Despite my instincts telling me otherwise, I knew logically that it was a good idea to go to therapy today. It was fear making me want to back out. I was scared of having to go and tell J how much she’d upset me last week when she told me she’s away for most of next month.
Anger was playing it’s part too. There was a part of me that wanted to cut off from J because I was pissed off with her. Childish, but true.
This morning my anxiety was really bad. I’m travelling for work again this week. I won’t be in the office again until Monday, so I had a load of stuff to get finished. Mostly the anxiety was about therapy though. I couldn’t eat anything, but still had to take meds to settle my stomach. I’ve been shaky all day and my chest has been really tight.
That all meant that by this afternoon I really had to force myself to go to my session. The only reassurance I got was from knowing that I would feel shitty whether I went or not. It seemed worth the risk, because actually I couldn’t imagine feeling worse for it.
Over the weekend, I did email J about what was going on for me. I couldn’t sit on it until Tuesday. I think I expressed myself quite clearly. That made me more nervous because I had to face up to my words. The nerves and the anger put me on the defensive as soon as I walked through the door.
J asked what I’d like to use the session for. That annoyed me straight away, because I thought it would be obvious I needed to talk about how I’d felt over the weekend. It made me question whether I had made myself understood in my email. Me being upset enough about it to tell her that, even by email, meant I was extremely upset. But maybe it didn’t seem like such a big deal to her.
I brought up her holiday and said I’m finding it hard to know how to cope for such a long period without her, especially with Christmas coming up. I also said I’m upset that she didn’t think to tell me about it sooner, so we could prepare for it. Not that it would’ve been easier, it just would have felt more considerate.
J said she wasn’t sure why she didn’t tell me earlier, as she’d apparently told other clients a while ago. She said maybe she ‘hadn’t been brave enough’. She mentioned how she knew I’d been through a particularly rough patch recently and she probably guessed it wouldn’t land well. Being hugely self-critical, I started to think that it was somehow my fault. Like I should have made myself appear stronger, more stable, to make it easier for her.
However, I know that being in a bad place is not my fault. So I remained stubborn and withdrawn. What changed things was when she stopped analysing why it had upset me and apologised. I think that was what I wanted to hear. I wanted to know that she understood why I was distressed and was sorry for playing a part in it.
After that, I still felt cut off, but less prickly. J asked about why the prospect of next month is horrible for me and I couldn’t explain. I was scared to, but I read to her from my journal. I’d written from my child’s perspective about her going away and my feelings about Christmas. I tried not to let the adult part of me intervene, so the young part could really express herself.
That was super hard to read aloud. Telling people I care about that they’ve upset me is just not something I do. So sharing my writing from that small, desperate part of myself was painful. It felt intensely sad. Particularly the stuff about missing being with family at this time of year, remembering happy festivities and knowing it’ll never happen again.
By the end of my session, I did feel a little better about therapy and my relationship with J. There are still some lingering unpleasant feelings about it, but I’m not exactly sure what they are or why. It’s probably just that horrible and unsettling thought that an integral part of my support structure isn’t going to be there for a while.
I want to feel OK about having to cope alone, but it frightens me. I hate needing J this much; I hate being vulnerable and insecure. That just brings me back to self-hatred and obsessing about how I should or shouldn’t be.
This evening I’m still feeling introverted and isolated in my self-loathing. Destructive thoughts are circling, and keeping them under control requires a great deal of energy that I just don’t have right now.
Photo: Ghost of Kuji, Creative Commons.