Trying to Hold Onto Connection

My therapist is officially on vacation now. *Sigh*

Today’s session went pretty well. There’s nothing that was bad or negative about it, I’m just sad that she’s going to out of the office for 12 damn days. Boo.

I opened the session by asking if she was ready for vacation. She said,

“Well not yet! Are you still mad that I’m going on vacation?”

I said yes and then outlined many of the things I spoke about in my last post. I was very honest with her. She figured I was worried about the usual fears (abandonment) but I added my concern that we would lose the momentum we’d worked so hard to build up over the last several weeks. She agreed and said that although it could (and likely will) be difficult to pick up where we left off, we also won’t be starting over again.

True.

But I’m still concerned. I feel so good right now about where we are, relationally. I feel so relaxed in the relationship, in a way I’ve never experienced in therapy before. I found myself beginning to jump to conclusions during session today regarding her thoughts about me, but then I “reality checked” myself and realized I don’t actually believe she’s thinking anything bad about me. I suppose I have a different level of trust with her. I feel very calm and open right now.

Many things from my past have been creeping up to haunt me lately. I’m not sure why, but it could just be that now is when I’m ready to deal with them. I mentioned this to my therapist and she asked if this contributed to my anger around her leaving. I said yes because it does! I feel like we’re in such an awesome space right now and of course that would be the time she goes on vacation.

She started to brainstorm ways for me to cope when the past starts to invade my emotional space, but I told her I’m not sure that’s what I want. I think that I’ve been given many skills to tolerate and regulate my emotions by doing something else to soothe myself. I can soothe, and it honestly doesn’t feel unbearable, it’s just painful. So I’m hesitant to push all of that away while she’s gone because I want that space to be open and available to me when she returns.

I have a tendency to switch into “survival mode” when my therapist is away. This primarily entails forgetting that person exists and moving on with life as such. I generally put all of the things that start to pile up into neat boxes, and then shelve those boxes away in a close with the door shut and locked. It’s a solid strategy to manage a difficult period of time. But then most of that material is inaccessible to me when my therapist is there for me to process it.

I don’t want that. I don’t want to do that weird start/stop thing where it takes me a week or two just to get re-settled into the work.

So I had this kinda weird idea to create short videos where I just talk to the camera as if it’s my therapist. I don’t know that I’ll actually bring them to her, but I’d like to use it as a way to stay connected to her and to the space (and to this really good feeling I have right now!). If nothing else, it’s a video diary/VLOG that I can use to prepare for my first session once she returns.

I’m not sure how she’d feel about something like this. I don’t think it’s a boundary violation (because I’m not emailing or texting the videos to her) and I think it’s within the realm of “keeping the therapy inside the sessions” because if I do show her/talk about the videos, it will be during my actual session time.

We’ll see. I’m just trying to be creative and literally think outside the compartmentalized box.

 

 

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25 thoughts on “Trying to Hold Onto Connection

  1. Rachel says:

    I like the idea too! And I really get it. The “I know therapists need vacations” part of us doesn’t have the problem with it, and therapists can take vacations for good reasons and it still really sucks for us. It is so hard to have them away when we come to depend on them so immensely. It just completely sucks. And I hope the 12 days passes quickly, I really do.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Life in a Bind - BPD and me says:

    This is amazing , I am really smiling reading this post and am happy for you 🙂 not about the vacation itself (!) But the fact you’ve reached this great place with her in your relationship and feel this new security and trust and warmth with her. And it’s also fantastic you’re thinking of creative ways to cope with the great – I have found that v helpful and I hope you do too! Videos sounds like a great idea and not boundary violating at all; I can’t see much difference between thst and a written record of your thoughts. Being open to holding onto connection and therefore to the pain it brings during separation is a big step – I know what you mean about the person in a box and pretending they’re not there….but remembering they are there, that you are connected and that they remember you too (she does and will) is a wonderful feeling in itself. I’ve just thought of the film Inside Out and the idea that joy and sadness often go together ….. Hugs and thinking of you and looking forward to hearing how the vlog goes !

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andi says:

      Thank you so much! I can feel your kindness and enthusiasm in this comment and it’s much appreciated. And I agree- this is a big step for me! One that feels good and makes me proud of all the hard work I’ve done to get here 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Sirena says:

    Hope the vacation passes super quick! Great idea about the video. Weirdly I made a video to put on my private blog I share with my therapist only. I didn’t post it up in the end but I think it’s a good idea.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Andi says:

        Yeah. I raged against that policy a lot at first, especially because Zooey was the opposite and most of our work happened outside of actual sessions. But my current therapist said that’s a very dissociated way to approach therapy and considering I have a history of dissociating, she didn’t think it was a good idea to encourage me to continue doing so. Fair enough. Now I actually feel good about it and I understand her decision, but it hurt a lot in the beginning. And now that we’ve been doing it this way for so long, I think it allows our sessions to be more meaningful and I get to experience her reactions to me and the material in real time (for better or for worse).

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sirena says:

        Hm that’s interesting, about it being a dissociated way of doing therapy. My therapist said to me on Friday, it’s like dealing with 2 totally different people.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Amb says:

    I think making the videos is a good idea. Disconnecting from her and therapy and the hard things may be less painful, but you’re in such a good place in therapy and I’d hate to see that change if you have to compartmentalize everything and go into survival mode. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

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