My therapist will be on vacation next week. Although I’m grateful that we were able to move through this latest rupture in time for her to leave, I’m incredibly anxious about her being away. I struggle just to go from Monday to Thursday between sessions. Weekends are generally not as much of a challenge, perhaps because I tend to transition into “off work” mode, understanding that this is time for my therapist and I to be apart. But being separated from her during working hours is always much harder for me.
Today’s session was fine. I did a lot of talking, free association style, about various aspects of my past. I’m not sure why, but it’s random stuff that’s been on my mind so I figured it was worth mentioning. I felt good about the conversation. I felt her presence, and we really felt like a team. But I’m also aware that I tend to do more talking about non-relational feelings when she’s due to be out of the office.
At the end of the session, she mentioned her vacation and wondered if it’s something I wanted to talk about. I just told her that I’m pissed that she’s going away and there’s not much more to say about it. She asked if we could maybe just hold onto that for now and discuss it further tomorrow.
I really do want to talk about this some more. I told her that I feel more or less okay with her leaving, but that I can definitely feel other parts that are less than thrilled. She thought perhaps that’s something they could bring in tomorrow…
I don’t even know why it bothers me. Well, I do, but it seems like something I should just accept and then move on. Therapists will go on vacation. They have to in order to remain healthy, energetic, and healthy enough to do the work they do. My therapist does a lot of work with individuals like me, with a history of trauma, so I always appreciate that she is mindful of self-care.
But it still pisses me off. I hate any change in my routine. She’s had to reschedule all of my Wednesday sessions this month. Twice, she’s had to reschedule my Friday sessions. And it turns out that the Monday she returns from vacation is Labor Day, so she won’t be able to see me until that following Wednesday. Which means we’ll go 12 days without a session instead of 10.
She mentioned that she’d be checking her messages, but that she also would likely be delayed in responding while away. To date I’ve never contacted her while she’s on official vacation, and I don’t plan to start now. But it was still nice to know she wouldn’t be completely unavailable. In that situation, she said she’d connect me with a back-up therapist, but thus far she’s never had to do that.
I don’t know how I feel about any of this. It frustrates me because although I know and understand that there are definite therapeutic benefits to vacations – both because of the aforementioned benefits to the therapist and the value in examining the emotions that come around around such vacations. But to be honest, that just feels sadistic.
I mean, what that ultimately says to me is that vacations are good for me because the absence of my therapist brings up painful and difficult emotions that we then get to be curious about and explore together. Which, to be sure, is valuable. But it’s also total bullshit.
I will miss her so much. I will struggle to hold onto all of the emotions and thoughts that threaten to overpower me daily. I’m now 60 (!) days into ED recovery and each day still feels quite precarious. I feel further from the relapse ledge, but not as far as I’d like to be. It’s scary as hell.
Mostly I’m just frustrated because I have no choice in the matter. She gets to go on vacation whenever the hell she wants and there’s nothing I can do about it. I hate that. I hate that I’m just supposed to not need therapy for 12 days, or need less therapy at least. It’s so disruptive and it feels dangerous and chaotic. I hate the way I feel so removed and disengaged from the work while she’s away. I know I do that to protect myself – I need to mute some of the intensity just to survive. It’s clever, but it sucks.
I shouldn’t have to be without a major form of support in my life. It’s not her fault, or mine, or anyone’s. But it still really sucks and I don’t know how to deal with all of this bullshit emotion. I feel scared. I feel abandoned. I worry that she’ll leave and something will shift inside her, emotionally or psychologically, and she’ll come back a different therapist, unwilling to work with me. Who the hell knows? It’s just tough and I don’t want to deal with this right now.
Or, you know, ever.