I’m listening to a hefty thunderstorm as I type this. It’s the middle of the night. I’m wrapped in a blanket on my sofa, with my dog asleep in my lap. She came to me for protection from the storm. It’s nice to be able to give her that. I love that she seeks me out when she needs to feel safe.
Another reason I am wide awake at nearly 3am is that I am having a therapy crisis (again). After my session today, I felt so upset with J that I just wanted to quit the whole thing.
On Friday, J spoke to my GP about my problems with food. She did this because she has a professional responsibility. I wasn’t happy about it, but I knew it was necessary for her. Since then, I’ve had this uneasy feeling, because I hate knowing that I have been talked about. J insists that my GP only wants to help, and he apparently told her he will ‘do anything’ for me. But still I hate knowing they talked about me and not knowing what was said.
J said that she and my GP discussed their roles and obligations. That felt cold and clinical. She talked about their respective NICE guidelines. I’ve not heard her speak like that before and I felt upset by it. It left me feeling like a problem, like neither of them probably wants to have to be responsible for my care. I am already in a place of feeling like I need to apologise for just existing, and hearing this amplified that feeling for me.
During this conversation, J also referenced the fact that I am not the only person they both see. For some reason that felt like a punch in the gut too. I guess it made me feel like just one in a long line of people.
Then she made it all worse by mentioning law suits. She said she feels it is important for me to know how she is feeling about me not eating. She said something about it being unclear who should be accountable for me, and how it is easier for my GP because he works for the NHS and she is in private practice. She said that she could be sued if something happened to me. Suddenly I felt like all of her concern for me around my food issues is actually concern for herself. Concern that she can’t help me and therefore I am going to get worse and she’s going to be blamed for it. That notion is drenched in fear, insecurity and rejection for me.
Lately, it also feels as though J is trying to coerce me into eating better by telling me about the impact my eating disorder is having on her. She has told me she’s scared for me. She’s worried about me. She wants to understand but doesn’t. Every time she goes down this road, I feel guilty. I feel guilty that I’m impacting her in a negative way. I feel guilty that I know this and do nothing to rectify it. J knows how much I struggle with the idea that I’ve upset people I care about. So it almost feels like this guilt is a subtle weapon. It’s the same sort of low level emotional blackmail my mum has used on me my entire life.
I wrote J an email explaining some of how I’m feeling and sent it earlier this evening. Normally, she replies within a few hours, but I have heard nothing from her. Not even a simple acknowledgement that she got the message. So, assuming there was no kind of technical failure, my conclusion is that this email has overstepped the mark and she is now angry with me as well.
Either way, I can’t see me making it to my session today. After this sleepless night, I will probably just stay in bed.
Here’s what I said in my email.
I’m feeling crappy about our session today. Actually, I am feeling worried about therapy in general and how it has been in the past few weeks. When I was walking home earlier, I started thinking I should just quit. I followed that train of thought and realised that my relationship with you doesn’t feel good at the moment.
Maybe that’s because I feel like I have been demanding, emailing you a lot during your holiday and after. I don’t like doing it. But when things are really bad I feel like I need to. I get reassurance and comfort from knowing that you’re aware of what’s happening for me.
But I don’t feel like that’s all of it. It feels like I haven’t managed to reconnect with you since your leave. Instead of me gradually feeling more secure and connected again, it’s going in the opposite direction. I’m feeling angry and resentful towards you and I hate that.
In our recent sessions, I’ve been feeling like you are distracted. I don’t feel like you are as focused on me as usual. I feel like something has changed. Maybe it’s because you’re concerned about me not eating and you want to focus on that. I feel like the fact that I have so much happening around me at the moment is therefore a sort of inconvenience.
For a while, I have been wondering why you are more concerned about my food issues than you ever appeared to be about any of my other self-destructive behaviour. I thought it was maybe because you’d seen something similar before. Or maybe just because you really care and are worried for me. After you talking about obligations and law suits today, I’m left thinking you’re actually more concerned about responsibility and culpability. That feels horrible for me.
I feel like a burden to pretty much everyone in my life. Especially at the moment. At best, I am annoying to people, and at worst I am a chore. Now I feel like I am a chore to you as well.
I’m not sure how I am going to feel better about all of this. Normally I’d know I should come and talk to you. That would make me anxious, but I’d do it anyway because I would anticipate it having a positive outcome. Now I just feel like you’ll say that you didn’t mean for me to hear what you’ve said in this way. I don’t feel like that will help at all, it won’t make me feel less like I am a problem. I’m not doing my usual desperate plea for reassurance. I don’t think anything will feel reassuring. I just felt like it was important to write and explain.
Image: John Fowler, Creative Commons.