So I’ve basically made it. In less than 24 hours I have therapy again. Pretty sure I can make it to 4pm tomorrow without any major event. Phew.
I feel good about how this break has gone. It’s been surprising, actually. I didn’t predict that I would fall apart, but I didn’t predict that I would spend this time feeling mostly stable and okay about being separated from the therapist, either. This is new. I’ve never experienced anything like this before in any relationship, let alone with a clinician.
But I do miss her now. The therapist, that is. I am reaching a point where I find myself thinking about her more often. I have so much I want to tell her. And we left off on a very important note that deserves a lot of attention. I’ll probably re-read the posts I wrote that week just to jog my memory and bring all of that stuff back to the forefront.
I know it will be tricky to dive back into the material. It probably won’t be easy and we likely won’t just jump back in where we left off. But I think we’re in a very good place right now and the time away will hopefully only make our relationship stronger.
I didn’t want this time off from treatment, but I think I needed it. This week has been a true week off for me. No work, no school, no therapy. I was able to just be with myself – read, write, watch tv, exercise, meditate, etc. I could simply flow with whatever made sense and felt good in the moment. It was relaxing and I desperately needed to relax.
It was also stressful. Having time alone has always been a source of tremendous anxiety for me. I don’t do well with downtime, especially if that time is occupied solely by me (although, to be fair, I’m never truly alone since I am part of a DID system). The emptiness, the vast open space of isolation intimidates me.
I was thinking about how it’s easier for me to think about and process my trauma when I am doing it deliberately, via therapy. I think of it almost as a homework assignment or challenge. I see it as a task for which I need to do my absolute best. When I’m not bringing up this stuff for the sake of tackling it in treatment, it has a way of overpowering me. I feel helpless and inept to handle the memories and emotions as they come up.
This week has been a balancing act of sorts. I can’t possibly keep myself from having any negative thoughts or undesirable emotions. Shit is going to surface on its own, unexpectedly. That’s sorta the nature of PTSD. But I think I’ve done a fairly decent job of allowing certain things to come into conscious awareness, acknowledge them, and then say, “I see you, however I’m not ready to deal with you yet. I am not ignoring you completely, but I do need you to wait until a better time when I am more equipped to handle you.”
And that is absolutely a consequence of being in well-paced, well-contained therapy. It was hard for me at first to feel as though she was holding me back. It felt like a rejection and I wanted to tell her everything so that if she was going to be overwhelmed or disgusted or not believe me, I’d know that upfront. But she pushed me to trust the process and allow things to unfold in a more organic way and I abided, reluctantly.
I didn’t really understand it at the time, but I have a better idea of why she did that. Not only was it to keep the therapeutic space safe, but it has taught me how to do the same for myself. I am learning to pace my own emotional life and to say, “Not today, trauma. Not today.”
I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s session. I’m not sure what I’ll open with, as everything feels both incredibly important and incredibly mundane. But I want to be as honest and vulnerable as I can with her. I want to share how this time off has been and I want to talk more about our connection and what it all means. And I want to tell her that I missed her.
One. More. Day.