Friday, 15 April 2011

Attachment (part 3)

He came back a while later to tell me he had spoken to her about what had happened and she had been very friendly and asked questions. I think he explained to her that I was nervous of talking to her myself for fear of castigation. He told me that T said I could ring her to talk and that I shouldn't worry about that. I was relieved to hear this but still scared about speaking to her in case she wouldn't understand.

After a few hours I plucked up the courage to ring after trying to think through in my head exactly what I was going to say and completely failing to find a way that I would explain what on earth was going on.

It turned out anyway that I didn't really need the script prepared, thank goodness, because T already seemed to have a good idea of what had caused this anyway. She said she had noticed me change in the session after she gave me my appointment and I said: “Is that three weeks?”.

I told her I was nervous of talking to her about this because I didn't want her to feel like I was trying to manipulate her but that three weeks was too long and that it's really difficult having such long gaps between sessions. I've always struggled with having sessions only every other week and I feel I just cope with it because I have no choice.

I explained that it wasn't just that it was three weeks; it was that my feelings about it had remined me of how disastrous it is going to be when she leaves for good. She was very understanding and in the end I told her everything I had been feeling about her and that the appointment thing was just a reminder of the fact that I am alone and that it's just her job to talk to me etc.

I explained how I was finding it so hard being attached to her and don't feel it's healthy when I don't know her. I told her how I had struggled so much with the last therapist leaving and that I still think about him a lot and that it was going to be so much worse this time. I explained that I was scared that even if I eventually get through the issues that I came to psychology for, the process of leaving psychology will be enough to mess me up again if I can't change how attached I get to the therapist. Then I told her how part of me wants to just leave therapy for good now and have it over and done with to avoid the pain of all of this but that I knew I couldn't because the other parts feel so attached.

She seemed very understanding to my great relief and was not offended (apparently) by anything I said. She said that it was true that I didn't know her and that therefore the attachment is not to her but to what she represents for me and that it is important for us to identify what she represents from my life growing up. I told her how I felt I never had someone like that to be attached to and she agreed that the 'neediness' is because of this lack of someone who was there for me when I was a child. She asked if it was a child part that felt this way about her but I feel it is many parts that like her in this way. I agree with what she was saying but I don't like to be 'needy' and that is why I try so hard NOT to allow myself to get attached to people in life and hence why I have so few close relationships. I asked her if it is possible for someone who has grown up that way to ever become 'normal' with regards to attachment. She kind of paused for a bit and then said that she thinks it is possible but sadly, I thought I sensed a little bit of uncertainty in her voice when she said it. I don't want to always be this way.

She said that we would need to do work on this and we'd also need to think more about the process of her leaving and the options we have, as it is so stressful at the moment with me not knowing when it's going to happen. She talked about the possibility of setting a deadline on us finishing together that we could work towards, even if it's not when she goes away. I am not sure about this but I am sure that I need to be more certain about what is happening and I want help to be not so affected by it all. I was relieved that she was finally understanding how difficult this has been and I'm relieved that this will have hopefully opened her up to talking about this with me.

At the end she said: “So what about our appointment in May?”. I explained that I didn't feel I really had any options but that I thought it would be better if I could be seen sooner. She said she could make time to see me next week and she felt this would be more reasonable anyway than three weeks. Phew!

I commented on how I just needed to find a way now to get over my meltdown and that I was angry with myself and felt I needed to just pull myself together and get on with things but that at the same time I felt unable to.

Then she said something that has really stuck with me. She said that she could see that I put a lot of effort into 'getting on with things', that I work full time and that she felt I have spent my whole life just trying to get on with things but that things had been building up internally within my parts and that is what caused the crash. She said she didn't feel it was me feeling sorry for myself and that maybe it was a sign that I need to stop and take more notice of what's going on. I find this so reassuring. I tend to view myself with a more harsh and critical eye and assume that others would do the same. It doesn't help that my mother is a psychotherapist who often tells me about patients who she thinks need to 'get a grip and get a job and stop feeling sorry for themselves'.

I think T was right though, this has been building up for a while and I wish I could have prevented things from getting to crisis point. I am hopeful that it won't be the start of a long crisis phase. I have felt better just for our conversation although by no means completely better. I am feeling very drained and dulled, but still am hopeful that by Monday I will be back to work and have the energy again to be the apparently normal Candy that everyone else knows.

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