Right now I’d be going to session if my therapist wasn’t on stupid vacation. I’m still super irritated with this whole thing. I’ve never been thrilled when she leaves but I usually just suck it up and block out anything I’m feeling until about an hour or so before I see her again.
But in an effort to stay connected to the work, to her, and to what’s important about all of that, I’ve been actively pushing myself to stay present with whatever feelings come up. Which sucks. I had another dream with my therapist featured in it last night. I don’t remember much of the actual material, but I know that I felt scared (not of her, but of someone or something) and she was there. I can’t really explain it, but something about the dream felt very intimate. We were in a place that was emotionally closer than I’ve ever felt with her in real life, at least not that I’ve ever been consciously aware of anyway.
She often tells me that my extreme fear of intimacy is what generally leads me to pick fights with her or sabotage our conversations. I always find that strange because I think I’m a person who generally embraces intimacy. I have a beautifully intimate relationship with my wife along with several close friends. There are certain people that I don’t ever really censor myself for when I’m around them. But maybe that’s a different kind of intimacy, or a false intimacy or something.
I’m a little anxious that things will shift between us when she returns. I can’t help but think of how quickly everything went to shit after Zooey came back from vacation (right before throwing me out of her office). I know this therapist is vastly different, but there’s still that fear. I don’t know what she’s doing for this vacation. Maybe she’ll have some deep, life-changing conversation with someone and decide to alter the trajectory of her life. Or maybe she’ll just have some random epiphany and realize she doesn’t want to be my therapist. Or anyone’s therapist. Or maybe she’ll decide to move away. I don’t know what will happen.
And she’s admittedly not the type of person who offers reassurance on the unknown.
We were talking through some of my fears before she left and identifying how much that fear is linked with previous abandonments. I also pointed out that I’m not only one who’s experienced really shitty situations with clinicians. I’ve met several people (both online and in “real life”) who’ve been through similar ruptures, terminations, etc. Or I’ve heard of things beyond what I’d even imagined possible.
She pointed out that she’s gone on vacation a few times since I started seeing her and it’s worked out okay. I think she said this to encourage me to do some fact-checking, but it felt negating and I know I pulled away a bit. Then she quickly added, “That’s not to minimize your feelings or say they’re completely unfounded, I’m just wondering if you can find something different if you look at what’s happened historically?”
She asked me what types of things I’m referring to when I express fear. I said it wasn’t actually geared towards her as much as towards a general sense of anxiety about therapy. I explained that I often think about what I would do if I lost her as my therapist, and I’m almost certain I wouldn’t seek out another therapist for at least a while. Not even so much because I’d be angry or upset with her (although I would be upset), but because I can’t imagine finding someone else that fits with me.
My therapist is a true optimist, so she offered up hope that there would be many options for me to find another therapist,
“Not that you need to be looking” she added, “But there really ARE other therapists out there who do this work and understand trauma.”
I know that, I guess. But more than the big, obvious ethical violations, I’m speaking to smaller things.
“Ugh. I just…I hear and read about a lot of boundary issues. Nothing that’s necessarily a red flag or anything, but just…clinicians that clearly cannot hold the boundaries well. And that scares me.”
She kinda laughed while she said, “Nah…you’d be fine in that respect. You know so much more now. You know how this should work. So you’d cut right through all that bullshit immediately.”
I smiled. It felt good to hear her say that because I hadn’t actually considered this perspective until she brought attention to it. She’s right – I do understand boundaries infinitely better than I did when I began seeing her. I understand their purpose, the value of holding them, and what benefits I can get from having a solid relationship with boundaries that work for me.
Plus it kinda felt like she was bragging about the work I’ve done and the insight I’ve gained, which was awesome.
I miss her. I’m fine, mostly. Tomorrow morning I have my first job interview since graduation, which is nerve-wracking. I had a total fucking meltdown because I had to go buy dress pants in a size that fits my newly expanded body (kill me now, please). I’m hoping I won’t be super distracted during the interview and can just focus on the questions rather than how much my flab makes me want to jump in front of a train.
I’m supposed to call “Mom” tomorrow after my interview to update her. I also need to tell her Wife and I won’t be attending her daughter’s wedding next month. Between Wife’s job, her sister’s wedding (and shower, etc), my potential new job, my upcoming board exam, etc. it’s just too hectic. Plus Wife really doesn’t want to go and I support her. But I know Mom is going to be horribly disappointed and I don’t want to deal with all of that emoting. Still, I should tell her (and her daughter) fairly soon. Ughhhh.
I guess this isn’t stuff I can’t handle without my therapist (is anything though?) but I hate not having my normal routine. I’m used to seeing her three times a week. I’m accustomed to that check-in and I neeeeeeeeed itttttt. *Whines*
Truthfully, I just miss her because she’s her and I love her and thinks she’s a precious human being that I’m very grateful to have in my life. The younger parts of me feel very attached to her (ah!) and I can feel that – the pull of yearning. It’s awful. Painful. Annoying.
Having her gone right now, right when I finally feel like I have permission (from myself? the world?) to love her and need her and be attached to her (ah!). It’s kinda like having the wind knocked out of me: I’m laying on the ground trying to figure out how to breathe while wondering what the hell even happened.
Which reminds me of this time my mother was chasing my through the house for doing something wrong (yes, this apparently happened a lot in my childhood) and I hauled ass up the stairs, two at a time. I was maybe 9 or 10. I slipped on the final landing platform and knocked the wind right out of my lungs. I totally panicked. My mother got down on her knees, pulled me up, put her arms on my shoulders, looked into my eyes, and started breathing really slowly and calmly. She said,
“Breathe, honey. You’re okay, but you’ve got to breathe, okay? In through your nose, out through your mouth. Watch Mommy and breathe just like me…”