It’s been another heavy week. Put simply; I have been a mess. I’ve been distracted, irritable, forgetful and agitated. I had a few moments of being overcome with sadness and sobbing my heart out for no clear reason. (One of these moments was while trying to eat some mashed potato, which just ended up revoltingly soggy with my tears. That felt like a new low.) I’ve also been furious, and disappointed, and horribly insecure.
In all honesty, there was more than one point at which I found myself planning to end it all. Fixating on that easy exit is an established habit I can easily slip back into.
I think a lot of this is down to the stress around me right now. But there is also something very deep and painful coming up in therapy. I can’t put my finger on it, but I’m sure it’s tangled into my relationship with J. I’ve got this constant ambivalence about her, this polarity that is hard to manage. She is one of the most important people in my life, and I do really love her. But this means that the slightest negative thought or feeling that emerges feels intense and frightening. I instantly panic that I am going to lose the relationship.
After a tough session on Tuesday, I wrote to J to tell her I was angry with her and explain why. This was a difficult thing for me to do. I wrote to her because I knew I could never say those things in person. Then she didn’t reply. And I was awake most of the night, full of fear that I had crossed a line and she was going to reject me in some way.
On Wednesday, when I still didn’t hear from J, I sent a text to cancel my session. I didn’t feel like I could just show up without knowing that she had read what I’d written and it was still OK for me to be there. I was also really scared of having to face up to those words.
J replied, encouraging me to come and talk about it. She said she was sorry I wasn’t coming, as she’d been looking forward to us getting an understanding of why I was feeling as I described in my email. Reading that made me feel like it might be OK to go and talk about it. And I knew that cancelling was just delaying. It would’ve been easy to keep cancelling and cancelling and just never go back again.
But my relationship with J is too important for me to be able to leave it behind like that. I care about her. I need her and I value her. It took the whole of my Wednesday and Thursday sessions for us to work through what had come up, but I am glad we did. J admitted that she should have been better at ‘holding’ her feelings around my eating disorder, and I talked about the fact that it had been making me feel guilty and sort of coerced. She said she just wanted me to know that she cares and she isn’t willing to leave it to get worse. And I am OK with that. I am glad that she cares. And truthfully, there is a part of me that is glad she is challenging me about not eating.
I also told her how I felt about her not replying to the email, how it left me hugely anxious. It was unusual for J not to respond. And she recognised that. She said it felt like a ‘different sort of email’. She told me she was ‘flummoxed’ by it and really didn’t know what would be helpful in terms of a reply. We talked a little bit about why that message had a different tone to it than previous ones I’d sent when I was angry. I concluded that it was probably because I felt at the time like nothing J said would make me feel any better.
I am terrible at asking for things, but yesterday I was brave enough to ask that if I sent something like that in the future, J would just email me back to acknowledge it. She said she doesn’t always have time to respond, but I explained that all I need to hear is that we are OK. That would’ve saved me a great deal of angst earlier this week.
By the end of my session yesterday, I felt like J and I were in a much better place. The anger and resentment I’d been holding onto had dissipated. And I felt more secure, like our relationship was rebalanced. It was nice to hear J remind me that I am very important to her, and she isn’t planning to give up on me. I was moved when she asked that I don’t give up on her either.
I hadn’t seen it that way before. I hadn’t thought that my inclination to quit therapy and walk away when the relationship doesn’t feel good is basically giving up on J. Doing that would be leaving without allowing both of us the chance to repair things. Seeing this, I suddenly felt the mutuality in our relationship, and that made me feel so warm and secure.
It was a relief, after weeks of worrying, to walk out of my session feeling once again like J and I are really in this thing together.