Unraveling

My therapy schedule has been changing like crazy lately because of myriad factors, mainly my changing internship schedule. 

I thought I was supposed to have session at 5:30pm today. I left clinic early at roughly 3:45pm and took the train to my  therapist’s office. I was super early so I went to a nearby Starbucks and worked on my inservice presentation. 

I wanted to get a Frappuccino because it’s “Frappuccino Happy Hour” week, but then I couldn’t justify ingesting unnecessary (and unplanned) calories, so I panicked at the last minute and ordered an iced coffee instead. 

But the barista misheard me so I was given an iced latte. That has far more calories than a simple iced coffee, so I asked for the correct beverage. Then I realized I had paid about twice as much as I should have for an iced coffee.  

I was flustered but I sat down and started to work. My iPad was open on its keyboard stand and my shaking hands then promptly dropped my cup and I spilled iced coffee all over the keyboard, the table, the floor, and myself. 

I stayed surprisingly calm while I diligently soaked up all the spilled coffee with a endless amount of napkins. 

Then I sat down and went back to work. 

I don’t remember much until 5:28pm, when a friend of mine texted me. This prompted me to look at the time and realize I had two minutes to get to session. 

Before every session, I open up iCal in the elevator and double-check my session time. 

It said 5pm. 

Fuck. 

I went into my therapist’s office and asked if I was supposed to be there at 5 instead of 5:30. 

I was. 

I started panicking internally. But I knew I only had 25 minutes left in the session and it seemed like I probably shouldn’t waste any more time. I think I was trying to force myself to be okay with what happened. But I wasn’t okay. 

I’m not okay. 

I have never done this before. In roughly 170 sessions, I have never once made this error. 

Why now? Why today?

My therapist suggested there is a deeply rooted issue coming into play here. I can’t say I disagree since we just had an extensive conversation about this last week involving her sending an email “out of bounds” with the parameters she had set. 

I told her the email made her seem unreliable and that it is very important that her words match her actions. She fought me on it at first and we spent an entire session arguing, but then she thought about it more and decided I had a good point and she realizes she needs to make sure our work stays protected. 

It was a standard rupture and repair – something we have done many times at this point. So I struggle to see how this would have such an impact as to cause me to lose time and subsequently show up for session 32 minutes late. 

I was also surprised that she didn’t reach out to me after she’d realized I was so late. She mentioned in the beginning of this session that she thought perhaps I had mixed up the times since things have been so chaotic lately.  

So why didn’t she call me and check in?

I asked her as much at the end of session and she said, “I wouldn’t do that because it is your session and you can do with it as you please…but maybe we can talk more about that next time.”

I understand her point, intellectually, but what I am feeling right now is as if she said “because I don’t give a fuck whether or not you show up or why you would be late”. 

Which really does not feel good. 

There’s so much going on for me right now emotionally. It feels like something snapped or exploded inside of me somewhere. My session ended 30 minutes ago and I am literally squatting against the wall in the lobby right now so I can write this post. I felt like I had to stop and somehow discharge some of my thoughts and emotions somewhere or else I might combust. 

Also, I need to finish my presentation tonight so I need to somehow be able to return back to baseline enough to function and focus on schoolwork. 

This fucking sucks and now I feel like this post has been about nothing. But I needed to just say what happened. I don’t know why something so simple would be this destabilizing, but it is. 

I am completely unraveling and I can’t figure out how to make it stop.

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28 thoughts on “Unraveling

  1. SassaFrassTheFeisty says:

    Do you think someone else was present and that’s why you didn’t get to your session on time? I can see what you mean about her passivity about “it’s your session” and how she made you feel like she does not care. But maybe she was thinking you might take charge and call about the appointment?
    And I’m sure you’re chaotic school schedule does not help. And hugs and peaceful vibes to you

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Sirena says:

    I don’t blame you for feeling as you do, I’d be the same. It does seem strange that she wouldn’t text you or something since it’s never happened before. Do you think she was reticent to do so because of the arguing about boundaries previously?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This.shaking says:

    Oh Andi, it’s not nothing.Something like this would incapacitate me for days. Can you be kind to your “unraveling”? Maybe something will emerge….. Sending you light -TS

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Rachel says:

    I don’t think the post is about nothing, it is about something really provocative to you, a change in session schedule/structure. That is a HUGE emotional stimulus. Makes sense to me you are having such a strong response. As for her not calling to check in – I would feel sad and abandoned, too. Totally. Ouch.
    Also, just from what you write, I don’t detect any “deeper” issue at play except an insanely chaotic schedule and your humanness.
    And the email situation – that does sound triggering. So I see her point, and of course I don’t know the whole story so hard to speculate from this one post. But I hesitate to assume there was some underlying “reason” for your tardiness, I think you’re allowed to be human. But of course you know if there was some other trigger instigating your lack of attention to the time.

    Liked by 2 people

      • Rachel says:

        My gut reaction is that she has some countertransference coming through, she took it personal that you didn’t show up on time, therefore “punished” you by not calling/checking in. Someone not having their own internal reaction (making it about them) would have been concerned for your welfare, as you are VERY consistent and reliable and predictable. The fact that she was so nonchalant about it, well, either she is just really detached in general from emotion, or was pissed off at you and concealing it with indifference. I hope I’m not making it worse, truly, it just doesn’t seem like she is very aware of her own emotional reactions so is reactive.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Andi says:

        I definitely think there is something going on with us that we cannot quite figure out. I think she is struggling with not always being able to meet my needs in the ways she would like to, in part because of the limitations of her own beliefs and values around therapy. But I tend to do this. I somehow provoke this in therapists. So I would actually consider it totally possible that she perceived my lateness as a sleight and then punished me for it via detachment or something like that.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Rachel says:

        I’m going to disagree and say you don’t “do this.” You get to struggle in therapy, Andi. You get to work through your fears and pain around attachment, that is what “this” is. There is nothing wrong or bad you are doing. Her response is based on her own internal environment, experiences, perceptions, and beliefs. If she has trouble sitting with a client who is struggling, perhaps it is hard for her to have compassion for her own struggles. Perhaps she has a hard time holding compassion for her own helplessness. Perhaps she has her own fears around vulnerability. I can only speculate, but I do believe that you would be an absolute joy to work with, and not hard to connect with and love at all, in the short or long term. I feel compassion for her limitations, as I know she deeply cares for you and wants to help. I feel compassion for the effects of those limitations on you. Holding you both with a lot of care, as you work through this painful rupture.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Andi says:

        Yeah I think I trigger something in her that perhaps she’s never felt before with a client. I can tell she’s exploring it and working through it, but there’s still such a profound impact.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Tina says:

    I feel the same way when my therapist’s response comes across as detached & flippant. Our brain understands the logic, but our heart wants them to care enough … to miss us enough …. to worry enough to wonder why something’s amiss when something is amiss.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Jean says:

    I would be a total mess, too for being late.

    Having said that, getting engrossed in something and losing track of the time is something 99% of people do. There may not even be a deeper reason under it all. But for me, I know it would be hard to feel normal rather than upset and guilty.

    It sucks how one thing going wrong engenders so many others things that feel and are wrong. I want to give you an e-hug but am afraid it might not be welcome.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andi says:

      True – I tend to pathologize virtually everything I do, when it may very well just be a regular part of being human. I hate that I unravel so quickly at the slightest struggle – especially if I feel abandoned in any way. Thank you for the e-hug, it is absolutely welcome.

      Like

  7. La Quemada says:

    Oh crap, what a lousy afternoon! I would be very upset too, with everything but above all with being late and missing half the session.

    Maybe your therapist should have texted you–there’s probably not a clear professional stance on how to handle that, but I’m sure she was trying to decide based on what she thought would work. So I get it, mostly, about why she didn’t check up by text, but it’s incredibly hard for our tender younger selves, who are barely daring to trust, to get it. They always look for rejection (and see it everywhere). And then the rejection makes us so hurt and MAD. I’m sorry. I know it feels bad.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andi says:

      Yes, exactly. There is some small, broken part of me that feels incredibly alone and ignored. This incident triggered that in a big way and it hurts. Thank you, Q.

      Like

  8. manyofus1980 says:

    yes it is your session but she really has a duty to call you if you dont show up? especially given your diagnosis of did there could be other reasons, like someone else being out? i know it wasnt the case but it could have been. i think the least she could have done is call you. Sorry the day was so bad. XXX

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andi says:

      Actually, I did lose a bit of time so I think someone else may have been out. And I think she suspected that as well. I do wish she had at least checked in. Thanks xo

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Anxious Mom says:

    Jeez, why does it have to be a deal for her to send a reminder text or call if a patient doesn’t show up? Surely she knows how important these sessions are for you, but really it seems like it would be common courtesy. I’m sorry things are so difficult right now Andi, ((hugs))

    Liked by 1 person

  10. e.Nice says:

    ugghh. sorry. I don’t think it was nothing, and I think its ok to be upset about it. I believe she does care, but it would’ve been easier to believe that if she had checked on you sooner….

    Liked by 1 person

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