which probably won’t happen and when anything does happen, you will be in the moment then feeling a helluva lot different to now so your ‘then’ feelings will probably be appropriate to what happens in the future and what will present itself will be dealt with accordingly and you’ll be ready. It will be organic and okay. Keep in it in the day Flower. It’s all we can do. X

    Liked by 1 person

  8. kat says:

    just leave it. don’t even finish the thought. keep stopping it. enjoy and focus on every little bit of your coffee, or tea, or hamburger. you need to change the things you can change, and leave everything else behind, because you can’t change it, so why worry over it?

    i know, easier said than done. but keep trying one day at a time.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. mm172001 says:

    I feel the same way. The same commentary goes on in my head every time I see the number for the psych department come up on my phone.
    I also have the fear of being too much. I have a whole treatment team and I still feel like I can’t let them know everything that’s wrong because it’s too much and I’m too broken to fix. Anyways I can relate, don’t know how to quiet the fears but know you’re not alone.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Melanie says:

    I’ve wondered this to myself many a time, I am afraid I’ll never stop needing people, like the more I get the more I want. I also feel like my basic needs in terms of care and support from people haven’t been enough by a lot of people’s standards and then I feel like a bitch. I don’t know the answer to this but I like what your therapist said and I hope that the cup can runneth over at some point 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. J says:

    I really relate to this, though i have no suggestions. I generally feel like I am “too much” (though my definition changes to match whatever I’m feeling/doing/saying, even when I contradict myself) and I often ask my therapist if she is “too much-ed” and how can she be sure she’s not? I am so positive it will happen sooner or later.

    Liked by 1 person

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