In the two and a half years I’ve been seeing my therapist, I have never once skipped a session. We’ve had to do a LOT of rearranging and rescheduling appointments to fit my various school and work schedules, but I’ve always shown up. I was 30 minutes late once because I had the wrong appointment time. I was devastated.
But today, I skipped my appointment.
I called my therapist yesterday to talk to her about all the intense fear and anxiety I’m having right now around seeing her. She’s going on a two week vacation next week and I’ve been having a difficult time with that ever since she told me. But on top of that (or, perhaps, because of that), I’m really struggling to feel connected to her.
I saw her three times last week while on my own vacation with family in town. I wanted so much to share all of the joy, excitement, sadness, grief, anger, and myriad other emotions I was experiencing but I couldn’t. I tried, but there was this sense that I needed to hold back. There was a wall there, a wall I am sure I put up myself but I was having trouble figuring out why or how to navigate around or above it.
Which felt awful. The worst moments in therapy for me are when I am really needing or wanting to feel close and connected to my therapist, but can’t figure out how to get there. It feels completely chaotic within my internal landscape and the sense of sheer helplessness I feel is unbearable.
The phone conversation we had was similar. I felt that she was being abrupt with me. I think she felt I was being manipulative and self-destructive, which is probably true. But I needed to be seen and heard. I needed her to just SEE how much I’m hurting and struggling; how dangerous this all feels.
She made some comments that felt sarcastic and flippant, like
“I think you should come in, but it’s your decision so you can do what you want.”
“If you think three weeks off is better than two, than go ahead and skip this week’s sessions.”
(Um, I don’t really know WHAT is better, which is why I called you!)
Since there’s no tone of voice in a blog post, it’s hard for me to convey how this sounded to me, but it hurt. It felt like she was trying to reassert control or authority over me. I felt unseen, as if she was reducing me down to a potential behavior instead of what I was actually doing, which was reaching out and saying, “PLEASE HELP ME WITH THIS”
Which, I get it. She maybe can’t help. We’ve had enough ruptures over the kind of reassurance she can give me to know this is probably another one of those moments where I’m needing her to be kind and compassionate and she’s needing me to just hold my own.
I can’t. I won’t. So I made a choice to stay the fuck out of what feels like a very scary and volatile place right now. There’s obviously a chance I’ll regret skipping my session, and I’m sure she’s not thrilled with me right now, but I am just trying to get through a time that feels impossible.
Plus leaving session feeling completely drained and in a state of chaos is NOT how I wanted to go back to work after a vacation. I need my brain to actually function today.